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Welcome to Linux-IO,
the standard Unified Target in Linux.
100 articles, 112,158,600 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, InfiniBand/SRP (Mellanox), vHost, FireWire / iEEE 1394, USB, etc. LIO has replaced STGT as the standard Target with Linux kernel version 2.6.38 in early 2011.

The LIO Unified Target has become the Linux iSCSI target of choice for many volume storage appliance vendors, including Buffalo, Netgear, QNAP, etc., allowing them to achieve VMware Ready certifications, including vSphere 5 with VAAI. LIO includes targetcli, a management shell and API for the Unified Target with a single namespace for all storage objects.

LIO and targetcli are developed by Datera, Inc., a data storage systems and software company located in the Silicon Valley.


Unified target

Fabric modules implement the frontend of the SCSI target.

Storage media independence

Backstores implement methods of accessing data on devices.


The target engine implements the semantics of a SCSI target.

Advanced SCSI feature set

Compatibility and certifications

The Target works with Initiators of the following operating systems:
  • Microsoft: Windows Server 2003/2008/R2 and Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Apple Mac OS X (via third-party initiator)
  • Linux: RHEL 4/5/6, SLES 10.3/11, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu
  • Unix: Solaris 10, OpenSolaris, HP-UX
  • VMs: vSphere 5 (incl. VAAI), Red Hat KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle xVM/VirtualBox, Xen

The Target enables VMware Ready certifications (incl. vSphere 5 with VAAI) for Buffalo and others. It also passes the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 / R2 Failover Cluster compatibility test suites.


targetcli provides the fabric agnostic single-node management shell for LIO Unified Targets. targetcli aggregates and presents all SAN functionality via the RTSlib library and API [HTML][PDF] to the Unified Target.


RTS OS integrates the Unified Target and targetcli into a single-node Unified Storage operating system (Admin Manual). RTS OS supports VMware Ready certification, including VMware vSphere 5 with VAAI.

An RTS OS subscription provides access to additional RTS OS packages and update services.

RTS OS is currently being extended into RTS Live, a cluster storage operating system that is based on RTS Director.

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 and disaster recovery solutions


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

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.

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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