Remotely Testing iSCSI Targets

Test tool innovation is one of the major reasons for the success of the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL). Many consortia use some form of automation in their testing procedures, as intern Boo Strachan discussed in a previous blog post. In the Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) consortium, automation has been heavily emphasized throughout the test plan and test tool development process. Automated testing scripts have been written to emulate the behavior of an iSCSI initiator and iSCSI target device. Detailed results from tests are automatically formatted and written to file to later be reviewed by lab technicians. As the iSCSI standard is updated, test plans and test tools are also subsequently updated and new features are added in order to keep testing simple, effective, and up to date. Many of the tools developed and maintained in house are used exclusively by student technicians who perform daily tests within their group. It is becoming increasingly common, however, for consortia to make these tools available to their members. In the last couple of years, the iSCSI consortium has developed a remote testing tool that allows members to test an iSCSI Target, at their location, between normal testing reservations. While the majority of testing happens within the walls of the UNH-IOL facility, the iSCSI consortium's IP-based remote test tool offers a unique opportunity to allow companies to perform our two most popular target test suites without ever having to leave the comfort of their own facility.

The remote testing tool offers both the Target Login and Target Full Feature Phase (FFP) conformance test suites in their entirety, each of which can be run as individual tests or as a batched whole test suite. These tests execute the same scripts utilized by technicians in the lab. This means that members may use the tool to help uncover issues that may be resolved prior to the next reserved round of testing for the device, or to re-run certain tests to observe the effects of any changes that they have made. The two available iSCSI target test suites, Login and FFP, are the two most requested and most performed target suites. Members may find the remote testing tool especially helpful when they are working through errors identified by a particular test and do not desire to perform the entire test suite again. It is to the advantage of the member to uncover these potential problems prior to their testing reservation so that normal testing can later proceed smoothly and without delay. At that point, our technicians are able to provide professional analysis of test results, and even specially configure test scripts to work around specific implementations.

Due to the increased complexity of remote iSCSI Initiator testing, it is not currently available through the remote testing tool. Reads and writes sent to a Target under test can be easily controlled by the Testing Station emulating the Initiator. Emulating a Target, on the other hand, requires other mechanisms to force the Initiator to send reads and writes.

In addition, there are a number of test suites for iSCSI Targets that are currently not available through the remote testing tool. These include CHAP, Multi-Connection, Error Recovery, iSER and Interoperability. Interoperability testing, in particular, can never be adequately replaced through remote testing because it requires access to our iSCSI device testbed. Thus, the remote test tool does not replace normal testing, but is rather a helpful supplement to the existing solutions offered to members.

As the remote testing tool gains popularity among members, the iSCSI consortium encourages feedback about the usefulness of the tool. Over time, it can be further developed and refined in order to effectively promote conformance and interoperability in members' devices.

To learn more about the iSCSI consortium and the testing options available, please visit our iSCSI Testing Services.

Amy Davies, iSCSI Technician

With contributions by Nick DeRossi.