RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Feb 2 2008   10:59AM GMT

The dangers of unsupported iSCSI targets…

MikeLaverick MikeLaverick Profile: MikeLaverick

In my training courses and sometimes because neccessity is the mother of invention – I’ve occasionally used open-source/free iSCSI target emulators – such as OpenFiler or just Redhat Linux wih IET (iSCSI Enterprize Target). Those of you who know OpenFiler well know, that its iSCSI support is just IET anyway…

It’s been well known in the VMware Community for sometime that these open-source iSCSI emulators cannot be relied on. Indeed in the new “Install & Configure” course for Vi3.5 many of us have moved away from using these tools because they can’t be depended on to work properly. The new course has a lab for iSCSI – so where previously we just “demo’d” iSCSI support – students will now do a lab in the course.

Anyway, my attention was drawn again to these iSCSI emulators through an internal mail system that only VMware Certified Instructors have access to. An important one came from Cormarc Hogan. Cormac works for VMware Support in Cork. I’ve never met the guy personally – but was impressed by his “Top 10 Support Issues” which he presented at last year TSX in Europe, and then again (?) at VMworld in San Francisco… Anyway, Cormarc drew out attention to a support articles that explains and warns against the use of such emulators:

http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1405590.

The reason why I am so concerned by this is because in guides I have written and in the new book – I have documented how to setup IET. I’ve never recommended there use in production environments – simply because I want my storage to managed by hardware/firmware. My use of these iSCSI emulators has only ever been for demonstration purposes. After all I wouldn’t want to splash on a Lefthand Networks or Equilogics iSCSI SAN for a 5 minutes demo. I am always open to donations, of course. :-)

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