iSCSI Target Block Storage Overview
Published: February 29, 2012
Updated: February 29, 2012
Applies To: Windows Server 2012
In Windows Server® 2012, iSCSI Target Server is available as a role service under the File and Storage Services role in Server Manager. If you are looking for ways to automate management tasks, a complete set of PowerShell cmdlets are also available.
iSCSI Target Server is ideal for:
Network/diskless boot: By using boot-capable NICs or a software loader, you can deploy hundreds of diskless servers. With iSCSI Target Server, the deployment is fast; in Microsoft internal testing, 256 computers deployed in 34 minutes. By using differencing virtual disks, you can save up to 90% of the storage space for the operating system images. This is ideal for large deployments of identical operating system images, such as a Hyper-V server farm or High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters.
Server application storage: Some applications require block storage. iSCSI Target Server can provide these applications with continuously available block storage. Since the storage is remotely accessible it can also consolidate block storage for central or branch office locations.
Heterogeneous storage: iSCSI Target Server supports non-Windows iSCSI initiators, making it easy to share storage on Windows Servers in a mixed software environment.
Development/Test/Demo/Lab environments: When iSCSI Target Server is enabled, it turns any Windows Server into a network-accessible block storage device. This is perfect for testing of applications prior to deployment on SAN storage.
Enabling iSCSI Target Server to provide block storage leverages your existing Ethernet network. No additional hardware is needed. If high availability is an important criterion, consider setting up a high availability cluster. With a high availability cluster, you will need shared storage for the cluster—either hardware Fibre Channel storage or a serial attached SCSI (SAS) storage array.
If you enable guest clustering, you need to provide block storage. Any servers running Windows Server software with iSCSI Target Server can provide block storage.