I was working on a project recently which, for various reasons, required IIS to be installed in a Windows 2003 Server cluster and I was asked if I could do this. As I had never actually done this before I wanted to try it out for myself in a test environment. So I fired up Virtual PC 2007 and started to look at building a test platform using virtual machines.
Unfortunately, I quickly found out that that Virtual PC doesn’t emulate or provide support for SCSI disks and since SCSI disks are a requirement for a Windows Server 2003 cluster I had to look for an alternative method. I vaguely remembered an old post on a Virtual PC forum where someone had suggested that you could actually build a Windows Server cluster using iSCSI so I decided to give it a go.
A few internet searches led me to a number of iSCSI target software vendors’ web sites and I eventually decided to
use the Starwind free iSCSI target for Microsoft Windows which you can get here : http://www.starwindsoftware.com
In this walkthrough I will demonstrate how you can build a test environment using only virtual machines running under Virtual PC 2007.
A Windows Server cluster requires a domain account for the cluster service to function correctly so we will need to have a domain controller running in addition to the two cluster nodes and the iSCSI server. My test environment consists of 4 virtual machines each running Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition. Each virtual machine has been allocated 256MB of memory and a 4GB virtual hard disk. The iSCSI server has a second 10GB virtual hard disk assigned which is used as shared storage by the cluster.
All the virtual machines have been configured to use the Microsoft Loopback Adapter in Virtual PC as shown below and each machine has a static IP address assigned as follows :
Domain Controller - 192.168.0.30
iSCSI Server - 192.168.0.70
Cluster Node A - 192.168.0.71
Cluster Node B - 192.168.0.72
The virtual machine which will act as the iSCSI target server has a second virtual hard disk assigned to it.
This additional disk on the iSCSI server is configured as a Basic disk and formatted with NTFS as shown here.
The next step is to install the Starwind iSCSI Target Software. For the purposes of this test I used the free version which you can get here : StarWind Free iSCSI Target.
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