Hardware Offload for iSCSI and FC?

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Nov 23, 2012
Hello FreeNASians!

I am interested (keenly) in what work is being done to use HBA hardware as a target for SCSI and Fiber Channel SAN connections to FreeNAS.

My employer is currently running 9.1 on very good server hardware, however I have been 'stung' by the performance penalty of using software iSCSI on Xen and want to work towards removing the CPU/Software bottleneck on my production Xen systems.

I have the opportunity right now to test Fiber Channel with a second hand BladeCenter with Brocade SAN switching at 4Gbps: the hypervisors will be running Xen 6.2 and using FC and/or iSCSI for storage access.

Any one got good new for me? :)

Terry S


Jul 25, 2013
Well, I'm currently rolling out a 48 disk FreeNAS(s) systems functioning as FC targets for XSAN. I was going with 4Gbs but am switching to 8Gbs.

The setup;

4x12 Disk Intel E3 32GB ECC SuperMicro systems (IPMI support).

48x WD 3TB Enterprise drives.
*4x OWC 50GB Enterprise SSD for ZIL //scratch//
4x Intel DC3700 SSD for ZIL
4x Samsung Pro 120GB SSD for dataset/swap/jails/etc...
4x QLogic 2560 FC HBA
4x LSI 92078i SAS/SATA HBA
4x Intel SAS expander

This is for critical editorial infrastructure and will replace some defunct Rorke systems which used to be the bomb back in the day.

So far tests have been very positive. I've been on but will wait for 9.3 release to finally roll this out. The 9.3 alpha M3 should have what I require in terms of LUN identification (bug #5846).

We are already FC although I wanted iSCSI, the FC 8Gb switch is in place as are all the client FC HBAs so reuse is the theme here. Its the prudent and responsible thing to do. Plus OSX 10.7 and up has free SAN clients/FC initiators. There are iSCSI initiators for OSX running $90 but again, the FC varniet already there for free.

So I'd say, with 9.3 in mind, go for it. The works fine, but requires some messing around to work.
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