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Share a Mac-formatted drive with a Linux server via iSCSI Network
Using ext3-formatted disks to create file-based iSCSI targets have one major drawback: They can only be read by another Linux machine with iSCSI. But what about attaching a pre-formatted drive as target?

Take a suitable Linux distro (eg. CentOS 5.1; it needs to have support for the Apple partition type in the kernel!) and install iSCSI Enterprise Linux (latest stable seems to run fine with Leopard). Attach the Mac-formatted drive to the machine, but do not mount it (you may if the distro has HFS+ support, but you don't need to). Let assume it's an external SCSI-RAID (or Firewire, USB) and is /dev/sda. You then create, in ietd.conf, a new target:
Lun 0 Path=/dev/sda3,Type=blockio
Depending on your server's hardware, a Type=fileio may give a better performance; you can simply try both out.

/dev/sda3 is the third Mac partition on the drive; you may have to find out which partition number is the correct one. Depending on the number of drivers (like for OS 9 support), it may vary up to sda5 or higher. Some versions of fdisk on Linux support Apple partition shemes, some not, but it might be a way to find out the right one. If your target is later mounted on the Mac and is unreadable and has only 48k ... then it's the wrong one.

Install an iSCSI initiator (Atto, Small Tree or the free globalSAN from SNS) on your Mac and connect to the target. It mounts fine and can be used just like a local disk. And if the server is down, take it back to any Mac with SCSI -- it's good to have the choice. A backup running on the Linux server itself may not be able to do a local backup -- or you can trust the HFS+ driver and mount the drive read-only.

Beware: iSCSI is quite new and many people had/have problems using it, but a drive shared like this can be used for TimeMachine.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Share a Mac-formatted drive with a Linux server via iSCSI
Authored by: corienti on Apr 02, '08 03:48:14AM

This is an awesome idea!
The problem is having an iSCSI initiator, for OS X.

Why on earth has Apple not included one?? Even windows includes an iSCSI initiator!

I know about the free globalSAN one; but there seem to be a lot of questions about whether it actually works, or how well it works, especially on Leopard, and I haven't tried it for that very reason; because you simply can't have questions of reliability with iSCSI; you're writing files and can't afford to lose them due to a problem with the initiator.

I use iSCSI with my Linux (Centos 5.1) and Solaris (10 and Nevada) boxes, and it's great (iSCSI that is). Real shame Apple doesn't include one for OS X!
The Small Tree and Atto ones are probably great, but they're too expensive for home use!

Have many people (or anyone?) used the globalSAN one, with Leopard? Does it work or work well? Do you have any/many problems?

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Leopard & SNS
Authored by: Zeitkind on Apr 02, '08 02:49:01PM
Well, I use CentOS 5.1 & the latest GlobalSAN with 10.5.2 at home. Beside a slooooow connection I had no problems using it, but others have. See
Copied already about 3-4TB around without issues, but how knows..

Apple had iSCSI in 10.5-beta, but kicked it before release. Perhaps will's see it in an update.

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