Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Nick Basinger, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Machine Learning , Silverlight, Release Management

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Step-by-Step: Speaking iSCSI with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V

Built-in support for iSCSI and MPIO provide an easy path for connecting Hyper-V hosts to existing SAN storage

Windows Server 2012 and our completely free Hyper-V Server 2012 certainly have some really cost-effective new storage options, with Storage Spaces and Hyper-V over SMB 3.0.  However, many IT Pros have already invested in iSCSI shared storage and, as a result, many Hyper-V deployments also need to be able to leverage these existing storage investments.

iSCSI? No problem! Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 include native support for a software iSCSI initiator as well as MPIO ( Multipath IO ) for  resiliency and load balancing of storage IO over multiple network paths.

In this article, we’ll walk through the process of connecting Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 to common iSCSI storage arrays.  Because most of my IT Pro friends are running Hyper-V either on Windows Server 2012 Server Core or Hyper-V Server 2012, both options without a local console GUI, I’ll be providing my examples below in PowerShell.

NOTE: In this article, I make the assumption that your iSCSI storage array is already configured and that your Hyper-V host is already physically attached and zoned into your iSCSI storage network.

  • Don’t have an iSCSI Storage Array? Did you know that Windows Server 2012 includes an iSCSI Target role that, along with Failover Clustering, allows it to become a cost-effective and highly-available iSCSI Storage Array?  Walk through the process of getting this configured in the following Step-by-Step Guide:

    DO IT: Step-by-Step: Build a Windows Server 2012 Storage Server

Let’s Get Things “Started” …
A software iSCSI initiator is installed by default on Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 as the MSiSCSI service.  However, the MSiSCSI service isn't set to automatically startup, so we can start the MSiSCSI service with the following PowerShell command lines:

Set-Service –Name MSiSCSI –StartupType Automatic

Start-Service MSiSCSI

After running the above cmdlets, you can check on the status of the MSiSCSI service with the following command line:

Get-Service –Name MSiSCSI

Now Let’s Get “Connected’ …
After starting the MSiSCSI service, we can connect from our Hyper-V host to the iSCSI target on the storage array with the following PowerShell command line:

New-IscsiTargetPortal –TargetPortalAddress <IP_Address or FQDN of storage array>

$target = Get-IscsiTarget

Connect-IscsiTarget –NodeAddress $target.NodeAddress

If you’re successfully connected to the target on your iSCSI storage array, you should see the connection status returned with the following cmdlet:

Get-IscsiConnection

Now, let’s make the session for this iSCSI connection persist across reboots with the following command:

Get-IscsiSession | Register-IscsiSession

You can check to make sure the IsPersistent value is True for this session with the following command line:

Get-IscsiSession

We’re ready to start using our new iSCSI disk!
After successfully persisting our connection to the iSCSI target session, we’re ready to begin using our new iSCSI disk.  To verify that your Hyper-V host sees the new iSCSI disk, use the following command:

Get-Disk | Where-Object BusType –eq “iSCSI”

Note the disk Number in the first column and verify that the Partition Style column shows “Raw” ( ie. unused ) for this new disk.  To initialize and format the new disk, use the following command line, being careful to specify the correct disk number from the command output above:

Initialize-Disk –Number <Disk_Number> –PartitionStyle GPT –PassThru | New-Partition –AssignDriveLetter –UseMaximumSize | Format-Volume

After this command completes, you can use the following command to confirm the drive letter assigned to the new partition on your iSCSI disk so that you can begin using this path for storing new virtual machines and virtual hard disks!

Get-Partition

Great! But … What about High Availability?
Good question! Highly available iSCSI connections are generally configured via MPIO ( Multipath IO ).  MPIO support is also included in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012, but this feature first needs to be installed with the following command line:

Install-WindowsFeature Multipath-IO

After MPIO is installed, configure it to automatically claim all iSCSI devices for MPIO with the following command lines:

Enable-MSDSMAutomaticClaim –BusType iSCSI

Set-MPIOSetting –NewDiskTimeout 60

After running these commands, restart your server for MPIO discovery to take effect.  After restarting, you can also configure a Round Robin load-balancing policy for all newly claimed devices with the following command:

Set-MSDSMGlobalDefaultLoadBalancePolicy -Policy RR

NOTE: The above commands leverage the Microsoft MPIO DSM ( Device Specific Module ).  Prior to attempting to implement MPIO between your hosts and storage array, be sure to check with your storage array vendor to confirm their compatibility with this DSM.  In some cases, your storage vendor may require an alternate DSM and/or a different MPIO configuration. Many storage arrays that are SPC-3 compliant will work with the Microsoft DSM, but we recommend confirming compatibility with your storage vendor before proceeding.

Want More? Become a Virtualization Expert in 20 Days!
This month, my fellow Technical Evangelists and I are writing a new blog article series, titled Become a Virtualization Expert in 20 Days! Each day we’ll be releasing a new article that focuses on a different area of virtualization as it relates to compute, storage and/or networking.  Be sure to catch the whole series at:

After you’re done reading the series, if you’d like to learn more and begin preparing for MCSA certification on Windows Server 2012, join our FREE Windows Server 2012 “Early Experts” online study group for IT Pros at:

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...