ISCSI Server as a storage device for vSphere

Windows 2012 ISCSI Server as a storage device for vSphere

You should have a central storage like SAN in order to play with the VMware advance feature like HA, vMotion, FT…Etc, but that is not always possible for Lab or evaluation.

In my previous posts, I showed you how to install and setup HPLeftHand P4000 on ESX and provide a shared storage for VMware.

In this blog I will show you how to use Microsoft windows 2012 ISCSI solution as a shared storage for VMware.

I will not walk you through the step to setup iSCSI Target; if you are interested in step-by-step   iSCSI Target setup take a look in to Microsoft iSCSI Solution.


Let’s get started!

This configuration consists of two parts.

  • Setup iSCSI virtual Disk and iSCSI initiators to access LUN on iSCSI Target server
  • Setup software iSCSI Adapter and mount datastores on ESX server

First part on windows 2012r2 server

On server manager Select “New iSCSI Virtual Disk” from the task menu


Type a custom path for the virtual disk and click next


Give a name to your iSCSI virtual Disk


Specify the disk size and keep in mind you have to select “Fixed size”


Create target for this iSCSI virtual disk (you can assign to an existing target) and give a name


Assign access to this iSCSI virtual disk (add iSCSI initiators that will access this virtual disk)

VMstorage_P1_08  VMstorage_P1_08_b

Optionally you can enable CHAP and/or reverse CHAP to add some security, it is not necessary at this point especially for the lab.


Confirm the setting and click create


If the iSCSI virtual disk was created successfully; you will see this window


Now on the server manager you can see the new virtual disk, Target and their status


Second part on vSphere 6.0 server

Now I have installed additional nic on my esx server, and I will use it for iSCSI adapter initiator seting to access iSCSI Target server (SAN)

Select host and then click configuration – Network Adapter
You can see the newly added network adapter “vmnic1” and it is not associated with any swich


Configuration –Networking – Add Networking


For connection type select VMkernal; the VMkernel TCP/IP stack handles iSCSI traffic for ESXi service


Create a new vSphere Standard switch to handle TCP/IP traffic and Select the newly added network adapter (vmnic1) and then click next


For now I will keep the default setting, in another post I will wok you through vMotion and FT configurations.


I will assign static IP for my VMkernel IP connection (the IP address assigned in part 1 for iSCSI virtual disk access)

VMstorage_P2_06  VMstorage_P2_07

Standard switch vSwitch1 created and connected to vmnic1 physical adapter


After network setting part completed, I will continue with storage adapter setting
Configuration—storage Adapter –add

I will add iSCSI software adapter, since not added yet,



after “iSCSI software adapter” added we will continue with “iSCSI software adapter” configuration

Right click on the adapter and select properties


Click “add” on the “network configuration” tab in order to bind vmkernal adapter with the iSCSI adapter


Select the vmkernel adapter from list and it will display the details info for the network adapter

VMstorage_P2_13  VMstorage_P2_14

Now let’s set the target iSCSI server

VMstorage_P2_15  VMstorage_P2_16


Now this is the last part of the configuration, configure the datastore
Configuration – Storage
You can see the only storage is the local device “datastore9”


Click “Devices” and you can see “MSFT iSCSI Disk” on the list


Back to “Datastores” and click “Add storage”,
Specify the storage type on the “Add Storage” windows and select “Disk/LUN” to create a datastore on iSCSI.

VMstorage_P2_20 VMstorage_P2_21

Enter datastore name (Lun02) and Next –Next –Finish


And you can see the Lun02 datastore on iSCSI disk



  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!


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