01 June, 2016

Configuring SAN on Windows Server 2012

I am not talking about 80`s or 90`s, Even few years back if you have to built a new file server with data redundancy, you needed two physical servers and a RAID / SAN drive which would have been a costly component. This could have cost you some good amount of money as well as time. Now days, If you ask some to built the same server, you just need one physical server. Yes, you heard it right. Only one physical server. That`s the power of "Virtualization"

Lets see how only one physical server would have fulfill the requirement. One physical server with Hyper-V, hosting three Virtual Machines. Two VM`s for File Servers and one VM to be used as SAN. Yes, you again read it correctly, you can configure a Windows 2012 R2 Server as a SAN Server. And it Works !!!!

More to it, you could have added another server on cloud (Trust me, hosting a server on cloud is extremely easy and not at all costly. You pay only for the time that VM is running)

In this post, we will see how we can configure a Windows 2012 R2 Server as a SAN Server and we will use this SAN as a cluster disk in our next post on How to Configure Microsoft Cluster on Windows 2008 R2

In case, you think that this (Windows 2012 R2) is the only possible solution for a virtualized SAN then I strongly recommend you to read the following post:-

Configuring SAN on OpenFiler

So, Lets get started !!!!

Here in this lab, we have a Windows 2012 R2 Server named vSAN

Since this being a VM, I have attached two more drives on this server (20GB and 200GB). These two drives will be used later as Quorum and Storage Disk when we will configure cluster

In Disk Management (diskmgmt), we can view these two drives (Uninitialized)

Lets first install some required roles to make this machine as SAN

A SAN can be a Fibre Channel (FC) SAN or a iSCSI SAN

In this lab we will implement a iSCSI SAN

Under Roles, Highlight "File and Storage Services"

Remember, just highlight it, do not select the whole component

In the list under File and Storage Services, Select the following:-

- iSCSI Target Server
- iSCSI Target Storage Provider (VDS and VSS Hardware Providers)

Once done, Select File and Storage Services in the left pane of the Server Manager

Below are the different tabs in left pane

Lists all the servers managed by this server
Lists events on a particular server (highlighted)

List all the Volumes available on the server
List the Shares
Lists all the Disks

List all the Disks
List all the Volumes
List all the Storage Pools

Storage Pools
List all the storage pools

Storage Pool is a new feature of Windows Server 2012.

List all the Shares
List all the Volume
List all the Quota

List all the iSCSI Virtual Disks

Work Folders
List all the work folders configured on this server. Work Folder a new feature of Windows Server 2012 R2

Now lets start creating a SAN

Click on "Disks" and you will fond three disks listed on right pane

- 60 GB Disk (C Drive)
- 10 GB Disk
- 100 GB Disk

The two new disk we have added (10 GB and 100 GB) are Uninitialized. So, the first task is to "Initialize" the disks

Right click on a disk and select "Initialize"

Warning: Data will be Erased (Expected)

The disk is Initialized now

We now need to create a new volume

Right click on the disk and select "New Volume"

Select the Server and the Disk

Just a little warning stating that the disk will be Initialized

Select the Volume Size

Select the Drive Letter

The File System (NTFS), Allocation Unit Size and Volume Label

Once completed, the disk will be listed in Disk Management as Online

We now have two disks (10 GB - Quorum and 100 GB - Storage)

The disks are visible in Disks under "File and Storage Services"

Lets move to iSCSI Tab

Click on "To Create an iSCSI Virtual Disk, Start the New iSCSI Virtual Disk Wizard"

Select the Server Name and the Volume

Provide a iSCSI Virtual Disk Name, Description and Path

Provide a Size and Type


1. Fixed Size
2. Dynamically Expanding
3. Differencing

Specify a size of the disk

Here you need to select the iSCSI Target

Since this is the first time we are configuring iSCSI, there wont be any iSCSI Targets

So lets select the second option to create a new iSCSI Target

Provide a Name and a Description

Specify the iSCSI Initiators which will access this iSCSI Target

Here you get three options

- Query Initiator Computer for ID
- Select the Initiator Cache on the Target Server
- Enter the Value for the Selected Type

- DNS Name
- IP Address
- MAC Address

We will select the IP Address of the Cluster Node

Both Nodes Added

Option to Enable CHAP Authentication


Now the disk is available under "iSCSI"

Lets launch iSCSI on Node1

Since the service by default is set to stopped, so initiating the iSCSI Initiator will start the service

iSCSI Initiator

- Targets
- Discovery
- Favorite Targets
- Volumes and Devices
- Configuration

The IP Address of the SAN Server is

Enter the IP Address of the SAN Server in the Target Field

Click on Connect


Click on Discovery Tab and you will find that the it has already discovered the target

Open the Disk Management and the disk you be visible here

Will do the same for the other node (Node4) as well

However, for the second drive, we will follow a different approach to present the disk

Click on iSCSI and then right click and choose the option "New iSCSI Virtual Disk"

Select the Disk (Storage - S)

Give a name to this disk

Select the size of the disk

And here this time since the target is already mentioned, just select this target

Now open the disk management on any of the node and the disk will be available on that node