How to Configure iSCSI Storage Target Server on Windows Server 2012 R2

iSCSI, which stands for Internet Small Computer System Interface, works on top of the Transport Control Protocol (TCP) and allows the SCSI command to be sent end-to-end over local-area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs) or the Internet. We use iSCSI targets for various purposes, like addition of storage disks for VMs, setting up as a backup disks for VMs and many other uses.

To configure iSCSI targets on Server 2012 R2, Please follow the following steps.

1. Open Server Manager by either clicking on the Server Manager icon next to start button or click on Start menu button and start typing Server Manager. On the Server Manager window select File and Storage Services.

2. Select iSCSI, then click on To create an iSCSI virtual disk, start the new iSCSI Virtual Disk wizard.

3. On the Select iSCSI virtual disk location window select the Server on which iSCSI Target Server role is installed and then select the volume on which you want to create the storage. In this practical I have two volumes i.e. C drive and E drive. We’ll select E drive to save the storage. However we can also select the custom path to save the file. After this, click on next to continue.

4. On the Specify iSCSI virtual disk name window type the name and description. I have assigned Vol1 as the name.

5. On the Specify iSCSI virtual disk size window we can see total free Space available. In this practical our E drive was of 200 GB therefore we can see 200 GB as free space. Define the size of storage that you want to create, we are assigning 100 GB of space.

Select Dynamically expanding. It provides better use of physical storage space and is recommended for servers running applications that are not disk intensive. Click on next to continue.

6. On the Assign iSCSI Target console we can define new iSCSI target however we can use existing iSCSI target if already used.

7. Specify the target name and description, it is recommended to mention this information so that you can easily track this storage.

8. Specify the iSCSI initiator that would access the iSCSI virtual disk. Click on Add to define the initiator.

9. I can see three methods to identify the initiator

9.1- Either we can query initiator computer for ID but it is not supported for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 or earlier Operating systems.

9.2- Select the initiator cache on the target server.

9.3-  Enter the value for the selected server. I can define IQN, DNS Name, IP Address or MAC Address. In this practical, I’ll define IP Address of the initiator servers.

10. You can add list of all the initiator servers that would access the iSCSI disk. Click on next to continue.

11. You can also enable authentication however it is optional. You can enable CHAP protocol or reverse CHAP to allow initiator to authenticate the iSCSI target however in this practical we are not allowing them.

Click on next to continue.

12. You can confirm all the settings that you have defined. If all the settings are correct then click on create else click on previous and make the changes.

13. Once the iSCSI virtual disk and iSCSI target is created successfully you can close the wizard.

14. Again go to Server Manager select “File and Storage Services” and select iSCSI, if you see newly created disk then it confirms that disk is created successfully.

Now you can map this with any VM for any purpose.