I did not realize we had updated this to version 3.3 and released it for download.  Previously this iSCSI software was only available in Microsoft Windows Storage Server SKU’s.  Now this is a separate download and you can install this on any Windows 2008 R2 server with no additional licensing requirements!

 

The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is an economical solution suited for a development or test environment and a small, medium, or branch office production environments.  It enables storage consolidation and sharing on a Windows Server by implementing the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) protocol, which supports SCSI-block access to a storage device over a TCP/IP network

 

Get it here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=45105d7f-8c6c-4666-a305-c8189062a0d0

 

This solution is what I have been using for years to set up several lab and demo environments:

  1. Creating Microsoft Guest Clusters and provide the shared storage very inexpensively.
  2. Creating Hyper-V clusters and providing the shared storage necessary for high availability and live migration.
  3. Create FAST virtual disks for Hyper-V servers to host their VHD files on.

 

See my lab graphic below.  I had several Hyper-V servers (VS1 – VS5) which had no local direct attach storage for VHD’s.  Instead, each mounted a logical disk via the iSCSI initiator from my iSCSI Software Target servers, VS6 and VS7.  This solution was VERY inexpensive and provided outstanding performance and was easier to maintain than providing local direct attach disk to each Hyper-V server.

 

image

 

In the environment above, I would typically have 8 VM’s running on each Hyper-V server.  That is 32VM’s running across the network on an iSCSI mounted disk.  While I measured significant network utilization during times of heavy I/O (like booting all my VM’s at once) at no time could I saturate the gigabit iSCSI network to the point that it became a significant bottle neck nor did the iSCSI network inject latency in my environment.

 

 

 

Some cool key features:

  • Provide shared storage for Hyper-V to enable high availability and live migration
  • Consolidate storage for multiple application servers (i.e. Microsoft SQL Server or Hyper-V)
  • Provide shared storage for applications hosted on a Windows failover cluster
  • Enable diskless computers to boot remotely from a single operating system image using iSCSI
  • Use PowerShell, WMI, or the MMC UI to manage (create and manage virtual disks, iSCSI targets, and initiator relationships)

 

If you need to build out test, development, or demo environments, iSCSI makes your life super easy.  I am excited that we have made this freely available.

 

 

Some resources:

For all things iSCSI – check out this blog:  http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/

My example iSCSI cluster walk through :  http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2008/10/20/setting-up-a-2-node-server-2008-failover-cluster-under-hyperv.aspx