This technical paper describes how to create an HA device with StarWind Virtual SAN™. This virtualization software improves the performance and fault tolerance of your storage architecture. It eliminates the need for physical shared storage since StarWind mirrors the internal resources between the servers. Once StarWind iSCSI targets are connected to all cluster nodes, the HA devices are treated as local storage by both hypervisors and clustered applications. Fault tolerance is achieved by providing the multipath access to all storage nodes. Configuring StarWind Virtual SAN not only simplifies management and operation of a storage infrastructure but also boosts its performance with no dedicated storage hardware or proprietary equipment required.
This guide is intended for experienced Windows system administrators and IT professionals who would like to configure the StarWind Virtual SAN solution. This document provides detailed instructions on how to create a minimal 2-node shared storage configuration with high availability using StarWind Virtual SAN that runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2.
A full set of up-to-date technical documentation can always be found here, or by clicking the Help button in the StarWind Management Console.
Creating Shared Storage
1. Launch the StarWind Management Console: double-click the StarWind tray icon.NOTE: StarWind Management Console cannot be installed on a GUI-less OS. You can install the Console on any GUI-enabled Windows editions, including a desktop version of Windows.
If StarWind Service and Management Console are installed on the same server, the Management Console automatically adds the local StarWind instance to the Console tree after the first launch. Then, the Management Console automatically connects to the StarWind Service using the default credentials. To add remote StarWind servers to the Console, use the Add Server button on the control panel.
2. StarWind Management Console will ask you to specify a default storage pool on the server you’re connecting to for the first time. Please, configure the storage pool to use one of the volumes you have prepared earlier. All the devices created through the Add Device wizard will be stored on the configured storage pool. Should you decide to use an alternative storage path for your StarWind virtual disks, please use the Add Device (advanced) menu item.
Press the Yes button to configure the storage pool. Should you require to change the storage pool destination, press Choose path… and point the browser to the necessary disk.NOTE: Each of the arrays that will be used by StarWind Virtual SAN to store virtual disk images should meet the following requirements:
• initialized as GPT;
• have a single NTFS-formatted partition;
• have a drive letter assigned.
3. Select the StarWind server where you wish to create the device.
4. Press the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar.
5. Add Device Wizard will appear. Select Hard Disk Device and click Next.
6. Select a Virtual disk and click Next.
7. Specify the virtual disk name, location, and size and click Next.
8. Specify virtual disk options.
9. Define the caching policy and specify the cache size.
NOTE: It is recommended to put 1 GB of L1 cache in the Write-Back mode per 1 TB storage capacity. Click Next.
10. Define the Flash Cache Parameters policy and size if necessary. Choose an SSD location in the wizard. Click Next to continue.
NOTE: The recommended size of the L2 cache is 10% of the initial StarWind device size.
11. Specify target parameters.Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically based on the target alias.
Click Next to continue.
12. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target. Then, click Close to close the wizard.
13. Right-click the servers field and select Add Server. Add a new StarWind Server which will be used as the second HA node.
Click OK and Connect button to continue.
14. Right-click the recently created device and select the Replication Manager
The Replication Manager window will appear. Press the Add Replica button
15. Select Synchronous two-way replication and click Next to proceed.
16. Specify the partner server IP address.
The default StarWind management port is 3261. If you have configured a different port, please, type it in the Port number field.
17. Select Heartbeat as the Failover Strategy
18. Choose Create new Partner Device and click Next.
19. Specify the partner device location if necessary. You can also modify the target name of the device.
You can specify the synchronization and heartbeat channels for the HA device on this screen. You can also modify the ALUA settings.
Click Change Network Settings.
20. Specify the interfaces for synchronization and Heartbeat.
Click OK. Then click Next.NOTE: It is recommended configuring Heartbeat and iSCSI channels on the same interfaces to avoid the split-brain issue.
21. Select Synchronize from existing Device as a partner device initialization mode and click Next.
22. Press the Create Replica button and click Close.
23. The added device will appear in the StarWind Management Console.
24. Discover and connect created targets in iSCSI initiator which you are using in your environment.
StarWind makes it possible to achieve redundancy and fault tolerance in your storage environment with only 2 nodes available and no additional storage hardware or proprietary equipment required. With StarWind Virtual SAN, the HA shared storage configuration significantly improves data availability. Data remains available at a second node should a first node go down because of hardware failure, network congestion or otherwise. Thus, the HA storage allows avoiding the single point of failure in your virtual infrastructure and restarting the VM on the other host.