Shared Storage with iSCSI

In this post we will look at how we can create a shared storage between two Windows 2016 Servers in Hyper-V. A shared storage is required if we want to cluster the servers (nodes).


  1. Create a server with iSCSI target feature.
  2. Create virtual disk and iSCSI target.
  3. List iSCSI initiator.
  4. Connect to a target from another server (iSCSI initiator).
  5. Use Disk Management.
  6. Initialize and format the disk(s).



This post builds upon several earlier posts. You should have knowledge about: Virtualization in Hyper-V, basic network (LAN), DNS server, AD and Domain Controller.

If you find things too hard or unclear in this post, you can look at the previous ones:

And if those posts are also too hard to grasp, follow the link in the prerequisites in each post and find your way backwards.

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Setup in Hyper-V

This is my setup in Hyper-V:

setup hyper-v
All servers Windows 2016 Server Evaluation in the domain
Server Name IP Address Roles/Features
my-dc01 DC, AD, DNS
my-storage01 iSCSI target

Note! You could use your DC server as storage server also, to save disk space and number of servers in Hyper-V.

Info. Here is a checklist for installing and adding a new server to the setup in my lab environment in Hyper-V:

  • Install the same version of Windows 2016 Server OS (evaluation version) as the others.
  • Turn off Windows Firewall (don’t need it in this lab environment).
  • Allow remote desktop access.
  • Set IPv4 address and disable IPv6.
  • Enable NetBIOS.
  • Rename your computer.
  • Add PC to domain.
  • Register server in DNS (automatically via DC/AD).
  • Make regularly checkpoints of the VM.

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About iSCSI

iSCSI – Internet Small Computer Systems Interface

iSCSI is a technology for remotely attach, read/write to a storage. It is preinstalled in all modern Windows OSs. It is very convenient to work with, because when you add a storage with iSCSI it will make the store look like a local drive, not like a mapped network drive. See link in the references for a more in-depth explanation.

Two key points about iSCSI:

  • The server that provides storage with iSCSI is called the iSCSI Target.
  • The client that attach to the storage with iSCSI is called the iSCSI initiator.

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Add iSCSI Target Feature

First, you need to install a feature on the storage server (my-storage01):

iscsi feature

Chose iSCSI Target Server:

add iscsi feature

Install the feature:

Install iscsi feature

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Create iSCSI storage (virtual disk)

After you added the iSCSI feature, go back to Server Manager. Click on File and Storage Services:

server manager storage

Click on: To create an iSCSI virtual disk, start the New iSCSI Virtual Disk Wizard:

create iscsi disk

A wizard to create the iSCSI disk will start:

disk location

Choose a disk name:

disk name

In this tutorial I will only be creating two disk:

  • vDisk01 – 10GB
  • vDisk02 – 20GB

This is the first disk to be created:

disk size

We don’t have a iscsi target yet, so we will create one now. Target is like a container on the file server that holds the virtual disks.

iscsi target

Name the target.

Note! Afterward, I’m not satisfied with this name. Name it something like sql-iSCSI-target depending on the purpose of the storage.

target name

Now, chose which servers that can access the target/storage. (Access server – iSCSI initiators):

access servers

My access servers:

access servers summary

Next step, you can enable authentication. I don’t choose this level of security in a lab environment. Just adds extra layers of troubleshooting if needed.


Now, look through the confirmation windows and create the target and disk:


Installation in progress:


After the installation, you can go back to server manager and see that both the virtual disk and the target has been added:

server manager view disk and target

Now, create the second disk vDisk02 with 20GB. Right click in the pane under your virtual disk and start the New iSCSI Virtual Disk Wizard again.

This time, you have created a iSCSI target so choose it:

new disk

And once completed and created the second disk, it will show up in the iSCSI Virtual Disk menu:

view disk server manager

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Access iSCSI storage (with iSCSI initiator)

Now, we will map the newly created virtual disk to another server. The server that will access the iSCSI storage (target) is called an iSCSI initiator. When we are done, the remote disks will look and behave as local disks on the server.

Start by logging in to one of your servers that will access the storage. I will start from my server my-sql01.

On my-sql01, go to server manager:

iscsi initiator

A wizard will start (if asked for a service to be started, click yes):

Choose to Quick Connect to your file server:

quick connect

After you connected to a iscsi target, choose to auto config (this will add all possible drives from the target):


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Format Storage

After you have accessed the storage, we need to configurate the drives.

Open Disk Management by right click start button and choose it (or tools from Server Manager).

Here you can see the two disks from our file server:

Disk Management

Right click Disk 1 and bring it online:

online disk

Right click again and initialize the disk:

initialize disk

Chose default settings in the popup:

initialize disk settings

After the disk is online and initialize, right click on the right pane and choose New Simple Volume…

New Simple Volume

A wizard will start:

Simple Volume Wizard

This table presents all choices in the different steps:

Welcome to the… next
Specify Volume Size Max possible (my case 10237MB)
Assign the following drive letter E (may chose E to Z)
Format Partition File system: NTFS; Allocation unit size: Default; Volume label: Quorum; Perform a quick format (yes)
Complete the wizard… Finish

Now, repeat the steps above for the second drive. The second drive I labeled Data and assigned it to Drive letter F.

Info. You can ignore the warnings about the disk has to be formatted, you just did it in the wizard when you created the simple volume.

Format disk warning

Note! I labeled the 10GB disk (E) Quorum and the 20GB disk (F) Data.

Once you have brought the disks online, initialized them and formatted them. They will show up under This PC:

this pc

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Share Formatted Storage

In the previous heading we looked at how to connect and format disks in a iSCSI target. We can do this on a second server as well. Note, that the server must be in the list of access server (iSCSI initiators) in the iSCSI target configuration.

If we want to create a Windows cluster, it is required that the servers shares the same storage.

Now we will go into the second server, my-sql02, and access the same target and the same disks:

In iSCSI Initiator:

  1. Open iSCSI initiator, from Server Manager.
  2. Quick connect to your iSCSI target.
  3. Go to tab Volumes and Devices and Auto Configure.

In Disk Management:

  1. Bring the Disks online.
  2. This time you don’t have to initialize or format the disks, we did that from the first server previously.

Now you should be able to see the same disks from your second server:

this pc 2

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In this post we have looked at how to create a shared storage with virtual disks and a technique called iSCSI.

We formatted the disks and accessed them from two different servers. This is paramount step is we ever want to cluster the servers. Clustered servers need to read and write to the same storage.

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SPANdotCOM (2017), What is ISCSI? And why is it mentioned in NAS all the time [2019-03-20]

MSFT WebCast (2017), 20. Configuring iSCSI Storage Target Server in Windows server 2016 [2019-03-25]

Adnan Cartwright (2014), Introduction to Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2012 R2 [2019-03-25]

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