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Installing CentOS to an iSCSI target

The CentOS installation process is somewhat fragile, and the built-in support for iSCSI installation does not function properly. However, it is possible to work around this limitation and install to an iSCSI target.

Starting the installation

Start a CentOS installation in the usual way, and proceed up to the point of the graphical welcome screen:

Start of CentOS installation

Before clicking on Next, press Ctrl-Alt-F2. This should take you to a root shell prompt. Configure and start up the iSCSI initiator:

  sh-3.2# mkdir /etc/iscsi
  sh-3.2# echo > \
  sh-3.2# iscsid

CentOS iSCSI installation connection to disk

where is your initiator's DNS name in reverse order. (For completeness, you should also replace 2007-08 with the year and month in which you first obtained your DNS domain. The iSCSI naming schemes are somewhat pedantic, but it won’t affect anything in practice; as long as the initiator name is unique then everything will work just fine.)

Connecting to the iSCSI target

Connect to the iSCSI target to be used for installation:

  sh-3.2# iscsiadm -m discovery -t sendtargets -p

where is the DNS name (or IP address) of your iSCSI target. You will see a list of available target IQNs. Log in to the installation target:

  sh-3.2# iscsiadm -m node -T -l

where is the IQN of the target that you want to install to.

You are now logged in to the installation iSCSI target.

Completing the installation

Press Ctrl-Alt-F6 to return to the graphical installation process, and click on Next to proceed to the disk selection screen:

CentOS iSCSI installation disk selection

You must tick the “Review and modify partitioning layout” box before proceeding to the disk partitioning screen:

CentOS iSCSI installation swap removal

Select and delete the swap partition. This is required for two reasons: firstly, swap over iSCSI (or over any network device) is generally a bad idea; secondly, doing so works around a bug in the CentOS installer which would otherwise result in the partition table never being written to disk.

Make a note of the iSCSI target IQN that you installed to ( in the above example). You are now ready to

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