So far in the previous articles we have see how to deploy, install and setup NAS4Free iSCSI targets. A very easy and straight forward process. The aim of this article instead is to provide the steps on how to mount the NAS4Free iSCSI target on a Windows Server and in particular with the purpose of serving a SQL Failover Cluster.
Mount NAS4Free iSCSI target on Windows Server
So as per previous articles we are using the built-in iSCSI Client (Windows Server 2008 and older requires a separate download) to list and connect to the available targets.
As soon as we run this all we have have to do is to review and accept the default settings as per screenshot below where we can see the iSCSI Server IQN unique name and the name of the resource.
For now we can leave the option for the Multi-Path or Microsoft MP-IO disabled as we are connecting to these resources with a single connection. I will elaborate more on this topic in a separate article.
Next step is to launch the Disk Manager applet and we’ll notice a new Disk is available. Let’s start by setting this disk from Offline to Online.
At this point we can now use Windows to initialise and format the Disk.
As per screenshot a new wizard will start so we can create a Volume, format the drive and create the Disk Partition using NTFS file system. Since this particular disk will use less than 2TB we can simply use MBR option.
At this point we are ready to create a simple volume.
A new wizard will start to create a Simple Volume.
Let’s use the maximum size available as per screenshot below.
Let’s assign a drive letter. Let’s pay attention to the Drive Letters as they will become handy when configuring the SQL Cluster.
It is now time to format this drive with NTFS in order for the SQL Fail-over Cluster to use it. Let’s also provide a volume label and run a quick format.
A quick summary before committing changes and in a matter of few seconds the new volume will be mounted and ready for Windows to be used.
When repeating the same steps for the other volumes we’ll get a configuration similar to this one:
- Disk for Quorum
- Disk for SQL Backups
- Disk for SQL Data
- Disk for SQL Log
- Disk for SQL TempDB
All these disk drives are now ready to be used from the first node of the Cluster.
On the other member nodes of the cluster all we have to do is to repeat the same steps. The major difference this time is that once disks are “Online” onto the new cluster nodes they do not need to be formatted again.
Another recommendation also part of the best practices as a finishing touch would be to make sure the same drives are mounted exactly with the same drive letters across different node members of the Cluster as this is also one of the requirements to setup a SQL Failover Cluster. Failing this the Cluster Validation wizard will highlight these drives as not properly configured.
This concludes the final part on how to mount NAS4Free iSCSI target on Windows machines. At this point we can now take a quick break, maybe a quick espresso! Everything is ready to start the deployment of a SQL Failover Cluster Instance.