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As a system admin, I need to use additional hard drives for to provide more storage space or to separate system data from user data. This procedure, adding physical block devices to virtualized guests, describes how to add a hard drive on the host to a virtualized guest using VMWare software running Linux as guest.

It is possible to add or remove a SCSI device explicitly, or to re-scan an entire SCSI bus without rebooting a running Linux VM guest. This how to is tested under Vmware Server and Vmware Workstation v6.0 (but should work with older version too). All instructions are tested on RHEL, Fedora, CentOS and Ubuntu Linux guest / hosts operating systems.
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Linux Convert ext3 to ext4 File system

Some time ago ext4 was released and available for Linux kernel. ext4 provides some additional benefits and perforce over ext3 file system. You can easily convert ext3 to ext4 file system. The next release of Fedora, 11, will default to the ext4 file system unless serious regressions are seen. In this quick tutorial you will learn about converting ext3 to ext4 file system.
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I've received a couple of email about setting up iSCSI under CentOS 4 or RHEL ES 4 server. Previously, I wrote about iSCSI under CentOS 5 / RHEL 5 server.

Requirements

[a] Following instructions tested on RHEL ES 4 and CentOS 4 only. (See RHEL 5/ CentOS 5 / Debian/ Ubuntu Linux specific instructions here).
[b] You need following information
[c] ISCSI Username
[d] ISCSI Password
[e] ISCSI Server IP / hostname

CentOS Linux v4.x - Install iscsi-initiator-utils

Type the following command:
# yum install iscsi-initiator-utils

Redhat ES Linux v4.x - Install iscsi-initiator-utils

Type the following command:
# up2date iscsi-initiator-utils

Configure iSCSI

Open /etc/iscsi.conf file, enter:
# vi /etc/iscsi.conf
Setup it as follows:

DiscoveryAddress=ISCSI_TARGET_HOST_OR_IP
 OutgoingUserName=ISCSI_USER_NAME
 OutgoingPassword=ISCSI_PASSWORD
 LoginTimeout=15

Save and close the file.

Start the iscsi service

Type the following command to start iscsi service so that you can see block device:
# chkconfig iscsi on
# /etc/init.d/iscsi start

Run any one of the following to find out new block device name:
# fdisk -l
# tail -f /var/log/messages
# find /sys/devices/platform/host* -name "block*"

Format iSCSI device

Use fdisk and mkfs.ext3 commands. First, create a partition (assuming that /dev/sdc is a new block device assigned to iscsi) :
# fdisk /dev/sdc
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdc1

Create /mnt/iscsi directory:
# mkdir -p /mnt/iscsi
Open /etc/fstab file and append config directive:
/dev/sdc1 /mnt/iscsi ext3 _netdev 0 0
Save and close the file. Mount the parition /dev/sdc1:
# mount -a
# df -H

Internet SCSI (iSCSI) is a network protocol s that allows you to use of the SCSI protocol over TCP/IP networks. It is good alternative to Fibre Channel-based SANs. You can easily manage, mount and format iSCSI Volume under Linux. It allows access to SAN storage over Ethernet.

Open-iSCSI Project

Open-iSCSI project is a high-performance, transport independent, multi-platform implementation of iSCSI. Open-iSCSI is partitioned into user and kernel parts.

Instructions are tested on:
[a] RHEL 5
[b] CentOS 5
[c] Fedora 7
[d] Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Install Required Package

iscsi-initiator-utils RPM package - The iscsi package provides the server daemon for the iSCSI protocol, as well as the utility programs used to manage it. iSCSI is a protocol for distributed disk access using SCSI commands sent over Internet Protocol networks. This package is available under Redhat Enterprise Linux / CentOS / Fedora Linux and can be installed using yum command:
# yum install iscsi-initiator-utils

A note about Debian / Ubuntu Linux

If you are using Debian / Ubuntu Linux install open-iscsi package, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install open-iscsi

iSCSI Configuration

There are three steps needed to set up a system to use iSCSI storage:

  1. iSCSI startup using the init script or manual startup. You need to edit and configure iSCSI via /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf file
  2. Discover targets.
  3. Automate target logins for future system reboots.
  4. You also need to obtain iSCSI username, password and storage server IP address (target host)

Step # 1: Configure iSCSI

Open /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf with vi text editor:
# vi /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf
Setup username and password:
node.session.auth.username = My_ISCSI_USR_NAME
node.session.auth.password = MyPassword
discovery.sendtargets.auth.username = My_ISCSI_USR_NAME
discovery.sendtargets.auth.password = MyPassword

Where,

  • node.session.* is used to set a CHAP username and password for initiator authentication by the target(s).
  • discovery.sendtargets.* is used to set a discovery session CHAP username and password for the initiator authentication by the target(s)

You may also need to tweak and set other options. Refer to man page for more information. Now start the iscsi service:
# /etc/init.d/iscsi start

Step # 2: Discover targets

Now use iscsiadm command, which is a command-line tool allowing discovery and login to iSCSI targets, as well as access and management of the open-iscsi database. If your storage server IP address is 192.168.1.5, enter:
# iscsiadm -m discovery -t sendtargets -p 192.168.1.5
# /etc/init.d/iscsi restart

Now there should be a block device under /dev directory. To obtain new device name, type:
# fdisk -l
or
# tail -f /var/log/messages
Output:

Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel:   Vendor: EQLOGIC   Model: 100E-00           Rev: 3.2
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel:   Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 05
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: SCSI device sdd: 41963520 512-byte hdwr sectors (21485 MB)
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: sdd: Write Protect is off
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: SCSI device sdd: drive cache: write through
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: SCSI device sdd: 41963520 512-byte hdwr sectors (21485 MB)
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: sdd: Write Protect is off
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: SCSI device sdd: drive cache: write through
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel:  sdd: unknown partition table
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi disk sdd
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 kernel: rtc: lost some interrupts at 2048Hz.
Oct 10 12:42:20 ora9is2 iscsid: connection0:0 is operational now

/dev/sdd is my new block device.

Step # 3: Format and Mount iSCSI Volume

You can now partition and create a filesystem on the target using usual fdisk and mkfs.ext3 commands:
# fdisk /dev/sdd
# mke2fs -j -m 0 -O dir_index /dev/sdd1

OR
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdd1

Tip: If your volume is large size like 1TB, run mkfs.ext3 in background using nohup:
# nohup mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdd1 &

Mount new partition:
# mkdir /mnt/iscsi
# mount /dev/sdd1 /mnt/iscsi

Step #4: Mount iSCSI drive automatically at boot time

First make sure iscsi service turned on at boot time:
# chkconfig iscsi on
Open /etc/fstab file and append config directive:
/dev/sdd1 /mnt/iscsi ext3 _netdev 0 0
Save and close the file.

Further readings:

NFS (Network File System) client allows you to access shared directory from Linux client. The computer sharing the directory is called the NFS server (it can be NAS server too) and the computers or devices connecting to that server are called clients. The clients need to use the mount command to access the shared directory.
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What Is /dev/shm And Its Practical Usage

/dev/shm is nothing but implementation of traditional shared memory concept. It is an efficient means of passing data between programs. One program will create a memory portion, which other processes (if permitted) can access. This will result into speeding up things on Linux.
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