Sharing iSCSI volumes from Solaris to Windows XP

I just noticed that I could create iSCSI volumes onto my ZFS pool and share them easily over network to other machines. And I mean easily!

  1. Enable the iSCSI service:
    # svcadm enable iscsitgt
  2. Create a zfs stub for your volumes:
    # zfs create storagepool/volumes
    # zfs set shareiscsi=on storagepool/volumes
  3. Create a volume
    # zfs create -V 20g storagepool/volumes/test
  4. Verify that sharing was successfull:
    # iscsitadm list target
    Target: storagepool/volumes/test
        iSCSI Name: iqn.1986-03.com.sun:02:737cb2f1-ea2b-e6d5-b8af-e335e05852f6
        Connections: 0
  5. Install Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator Version from here
  6. Go to Control Panel -> iSCSI Initiator -> Discovery, add the solaris server ip to Target Portals, then go to Targets tab and Log On to the volume.
  7. Go to the Computer Management and format the new iSCSI partition and you’re ready to go.

I benchmarked read speeds of 70 to 80 MB/sec with access time of about 2.3 ms over a 1GBps ethernet network. Not bad, could be a bit faster, but the network will anyway be a bottleneck compared to local drivers. My 160 GB RAID-0 stripe gives 260 MB/sec read times with 18.4 ms access time and 300 GB RAID-1 mirror gives 110 MB/sec with 19 ms access time (both are local drivers)

So what I can do with iSCSI volumes? I could for example use them as virtual machine disks, which would allow me to move virtual machines more easily across my network (though I dont have that many machines where to move them). Also the access time is blazingly fast, so I will also try to use them as video editing storage, as suggested in this article.

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