Providing Local Access to Data on Virtual Disks

Updated: September 29, 2010

Applies To: Microsoft iSCSI Software Target

With Microsoft iSCSI Software Target, you can provide local disk access to data on an iSCSI target in the following ways:

  • Mount a read-only snapshot on the local computer for backup purposes.

  • Mount a read/write virtual disk on the local computer for recovery purposes.

As a result, each locally-mounted snapshot or virtual disk appears as a local, physical hard disk drive that can be used to enable centralized backup and recovery.

In a typical SAN environment, an iSCSI initiator connects to an iSCSI target server. The iSCSI initiator can then access the data on the iSCSI virtual disk. To back up this virtual disk, the iSCSI initiator can use backup software, such as NTBackup.exe or a network backup application. Backing up data over a network requires that the data travels from the iSCSI target server to the iSCSI initiator, and then from the iSCSI initiator to the backup server. This places the data onto the network twice. Multiple simultaneous backups can negatively impact network performance.

If a virtual disk or snapshot is mounted locally, the iSCSI target can act as the backup server, reading data from the local disk and then writing it directly to the backup media on the iSCSI target server—without impacting network performance.

You can mount one virtual disk image or snapshot at a time, and you can only mount one snapshot of a specific virtual disk at a time.

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