iSCSI and FCoE

Initiator (iSCSI, FCoE, AoE, iSER and NVMe over Fabrics), iSCSI accelerator and RAM disk

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Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:00 pm

Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:25 pm

Hi, I'm in the process of architecting a new and at this point small system - which hopefully will quickly expand, and for this I've acquired some high spec hardware that's new but not the newest. I have some QLogic HBA's that promise to support iSCSI in hardware, without using the MicroSoft Stack, which also offer FCoE, which will supposedly run over a regular ethernet switches. Again, all the processing is again done within the HBA hardware.

I was hoping (in my naivety) that these cards simply presented storage to the OS, and that the OS was completely unaware of what or where it was. On the storage server end, again, the application that managed the physical discs simply severed up binary data to the hardware based HBA's, and so long as these cards could establish a "session" with each other, then all that was required of Star Winds (or any other product) was to communicate with stuff higher up the stack (ie the Client OS just saw the SAN LUN as writeable space for Block writes).

This then in my imagination has StarWinds as simply speaking to the physical storage in order to create said LUNS, which it then presented to client OS's loads. Is any of this true ? How "hardware agnostic" is StarWinds (or any other storage system).

Without being a storage expect, the prospect of FCoE's far simplified protocol stack compared to iSCSI which has all the overhead associated with routing and none of the benefit associated with "guaranteed delivery" was very attractive - add to that the ability to run on a regular Ethernet switch ... (albeit I need a 10G Ethernet switch)

My Question: Is this going to work with StarWinds - or should I abandon the whole idea and use Hyper-V for everything.
yaroslav (staff)
Posts: 2315
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:11 am

Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:17 pm

How "hardware agnostic" is StarWinds (or any other storage system).
Well, StarWind VSAN can be run on whatever satisfies its minimum requirements. Learn more at It works on top of industry-standard hypervisors like Hyper-V (Core version works too), ESXi, KVM, and XenServer.
add to that the ability to run on a regular Ethernet switch
You need switching only for management. If you do not plan to use too many clients, you can connect the physical servers to the storage directly.

What StarWind does is presenting storage over iSCSI. In your setup, you have a single storage entity. You can slice the physical storage of your QLogic NAS into multiple targets and present them to the client servers. With one iSCSI-capable storage node, you can go without StarWind. If you scale to 2 and want the data and VMs to be highly available, you need StarWind to do storage replication between storage nodes.
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