Friday, 25 January 2013

Creating iSCSI Volumes on Windows clusters

I created this to remind me of all of the steps that need to be done in order to create an iSCSI volume that can be shared across multiple servers (under the assumption that these servers will be clustered).

On the server that will host the shared volume, install Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. This can be dowloaded for free. It will bring up a web page that allows you to install the software. The installation will work out what version of the OS you are running and install the correct software.

Once installed:

  1. Launch Microsoft iSCSI Software Target.
  2. Right click Devices and Create Virtual Hard Disk.
  3. Under File, put in the path to the virtual hard disk and call it whatever you want with a .vhd extension.
  4. Put in the size of the volume that you want to create. The description can be whatever you want.
  5. There won't be any iSCSI targets yet so just click next on this screen and finish.
  6. Then, under iSCSI Targets, this is where we configure who can connect to the disk.
  7. Right click - Create iSCSI Target.
  8. iSCSI Initiator Identifers - Advanced - Add - specify the IP addresses (or whatever) of the clients that will be connecting. Here, if you are having multiple servers connecting to it, add both IP addresses. Accept the warning and click Finish.
  9. Click on the disk that was created under Devices and right click - Assign/Remove Target.
  10. Add the iSCSI target that was just created.
  11. Next, swap to the client machines that need to connect to the iSCSI volume.
  12. In Administrative Tools, launch iSCSI Initiator. It will want to start the service so accept this.
  13. In the target field, type the IP address of the machine hosting the iSCSI volume and then Quick Connect - Done. If you are using a separate NIC to make the iSCSI connection, you could find that this stage fails. In my case, the additional NIC was just for this iSCSI connection, and I wasn't publishing this NIC to DNS and hadn't configured DNS servers for it. In order to get it to work I had to disable the production interface first before this step would work.
  14. Once working it should show the name of the iSCSI target name as part of the name of the discovered target e.g.>-target.
  15. The Discovery tab will show the targets - no need to do anything on this screen.
  16. Volumes - click Autoconfigure to create the volume automatically.
  17. This is now complete.
  18. Go into Disk Management and you will see the new disk.
  19. Right click it to set it Online, and then right click again to Initialize Disk. From there you can create a new simple volume as normal or whatever your partitioning needs.
  20. At this point re-enable the primary NIC if you had to previously disable it.

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