StarWind Resource Library

StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS: Providing HA Shared Storage for Scale-Out File Servers

Published: July 24, 2012


Scale-out File Server (SoFS) is a clustered file server that allows keeping server application data on file shares, making it accessible for end users. A SoFS provides SAN reliability and high availability of shared data.

StarWind iSCSI SAN ensures simple configuration of highly available shared storage for SoFS and delivers excellent performance and advanced data protection features.


Configuring Shared Storage

1. Launch StarWind Management Console by clicking Start -> All Programs -> StarWind Software -> StarWind -> StarWind Management Console.

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. Then, select Start Management Console from the Shortcut menu.

2. From the Console tree, select the server you want to provide with the iSCSI target device.

3. Double-click the host to connect.

4. In the Login dialog that appears specify login and password in the corresponding text fields.

NOTE: The default login and password are “root” and “starwind”, respectively. You can change them later.

NOTE: Select the Save password checkbox to save a password.

5. Click OK to continue.

6. Click Add Target on the toolbar.

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

8. Go to Hard Disk->Advanced Virtual->High Availability Device to select the HA device type.

9. Click Next to continue.

10. In the Target Alias and Target Name text fields, specify corresponding information. The name must be unique. Under this name the device is declared to the iSCSI initiators, connecting to the StarWind Service over an IP network.

11. Click Next to continue.

12. Specify the partner server parameters. Enter the server IP-address in the Host text field, and specify username and password for the StarWind Service in the corresponding text fields.

13. Click Next to continue.

14. In the Partner Target Alias and Partner Target Name text fields specify corresponding information.

15. Click Next to continue.

16. In the Virtual disk parameters of the current server field and the Virtual disk parameters of the partner server field specify name and location of HA virtual disks on the current and partner hosts, respectively. If you want to create new virtual disks, select the Create new checkbox.

17. Click Next to continue.

18. Configure the data synchronization and heartbeat channels parameters of the current server.

You can also specify primary or secondary node priority.

19. Click Next to continue.

20. Specify synchronization channel parameters of the partner server.

21. Click Next to continue.

22. Specify number of iSCSI sessions in the synchronization channel.

23. Click Next to continue.

24. Select initialization method of the HA device.

25. Click Next to continue.

26. Specify cache parameters of the HA device.

27. Click Next to continue.

28. Check whether device parameters are correct. Click Back to make any changes.

29. Click Next to continue.

30. Click Finish to close the wizard.

31. Follow the same procedure to create the second device that will be used as a quorum.


Configuring Cluster Servers

Installing Features and File Server Role

To set up cluster servers, you must have configured Active Directory and two servers on the domain. Moreover, you have to previously enable the Failover Clustering, Multipath I/O features and the File Server role on the both servers.

These configurations can be made using Server Manager (in the Features and Roles sections).

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 by following the wizard’s steps.

NOTE: Restart the server after 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 to install roles and features. Use a filter to find appropriate server.

4. Click Next to continue.

5. In the Roles section, select the File Services and File Server checkboxes.

6. Click Next to continue.

7. In the Features section select Failover Clustering and Multipath I/O checkboxes.

8. Click Next to continue.

9. Select the checkbox to restart server automatically and click Install. Otherwise, click Install and restart server manually after the installation is completed.


Connecting Targets

You will need to connect the previously created disks to all of the servers which will be added to the cluster.

1. Launch Microsoft iSCSI Initiator. The iSCSI Initiator Properties window appears.

2. Navigate to the Discovery tab.

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

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

NOTE: If created targets are not listed, check the firewall settings on the StarWind Server as well as the list of networks served by the StarWind Server. You can do this by clicking StarWind Management Console >Configuration -> Network.

5. Select each of the targets and clicking Connect to add them.

6. In the Connect to Target dialog that appears select Add this connection to the list of Favorite Targets and Enable multi-path check boxes. This is necessary to automatically reconnect to the targets upon client restart. Click OK.

7. Open the MPIO manager by clicking Start -> Administrative Tools -> MPIO.

8. Go to the Discover Multi-Paths tab. Select the Add support for iSCSI devices check box and click Add.

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

NOTE: The procedures performed on the first server are automatically shown on the second one.


Initializing Disks

The StarWind disks must be initialized and formatted, before they can be utilized as cluster disks.

To initialize disks and create partitions:

1. Launch the Computer Management console.

2. Select the Disk Management item.

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

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

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

5. Click OK to continue.

6. The Computer Management console will look as shown in the screenshot below.


To create partitions and format the new disks:

1. Right-click each of the disks in the Computer Management window, and then click New Simple Volume.

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

3. The Computer Management window will look as shown in the screenshot below.

4. The same actions need to be made on the other servers, except that creating partitions will no longer be necessary.


Creating a Cluster

To validate a cluster:

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

2. Before creating a cluster, you will need to validate your configuration. In the Actions section, click Validate Configuration to verify whether your servers are suitable for building a cluster. After completion of validation process you will returned to the Failover Cluster Manager window.

To create a cluster:

1. Click the Create a Cluster item in the Actions section of the Failover Cluster Manger.

2. Specify the servers that will be included into the cluster.

3. Click Next to continue.

4. Specify the cluster name.

NOTE: If the cluster servers get IP addresses over DHCP, the cluster gets its IP address over DHCP as well. If the IP addresses are set statically, you need to set an IP address for the cluster as well.

5. Click Next to continue.

6. Make sure that all of the previously defined options are correct. Click Previous to make any changes.

7. Click Next to continue.

8. The process of creating the cluster begins. As creation of the cluster is completed, read the report.

9. Click Finish to close the wizard.

10. After these actions, the Failover Cluster Manager window appears.


Configuring and Managing Scale-Out File Servers

Adding Disks to Cluster Shared Volumes

1. Right-click the disk assigned to Available Storage (see the Assigned To column), and click Add to Cluster Shared Volumes.

2. The disk will be displayed as a CSV at the Failover Cluster Manager window as shown in the screenshot below.


Configuring Scale-Out File Server Role

To configure Scale-Out File Server role:

1. Launch Failover Cluster Manager.

2. Right-click the Role item and click Configure Role. High Availability Wizard appears.

3. Read the Before You Begin page appears. Click Next.

4. On the Select Role page, choose File Server and click Next.

5. Select File Server for scale-out application data and click Next.

6. On the Client Access Point page, in the Name text field type a NETBIOS name that will be used to access Scale-Out File Server.

7. Click Next to continue.

8. On the Confirmation page check the selected settings.

9. Click Next to continue or Previous to make any changes.

10. Review the information on the Summary page and click Finish.

11. When you are finished, the Failover Cluster Manager window should look as shown in the screenshot below.


Creating a Continuously Available File Share on a Cluster Shared Volume

To create a continuously available file share on the cluster shared volume:

1. Launch the Failover Cluster Manager.

2. Select the Roles item.

3. Right-click a previously created file server role and select Add Shared Folder.

4. From the list of profiles select SMB Share — Server Application.

5. Click Next.

6. Select a CSV volume to host the share.

7. Click Next.

8. Enter a share name and verify the path to the share.

9. Click Next.

10. Ensure the Enable Continuous Availability checkbox is selected.

11. Click Next.

12. On the Specify permissions to control access page, click Customize permissions and grant the following permissions:

• If you are using this Scale-Out File Server file share for Hyper-V, all Hyper-V computer accounts, the SYSTEM account, and all Hyper-V administrators must be granted full control on the share and the file system.

• If you are using Scale-Out File Server on Microsoft SQL Server, the SQL Server service account must be granted full control on the share and the file system.

13. Click Next to continue.

14. On the Confirm selections page review the settings and click Create. To make any changes, click Previous.

15. Review results on the last page and click Close.

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