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
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
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...
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...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
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...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...