Redundant iSCSI storage for Linux

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Here’s how to set up relatively cheap redundant iSCSI storage on Linux. The redundancy is achieved using LVM mirroring, and the storage servers consist of commodity hardware, running the OpenFiler Linux distribution, which expose their disks to the clients using iSCSI over Ethernet. The servers are completely separate entities, and the purpose of this mirroring is to keep the logical volumes available, even while one of the storage servers is down for maintenance or due to hardware failure.

Ultimately the disks of the iSCSI target servers will show up as normal SCSI disks on the client (/dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, …). The data will be moved across the network transparently. It is preferable to use multiple gigabit network interface cards on both the initiator and the target, and bond them together for reliability and speed gain (or use Device Mapper Multipath). A separate VLAN for iSCSI traffic is recommended for security and speed. By default, the traffic is not encrypted so your disk blocks can easily be sniffed using tcpdump.

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