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Welcome to Linux-IO,
the standard multiprotocol storage Target in Linux.
100 articles, 119,205,826 pageviews


LIO (Linux-IO) is the standard open-source Unified Target in Linux. It supports all prevalent storage fabrics, including iSCSI, Fibre Channel (QLogic), FCoE and InfiniBand (Mellanox SRP). LIO has replaced STGT as the standard Target with Linux kernel version 2.6.38.

LIO has become the Linux iSCSI target of choice for many volume storage appliance vendors, including Buffalo, Netgear, QNAP, etc., allowing them to achieve VMware ESX 4 and VMware vSphere certifications.

LIO is developed by Datera, Inc., a SAN systems and software company located in the Silicon Valley. RTS has complemented LIO with targetcli, a comprehensive storage management tool and API with a single namespace for all storage objects. RTS will also provide the RTS Director, a distributed, highly available storage management tool with a unified namespace for complete storage infrastructures.



Advanced SCSI feature set

  • Persistent Reservations (PRs)
  • Asymmetric Logical Unit Assignment (ALUA)
  • Protocol and intra-nexus multiplexing, load-balancing and failover (MC/S)
  • Full Error Recovery (ERL=0,1,2)
  • Active/active task migration and session continuation (ERL=2)
  • Thin LUN provisioning

Multiprotocol target

Storage media independence

Compatibility and certifications

LIO is compatible to Initiators on the following operating systems:
  • Microsoft: Windows Server 2003/2008/R2, Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Apple Mac OS X Leopard (via third-party initiator)
  • Linux: RHEL 4.x/5.x, SLES 10.3/11, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu
  • Unix: Solaris 10, OpenSolaris, HP-UX
  • VMs: VMware ESX and VMware vSphere, Red Hat KVM, Microsoft Virtual PC, Oracle xVM/VirtualBox, Xen

LIO passed VMware ESX 4.0 and VMware vSphere 4.0 certifications with Buffalo, Netgear and QNAP storage appliances. It also passes the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 / R2 Failover Cluster compatibility test suites.

Standards compliance


The Core-iSCSI Initiator is a high-end iSCSI Initiator that resolves a number of known issues with the Open-iSCSI standard Linux Initiator, especially its slow performance.

Core-iSCSI is available on Linux and Windows, and it has been ported to a wide range of platforms and devices, including:

Datera, Inc. ported OCFS2 onto the Nokia Internet Tablets on top of the Core-iSCSI Initiator.

High availability and clustering

LIO is designed from gound up to support highly available and cluster storage:
  • Deeply embedded high availability (Network RAID1)
  • Scale-out clusters via concatenating LUNs
  • Scale-out clusters via striping (2012)


LIO is complemented with three comprehensive management frameworks:
  • Single-node management: targetcli
  • Unified cloud/cluster management: RTS Director
  • Cloud computing prototype: VHACS (predecessor of RTS Director)


LIO has been integrated into RTS OS, a comprehensive single-node storage operating system. RTS OS is currently being extended into RTS Live, a cluster storage operating system that is based on RTS Director.

RTS Director

RTS Director is a distributed, highly-available cluster management framework. It comprises a shell, active library and API. The active library and API provide an extensible platform with a unified namespace to manage complex functionality, such as high-availability and cluster striping. The shell offers location-transparent access to all objects in the SAN. New functionality and devices can be added via plugin-modules.

RTS Director provides zero configuration. It is based on a symmetrically distributed architecture - there is no single point of failure, no cluster controller, no central database, etc. Nodes running the RTS Director automatically discover and join the cluster when coming up (demo video).

See also

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