IPS                                                   Prasenjit Sarkar
Internet Draft                                                     IBM
Document: draft-ietf-ips-iscsi-boot-05.txt             Duncan Missimer
Category: Standards                                                 HP
                                                Constantin Sapuntzakis
                                                      22 February 2002

             Bootstrapping Clients using the iSCSI Protocol

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 [11].

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other
   groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.
   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or made obsolete by other documents at
   any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet- Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."  The list
   of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt The list of Internet-Draft
   Shadow Directories can be accessed at


   The Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) is a popular family of
   protocols for communicating with I/O devices, especially storage
   devices.  iSCSI is a proposed transport protocol for SCSI that
   operates on top of TCP[12].  This memo describes a standard mechanism
   to enable clients to bootstrap themselves using the iSCSI protocol.
   The goal of this standard is to enable iSCSI boot clients to obtain
   the information to open an iSCSI session with the iSCSI boot server,
   assuming this information is not available.

1. Requirements

   1. There must be no restriction of network topology between the iSCSI
   boot client and the boot server. Consequently, it is possible for an
   iSCSI boot client to boot from an iSCSI boot server behind gateways
   or firewalls as long as it is possible to establish an iSCSI session
   between the client and the server.

   2. The following represents the minimum information required for an

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   iSCSI boot client to contact an iSCSI boot server: (a) the client's
   IP address (IPv6 or IPv4); (b) the server's iSCSI Service Delivery
   Port Name; and (c) mandatory iSCSI initiator capability.

   The above assumes that the default LUN for the boot process is 0 and
   the default port for the iSCSI boot server is the well-known iSCSI
   port. However, both may be overridden at the time of configuration.

   Additional information may be required at each stage of the boot

   3. It is possible for the iSCSI boot client to have none of the above
   information or capability on starting.

   4. The client should be able to complete boot without user
   intervention (for boots that occur during an unattended power-up).
   However, there should be a mechanism for the user to input values so
   as to bypass stages of the boot protocol.

   5. Additional protocol software (for example, DHCP) may be necessary
   if the minimum information required for an iSCSI session is not

2. Related Work

   The Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP)[7](through the
   extensions defined in the Dynamic RARP (DRARP))[4] explicitly
   addresses the problem of network address discovery, and includes an
   automatic IP address assignment mechanism.  The Trivial File Transfer
   Protocol (TFTP)[9] provides for transport of a boot image from a boot
   server. BOOTP[5,8,10] is a transport mechanism for a collection of
   configuration information.  BOOTP is also extensible, and official
   extensions have been defined for several configuration parameters.
   DHCPv4[3,6] and DHCPv6[13] are standards for hosts to be dynamically
   configured in an IP network.  The Service Location Protocol (SLP)
   provides for location of higher level services[1,15].

3. Software stage

   Some iSCSI boot clients may lack the resources to boot up with the
   mandatory iSCSI initiator capability. Such boot clients may choose to
   obtain iSCSI initiator software from a boot server.  Currently, there
   are many established protocols that allow such a service to enable
   clients to load software images. For example, BOOTP and DHCP servers
   have the capability to provide software images on requests from boot
   clients. A particular implementation of this approach is the PXE
   protocol[17], which uses DHCP extensions and MTFTP to allow boot
   clients to load software images.

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   It is to be noted that this document does not recommend any of the
   above protocols, and the final decision of which boot protocol is to
   be used to load iSCSI initiator software is left to the discretion of
   the implementor.

4. DHCP stage

   In order to use an iSCSI boot server, the following pieces of
   information are required.

   - The IP address of the iSCSI boot client (IPv4 or IPv6)

   - The IP transport endpoint for the iSCSI service delivery port for
   the iSCSI boot server.  If the transport is TCP, for example, this
   has to resolve to an IP address and a TCP port number.

   - The eight-byte LUN structure identifying the device within the
   iSCSI boot server.

   At boot time, all or none of this information may be stored in the
   firmware of the iSCSI boot client. This section describes techniques
   for obtaining the required information.

   An iSCSI boot client which does not know its IP address at power-on
   may acquire its IP address via DHCP.  An iSCSI boot client which is
   capable of using both DHCPv6 and DHCPv4 should first attempt to use
   DHCPv6 to obtain its IP address, falling back on DHCPv4 in the event
   of failure.

   Unless otherwise specified here, DHCP fields such as the client ID
   and gateway information are used identically with applications other
   than iSCSI.

   A DHCP server (v4 or v6) may instruct an iSCSI client how to reach
   its boot device. This is done using the variable length DHCP option
   named Root Path. The use of the option field is reserved for iSCSI
   boot use by prefacing the string with "iscsi:".

   The option field consists of an UTF-8[8] string. The string MUST
   contain only alphanumberic characters, "." , ":" and "-"; no other
   characters are permissible. The string has the following composition:


   The fields "servername", "port", "protocol" and "LUN" are optional
   and should be left blank if there are no corresponding values. The
   "targetname" field is not optional and must be provided.

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   Thv "servername" is the name of iSCSI server and contains either a
   valid domain name, a literal IPv4 address, or a literal IPv6 address.

   If the "servername" field contains a literal IPv4 address, the IPv4
   address is in standard dotted decimal notation as defined in Section
   2.1 of RFC 1123[6].

   If the "servername" field contains an IPv6 address, the address is
   represented in the IPv6 address format x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x where the 'x's
   are the hexadecimal values of the eight 16-bit pieces of the address.
   Note that this format representation is specific to iSCSI boot.

   If the "servername" is a domain name, the name MUST be a fully
   qualified domian name (FQDN) and SHOULD abide by the rules specified
   in Sections 3.1 and 3.5 of RFC 1034[7] and the reply from the host
   configuration server SHOULD contain the Domain Name Server Option[1].
   It must also be pointed out that the use of DNS for address
   translation in enterprise environments must contain adequate levels
   of fault tolerance and security.

   If the "servername" field contains 4 decimal components, the
   "servername" is assumed to be an IPv4 address. If there are more than
   4 decimal components or if there is a hexadecimal component, the the
   "servername" is assumed to be an IPv6 address. If the least
   significant (rightmost) component is an approved domain extension,
   then the "servername" field is assumed to be a domain name.

   The "protocol" field is the decimal representation of the IANA-
   approved string for the trasport protocol to be used for iSCSI. If
   the protocol field is left bank, the default value is assumed to be
   "6" for TCP.  The transport protocol MUST have been approved for use
   in iSCSI; currently, the only approved protocol is TCP.

   The "port" is the decimal representation of the port on which the
   iSCSI boot server is listening. If not specified, the port defaults
   to the well-known iSCSI port.

   The "LUN" field is a 16 byte hexadecimal representation of the 8-byte
   LU number in hex. Digits above 9 may be either lower or upper case,
   and all 16 nibbles must be present. If the LUN field is blank, then
   LUN 0 is assumed.

   Note that SCSI targets are allowed to present different LU numberings
   for different SCSI initiators, so that to our knowledge nothing
   precludes a SCSI target from exporting several different devices to
   several different SCSI initiators as their respective LU 0s.

   The "targetname" field is an iSCSI Name that is defined by the naming

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   and discovery in Section 2.1 iSCSI Naming and Discovery draft[9] to
   uniquely identify an iSCSI target.  The use of the targetname
   component is also defined by the iSCSI standard[4] and is to be used

   If the "servername" field is left blank, then no default value is
   assumed in its place.  If the "protocol" field is left bank, the
   default value is assumed to be "6" for TCP.  If the "port" field is
   not specified, the port defaults to the well-known iSCSI port.  If
   the LUN field is blank, then LUN 0 is assumed.

   If the "servername" field is provided by DHCP, then that field is
   used in conjunction with other associated fields to contact the boot
   server in the Boot stage (Section 6).

   However, if the "servername" field is not provided, then the
   "targetname" field is then used in the Discovery Service stage
   (Section 5).

5. Discovery Service stage:

   This stage is required if the DHCP server (v4 or v6) is unaware of
   the Service Delivery Port Name of the iSCSI boot server.  The
   implemention of the discovery service is to based on the SLP

   The iSCSI boot client may have obtained the targetname of the iSCSI
   boot server in the DHCP stage (Section 4). In that case, the iSCSI
   boot client queries the Discovery Service using query string 1 as
   specified in the iSCSI SLP interaction document[24] to resolve the
   targetname to an IP address and port number. One this is obtained,
   the iSCSI boot client proceeds to the Boot Stage (Section 6).

   It is possible that the port number obtained from the Discovery
   Service may conflict with the one obtained from the DHCP service. In
   such a case, the implementor has the option to try both port numbers
   in the Boot stage.

   If the iSCSI boot client does not have any targetname information,
   the iSCSI boot client then may query the Discovery Service with query
   string 4 as specified in the iSCSI SLP interaction document[24]. In
   response to this query, the discovery service provides the boot
   client with a list of iSCSI boot servers the boot client is allowed
   to access.

   If the list of iSCSI boot servers is empty, subsequent actions are
   left to the discretion of the implementor. Otherwise, the iSCSI boot

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   client may contact any iSCSI boot server in the list. Moreover, the
   the order in which iSCSI boot servers are contacted is also left to
   the discretion of the implementor.

6. Boot Stage

   Once the iSCSI boot client has obtained the minimum information to
   open an iSCSI session with the iSCSI boot server, the actual booting
   process can start.

   The actual sequence of iSCSI commands needed to complete the boot
   process is left to the implementor. This was done because of varying
   requirements from different vendors and equipments, making it
   difficult to specify a common subset of the iSCSI standard that would
   be acceptable to everybody.

   However, the use of a discovery session is not recommended because at
   this stage (i) a boot server has probably been found and (ii) the
   response obtained from the discovery session does not qualify an
   iSCSI boot server from an iSCSI target.

   The iSCSI session established for boot may be taken over the booted
   software in the iSCSI boot client.

7. Security

   The security discussion is centered around each stage of the iSCSI
   boot process.

   The software stage can be secured by using public key encryption and
   digitial signatures. This is the approach taken by the popular PXE
   boot framework.

   With regards to the DHCP stage, securing the host configuration
   protocol is beyond the scope of this document. Authentication of DHCP
   messages is described in [16].

   The security issues in the Discovery Service stage are addressed by
   public key ciphering as stated in the the SLP version 2 document[1].

   For the Boot stage, the iSCSI standard supports various methods of
   authenticated login and encrypted and authenticated connections for
   security[12]. How to configure the security parameters of an iSCSI
   boot client is beyond the scope of this document.

   The iSCSI boot service may be subjected to denial of service attacks.
   The use of IPSEC as mandated by the iSCSI standard[12] can be used to

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   protect against such attacks. However, ARP is still vulnerable to
   such type of attacks.

   Security in the Boot stage is also dependent on the verification of
   the boot image being loaded.  One key difference between the iSCSI
   boot mechanism and BOOTP-based image loading is the fact that the
   identity of a boot image may not be known when the Boot stage starts.
   The identity of certain boot images and their locations are known
   only after examining the contents of a boot disk exposed by the iSCSI
   boot service. Furthermore, images themselves may recursively load
   other images based on both hardware configurations and user input.

   Consequently, a practical way to verify loaded boot images is to make
   sure that each image loading software verify the image to be loaded
   using a mechanism of their choice.

   Another point to be noted is that if a boot image inherits an iSCSI
   session from a previously loaded boot image, the boot image also
   inherts the security properties of the iSCSI session.


   We wish to thank John Hufferd for taking the initiative to form the
   iSCSI boot team. We also wish to thank Doug Otis, Julian Satran,
   Bernard Aboba, David Robinson and Mark Bakke for helpful suggestions
   and pointers regarding the draft document.


   [1] Guttman, E., Perkins, C., Verizades, J., Day, M., "Service
   Location Protocol v2", RFC 2608, June 1999.

   [2] Alexander, S., and R. Droms, "DHCP Options and BOOTP Vendor
          Extensions", RFC 2132, Lachman Technology, Inc., Bucknell
          University, October 1993.

   [3] R. Droms, "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol", RFC 2131,
          Bucknell University, March 1997.

   [4] Brownell, D, "Dynamic Reverse Address Resolution Protocol
          (DRARP)", Work in Progress.

   [5] Croft, B., and J. Gilmore, "Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP)", RFC 951,
          Stanford and SUN Microsystems, September 1985.

   [6] Droms, D., "Interoperation between DHCP and BOOTP" RFC 1534,
          Bucknell University, October 1993.

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   [7] Finlayson, R., Mann, T., Mogul, J., and M. Theimer, "A Reverse
          Address Resolution Protocol", RFC 903, Stanford, June 1984.

   [8] Reynolds, J., "BOOTP Vendor Information Extensions", RFC 1497,
          USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1993.

   [9] Sollins, K., "The TFTP Protocol (Revision 2)",  RFC 783, NIC,
          June 1981.

   [10] Wimer, W., "Clarifications and Extensions for the Bootstrap
          Protocol", RFC 1532, Carnegie Mellon University, October 1993.

   [11] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process --
         Revision 3", RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [12] Satran, J. et al., "iSCSI", Internet-Draft, July 2001.

   [13] Bound, J., Canney, M., and Perkins, C., "Dynamic Host
        Protocol for IPv6", Internet-Draft, June 2001.

   [14] Bakke, M. et al., "iSCSI Naming and Discovery", Internet-Draft,
        July 2001.

   [15] Veizades, J., Guttman, E., Perkins, C., Kaplan, S., "Service
   Location Protocol", RFC 2165, June 1997.

   [16] Droms, R., Arbaugh, W., "Authentication for DHCP Messages",
   Internet-Draft, November 2000.

   [17] http://developer.intel.com/ial/WfM/wfm20/design/pxedt/index.htm

   [18] Stewart, R., et al. "Stream Control Transmission Protocol", RFC
   2960, October 2000.

   [19] Droms, R., "Procedures and IANA Guidelines for Approval of New
   DHCP Options and Message Types", RFC 2939, September 2000.

   [20] Yergeau, F., "UTF-8: A Transformation Format for ISO-10646", RFC
   2279, January 1998.

   [21] Hinden, R., Deering, S., "IP version 6 Addressing Architecture",
   RFC 2273, July 1998.

   [22] Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts - Application and
   Support", RFC 1123, October 1989.

   [23] Mockaopertis, P., "Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities", RFC

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   1034, November 1987.

   [24] Bakke, M., et al. "Finding iSCSI Targets and Name Servers using
   SLP", Internet-Draft, July 2001.

Author's Addresses

   Prasenjit Sarkar
   IBM Almaden Research Center
   650 Harry Road
   San Jose, CA 95120, USA
   Phone: +1 408 927 1417
   Email: psarkar@almaden.ibm.com

   Duncan Missimer
   Hewlett-Packard Company
   19420 Homestead Road, M/S 43lo
   Cupertino, CA 95014, USA
   Phone: +1 408 447 5390
   Email: duncan_missimer@hp.com

   Constantine Sapuntzakis
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   170 W. Tasman Drive
   San Jose, CA 95134, USA
   Phone: +1 650 520 0205
   Email: csapuntz@cisco.com

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   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an

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