Re: [RFC 1/2] target: Add documentation on the target userspace pass-through driver

From: Andy Grover
Date: Sun Aug 31 2014 - 15:49:39 EST

On 08/30/2014 10:35 AM, Richard W.M. Jones wrote:
On Tue, Jul 01, 2014 at 12:11:14PM -0700, Andy Grover wrote:
Describes the driver and its interface to make it possible for user
programs to back a LIO-exported LUN.

Signed-off-by: Andy Grover <agrover@xxxxxxxxxx>
Documentation/target/tcmu-design.txt | 210 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 210 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/target/tcmu-design.txt

diff --git a/Documentation/target/tcmu-design.txt b/Documentation/target/tcmu-design.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..200ff3e
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/target/tcmu-design.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,210 @@
+TCM Userspace Design
+In addition to modularizing the transport protocol used for carrying
+SCSI commands ("fabrics"), the Linux kernel target, LIO, also modularizes
+the actual data storage as well. These are referred to as "backstores"
+or "storage engines". The target comes with backstores that allow a
+file, a block device, RAM, or another SCSI device to be used for the
+local storage needed for the exported SCSI LUN. Like the rest of LIO,
+these are implemented entirely as kernel code.
+These backstores cover the most common use cases, but not all. One new
+use case that other non-kernel target solutions, such as tgt, are able
+to support is using Gluster's GLFS or Ceph's RBD as a backstore. The
+target then serves as a translator, allowing initiators to store data
+in these non-traditional networked storage systems, while still only
+using standard protocols themselves.
+If the target is a userspace process, supporting these is easy. tgt,
+for example, needs only a small adapter module for each, because the
+modules just use the available userspace libraries for RBD and GLFS.
+Adding support for these backstores in LIO is considerably more
+difficult, because LIO is entirely kernel code. Instead of undertaking
+the significant work to port the GLFS or RBD APIs and protocols to the
+kernel, another approach is to create a userspace pass-through
+backstore for LIO, "TCMU".

It has to be said that this documentation is terrible.

Jumping "in medias res"[1] is great for fiction, awful for technical

I would recommend the Economist Style Guide[2]. They always say
"Barak Obama, President of the United States" the first time he is
mentioned in an article, even though almost everyone knows who Barak
Obama is.

In this case you're leaping into something .. fabrics, LIO,
backstores, target solutions, ... aargh. Explain what you mean by
each term and how it all fits together.

Thanks for the feedback. I am undoubtedly too close to the details, because I thought I *was* explaining things :)

This doc is for people like you -- tech-savvy but unfamiliar with this specific area. Would you be so kind as to point out exactly the terms this document should explain? Should it explain SCSI and SCSI commands? What a SCSI target is? Say "target implementations" rather than "target solutions"? Do I need some ASCII art?

Or, if in finding these gaps you've actually picked up the jargon and wanted to just take a pass a rewriting it, that would be fine too :) I've read some of your libguestfs docs and they were very understandable.

Regards -- Andy

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