iSCSI configuration in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Last time I took a look at Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta, I shared the surprise of having Failover Clustering and the possibility to have highly available virtualized workloads on it.

This time I look at an implication of having the Windows Enterprise-like Quick Migration and Live Migration features: increased complexity and configuration burden.

 

iSCSIcli in Hyper-V Server 2008

In Hyper-V Server 2008 and Server Core Installations of Windows Server 2008 to connect to SAN storage you would use the iscsicli.exe tool. This is the command line equivalent of the iSCSI client configuration tool. This command line tool requires you to utilize your asterisk button a lot. (to accept default values)

Typical commands to connect to your SAN storage look like these:

iscsicli qaddtargetportal iscsihost.domainname.tld UserName Password
iscsicli persistentlogintarget quorum T * * * * * * * * * * * UserName Password 1 * 0
iscsicli persistentlogintarget vms T * * * * * * * * * * * UserName Password 1 * 0
iscsicli qlogintarget quorum UserName Password
iscsicli qlogintarget vms UserName Password

Not really intuitive, but when you’ve read the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator User’s Guide and have memorized Appendix C of the document you’re basically ready to go.

 

iSCSIcpl in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

To make this crucial step in your cluster setup progress a bit easier, Microsoft has included the graphical version of the iSCSI client configuration tool in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 R2. You no longer have to work iscsicli.exe magic to connect to your SAN; you can click your way through now! Of course, for die hard command line freaks and scripters of all sorts the iscsicli.exe command is still available!

Starting the graphical iSCSI client configuration

The graphical version of the iSCSI client configuration tool can be started by typing:

iscsicpl

Below is a screenshot of a Hyper-V server 2008 R2 installation running the graphical version of the iSCSI Client:

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2-2009-02-22-12-43-30

Although the name implies otherwise this is not a Control Panel applet like timedate.cpl and intl.cpl. Trying to start the graphical version of the iSCSI Client using control iscsicpl will not result in a running instance.

Managing the Microsoft iSCSI service

For proper operation the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator service should be running. When the service is not running you will be asked whether you want to service to be automatically be started every time the computer starts:

iSCSI Service

You can also achieve the services starts by typing the following two commands:

sc config MSiSCSI start= auto
net start MSiSCSI

 

Concluding

Some configuration tasks can be tricky on a GUI-less server. In Hyper-V Server 2008 and Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 a couple of graphical windows were present. These allowed to configure Regional options and Time and Data options.

In Hyper-V Server 2008 Microsoft included the graphical iSCSI Client. It’s a good thing Microsoft has included some more graphical tools to achieve tasks in the 2008 R2 Wave of products more easily.

Further reading

Server Core Cluster – how it’s done
TechEd Barcelona – the end
Clustering Videos on the Web
Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator User’s Guide 2.x
iSCSI Configuration UI included in Hyper-V 2008 R2
iSCSI Configuration UI included in Hyper-V 2008 R2
Building a Failover Cluster with Server Core Part 2
Step-by-step: Using the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target with Hyper-V
Microsoft TechNet Forums – Configuring iSCSI initiator using iscsicli.exe
Microsoft TechNet Forums – Configuring iSCSI using iscsicli.exe
Microsoft TechNet Forums – How to identify source NICs to be passed via iSCSIcli?
Microsoft TechNet Forums – Building a Host Cluster with Hyper-V in core mode
Microsoft TechNet Forums – ISCSI help. I need white papers
Microsoft TechNet Forums – Server Core and iSCSI initiator

Disclaimer Beta Software

The information on this webpage applies to software from Microsoft that was in testing phase but utilizable by experienced users by the time the webpage was written. This software has not been released for sale, distribution or usage for the general public. The information on this webpage and the beta software are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

One Response to iSCSI configuration in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

  1.  

    This is reason enough for me to upgrade to Server 2008 R2. We are heavy iSCSI users on our Server 2008 environment and have come to know iscsicli very well. To me, its the least intuitive CLI of any Microsoft utility. It should either be integrated into netsh or powershell, for ex:

    netsh iscsi targets add iqn=iqn.x.y.z address=10.10.10.10 port=3260 interface=5 persistent

    netsh iscsi sessions logout session=abc123

    etc etc

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