Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 Released
Microsoft today released an addition for Windows Server 2008 R2 that enables shared block storage in storage area networks using the iSCSI Protocol.
The new Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is the first release that can be used in a production environment, according to Microsoft's announcement. It enables "storage consolidation and sharing on a Windows Server by implementing the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) protocol, which supports SCSI-block access to [a] storage device over a TCP/IP network," according to the product overview description at the Microsoft Download Center page.
This sort of storage architecture offers a number of benefits, according to Microsoft's product overview. It can be used to achieve high availability with Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor using the "live migration" feature. Storage for application servers can be consolidated, including on a Windows failover cluster. Finally, Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 supports the remote booting of diskless computers "from a single operating system image."
Microsoft's team ran this release of the software through extensive testing, particularly with Windows Server failover clusters and Hyper-V, according to the announcement. One scenario involved using Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in a "two-node Failover Cluster," with 92 Hyper-V virtual machines storing data to one of the nodes. The team introduced a failure in the main node and found that all 92 virtual machines switched to the second node without a noticeable effect on the underlying application.
Microsoft is recommending using Service Pack 1 with Windows Server 2008 R2 for this release of Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. The product can be installed in a Hyper-V virtual machine. It doesn't work with a core installation of Windows Server 2008 R2.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.