ESXI iSCSI Initiators types

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iSCSI Initiator is responsible on communicate the host with the storage system “target”

iSCSI initiators can be software iSCSI adaptor or hardware iSCSI adaptor , ESXI support both category

Software iSCSI Adapter

It’s a built in  code in the VMkernel ,ESXI host use the built in code “software iSCSI adapter” to communities with the storage system through standard network adapters without purchasing specialized hardware  as software iSCSI adapter handles all the iSCSI processing

Hardware iSCSI Adapter

A hardware iSCSI adapter is a third-party adapter that offloads iSCSI and network processing from your host. Hardware iSCSI adapters are divided into two main categories (Dependent Hardware iSCSI Adapter, Independent Hardware iSCSI Adapter)

  • Dependent Hardware iSCSI Adapter

This type of network is depends on the VMware networking to obtain  the network configuration (IP,MAC ,etc) and also obtain the iSCSI parameters , however it’s offload the iSCSI processing from the ESXI host ,

example of a dependent adapter is the iSCSI licensed Broadcom 5709 NIC

  • Independent Hardware iSCSI Adapter

independent hardware iSCSI adapter is an adaptor that either can be configured with iSCSI parameters and offload the iSCSI processing and obtain the network configuration from the host ,or configured with   iSCSI  processing and network configuration independently

Hardware iSCSI adapters might need to be licensed. Otherwise, they might not appear in the client or vSphere CLI. Contact your vendor for licensing information.

An example of an independent adapter is the QLogic QLA4052 adapter.

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