Configuring the iSCSI Target using Ansible

The Ceph iSCSI gateway is the iSCSI target node and also a Ceph client node. The Ceph iSCSI gateway can be provisioned on dedicated node or be colocated on a Ceph Object Store Disk (OSD) node. The following steps will install and configure the Ceph iSCSI gateway for basic operation.


  • A running Ceph Luminous (12.2.x) cluster or newer

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS 7.5 (or newer); Linux kernel v4.16 (or newer)

  • The ceph-iscsi package installed on all the iSCSI gateway nodes


  1. On the Ansible installer node, which could be either the administration node or a dedicated deployment node, perform the following steps:

    1. As root, install the ceph-ansible package:

      # yum install ceph-ansible
    2. Add an entry in /etc/ansible/hosts file for the gateway group:



If co-locating the iSCSI gateway with an OSD node, then add the OSD node to the [iscsigws] section.


The ceph-ansible package places a file in the /usr/share/ceph-ansible/group_vars/ directory called iscsigws.yml.sample. Create a copy of this sample file named iscsigws.yml. Review the following Ansible variables and descriptions, and update accordingly. See the iscsigws.yml.sample for a full list of advanced variables.




Each gateway needs access to the ceph cluster for rados and rbd calls. This means the iSCSI gateway must have an appropriate /etc/ceph/ directory defined. The seed_monitor host is used to populate the iSCSI gateway’s /etc/ceph/ directory.


Define a custom storage cluster name.


Define a custom keyring name.


If set to true, then deploy the settings when the playbook is ran.


This is a boolean value that checks for multipath and lvm configuration settings on each gateway. It must be set to true for at least the first run to ensure multipathd and lvm are configured properly.


The user name for the API. The default is admin.


The password for using the API. The default is admin.


The TCP port number for using the API. The default is 5000.


True if TLS must be used. The default is false. If true the user must create the necessary certificate and key files. See the gwcli man file for details.


A list of IPv4 or IPv6 addresses who have access to the API. By default, only the iSCSI gateway nodes have access.


Perform the following steps on the Ansible installer node.

  1. As root, execute the Ansible playbook:

    cd /usr/share/ceph-ansible
    ansible-playbook site.yml --limit iscsigws


    The Ansible playbook will handle RPM dependencies, setting up daemons, and installing gwcli so it can be used to create iSCSI targets and export RBD images as LUNs. In past versions, iscsigws.yml could define the iSCSI target and other objects like clients, images and LUNs, but this is no longer supported.

  2. Verify the configuration from an iSCSI gateway node:

    gwcli ls


    See the Configuring the iSCSI Target using the Command Line Interface section to create gateways, LUNs, and clients using the gwcli tool.


    Attempting to use the targetcli tool to change the configuration will cause problems including ALUA misconfiguration and path failover issues. There is the potential to corrupt data, to have mismatched configuration across iSCSI gateways, and to have mismatched WWN information, leading to client multipath problems.

Service Management:

The ceph-iscsi package installs the configuration management logic and a Systemd service called rbd-target-api. When the Systemd service is enabled, the rbd-target-api will start at boot time and will restore the Linux IO state. The Ansible playbook disables the target service during the deployment. Below are the outcomes of when interacting with the rbd-target-api Systemd service.

systemctl <start|stop|restart|reload> rbd-target-api
  • reload

    A reload request will force rbd-target-api to reread the configuration and apply it to the current running environment. This is normally not required, since changes are deployed in parallel from Ansible to all iSCSI gateway nodes

  • stop

    A stop request will close the gateway’s portal interfaces, dropping connections to clients and wipe the current LIO configuration from the kernel. This returns the iSCSI gateway to a clean state. When clients are disconnected, active I/O is rescheduled to the other iSCSI gateways by the client side multipathing layer.

Removing the Configuration:

The ceph-ansible package provides an Ansible playbook to remove the iSCSI gateway configuration and related RBD images. The Ansible playbook is /usr/share/ceph-ansible/purge_gateways.yml. When this Ansible playbook is ran a prompted for the type of purge to perform:

lio :

In this mode the LIO configuration is purged on all iSCSI gateways that are defined. Disks that were created are left untouched within the Ceph storage cluster.

all :

When all is chosen, the LIO configuration is removed together with all RBD images that were defined within the iSCSI gateway environment, other unrelated RBD images will not be removed. Ensure the correct mode is chosen, this operation will delete data.


A purge operation is destructive action against your iSCSI gateway environment.


A purge operation will fail, if RBD images have snapshots or clones and are exported through the Ceph iSCSI gateway.

[root@rh7-iscsi-client ceph-ansible]# ansible-playbook purge_gateways.yml
Which configuration elements should be purged? (all, lio or abort) [abort]: all

PLAY [Confirm removal of the iSCSI gateway configuration] *********************

GATHERING FACTS ***************************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK: [Exit playbook if user aborted the purge] *******************************
skipping: [localhost]

TASK: [set_fact ] *************************************************************
ok: [localhost]

PLAY [Removing the gateway configuration] *************************************

GATHERING FACTS ***************************************************************
ok: [ceph-igw-1]
ok: [ceph-igw-2]

TASK: [igw_purge | purging the gateway configuration] *************************
changed: [ceph-igw-1]
changed: [ceph-igw-2]

TASK: [igw_purge | deleting configured rbd devices] ***************************
changed: [ceph-igw-1]
changed: [ceph-igw-2]

PLAY RECAP ********************************************************************
ceph-igw-1                 : ok=3    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0
ceph-igw-2                 : ok=3    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0
localhost                  : ok=2    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0