[stgt] [PATCH] updated doc/README.iser
alexandern at Voltaire.COM
Thu Jan 27 16:06:58 CET 2011
Signed-off-by: Alexander Nezhinsky <alexandern at voltaire.com>
doc/README.iser | 524 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-------------------
1 files changed, 345 insertions(+), 179 deletions(-)
diff --git a/doc/README.iser b/doc/README.iser
index f96e7aa..697b507 100644
@@ -1,211 +1,314 @@
-iSCSI Extensions for RDMA (iSER)
+*** iSCSI Extensions for RDMA (iSER) in tgt ***
Copyright (C) 2007 Pete Wyckoff <pw at osc.edu>
+Copyright (C) 2011 Alexander Nezhinsky <alexandern at voltaire.com>
-There is an IETF standards track RFC 5046 that extends the iSCSI protocol
-to work on RDMA-capable networks as well as on traditional TCP/IP:
+1.1. Standards (iSCSI, iSER)
+The IETF standards track RFC 5046 extends the iSCSI protocol to work
+on RDMA-capable networks as well as on traditional TCP/IP:
Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) Extensions
for Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), Mike Ko, October 2007.
+It is available online:
RDMA stands for Remote Direct Memory Access, a way of accessing memory
of a remote node directly through the network without involving the
-processor of that remote node. Many network devices implement some form
-of RDMA. Two of the more popular network devices are InfiniBand (IB)
-and iWARP. IB uses its own physical and network layer, while iWARP sits
-on top of TCP/IP (or SCTP).
+processor of that remote node. Many network devices implement some
+form of RDMA. Two of the more popular network devices are InfiniBand
+(IB) and iWARP. IB uses its own physical and network layer, while
+iWARP sits on top of TCP/IP (or SCTP).
Using these devices requires a new application programming interface
-(API). The Linux kernel has many components of the OpenFabrics software
-stack, including APIs for access from user space and drivers for some
-popular RDMA-capable NICs, including IB cards with the Mellanox chipset
-and iWARP cards from NetEffect, Chelsio, and Ammasso. Most Linux
-distributions ship the user space libraries for device access and RDMA
+(API). The Linux kernel has many components of the OpenFabrics
+software stack, including APIs for access from user space and drivers
+for some popular RDMA-capable NICs, including IB cards with the
+chipset from Mellanox and QLogic, and iWARP cards from NetEffect,
+Chelsio, and Ammasso. Most Linux distributions ship the user space
+libraries for device access and RDMA connection management.
+There is an ongoing activity, which is still in progress, intended
+to improve upon RFC 5046 and address some existing issues. The text
+of the latest proposal is available online (note, though, that it
+may become outdated quickly):
-RDMA in tgtd
-The Linux kernel can act as a SCSI initiator on the iSER transport, but
-not as a target. tgtd is a user space target that supports multiple
-transports, including iSCSI/TCP, and now iSER on RDMA devices.
-The iSER code was written by researchers at the Ohio Supercomputer
-Center in early 2007:
+1.2. iSER in tgtd
+tgtd is a user space target that supports multiple transports,
+including iSCSI/TCP and iSER on RDMA devices.
+The original iSER code was written in early 2007 by researchers at
+the Ohio Supercomputer Center:
Dennis Dalessandro <dennis at osc.edu>
Ananth Devulapalli <ananth at osc.edu>
Pete Wyckoff <pw at osc.edu>
-We wanted to use a faster transport to test the capabilities of an
-object-based storage device (OSD) emulator we had previously written.
-Our cluster has InfiniBand cards, and while running TCP/IP over IB is
-possible, the performance is not nearly as good as using native IB
-A report describing this implementation and some performance results
-appears in IEEE conference proceedings as:
+The authors wanted to use a faster transport to test the capabilities
+of an object-based storage device (OSD) emulator. A report describing
+this implementation and some performance results appears in IEEE
+conference proceedings as:
- Dennis Dalessandro, Ananth Devulapalli and Pete Wyckoff,
- iSER Storage Target for Object-based Storage Devices,
- Proceedings of MSST'07, SNAPI Workshop, San Diego, CA,
- September 2007.
+ Dennis Dalessandro, Ananth Devulapalli and Pete Wyckoff, "iSER
+ Storage Target for Object-based Storage Devices", Proceedings
+ of MSST'07, SNAPI Workshop, San Diego, CA, September 2007.
and is available at:
-Slides of the talk with more results and analysis are also available at:
+Slides of the talk with more results and analysis are available at:
-The code mostly lives in iscsi/iscsi_rdma.c, with a few places in
-iscsi/iscsid.c that check if the transport is RDMA or not and behave
-accordingly. iSCSI already had the idea of a transport, with just the
-single TCP one defined. We added the RDMA transport and virtualized
-some more functions where TCP and RDMA behave differently.
+The original code lived in iscsi/iscsi_rdma.c, with a few places
+in iscsi/iscsid.c. RDMA transport was added and some more functions
+where TCP and RDMA behaved differently were virtualized.
+There was a bug that resulted in occasional data corruption.
+The new implementation was written by Alexander Nezhinsky
+<alexandern at voltaire.com>. It defines iSER as a separate transport
+(and not as a sub-transport of iSCSI/TCP).
+One of the main differences between iSCSI/TCP and iSER is that the
+former enjoys the stream semantics of TCP and may work in a synchronous
+manner, while the latter's flow is intrinsically asynchronous and
+message based. Implementing a synchronous flow within an asynchronous
+framework is relatively natural, while fitting an asynchronous flow
+within a synchronous framework is usually met with a few obstacles
+resulting in a sub-optimal design.
+The main reason to define iser as a separate transport (which is
+an example of such obstacle) was to decouple rx/tx flow from using
+EPOLLIN/EPOLLOUT events originally used to poll TCP sockets. See
+"Event Management" section below for details.
+Although one day we may return to a common tcp/rdma transport, for
+now a separate transport LLD (named "iser") is defined.
+Other changes include avoiding memory copies, using a memory pool
+shared between connections with "patient" memory allocation mechanism,
+Source-wise, a new header "iser.h" is created, "iscsi_rdma.c"
+is replaced by "iser.c". File iser_text.c contains the iscsi-text
+processing code replicated from iscsid.c. This is done because the
+functions there are not general enough, and rely on specifics of
+iscsi/tcp structs. This file will hopefully be removed in the future.
-In general, a SCSI system includes two components, an initiator and a
-target. The initiator submits commands and awaits responses. The target
-services commands from initiators and returns responses. Data may flow
-from the initiator, from the client, or both (bidirectional). The iSER
-specification requires all data transfers to be started by the target,
-regardless of direction. In a read operation, the target uses RDMA
-Write to move data to the initiator, while a write operation uses RDMA
-Read to fetch data from the initiator.
+2.1. General Notes
-1. Memory registration
+In general, a SCSI system includes two components, an initiator and
+a target. The initiator submits commands and awaits responses. The
+target services commands from initiators and returns responses. Data
+may flow from the initiator, from the client, or both (bidirectional).
+The iSER specification requires all data transfers to be started
+by the target, regardless of direction. In a read operation, the
+target uses RDMA Write to move data to the initiator, while a write
+operation uses RDMA Read to fetch data from the initiator.
+2.2. Memory registration
One of the most severe stumbling blocks in moving any application to
take advantage of RDMA features is memory registration. Before using
-RDMA, both the sending and receiving buffers must be registered with the
-operating system. This operation ensures that the underlying hardware
-pages will not be modified during the transfer, and provides the
-physical addresses of the buffers to the network card. However, the
-process itself is time consuming, and CPU intensive. Previous
-investigations have shown that for InfiniBand, with a nominal transfer
-rate of 900 MB/s, the throughput drops to around 500 MB/s when memory
-registration and deregistration are included in the critical path.
-Our target implementation uses pre-registered buffers for RDMA
-operations. In general such a scheme is difficult to justify due to the
-large per-connection resource requirements. However, in this
-application it may be appropriate. Since the target always initiates
-RDMA operations and never advertises RDMA buffers, it can securely use
-one pool of buffers for multiple clients and can manage its memory
-resources explicitly. Also, the architecture of the code is such that
-the iSCSI layer dictates incoming and outgoing buffer locations to the
-storage device layer, so supplying a registered buffer is relatively
-2. Event management
-There is a mismatch between what the tgtd event framework assumes and
-what the RDMA notification interface provides. The existing TCP-based
-iSCSI target code has one file descriptor per connection and it is
-driven by readability or writeability of the socket. A single poll
-system call returns which sockets can be serviced, driving the TCP code
-to read or write as appropriate. The RDMA interface can be used in
-accordance with this design by requesting interrupts from the network
-card on work request completions. Notifications appear on the file
-descriptor that represents a completion queue to which all RDMA events
-However, the existing sockets-based code goes beyond this and changes
-the bitmask of requested events to control its code flow. For instance,
-after it finishes sending a response, it will modify the bitmask to only
-look for readability. Even if the socket is writeable, there is no data
-to write, hence polling for that status is not useful. The code also
-disables new message arrival during command execution as a sort of
-exclusion facility, again by modifying the bitmask. We cannot do this
-with the RDMA interface. Hence we must maintain an active list of tasks
-that have data to write and drive a progress engine to service them.
-The need for progress is tracked by a counter, and the tgtd event loop
-checks this counter and calls into the iSER-specific while the counter
-is still non-zero. tgtd will block in the poll call when it must wait
-on network activity. No dedicated thread is needed for iSER.
-The iSCSI specification clearly states that all segments in the protocol
-data unit (PDU) must be individually padded to four-byte boundaries.
-However, the iSER specification remains mute on the subject of padding.
-It is clear from an implementation perspective that padding data
-segments is both unnecessary and would add considerable overhead to
-implement. (Possibly a memory copy or extra SG entry on the initiator
-when sending directly from user memory.) RDMA is used to move all
-data, with byte granularity provided by the network. The need for
-padding in the TCP case was motivated by the optional marker support to
-work around the limitations of the streaming mode of TCP. IB and iWARP
-are message-based networks and would never need markers. And finally,
-the Linux initiator does not add padding either.
-Compile tgtd with "make ISCSI=1 ISCSI_RDMA=1" to build iSCSI and iSER.
+RDMA, both the sending and receiving buffers must be registered with
+the operating system. This operation ensures that the underlying
+hardware pages will not be modified during the transfer, and provides
+the physical addresses of the buffers to the network card. However,
+the process itself is time consuming, and CPU intensive. Previous
+investigations have shown that for InfiniBand, the throughput drops
+by up to 40% when memory registration and deregistration are included
+in the critical path.
+This iSER implementation uses pre-registered buffers for RDMA
+operations. In general such a scheme is difficult to justify due
+to the large per-connection resource requirements. However, in
+this application it may be appropriate. Since the target always
+initiates RDMA operations and never advertises RDMA buffers, it can
+securely use one pool of buffers for multiple clients and can manage
+its memory resources explicitly. Also, the architecture of the code
+is such that the iSCSI layer dictates incoming and outgoing buffer
+locations to the storage device layer, so supplying a registered
+buffer is relatively easy.
+2.3. Event management
+As mentioned above, there is a mismatch between what the iscsid
+framework assumes and what the RDMA notification interface provides.
+The existing TCP-based iSCSI target code has one file descriptor
+per connection and it is driven by readability or writeability of
+the socket. A single poll system call returns which sockets can be
+serviced, driving the TCP code to read or write as appropriate.
+The RDMA interface is also represented by a single file descriptor
+created by the driver responsible for the hardware. This file
+descriptor readability may be used by requesting interrupts from the
+network card on work request completions, after a sufficiently long
+period of quiescence. Furter completions can be polled and retrieved
+without re-arming the interrupts. Beside this first difference,
+the RDMA device file descriptor can not and should not be polled
+for writability, as any messages or RDMA transfer requests may be
+Moreover, the existing sockets-based code goes beyond this and
+changes the bitmask of requested events to control its code flow.
+For instance, after it finishes sending a response, it will modify the
+bitmask to only look for readability. Even if the socket is writeable,
+there is no data to write, hence polling for that status is not useful.
+The code also disables new message arrival during command execution
+as a sort of exclusion facility, again by modifying the bitmask.
+As it can not be done with the RDMA interface, the original code had
+to maintain an active list of tasks having data to write and to drive
+a progress engine to service them. The progress was tracked by a
+counter, and the tgtd event loop checked this counter and called into
+the iSER-specific while the counter is still non-zero. This scheme
+was quite unnatural and error-prone.
+The new implementation issues all SEND requests
+asynchronously. Besides, it relies heavily upon the scheduled events
+that are injected into the event loop with no dependence on file
+descriptors. It schedules such events to poll for new RDMA completion
+events, in hope that new ones are ready. If no event arrives after
+a certain number of polls then interrupts are requested and further
+progress will be driven through the file-based event mechanism.
+Note that only the first event is signal in this manner and while
+new completions are constantly arriving, they will be retrieved by
+Other internal events of the same kind (like tasks requesting a
+send, commands that are ready for submition etc.) are grouped on
+appropriate lists and special events are scheduled for them. This
+allows to process few tasks in a batched manner in order to optimise
+RDMA and other operations, if possible.
+2.4. RDMA-only mode
+The code implies RDMA-only mode of work. This means the "first
+burst" including immediate data should be disabled, so that the
+entire data transfer is performed using RDMA. This mode is perhaps
+the most suitable one for iser in the majority of work scenarios.
+The only concern is about relatively small WRITE I/Os, which may
+enjoy theoretically lower latencies using IB SEND instead of RDMA-RD.
+Implementing this mode is meanwhile precluded because it would lead to
+multiple buffers per iSER task (e.g. ImmediateData buffer received
+with the command PDU, and the rest of the data retrieved using
+RDMA-RD), which is not supported by the existing tgt backing stores.
+The RDMA-only mode is achieved by setting:
+ target->session_param[ISCSI_PARAM_INITIAL_R2T_EN].val = 1;
+ target->session_param[ISCSI_PARAM_IMM_DATA_EN].val = 0;
+which is hardcoded in iser_target_create().
+The iSCSI specification clearly states that all segments in the
+protocol data unit (PDU) must be individually padded to four-byte
+boundaries. However, the iSER specification remains mute on the
+subject of padding. It is clear from an implementation perspective
+that padding data segments is both unnecessary and would add
+considerable overhead to implement. (Possibly a memory copy or extra
+SG entry on the initiator when sending directly from user memory.)
+RDMA is used to move all data, with byte granularity provided by
+the network. The need for padding in the TCP case was motivated by
+the optional marker support to work around the limitations of the
+streaming mode of TCP. IB and iWARP are message-based networks and
+would never need markers. And finally, the Linux initiator does not
+add padding either.
+3. Using iSER
+3.1. Building tgtd
+Compile tgtd with:
+ make ISCSI_RDMA=1
+As iSCSI support is compiled in by default, there is no need to specify
+additional symbols for it.
You'll need to have two libraries installed on your system:
-libibverbs.so and librdmacm.so. If they are installed in the normal
-system paths (/usr/include and /usr/lib or /usr/lib64), they will be
-found automatically. Otherwise, edit CFLAGS and LIBS in usr/Makefile
-near ISCSI_RDMA to specify the paths by hand, e.g., for a /usr/local
-install, it should look like:
+libibverbs.so and librdmacm.so.
+If they are installed in the normal system paths (/usr/include and
+/usr/lib or /usr/lib64), they will be found automatically. Otherwise,
+edit CFLAGS and LIBS in usr/Makefile under ISER to specify the paths
+by hand, e.g., for a /usr/local install, it should look like:
CFLAGS += -DISCSI_RDMA -I/usr/local/include
- TGTD_OBJS += iscsi/iscsi_rdma.o
+ TGTD_OBJS += iscsi/iser.o
LIBS += -L/usr/local/lib -libverbs -lrdmacm
If these libraries are not in the normal system paths, you may
-possibly also have to set, e.g., LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib
-in your environment to find the shared libraries at runtime.
+possibly also have to set, e.g., LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib in
+your environment to find the shared libraries at runtime.
-The target will listen on all TCP interfaces (as usual), as well as all
-RDMA devices. Both use the same default iSCSI port, 3260. Clients on
-TCP or RDMA will connect to the same tgtd instance.
+3.2. Running tgtd
Start the daemon (as root):
-It will send messages to syslog. You can add "-d 9" to turn on debug
+It will send messages to syslog. You can add "-d 1" to turn on debug
+messages. Debug messages can be also turned on and off during run
+time using the following commnds:
+ ./tgtadm --mode system --op update --name debug --value on
+ ./tgtadm --mode system --op update --name debug --value off
+The target will listen on all TCP interfaces (as usual), as well
+as all RDMA devices. Both use the same default iSCSI port, 3260.
+Clients on TCP or RDMA will connect to the same tgtd instance.
-Configure the running target with one or more devices, using the tgtadm
-program you just built (also as root). Full information is in
-doc/README.iscsi. Here is a quick-start guide:
- ./tgtimg --op new --device-type disk --type disk --size 1024 \
- --file /tmp/tid1lun1
- ./tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode target \
- --op new --tid 1 --targetname $(hostname)
- ./tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode target \
+3.3. Configuring tgtd
+Configure the running target with one or more devices, using the
+tgtadm program you just built (also as root). Full information is
+available in doc/README.iscsi. The difference is only in the name of
+LLD which should be "iser".
+Here is a quick-start example:
+ ./tgtadm --lld iser --mode target \
+ --op new --tid 1 --targetname "iqn.$(hostname).t1"
+ ./tgtadm --lld iser --mode target \
--op bind --tid 1 --initiator-address ALL
- ./tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode logicalunit \
- --op new --tid 1 --lun 1 --backing-store /tmp/tid1lun1
+ ./tgtadm --lld iser --mode logicalunit \
+ --op new --tid 1 --lun 1 \ --backing-store /dev/sde
+ --bstype rdwr
+3.4. Initiator side
To make your initiator use RDMA, make sure the "ib_iser" module is
-loaded in your kernel. Then do discovery as usual, over TCP:
+loaded in your kernel. Then do discovery as usual, over TCP:
iscsiadm -m discovery -t sendtargets -p $targetip
-where $targetip is the ethernet address of your IPoIB device. Discovery
-traffic will use IPoIB, but login and full feature phase will use RDMA
+where $targetip is the ethernet address of your IPoIB device.
+Discovery traffic will use IPoIB, but login and full feature phase
+will use RDMA natively.
Then do something like the following to change the transport type:
@@ -218,48 +321,111 @@ Next, login as usual:
And access the new block device, e.g. /dev/sdb.
+Note that separate iscsi and iser transports mean that you should
+know which targets are configured as iser and which as iscsi/tcp.
+If you try to login to a target configured as iser over tcp, this
+will fail. And vice versa, trying to login to a target configured as
+iscsi/tcp over iser will not succeed as well.
+Because an iscsi target has no means for reporting its RDMA
+capabilities you have to try to login over iser to every target
+reported by SendTargets. If it fails and you still want to access
+the target over tcp, then change the transport name back to "tcp"
+and try to login again.
+Some distributions include a script named "iscsi_discovery", which
+accomplishes just this. If you wish to login either over iser or
-There is a major bug in the mthca driver in linux kernels before 2.6.21.
-This includes the popular rhel5 kernels, such as 2.6.18-8.1.6.el5 and
-possibly later. The critical commit is:
+ iscsi_discovery $targetip -t iser
- IB/mthca: Fix data corruption after FMR unmap on Sinai
+This will login changing transports if necessary. Then, if succesful,
+it will logout leaving the target's record with the appropriate
+If you are interested only in iser targets, then add "-f", forcing
+the transport to be iser. Note also that the port can be specified
+ iscsi_discovery $targetip -p $targetport -t iser -f
+This will cancel login retry over tcp in case of the initial failure.
+4.1. Pre-2.6.21 mthca driver bug
+There is a major bug in the mthca driver in linux kernels
+before 2.6.21. This includes the popular rhel5 kernels, such as
+2.6.18-8.1.6.el5 and possibly later. The critical commit is:
+ 608d8268be392444f825b4fc8fc7c8b509627129 IB/mthca: Fix data
+ corruption after FMR unmap on Sinai
If you use single-port memfree cards, SCSI read operations will
frequently result in randomly corrupted memory, leading to bad
-application data or unexplainable kernel crashes. Older kernels are
-also missing some nice iSCSI changes that avoids crashes in some
-situations where the target goes away. Stock kernel.org linux
-2.6.22-rc5 and 2.6.23-rc6 have been tested and are known to work.
+application data or unexplainable kernel crashes. Older kernels
+are also missing some nice iSCSI changes that avoids crashes in some
+situations where the target goes away. Stock kernel.org linux after
+2.6.21 have been tested and are known to work.
+4.2. Bidirectional commands
The Linux kernel iSER initiator is currently lacking support for
bidirectional transfers, and for extended command descriptors (CDBs).
Progress toward adding this is being made, with patches frequently
appearing on the relevant mailing lists.
-The Linux kernel iSER initiator uses a different header structure on its
-packets than is in the iSER specification. This is described in
+The Linux kernel iSER initiator uses a different header structure on
+its packets than is in the iSER specification. This is described in
an InfiniBand document and is required for that network, which only
-supports for Zero-Based Addressing. If you are using a non-IB initiator
-that doesn't need this header extension, it won't work with tgtd. There
-may be some way to negotiate the header format. Using iWARP hardware
-devices with the Linux kernel iSER initiator also will not work due to
-its reliance on fast memory registration (FMR), an InfiniBand-only feature.
-The current code sizes its per-connection resource consumption based on
-negotiatied parameters. However, the Linux iSER initiator does not
-support negotiation of MaxOutstandingUnexpectedPDUs, so that value is
-hard-coded in the target. Also, open-iscsi is hard-coded with a very
-small value of TargetRecvDataSegmentLength, so even though the target
-would be willing to accept a larger size, it cannot. This may limit
-performance of small transfers on high-speed networks: transfers bigger
-than 8 kB, but not large enough to amortize a round-trip for RDMA setup.
-The data structures for connection management in the iSER code are
-desgined to handle multiple devices, but have never been tested with
+supports for Zero-Based Virtual Addressing (ZBVA). If you are using
+a non-IB initiator that doesn't need this header extension, it won't
+work with tgtd. There may be some way to negotiate the header format.
+Using iWARP hardware devices with the Linux kernel iSER initiator
+also will not work due to its reliance on fast memory registration
+(FMR), an InfiniBand-only feature.
+The current code sizes its per-connection resource consumption based
+on negotiatied parameters. However, the Linux iSER initiator does
+not support negotiation of MaxOutstandingUnexpectedPDUs, so that
+value is hard-coded in the target.
+Also, open-iscsi is hard-coded with a very small value of
+TargetRecvDataSegmentLength, so even though the target would be willing
+to accept a larger size, it cannot. This may limit performance of
+small transfers on high-speed networks: transfers bigger than 8 kB,
+but not large enough to amortize a round-trip for RDMA setup.
+4.6. Multiple devices
+The iser code has been successfully tested with multiple Infiniband
+4.7. SCSI command size
+A single buffer per SCSI command limitation has another implication
+(except the "RDMA-only mode", see above). The RDMA buffers pool is
+currently created with buffers of 512KB each (see "Memory registration"
+section above). This is suitable to work with most of the linux
+initiators, which split all transfers into SCSI commands of up to
+128KB, 256KB or 512KB (depending on the system). Initiators that issue
+explicit SCSI commands with the size greater than 512KB will be unable
+to work with the current iser implementation. Once multiple buffers
+are supported by the backing stores this limitation can be eliminated
+in a relatively simple manner.
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