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AoE – Video 2000

Recently Coraid have been trying to make noise again about their storage arrays and ATA Over Ethernet. I’ve always dismissed it but never tried AoE  so I thought it was about time that I at least gave it a try before dismissing it.

I quickly brought up another Linux server on one of my lab boxes and loaded in the AoE modules; grabbed the vblade package (vblade is the package which allows you to serve AoE targets from a Linux server), a quick peruse of the how-to and set up the server instance to serve an AoE target. I must admit that it was ridiculously simple, a lot more simple than configuring iSCSI targets.

I then downloaded the Starwind software initiator for AoE for Windows, installed it, fired it up; it automatically  found the target that I had already configured on the Linux server and I added that in.

Job done; from start to finish, excluding the time to install a new Linux server instance; it probably took me fifteen to twenty minutes. Not bad considering I’d never looked at AoE before.

So if it is this simple, why are AoE and Coraid not making a big splash?

It’s certainly simpler than iSCSI and I get about 20-30% better performance than iSCSI from my initial tests from the same hardware.

It’s quite simple really; it’s just too late, in the same way Video 2000 was too late to make an impact in the video market despite being a superior format,  AoE and Co-Raid just don’t have the momentum and I just don’t see them ever getting it. Their best chance is to get some of the smaller home/SMB network storage vendors to pick it up and try to build ground-swell there but it’s going to be tough.

But if you have an hour to kill, you might as well give it a go…


  1. Hi,

    is there any way for you to install StarWind iSCSI SAN on the same hardware you’ve used to run Linux AoE target an compare performance for iSCSI and AoE using something like Intel I/O Meter, Intel NAS Toolkit, ATTO Disk Benchmark etc? Published numbers and charts would definitely put more “meat” on your “get about 20-30% better” bones 🙂 You could use our own iSCSI Initiator or Microsoft iSCSI Initiator – does not matter. Triple-head test (Linux vblade AoE Vs. StarWind iSCSI SAN Vs. Microsoft iSCSI SAN – all free solutions) would not passed by community. We could add it to our e-mail digest and publish on StarWind forum as well. Soooo? 🙂

    In any case thank you very much for giving us a reference we do appreciate it 🙂

    Anton Kolomyeytsev

    CTO, StarWind Software

    P.S. You can drop me an e-mail and I’d tell you some answers to the questions you’ve raised here.

  2. […] access of SATA devices over Ethernet”.   I found a short description of a typical setup on Martin Glassborow’s site that demonstrated how quickly AoE could be set up.  This sounded very interesting to me and worth […]

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