iScsi and AoE with linux



A few days ago I had reason to investigate iscsi and AoE (ata over ethernet). Both are protocols for sharing a physical drive over the network at the block level. Let me put it in context first. Traditional network file shares have been done like this…. Computer A has a large drive, it’s formatted and available to Computer A and then THAT computer shares it out to computers B-zzzzzzz. iscsi and AoE basically share the bare drive and then computer B can attach to the drive format and make use of it as it’s own. Realistically I see the greatest advantage with this is adding storage to a server.


Depending on the file system BAD things can happen if multiple machines try to work with an iscsi/aoe shared drive, but the question had come up along the lines of what linux software there was for these.

The terminology here is different than traditional server/client naming. In this case iscsi Target is the served out drive and “initiator” is the client access component. This zdnet article gives a good rundown of the linux options for iscsi.

Iscsi seems more widely supported (muiltiple platforms) than AoE, but it appears the AoE spec should be easier to implement. So, it may just be a matter of time before there are more platforms with initiators for AoE, but currently it looks as though iscsi has the lead in adoption.

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