Whitepaper: How to Build a Hyper-V Cluster Using the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target v3.3

I’ve just uploaded a step-by-step guide on how to build a Hyper-V cluster for a small production or lab environment, using the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target v3.3.  This target is a free add-on for Windows Server 2008 R2 and is included with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2.  it goes through all the steps:

  • Installing and configuring the storage
  • Building a standalone host to run System Center VMs
  • Building a 2 node Hyper-V cluster

“The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is a free iSCSI storage solution. It is included as a part of Windows Storage Server 2008 R2, and it is a free download for Windows Server 2008 R2. This allows a Windows Server to become a shared storage solution for many computers. It also provides an economic way to provide an iSCSI “SAN” for a Failover Cluster, such as Hyper-V.

This document will detail how to build a 2 node Hyper-V cluster, using the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target for shared storage, which is managed by System Center running on virtual machines, hosted on another Hyper-V server and stored on the same shared storage.”

There is a possibility to get your company advertised in the document.  Contact me an we can work out terms.

EDIT #1:

Hans Vredevoort contacted some of the storage folks in Microsoft to discuss the MPIO/cluster member initiators issue.  It turns out that the Microsoft page in question was incorrect.  It used to be true, but the v3.3 Software Target does support iSCSI initiators that are members of a cluster.  The document has been updated with this note, but I have not added configuration steps for MPIO.

24 thoughts on “Whitepaper: How to Build a Hyper-V Cluster Using the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target v3.3”

  1. So far I think this will definitely clear up the air around hyper-V, however I notice that the SAN leaves us with a fault (1 connector). So is there any alternative solution to have a failover connection to the SAN storage?

    1. Yes, you can purchase a storage solution that does support MPIO. That includes lots of software based solutions, and just about every hardware SAN out there.

      1. Wow, I’m really surprised by this. So just to confirm, if you’re using a MS iSCSI target w/a failover cluster such as Hyper-V and using MS iSCSI intiators from that cluster, you cannot use MPIO?

        If so, then MS doesn’t support MPIO and NIC teaming, what the heck are you supposed to use for HA? It sounds like you must use a non MS iSCSI target solution, which would also pretty much wipe out any Windows Storage Server device as well for an HA solution?

          1. That is just ridiculous. I imagine the folks who are going to use MPIO are the same group of folks who would normally implement failover clustering.

            I currently have a MS iSCSI 3.2 target and an HV cluster but I’m using NIC teaming . I was planning to convert it to MPIO but now it looks I won’t be able to until we change our storage solution *grumble*

  2. I’d like to try this setup, using an iSCSI server, but instead having the HYPERV Server 2008 instead of using Windows 2008 R2. Do you have an addendum or something which addresses this type of configuration?
    What’s your thoughts on using a NAS device like from QNAP?
    Also, you might find a write up from StarWind Software on “How to build a San” as a good reference. Your writeup though is definitely more detailed which I really like.
    Thank you for the document and thank Ben Armstrong too.

    1. You can do this using Hyper-V Server or a Core installation but you will need to be able to do command line operations. I’ve not documented it … I don’t do Core because it’s a nightmare to troubleshoot.

      Regarding QNAP, you’ll have to check with them. You can use any storage as long as

      A) it meets the requirements documented in http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd197454(WS.10).aspx
      B) it doesn’t fail the cluster validation tests

    2. Netgear ReadyNas Pro will work with Hyper-V Clusters using their iSCSI target included with the device. This is apparently close to being “certified” for Hyper-V

  3. Excellent, thanks for this.

    I had assumed that the CSV & Live Migration networks required connections to the SAN but in your diagram this appears not to be the case ?

  4. Great document Aidan.
    Can i assume from some of the other posts that teaming NICs for iSCSI is OK?
    We use HP Proliant and their NIC teaming manager appears to support iSCSI.

    1. NIC teaming shouldn’t be done for iSCSI. To be honest, if you want NIC or network path fault tolerance with a Hyper-V cluster, then the MS iSCSI Software Target is not a viable option. If you want a software solution with MPIO for clustered hosts then that’s when you look at the DataCore’s or Starwinds of the world.

  5. Just finished reading the doc, excellent read. Specifically the section on the PS commands for setting the prefs on the CSV network was very helpful. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

  6. Hi Aidam,

    I’m using an HP MSA500 G2 storage, and I’m planing Install and Hyper V cluster, using 2 HP Proliant DL360 G5 with direct connection to the MSA500 G2, but during the test, iSCSI and Failover Clustering Manager didn’t detect the logical drive created in the MSA500 G2. I was read something on Internet referent to the compatibilities between Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering..iSCSI and this model MSA500 G2. Do you thing or do you know any way to create an cluster over windows 2008 R2 x64 using this model MSA500 G2 to finally mount an Hyper V cluster on it?


    1. You should check with HP if its supported. then use their docs to provision LUNs and DSM/MPIO. Then follow my guide.

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