iSCSI status


I see iSCSI mentioned in certain places around the Rockstor website (, but can’t see any options for it on my test install.  Is it something that’s on the horizon?
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It is something on the horizon, but really way out there. We implemented it in a prototype fashion a while ago and decided to discontinue and focus on providing best NAS first.

Hmm, shame. iSCSI is the main sharing option I’d be looking to use. Was hoping for at least that to move me off FreeNAS.

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Good to know iSCSI is important to you. We’ll certainly take that into consideration. I also gather that dedupe, especially inband dedupe is important to you as well.

What are some other things that you think are lacking in Rockstor, especially in comparison with FreeNAS and perhaps other solutions you may be familiar with?

The main point for me with Rockstor is that it’s backed by btrfs.  This by itself is a big feature for me.

Being able to use iSCSI and in-band dedupe would set Rockstor apart feature wise.  I’ve not looked heavily at the snapshotting features in Rockstor yet, but the ability to schedule hourly, daily and weekly snapshots were something that I have relied heavily on with NetApp filers in the past. (having these snapshots of our home directories automatically created behind the scenes was a killer feature and doesn’t take up much space).
I had also been following the hot data tracking development in btrfs, but have not kept up with it for a while.  It would be good to be able to create various layers of storage (M.2 PCIe devices, SAS, fast SATA, all the way down to slow spinning high capacity SATA drives - although I’m not sure the development work was going in the direction of providing more than 2 ‘cost’ layers).  It would be a great feature to be able to automatically place blocks on the appropriate speed storage layer.  Not sure if there was the ability to force certain data onto a specific layer (i.e. disk based backups would only ever sit on the slowest layer, no matter how often you accessed the data).
These aren’t features I’ve seen in any other OpenSource NAS project for sure.  More features that it would be great to see at some point.  I’m keen to move from FreeNAS due to the snapshots slowing things to a crawl over time.  ZFS is certainly feature rich, but btrfs is catching up.
Not sure the live CPU, network & RAM stats on the Dashboard are such a great draw.  My personal preference is to have stats shown over a greater period of time, so no need to update every second.
A schedule page would also be nice to see.  Something that could show what tasks are currently under way (rebalancing a pool for example) (perhaps with a progress bar?) along with tasks that are scheduled for further down the line.

Please do try the snapshotting features in Rockstor. You can schedule snapshots hourly, daily etc… I use it and it works pretty well. I’d be interested in finding if there’s anything else we can do for you wrt snapshots.

Thanks for bringing up the hot data tracking in btrfs. It is pretty cool and something we’ll follow closely. Here’s the issue so we can get to it eventually:

Our dashboard will continue to improve, but in the meantime you can turn it off if you don’t need the stats. However, once you turn off data collector, not only the display but stats just stop being collected.

I really like the schedule page idea, something that occurred to me a while ago but totally forgotten. Here’s the issue I just created for that:

BTW, I’ve just created an issue for iSCSI, the first baby step.


I would like to “second” this feature-request. Having iSCSI should be a “must-have” for Rockstor!

I would really like to see ISCSI implanted with VAAI support which I know LIO supports out of the box. I would expect this is a very easy thing to implement although the Web hooking may take longer.

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I join the others, I too would like to see in Rockstor iSCSI Target. Why is this so important, it will give the possibility of competition with other products of this type. This will not only turn Rockstor to NAS, and NAS-SAN. Let me give another example. Very comfortable and functional use iSCSI network storage. You can connect it to Windows and will look like a physical disk with which it is possible to carry out the usual operations. I think it will be very convenient.

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Using NFS for my VSphere cluster for now, would love to have iscsi as wel…

Indeed, lack of IScsi support is a huge reason that we have not looked closer as a product to use in house (we can use ISCSI with centos the way it sits) and why we have not recommended it for use for our customers.

Hi @dke. Can you share more details about how you setup and use ISCSI with centos?

First we install tgtd (iScsi target)
from there we allocate ‘slices of space’ on either raw partitions, raid partitions or files depending on what is needed.

Use cases are:
-Someone wants some storage on a windows box thats not on thier machine for archival or ‘nearline’ storage - they would like it backed up now and again. They will be the only user of the drive.
They would also like to be able to use it from more than one machine or remotely. (ie only one user)
In this case, we have a directory of diskImages that we compress and write to tape now and again.
if you optimize the disk, you end up with fairly large chunks of blank blocks that compress rather nicely :slight_smile: These images come and go fairly slowly. With a iScsi initiator being a part of windows, its
fairly easy to set up, light on the CPU, doesnt expose any of the file system - its good.

-Someone wants a good size workspace (not on thier own machine), performance matters, as does
integrety of the data. In this case we do an ISCSI share off a slice of a partitioned raid volume.
There is very little overhead and if you use an infiniband connection, it really humms along.
If one builds a raid array out of SSDs…

-Usage of raw partitions or file based disk images for VMs.
We’re using SSDs a lot more now. With the price of 1TB SSDs around $300 or less, we’re starting to play with 4-6 disk SSD arrays. No noise, very little heat (thats a big factor in killing disks and computers) far less power consumption ( 3 watts as opposed to 90).
we COULD use NFS 4.x but there is a reason that NFS is affectionately known as ‘Not a File System’, ‘Nasty File System’ etc. While many of the issues in NFS have been resolved (and thier was MUCH rejoicing), ISCSI is simply drastically faster and NFS can never be made to be as fast.
NFS will have to deal with permissions, locking and a bunch more details, ISCSI just delivers blocks.
Ask any vender of SAN and NAS system . When you look at file systems like StoreNext ™ you will find that it delivers blocks over Fiber-channel, IScsi, or Infiniband.
but I digress.

there are two ways to do the configuration, one is via a fairly simple XML file, the other is
via an administration tool.

ffi: - good examples

Other thoughts:
Some of the ‘higher performance’ file systems like xsan/Storenext and friends are wonderful but they are rather pricey on a per seat basis. Not to mention needing a separate metadata controller. Many of our customers can tolerate SMB/Samba for everyday ‘windows stuff’, and NFS for some sharing of files.
BUT when you need a lot more throughput like for video editing, or system volumes - you’re kind of stuck with the more pricy solutions.
Having said that, if you use an infiniband+ISCSI solution, you can get a LOT of speed - BUT you cant share anything - ie one user per connection. A lot of our customers can live with that as it allows them to copy assets on to thier own private share, work with it for however long they need to, copy it back and move on - that workflow is a lot more palatable then a the price of a SAN/NAS+ hefty per seat fee.
Free nas supports ISCSI shares but it doesnt do infiniband!
Some of our customers love the GUI, but it cant do some of the things they need.
Thats why rockstore is being looked at a bit closer.

So for now, we are just using plain old Centos and raid 5/6 arrays.
It works - just the gui sucks :wink:

I think your idea of $20 for life time subscription, while nice, is nearly insulting to you.
If you really want to be nice and create more revenue streams, try something like:
$50/year for first tier support - you are at the front of the list for all questions and problems, for each additional machine,knock $5 off additional support until you reach $25.
ie first machine $50, second $45, third $40, etc…
If i pitched that to any customer (or even internally) comments would be something like:
Thats it? Why isnt it more?

Support from a ‘manufacture’ is always a BIG selling point - esp when dealing with open source software.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling.


Any news\timeframe for iSCSI? It’s the most commented issue on github. Would put Rockstor in a new (enterprise) league.

Hi @grizzly and all,
some news on Rockstor updates:

actually we have this:

  • a big pending pull request from @phillxnet about disk role ( so partially iSCSI related )
  • a fix about share usage ( increase system infos consistency )
  • others PR / coding about Rockstor development (Jenkins fixing, gulp checking with eslint on js files & probably flake8 to py files too)

Back to iSCSI: well, it’s a huge and important one, I can’t grant I/we will have it, but being this 3.9 cycle hope so :slight_smile:



Is iSCSI already on the roadmap?
When you refer iSCSI is only as target or also as initiator?
Will also support iSCSI Multipath I/O (MPIO)?
We are looking for a NAS/SAN where we could also use the storage space we already have on our Equalogic pool. For that it will have to support iSCSI initiator and MPIO for better performance.


I hope ISCSI is brought to Rockstor soon. I’ve had to stop using Rockstor at most of my clients due to issues with my servers not backing up properly with SMB to Rockstor. Every fix I read says to use ISCSI. So it seems back to FREENAS again or I’ll try OpenMediaVault.

I’d rather use Rockstor and grown fond of it, but I can’t get by without ISCSI anymore. I’ve tried, but need it.

Hope you guys realize how important ISCSI is for most of us. I’ve had a lot of friends in the tech community try Rockstor and not use it anymore just because of this also. They are the reason I found out about Rockstor.

iSCSI - Yes this is important. I didn’t know that FreeNAS had it untill today. Now I want it in Rockstor as well. I once setup a Dell NAS for a customer where a VMWare Server connected to the iSCSI provider to get storage access to the VMs.

I’d like to do this on some new servers I have.

I would also really like this feature, I think it’s essential for a good NAS product.