A home-built virtual RAID with ATA over Ethernet

Raiding the Net

© Lead Image © Kheng Ho Toh, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Kheng Ho Toh, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 162/2014
Author(s):

We'll show you how to build a network-based virtual RAID solution using ATA over Ethernet.

ATA over Ethernet (AoE) is a protocol for accessing media via Ethernet. A remote client can access the device directly through ATA commands, which the protocol software encapsulates, transmits, and disassembles at the other end (Figure 1). AoE is often used for building low-budget Storage Area Network (SAN) devices. An interesting feature of AoE is that it lets you combine remote disks on different systems into a network-based RAID array. In this article, I describe how to set up AoE and use it to create your own network RAID system.

Figure 1: RAID devices over the network with ATA Ethernet follow a pattern similar to iSCSI, with initiators and targets.

Required Components

The exact specifications for the AoE protocol are available online [1]: In a style similar to iSCSI, the literature refers to the system that provides the physical disks as a target. The initiator is the system that integrates the disk.

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