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Configuring Linux Host for iSCSI with FlashArray

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This document covers the configuration and best practices to configure iSCSI in Linux. In this example, we used Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, but this procedure has also been tested on Ubuntu. This procedure also works on SUSE/SLES systems. The following steps use commands with example IP addresses and IQNs. When running the commands, replace the IPs and the IQNs with those from your own environment.

Linux Host Configuration

1. Make sure that you are following Pure Storage Linux Recommended Settings before proceeding.

Note: If multiple interfaces exist on the same subnet in RHEL, your iSCSI initiator may fail to connect to Pure Storage target. In this case, you need to set sysctl's net.ipv4.conf.all.arp_ignore to 1 to force each interface to only answer ARP requests for its own addresses. Please seeRHEL KB for Issue Detail and Resolution Steps (requires Red Hat login).

2. Install the iscsi-initiator-utils package as root user:

$ sudo su
# yum install iscsi-initiator-utils

3. Start the iscsi service and enable it to start when the system boots:

For RHEL6:

# service iscsi start
# chkconfig iscsi on

For RHEL7:

# systemctl start iscsid.socket
# systemctl enable iscsi

iscsid.socket would start iscsid.service if stopped. At this stage, the status of iscsi service service iscsi status might be seen as active or started. After the discovery command, the service starts.

4. Before setting up DM Multipath on your system, ensure that your system has been updated and includes the device-mapper-multipath package:

# yum install device-mapper-multipath device-mapper-multipath-libs

5. Enable default multipath configuration file and start the multipath daemon:

# mpathconf --enable --with_multipathd y

6. Edit multipath.conf file with Pure Storage recommended multipath config:

# vi /etc/multipath.conf 

See RHEL documentation for /etc/multipath.confattribute descriptions.

7. Restart multipath service for multipath.conf changes to take effect.

# service multipathd restart

Prepare the FlashArray with the Host, Volume, and Host IQN

1. On the Linux host, collect the IQN:

# cat /etc/iscsi/initiatorname.iscsi

2. On FlashArray, create a host:

purehost create <Linux hostname>


<Linux hostname> is the desired hostname.

3. Configure FlashArray host with IQN:

purehost setattr --addiqnlist <IQN number> <Linux hostname>


<IQN number> is the initiator IQN number gathered in step 1.

<Linux hostname> is the hostname created in step 2.

4. On the FlashArray, create a volume:

purevol create <volume name> --size <size>


<volume name> is the desired volume name.

<size> is the desired volume size (GB or TB suffix).

5. Connect the host to volume:

purevol connect <volume name> --host <host name>


<volume name> is the name of the volume.

<host name> is the name of the host. 

6. On the FlashArray, collect iSCSI interface IPs:

 pureport list

7. On Linux Host, discover the target iSCSI portals:

# iscsiadm -m discovery -t st -p <FlashArray iSCSI IP>:3260


<FlashArray iSCSI IP> is the iSCSI interface IP address from either collected in step 6.

8. From your Linux Host, log in to the FlashArray iSCSI target portals on both controllers:

# iscsiadm -m node -p <FlashArray iSCSI IP CT0> --login
# iscsiadm -m node -p <FlashArray iSCSI IP CT1> --login


<FlashArray iSCSI IP CT0>  is the iSCSI interface IP address of controller 0 collected from step 6
<FlashArray iSCSI IP CT1>  is the iSCSI interface IP address of controller 1 collected from step 6

9. Add automatic iSCSI login on boot:

# iscsiadm -m node -L automatic

10. Confirm the FlashArray volume has multiple paths with multipath -ll. A multipathed volume should be represented by a device-mapped ID, as shown in green in the example below: 

# multipath -ll
3624a93702b60622e2b014a2200011011 dm-1 PURE    ,FlashArray
size=2.0T features='0' hwhandler='1 alua' wp=rw
|-+- policy='queue-length 0' prio=50 status=active
| |- 2:0:0:2 sdb  8:16  active ready running
| |- 3:0:0:2 sdf  8:80  active ready running
| |- 4:0:0:2 sdl  8:176 active ready running
| `- 5:0:0:2 sdk  8:160 active ready running
`-+- policy='queue-length 0' prio=10 status=enabled
  |- 6:0:0:2 sdd  8:48  active ready running
  |- 7:0:0:2 sdh  8:112 active ready running
  |- 8:0:0:2 sdp  8:240 active ready running
  `- 9:0:0:2 sdo  8:224 active ready running
3624a93702b60622e2b014a2200011010 dm-0 PURE    ,FlashArray
size=2.0T features='0' hwhandler='1 alua' wp=rw
|-+- policy='queue-length 0' prio=50 status=active
| |- 2:0:0:1 sda  8:0   active ready running
| |- 3:0:0:1 sde  8:64  active ready running
| |- 4:0:0:1 sdj  8:144 active ready running
| `- 5:0:0:1 sdi  8:128 active ready running
`-+- policy='queue-length 0' prio=10 status=enabled
  |- 6:0:0:1 sdc  8:32  active ready running
  |- 7:0:0:1 sdg  8:96  active ready running
  |- 8:0:0:1 sdn  8:208 active ready running
  `- 9:0:0:1 sdm  8:192 active ready running

Mount Volume and Provision Filesystem

1. Create a mount point on the Linux host.

# mkdir /mnt/store0

2. Provision filesystem on the PURE dm device using the device-mapped ID.

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/<device-mapped ID>


<device-mapped ID> is the device-mapped ID from step 10. 

To enable automatic unmap for our thin-provisioning array, use the '-o discard' option when provisioning the filesystem.

# mkfs.ext4 -o discard /dev/sdb5

This will cause the RHEL 6.x to issue the UNMAP command, which in turn causes space to be released back to the array for any deletions in that ext4 file system. This only works on Physical RDM datastores, discard will not work on a disk mapped virtually via ESX.

3. Mount PURE dm device to mount point:

# mount/dev/mapper/<device-mapped ID> <mount point>


<device-mapped ID> is the device-mapped ID collected from step 10.

<mount point> is the mount point created in step 1.


# mount -a

or if you require to mount the partition as read-only:

# mount -o rw /mnt/store0

Verify the partition is mounted (this will also list the options for the mounted partition. i.e. "/dev/sdb5 on /data type ext4 (rw,_netdev)"):

# mount

 Confirm that the /mnt/iscsi folder is connected to the partition:

# df -h /mnt/store0

 Note: To make iSCSI device mount persistent across reboots, you will need to add an entry in /etc/fstab following RHEL KB.

Create Additional Interfaces (Optional)

Open iSCSI initiator (i.e iscsiadm) utility provides a feature to create multiple interfaces:

# iscsiadm -m iface -I <iface name> -o new

You may then take the "-l" off the above command to display info about the iSCSI target:

# iscsiadm -m node -T -p
# iscsiadm -m node -T -p

Now update the newly created interface with a unique initiator name:

# iscsiadm -m iface -I <iface name> -o update -n iface.initiatorname -v <initiator name>

Rediscover paths from the new interface:

# iscsiadm -m discovery -t st -p

Log in to the target IP with this newly created interface:

# iscsiadm -m node -p <FlashArray iSCSI IP CT0> --login

To verify the existing iscsi session:

iscsiadm -m session

You can use -P 0|1|2 for more verbosity on the sessions like initiator to target IP mapping, session timeout etc