In the ESXi context, the term target identifies a single storage unit that your host can access. The terms storage device and LUN describe a logical volume that represents storage space on a target. Typically, the terms device and LUN, in the ESXi context, mean a SCSI volume presented to your host from a storage target and available for formatting.

Different iSCSI storage vendors present storage to hosts in different ways. Some vendors present multiple LUNs on a single target. Others present multiple targets with one LUN each.

Figure 1. Target Compared to LUN Representations
In one case, the host sees one target with three LUNs. In the other example, the host sees three different targets, each having one LUN.

In these examples, three LUNs are available in each of these configurations. In the first case, the host detects one target but that target has three LUNs that can be used. Each of the LUNs represents individual storage volume. In the second case, the host detects three different targets, each having one LUN.

Host-based iSCSI initiators establish connections to each target. Storage systems with a single target containing multiple LUNs have traffic to all the LUNs on a single connection. With a system that has three targets with one LUN each, the host uses separate connections to the three LUNs.

This information is useful when you are trying to aggregate storage traffic on multiple connections from the host with multiple iSCSI adapters. You can set the traffic for one target to a particular adapter, and use a different adapter for the traffic to another target.