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Microsoft Releases iSCSI Software Target 3.3 to Windows Sever 2008 R2 Users

Microsoft released on Monday iSCSI Software Target 3.3, a Windows Server 2008 R2 addition that allows for shared block storage in storage area networks using the iSCSI protocol.

According to Microsoft's announcement, iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is the first release that can be used in a production environment. The product enables "storage consolidation and sharing on a Windows Server by implementing the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) protocol, which supports SCSI-block access to [a] storage device over a TCP/IP network," according to the product overview at Microsoft's Download Center.

This type of storage architecture offers a number of benefits, according to the product overview. It can be used to achieve high availability with Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor using the "live migration" feature. Storage for application servers can be consolidated, including on a Windows failover cluster. Finally, Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 supports the remote booting of diskless computers "from a single operating system image using iSCSI."

Microsoft's team ran this release the software through extensive testing, particularly with Windows Server failover clusters and Hyper-V, according to the announcement. One scenario involved using Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in a "two-node Failover Cluster," with 92 Hyper-V virtual machines storing data to one of the nodes. The team introduced a failure in the main node and found that all 92 virtual machines switched to the second node without a noticeable effect on the underlying application.

Microsoft is recommending using Service Pack 1 with Windows Server 2008 R2 for this release of Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. The product can be installed in a Hyper-V virtual machine. It doesn't work with a core installation of Windows Server 2008 R2.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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