How to build a iSCSI Target Cluster on Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 Logo

In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft introduced the new iSCSI Target which is now build in to Windows Server 2012 which allows you to connect to storage presented by your Windows Server.

There are a lot of new way how you can present storage to your servers especially for Hyper-V. With Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V you can use block storage like iSCSI or Fiber channel or the new introduced SMB 3.0 file storage as your shared storage for your Hyper-V Clusters. Now I am a huge fan of the new SMB 3.0 solutions which allows you to place Hyper-V virtual machines on a SMB file share, but there maybe other applications and scenarios where you need to present storage via iSCSI.

The new iSCSI Target which is build in to Windows Server 2012 is pretty cool. If you are interested to use the Windows Server 2012 iSCSI Target on a stand-alone host in your lab you should checkout my blog post: Create a Windows Server 2012 iSCSI Target Server 

However if you need to run the iSCSI Target in a production environment you will have a single point of failure and in this case you should cluster your iSCSI Target. To build a iSCSI Target Cluster is pretty simple, first install all the roles on both cluster nodes. After this create a new Failover Cluster as you would with Hyper-V or other applications.

If your cluster is up and running you can now add the iSCSI Target Server role.

iscsi Target Cluster 01

Setup the iSCSI Target with a IP address and a name.

iscsi Target Cluster 02

Choose the Cluster Storage which should be used for your iSCSI Target. Later you will setup VHDs on this shared Cluster Disk.

iscsi Target Cluster 03

After you have checked the summary the iSCSI Target Server role will be created.

iscsi Target Cluster 05

The iSCSI Target Server role has been created the storage you have added to the iSCSI Target will be assigned to it.

iscsi Target Cluster Storage

The ISCSI Target Server resource will be online. It’s also highly recommended that you use multiple NICs for you hosts and also use MPIO on the machines which will connect to your iSCSI Target.

iscsi Target Cluster iSCSI Target Server Role

The iSCSI Targets have to be created back in Server Manager. Connect to the cluster node where the iSCSI Target Server is running on.

iSCSI Virtual Disk Server Manager

Select the new space where your Virtual Disk should be placed. The wizard will automatically detected the Cluster role in my case “ISCSI02″ and the volume which is attached to this role in my case “Volume E:”

iSCSI Virtual Disk 02

After this is done you have to enter the name of the this and if you don’t have one already you have to create a iSCSI Target.

You can connect multiple disks to a iSCSI Target and you can create multiple iSCSI Targets on your iSCSI Target Server, and maybe you will create even multiple iSCSI Target Server on your cluster so you can create a “static” load balancing where the Target Server 1 is running on the first host and the Target Server 2 on the second host.