Attaching CentOS to iSCSI Target

In my last post we went over the steps to setup an iSCSI target server host iSCSI LUNs on a CentOS box. This tutorial includes steps for setting up an iSCSI initiator on CentOS box and connect to your iSCSI targets. We’ll start by isntalling the packages, discovering and connecting to the target, finish up by persistently mounting the LUN in /etc/fstab.

Install Packages

To setup and configure iSCSI initiator connections to targets we’ll want to install the following:

yum install iscsi-initiator-utils -y
It’s normal for the iscsid service to show as stopped when it’s not in use

Discovering & Connecting to Targets

To discover targets and the target IQN use the following command (note is used as an example, use the correct IP for your iSCSI target):

iscsiadm --mode discovery --type sendtargets --portal --discover

This should discover the iSCSI target and it’s available LUNs. To get more info run the following command:

iscsiadm --mode node --op show | more

To connect to the iSCSI LUN run the following substituting your target IQN path and IP address:

iscsiadm --mode node --targetname --portal --login

To verify connection to the ISCSI LUN use the following command:

iscsiadm --mode session --op show

Once you are connected the LUN will show up as another block device on your system and will appear just like a local hard drive and will need to be formatted and have a filesystem written to it. After writing a filesystem we can mount the new iSCSI storage. In my case I used ext4 as my filesystem, if you used a different filesystem you’ll need to specify it instead of ext4.

mkdir -p /mnt/san
mount -t ext4 /dev/sdb /mnt/san

Setting Up Persistent Mounts

The ability to add iSCSI targets to the initiator system is great, but in situations where the iSCSI needs to reattach after reboot the following instructions will apply. To start with we will need to obtain the UUID of the iSCSI device:


Obtain the UUID of the device you’re working with (you may want to copy this to your clipboard for the time being).

vim /etc/fstab

Add the following line (using your UUID and correct filesystem (ext4 in my case) mount point).

UUID=d9275aa1-ab41-44d1-9f22-81ef1bf325e3 /mnt/san ext4 _netdev		0 0


CentOS ISCSI Target Server Setup

Requirements & Best Practices

ISCSI should have a dedicated disk or a dedicated LV to use, ensure you have sufficient space to create a new LV, otherwise storage should be added. If you are using SELInux please make appropriate changes or do the following to disable SELinux:

setenforce 0
sed -i 's/=enforcing/=disabled/g' /etc/sysconfig/selinux


If you are using iptables firewall be sure to add a rule to iptables to allow communication on port 3260 for iSCSI.

vim /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Above the explicit deny line in the iptables config enter the following line item:

-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 3260 -j ACCEPT

Restart IP tables:

service iptables restart


Install and Enable Target Server

install the required packages

yum install scsi-target-utils -y

Enable for auto-start

chkconfig tgtd on

Start the Daemon

/etc/init.d/tgtd start


Configure Targets

Edit the contents of of the targets configuration file

vim /etc/tgt/targets.conf

Edit the following block:

# Set the driver. If not specified, defaults to "iscsi".
# This can be iscsi or iser. To override a specific target set the
# "driver" setting in the target's config.
default-driver iscsi
#       Example: the next line would override default driver type.
#       driver iser

You’ll need to include the target iqn info as well as the backing store information. When you are finished it should look something like:

# Set the driver. If not specified, defaults to "iscsi".
# This can be iscsi or iser. To override a specific target set the
# "driver" setting in the target's config.
default-driver iscsi
        backing-store /dev/vg_centos6/iscsi
#       Example: the next line would override default driver type.
#       driver iser

Once you have completed this step you will need to restart the tgtd servie

service tgtd restart

At this point we can verify that the ISCSI target LUN we configured is now visible:

tgtadm --mode target --op show

If you completed the configuration correctly you should see the LUN0 the control LUN and LUN1 which will the LUN we just created. It will look something like the example below:

[root@localhost ~]# tgtadm --mode target --op show
Target 1:
    System information:
        Driver: iscsi
        State: ready
    I_T nexus information:
    LUN information:
        LUN: 0
            Type: controller
            SCSI ID: IET     00010000
            SCSI SN: beaf10
            Size: 0 MB, Block size: 1
            Online: Yes
            Removable media: No
            Prevent removal: No
            Readonly: No
            Backing store type: null
            Backing store path: None
            Backing store flags:
        LUN: 1
            Type: disk
            SCSI ID: IET     00010001
            SCSI SN: beaf11
            Size: 20401 MB, Block size: 512
            Online: Yes
            Removable media: No
            Prevent removal: No
            Readonly: No
            Backing store type: rdwr
            Backing store path: /dev/vg_centos6/iscsi
            Backing store flags:
    Account information:
    ACL information:

Monitoring Your Servers for Free (Part 3)

As we have reached part 3 or 4 in our series on monitoring your servers for free, I would like to take a moment to highlight a few gotcha with Nagios before moving into our final section where we will setup graphical monitoring with Observium. At this point we’ve gone through building our a Nagios server, setting up contacts, monitoring printers, as well as monitoring both Windows and Linux servers. There are certainly a few issues you are bound to encounter on your journey with Nagios monitoring. These issues cost me hours of struggle, digging, testing, and ultimately coming upon a resolution. I would like to pay forward some of this effort in the hope that I can help save some poor soul out there the time, effort, untold amounts of silent cursing and coffee drinking.


Monitoring SQL Express

Chances are if you have been a Windows administrator for very long and have deployed and application server or two, you have undoubtedly had to setup at least one SQL Express database. The challenge of monitoring SQL Express with Nagios is that our friends at Microsoft have created a service name that contains a dollar sign (MSSQL$SQLEXPRESS). The challenge is that the $ character must be escaped using $ in order for Nagios to correctly read the service name. Use the following service definition below as reference for making SQL Express play nice with Nagios.

define service{

use generic-service


service_description Service: SQL Server – SQLEXPRESS



Nagios localhost Warnings for HTTP

On your Nagios server you may encounter a yellow warning message regarding the HTTP service. The reason for this is that the NRPE client running on Linux servers is checking to ensure that apache is running and that it can locate and index file within the default docroot for apache. Resolving this issue on your Nagios server can be as simple as creating a blank file called index.html in the /var/www/html directory. A simple way to accomplish this is to use the touch command (ex touch /var/www/html/index.html

Once you create this dummy file you will need to restart apache (service httpd restart on RHEL or service apache2 restart on Debian variants) as well as the nagios service (service nagios restart).


Nagios Error When Rescheduling a Service Check (Error: Could not open command file ‘usr/local/nagios/var/rw/nagios.cmd’ for update!)

This and the SQL Express issue may very well be the most aggravating Nagios issues I encountered in my first deployment. However through being highly caffeinated and stubborn I did eventually find a solution. The root of the problem is that there is a permission setting that is getting flipped each time the Nagios service restarts. I have seen a few different fixes for this issue that both work. The first method I have seen corrects the problem at its root by correcting the broken permissions. However if this doesn’t resolve the issue for you, another alternative is to use a script that resets the permission each time the Nagios service runs. I recommend attempting the first method first as it is the more preferable fix, however if this doesn’t resolve your issue, try method two. Please note, terminal commands are in italics

Method 1:

#usermod -G nagios apache

#grep nagios /etc/group (ensure that the result shows that nagios is part of the apache group)

#service httpd restart (substitute apache2 instead of httpd on Debian based variants)


Method 2:

Alex Nogard’s blog lays out the methodology for creating a script that fixes the permission each time Nagios starts by adding the script into init.d/nagios. Please follow the link below for his instructions:


Automating NRPE Agent Deployment Through Puppet

Although outside the scope of this particular discussion, one way to automate deployment of NRPE throughout multiple web servers is to use puppet to facilitate this. I will perhaps visit this topic in later posts regarding Puppet Labs, however I will sum this point up quickly in a nutshell before we wrap up. If you have an existing Puppet infrastructure, you can simply have Puppet add the EPEL repo to each LAMP server, create an ensure installed statement to ensure that NRPE is installed, and finally push out a preconfigured nrpe.cfg that contains the correct server information for your Nagios server (located in /etc/nagios).


That brings me to the end of part 3 in our series on monitoring your servers for free. In the next installment, we’ll take a look at deploying Observium to give us graphical output for our servers. Til next time, may the coffee be endless and the uptime in your favor!