Installing the VSS Hardware Provider for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on Windows Server 2008

Installing the VSS Hardware Provider for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on Windows Server 2008

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Overview

In this article, we’ll describe the process to install the VSS Hardware Provider (and, incidentally, the VDS Hardware Provider) for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target, which is part of Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003 (WUDSS 2003).

This package, referred to as “Microsoft iSCSI Software Target Client” supports both Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. We’ll show the Windows Server 2008 screenshots.

We’ll use two servers in this scenario. SERVER0 is the iSCSI Software Target, running WUDSS 2003. SERVER1 is the application server (a SQL Server, for instance) running Windows Server 2008 and the built-in iSCSI initiator. We’ll install the VSS hardware provider in SERVER1.

iVSS0

Before the installation

Below you see the output of the VSSADMIN command-line tool running on SERVER1 before the installation:

 

C:\Users\Administrator>vssadmin list providers

vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
   Version: 1.0.0.7

You can confirm that there is no VSS provider installed except the in-box system provider.

Since we’re running Windows Server 2008 on SERVER1, we can also use the DISKSHADOW command line tool to check which VSS providers are loaded, which you can see below:

 

C:\Users\Administrator>diskshadow

Microsoft DiskShadow version 1.0
Copyright (C) 2007 Microsoft Corporation
On computer:  SERVER1,  5/23/2008 11:08:15 AM

DISKSHADOW> list providers

        * ProviderID: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
                Type: [1] VSS_PROV_SYSTEM
                Name: Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0
                Version: 1.0.0.7
                CLSID: {65ee1dba-8ff4-4a58-ac1c-3470ee2f376a}

Number of providers registered: 1

DISKSHADOW> exit

Installing the client

To install the VSS hardware provider, we’ll run the “Microsoft iSCSI Software Target Client” setup on Server1.

Keep in mind that this software was updated this year to include support for Windows Server 2008, so you need to get an updated version from your WUDSS vendor.

Please note that Microsoft provides this client software to the OEMs that sell WUDSS, not directly to end users.

This is generally referred to by the Partner Knowledge Base article number that documents it.

If your OEM support person has any trouble finding it, ask them to look up Partner KB 949499. This is not a public KB, but all WUDSS OEM partners have access to it.

There are two versions of the Client, one for 32 bits and one for 64 bits. Choose the right file and run it.

The setup is delivered as an MSI file that leverages the Microsoft Installer technology. Here’s the welcome screen:

iVSS0a

After you click next and accept the license agreement, you are taken to the screen that offers a choice of “Typical” or “Custom” install. See that below:

iVSS0b

The “Typical” option will install both hardware providers (VDS and VSS). The “Custom” option will ask if you want to install VDS, VSS or both. See the screen below:

iVSS0c

You then need to specify the user credentials to be used by the providers. Those will be used to authenticate with the iSCSI Software Target.

The account must have administrator privileges in both servers involved. Here’s that screen:

IVSS0d

In the last screen you confirm the operation and start the actual installation. It’s a very quick install and it does not require a reboot.

Checking with VSSADMIN

After that, you should be all set. You can verify this by running VSSADMIN again.

Check the output below, which shows the “list providers” parameter being used to verify everything is in place:

 

C:\Users\Administrator>vssadmin list providers

vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Microsoft iSCSI Target VSS Hardware Provider'
   Provider type: Hardware
   Provider Id: {2f900f90-00e9-440e-873a-96ca5eb079e5}
   Version: 3.1.3465

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
   Version: 1.0.0.7

Checking with DISKSHADOW

If you’re running Windows Server 2008, you can also use DISKSHADOW to verify that the VSS hardware provider is loaded.

Check the output below, which shows the “list providers” command being used to verify everything is in place:

 

C:\Users\Administrator>diskshadow

Microsoft DiskShadow version 1.0
Copyright (C) 2007 Microsoft Corporation
On computer:  SERVER1,  5/23/2008 11:08:15 AM

DISKSHADOW> list providers

        * ProviderID: {2f900f90-00e9-440e-873a-96ca5eb079e5}
                Type: [3] VSS_PROV_HARDWARE
                Name: Microsoft iSCSI Target VSS Hardware Provider
                Version: 3.1.3465
                CLSID: {363948d2-035d-4d1d-9bfc-473fece07dab}

        * ProviderID: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
                Type: [1] VSS_PROV_SYSTEM
                Name: Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0
                Version: 1.0.0.7
                CLSID: {65ee1dba-8ff4-4a58-ac1c-3470ee2f376a}

Number of providers registered: 2

DISKSHADOW> exit

Since DISKSHADOW is a VSS Requester, you can now use it on SERVER1 to create and expose a snapshot. For instance, check this output:

 

C:\Users\Administrator>diskshadow
Microsoft DiskShadow version 1.0
Copyright (C) 2007 Microsoft Corporation
On computer:  SERVER1,  5/23/2008 11:17:56 AM

DISKSHADOW> list shadows all

Querying all shadow copies on the computer ...
No shadow copies found in system.

DISKSHADOW> set context persistent

DISKSHADOW> add volume E:

DISKSHADOW> create

Alias VSS_SHADOW_1 for shadow ID {6425d88d-9ed4-403a-a095-1ede1f85d7d7} set as environment variable.
Alias VSS_SHADOW_SET for shadow set ID {dc00511e-4698-4d53-88f1-a47a7f275e58} set as environment variable.

Querying all shadow copies with the shadow copy set ID {dc00511e-4698-4d53-88f1-a47a7f275e58}

        * Shadow copy ID = {6425d88d-9ed4-403a-a095-1ede1f85d7d7} %VSS_SHADOW_1%
                - Shadow copy set: {dc00511e-4698-4d53-88f1-a47a7f275e58} %VSS_SHADOW_SET%
                - Original count of shadow copies = 1
                - Original volume name: \\?\Volume{a2ae039a-28ed-11dd-a3e2-00155d344309}\ [E:\]
                - Creation time: 5/23/2008 11:18:41 AM
                - Shadow copy device name: \\?\Volume{a2ae03a0-28ed-11dd-a3e2-00155d344309}
                - Originating machine: SERVER1.demo.local
                - Service machine: SERVER1.demo.local
                - Not exposed
                - Provider ID: {2f900f90-00e9-440e-873a-96ca5eb079e5}
                - Attributes:  No_Auto_Release Persistent Hardware

Number of shadow copies listed: 1

DISKSHADOW> expose {6425d88d-9ed4-403a-a095-1ede1f85d7d7} S:
The shadow copy was successfully exposed as S:\.

DISKSHADOW> exit

That shadow copy can also be seen from the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target MMC running at SERVER0:

iVSS1

Conclusion

I hope these steps helped you install your VSS hardware provider for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target.

At this point, you can start creating and exposing snapshots of your iSCSI VHDs on SERVER0 from SERVER1 using any other VSS Requester (like your favorite backup application).

Notes

For more details on VSS, check http://blogs.technet.com/josebda/archive/2007/10/10/the-basics-of-the-volume-shadow-copy-service-vss.aspx

For more information about WUDSS 2003, check http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/storage/wudss.mspx. Please note that WUDSS is only sold via OEMs like HP and Dell. It is not available via any other Microsoft sales channels like software retailers or volume licensing. WUDSS is also not available from MSDN or TechNet subscriber downloads.

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