StarWind Virtual SAN® is a native Windows hypervisor-centric, hardware less VMstorage solution. It creates a fully fault-tolerant and high-performing storage pool built specifically for the virtualization workloads by mirroring existing server’s storage and RAM between the participating cluster nodes. StarWind Virtual SAN delivers supreme performance compared to any dedicated SAN solution, since it runs locally on the hypervisor and all I/O is rocessed by local RAM, SSD cache, and disks and never gets bottlenecked by storage fabric.
This guide is intended for experienced StarWind users, Windows system administrators, and IT professionals who would like to configure StarWind Virtual SAN solution. It provides detailed instructions on how to create shared storage configuration using StarWind Virtual SAN that runs on top of Windows Server 2012R2 and Windows Server 2016.
A full set of up-to-date technical documentation can always be found here, or by pressing the Help button in the StarWind Management Console.
Creating Basic Image File
1. Launch the StarWind Management Console: double-click the StarWind tray icon.
NOTE: StarWind Management Console cannot be installed on an operating system without a GUI. You can install it on any of the GUI-enabled Windows Editions including the desktop versions of Windows.
If StarWind Service and Management Console are installed on the same server, the Management Console will automatically add the local StarWind instance to the Console tree after the first launch. Then, the Management Console automatically connects to it 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 the 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’ve prepared earlier All the devices created through the Add Device wizard will be stored on it. Should you decide to use an alternative storage path for your StarWind virtual disks, please use the Add Device (advanced) menu item.
Press 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 which 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. Click the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar.
4. Add Device Wizard will appear. Select Hard disk device and click Next.
5. Select Virtual disk and click Next.
6. Specify the virtual disk name, location, size and click Next button.
7. Specify virtual disk options and click Next button.NOTE: Use 4096 Virtual Block size for Windows-based; 512 for Linux-based (ESXi/Xen/KVM)
8. Define the caching policy, specify the cache size (in MB) and click Next.
NOTE: It is not recommended to configure cache in Write-Back mode on Standalone devices in order to avoid possible data corruption upon power outage or incorrect service shutdown. It is recommended to put 1 GB of L1 cache per 1 TB storage capacity.
9. Define the Flash Cache Parameters policy and size if necessary. Choose SSD location in the wizard.
NOTE: The recommended size of L2 cache is 10% of the initial StarWind device size.
10. Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically basing on the target alias. Click Next to continue.
11. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target.
12. Click OK to close the wizard.
13. The added device will appear in the StarWind Management Console.
Discovering and Connecting Target Portals
14. Launch Microsoft iSCSI Initiator: Start > Administrative Tools > iSCSI Initiator or iscsicpl from the command line interface. The iSCSI Initiator Properties window appears.
15. Navigate to the Discovery tab.
16. Click the Discover Portal button. Discover Target Portal dialog appears. Type in 127.0.0.1 if you are going to connect the virtual drive from the local host.
17. Click the Advanced button. Select Microsoft iSCSI Initiatior as your Local adapter and select your Initiator IP (leave default for 127.0.0.1)
18. Click OK. Then click OK again to complete the Target Portal discovery.
19. Click on the Targets tab.
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).
20. Select a target of a stand-alone device located on the local server and click Connect.
21. Add target to the Favorites list and enable multipath. Click Advanced.
22. Select 127.0.0.1 in the Target portal IP and Microsoft iSCSI Initiator as default initiator.
Click OK and finish the connection.
23. Make sure your device is connected as shown on the picture below:
24. Initialize the disks and create partitions on them using the Disk Management snap-in. The disk devices are required to be visible on both nodes in order to create the cluster.
NOTE: it is recommended to initialize the disks as GPT.