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StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS: Configuring HA File Server on Windows Server 2012 for SMB NAS

Published: January 15, 2013

This document refers to the previous StarWind Virtual SAN version. To view the document for the current version, please follow this link



1. Open a StarWind configuration file.

Note: The default path is C:\Program Files\StarWind Software\StarWind\StarWind.cfg

2. Find the string “<!–<iScsiDiscoveryListInterfaces value=”1″/> –>” and uncomment it (should look as follows: <iScsiDiscoveryListInterfaces value=”1″/>).

3. Restart StarWind Service and repeat the same procedure on another StarWind HA node.

4. Launch StarWind Management Console: Start -> All Programs -> StarWind Software -> StarWind.

Note: The StarWind Console icon appears in the system tray when the Console is running. To open StarWind Management Console, double-click the icon or right-click it, and then select Start Management Console from the shortcut menu.

5. Select the server you want to provide with the iSCSI target device from the Console tree. Double-click the host to connect.

Note: If you are prompted to enter login and password, specify “root” and “starwind”, respectively. These are the default login and password, but you can always change them later.

6. After connecting to StarWind Service, you can create devices and targets on the server. Open Add Device Wizard by one of the following ways:

  • Select Add Device from the Target menu.
  • Select Add Device from the Devices shortcut menu (right-click to open it).

7. Add Device Wizard appears. Please, follow the wizard’s steps to create a new HA device.

8. Select the High Availability Device option.

9. Click Next to continue.

10. Click Add to add a new host.

11. Specify partner server parameters. Enter the server IP-address. If needed, specify username and password for StarWind Service in the corresponding text fields. Click OK.

12. Click Next to continue.

13. Specify the appropriate information in the Target Alias and Target Name text fields.

Note: The name must be unique. Under this name the device is declared to iSCSI initiators that are connected to StarWind Service over an IP network.

14. Click to specify a name and location of an HA virtual disk on the server. If you want to create a new virtual disk, select the Create New checkbox.

15. Click Next to continue.

16. Specify target and virtual disk parameters of the second node.

17. Click Next to continue.

18. Configure data synchronization and Heartbeat channels parameters.

Note: At least one Heartbeat channel must be separated from a synchronization channel due to the availability considerations.

19. Click Next to continue.

20. Specify cache parameters of the HA device.

21. Click Next to continue.

22. Select an initialization method of the HA device.

23. Check whether device parameters are correct. Click Back to make any changes. Click Next to continue.

24. Click Finish to close the wizard.

Follow the similar procedure to create the second HA device that will be used as a storage disk.


This document assumes that you have already configured Active Directory and two servers on the domain. It also assumes that you have enabled the Failover Clustering, Multipath I/O features, and the File Server role on the both servers. These configurations can be performed using Server Manager (the Add Roles and Features option).

1. Launch Server Manager, select the Manage item, and click the Add Roles and Features option. Install the File Server role, Multipath I/O, and Failover Clustering features following the wizard’s steps.

Note: Restart the server after the installation is completed.

2. Select Role-based or feature-based installation as an installation type and click Next to continue.

3. Select a server from the server pool. Use a filter to find an appropriate server.

4. Click Next to continue.

5. Select the File and iSCSI Services checkbox in the Roles section.

6. Click Add Features and Next to continue.

7. Select Failover Clustering and Multipath I/O checkboxes in the Features section.

8. Click Next to continue.

9. Select the corresponding checkbox if you want the server to be restarted automatically and click Install. Otherwise, click Install and restart server manually after the installation is completed.


To connect the previously created disks on all servers that will be added to the cluster:

1. Launch Microsoft iSCSI Initiator: Start > Administrative Tools > iSCSI Initiator. The iSCSI Initiator Properties window appears.

2. Navigate to the Discovery tab.

3. Click Discover Portal. Enter an IP address of each StarWind Server in the appropriate field of the Discover Target Portal dialog. Click OK.

4. Complete the same steps for the second node.

5. Click the Targets tab. The previously created targets are listed in the Discovered Targets section.

Note: If the created targets are not listed, check the firewall settings of the StarWind Server as well as the list of networks served by the StarWind Server (go to StarWind Management Console -> Configuration -> Network).

6. Select each of the targets and click Connect to add them.

7. Select Add this connection to the list of Favorite Targets and Enable multi-path checkboxes in the Connect to Target dialog.

8. Repeat the actions described in the previous step for each target.

9. Open the MPIO manager: Start -> Administrative Tools -> MPIO.

10. Go to the Discover Multi-Paths tab. Select the Add support for iSCSI devices checkbox and click Add.

11. When prompted to restart the server, click Yes to proceed. After the server is restarted, initialize the disk and create partitions, as if it was a physical hard drive.


Note: The StarWind disks must be initialized and formatted to be used as cluster disks.

Changes made to the first node (e.g. initialization or partition) are applied to the second node as soon as it is brought online.

To initialize disks and create partitions:

1. Launch the Computer Management console.

2. Go to Storage -> Disk Management.

3. Right-click each disk and select Online Disk to bring it online.

4. Right-click each disk and select Initialize Disk. Follow the wizard’s instructions to initialize disks.

Note: Select MBR (Master Boot Record) as a partition style.

5. Click OK to continue.

The Computer Management console should look as shown on the screenshot below.

To create partitions and format new disks:

1. Right-click each disk in the Computer Management window and select New Simple Volume.

2. Follow the wizard’s instructions to create partitions.

The Computer Management window should look as shown on the screenshot below.

Perform the same actions on the other servers. Creation of partitions is no longer necessary. The Computer Management window should look as follows.


To validate a cluster:

1. Open Server Manager. Select the Failover Cluster Manager item from the Tools menu.

2. Verify whether your servers are suitable for building a cluster: click Validate a Configuration in the Actions section.

To create a cluster:

1. Click the Create a Cluster item in the Actions section of Failover Cluster Manager. Click Next to continue as Create Cluster Wizard appears.

2. Specify servers to be included to the cluster.

3. Click Next to continue.

4. Specify a cluster name.

Note: If the cluster servers get IP addresses over DHCP, the cluster also gets its IP address over DHCP. If the IP addresses are set statically, you need to set a cluster IP address manually as well.

5. Click Next to continue.

6. Make sure that all of the settings are correct. Select the Add all available storage to the cluster. Click Previous to make any changes. Click Next to continue.

7. After the cluster creation is completed, the system displays a report with detailed information.

8. Click Finish to close the wizard.

The Failover Cluster Manager window should look as follows.


To make the File Server highly available:

1. Open Server Manager. Select the Failover Cluster Manager item from the Tools menu.

2. Select Roles.

3. Click Configure Role in the Actions pane.

4. Select the File Server item from the list in High Availability Wizard.

5. Click Next.

6. Select File Server for general use.

7. Click Next to continue.

8. Fill in the Name field with the corresponding information and specify the cluster address.

9. Click Next.

10. Select the storage volume to be assigned to the service or application.

11. Click Next.

12. Check whether the specified information is correct. Click Next to proceed.

13. Click Finish to close the wizard.

Failover Cluster Manager should look as shown in the screenshot below.


To share a folder:

1. If the cluster that you want to configure is not displayed in the Failover Cluster Manager window, right-click Failover Cluster Manager in the Console tree and select the needed cluster.

2. Select Roles item.

3. Right-click a previously created file server role and select Add File Share from the shortcut menu.

4. As New Share Wizard appears, select the profile for this share.

5. Click Next to continue.

6. Select the server and path for this share.

7. Click Next to continue.

8. Specify the location and share name in the corresponding text fields.

9. Click Next to continue.

10. Specify permissions for the shared folder. Click Customize permissions to add permissions.

11. Click Next to continue.

12. Check whether specified settings are correct. Click Previous to make any changes.

13. Click Create to continue.

14. Check the summary and click Close.