A blog by Jose Barreto, a member of the File Server team at Microsoft.
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The new Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is commonly deployed to provide data storage for servers that boot from a local hard drive. However, there are interesting cost savings and management advantages in deploying servers that have no local disk at all and get their syste and boot volumes from the iSCSI target. The iSCSI Target team has worked closely with the Windows HPC Server team to enable this specific solution, common in HPC environments.
Jian Yan, the Program Manager for the iSCSI Software Target, has a new blog post on Filecab that describes in details how to configure diskless servers and boot from the Microsoft iSCSI Target 3.3 (which is now available as a free download for Windows Server 2008 R2). This is a great, lengthy post that includes pictures, screenshot and script samples. Here's an outline:
This is highly recommended reading for anyone deploying diskless servers (or anyone about to buy a few servers who wants to save some money on storage :-).
Read the post at http://blogs.technet.com/b/storageserver/archive/2011/05/04/diskless-servers-can-boot-and-run-from-the-microsoft-iscsi-software-target-using-a-regular-network-card.aspx
For details on how to download the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3, read http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2011/04/04/microsoft-iscsi-software-target-3-3-for-windows-server-2008-r2-available-for-public-download.aspx
For a technical presentation about the performance of the iSCSI Target in Windows diskless boot scenarios, see this SDC presentation: http://www.snia.org/events/storage-developer2010/presentations/thursday/QiangWang_Analyzing_Large-scale_Network.pdf