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Block based storage with Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 R2


Challenge

Most of the database and mail applications require block based storage. Locally reproached, it must be complexly integrated into a security concept.

 

Solution

The Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 is a branch of the Windows 2012 R2 server, optimized on storage tasks.
It integrates into homogeneous Microsoft environments without any problems, its fully compatible with Active Directory and provides virtual drives via the network.

 

Operation

In addition to file and folder approvals (NAS) the Windows Storage Server 2012 R2  provides connected clients also (block) space through the iSCSI protocol via the Gigabit network. Any client can manage via the iSCSI visible storage area like a local drive - and provide it with a drive letter or a mount point.

The connection to an iSCSI target occurs via a iSCSI initiator software, its free of charge for all current operating systems. Hardware based initiators with TCP Offload Engine (TOE) relieve the CPU and allow to boot the operating system from the iSCSI drive.

With the Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 network ports can be quick and easy bundled. Thus the throughput can be multiplied compared to the use of individual ports. With 10 Gbps Ethernet higher throughput rates can also be achieve without channel bundling.


The configuration of the (virtual) iSCSI resources with the Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 is really easy and guides in a few steps to success (see below).
Virtual drives maintain to a flexible and dynamic handling of storage resources and increase efficiency of the IT environment by maximizing utilization.

iSCSI-Einrichtung beim Microsoft Windows Storage Server
iSCSI device Microsoft Windows Storage Server

To the goal in 5 steps

  1. Create an iSCSI Target
  2. Installing of the iSCSI initiator (client)
  3. Adding the initiator to the target
  4. Create a virtual drive
  5. Set up drive letter and operate formatting

Added value

  • Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 cluster operation with failover
  • Multipathing (MPIO) for bandwidth maximization
  • Integration into iSNS (Internet Storage Name Service)
  • Virtual hard disks (VHD) up to 16 TB
  • Expansion of existing drives (LUNs)
  • Snapshots with VSS (Volume Shadow Services)
  • Local and further access to snapshots