Implementing iSCSI Cluster Using Starwind iSCSI Target and WMware Workstation

Updated on March 8, 2019
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In this article, I will show you how to implement iSCSI cluster on vmware workstation. In an iSCSI network, there are three components: Target, Initiator and Network. I will use Starwind as an iSCSI target and Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator as an iSCSI Initiator. You can download free trial version of Starwind at and Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator at
Basic Steps
1. Install Starwind and make disks available that can be used for the Quorum and Data in MSCS on the host pc
2. Install Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in the guest operating system.
3. Configure MS iSCSI Software Initiator to use the disks made available by Starwind in the guest OS
4. Now you can see extra SCSII disks in Windows 2003 that you can format and assign a drive letter to
Note: Make sure that the guest os can connect to your host pc over a virtual network. You can use host-only network in Vmware for this purpose
Step 1:Install and Configure Starwind
Just launch the installer and follow the prompts. After installation, you can add devices and make them available over the network. We need a Quorum and a data disk for a basic 2 node cluster. I will use image files for this purpose. Do the followings for Quorum and Data disks
  • Click on StarWind icon located in system tray and select “Start Management”
  • In the available connections list right click on “localhost:3260” and select “Connect”
  • In dialog box type “test” without quotation marks for both username and password
  • Right click on “localhost: 3260” and select “Add Device” and then select “Image File Device” and click “Next”
  • Click on “New Image” button and provide new image parameters
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Note: When you add devices, use the clustering option to allow multiple initiators to connect to the device

Step 2: Preparing Network Environment

In this setup, I used three network connections. These are

  • Public: bridged network
  • HeartBeat: Custom virtual network ( VMNet7 in this case) for the MCSC heartbeat
  • iSCSI: Host-only network to connect to the iSCSI target on the host

Step 3: Configuring Guest OS

After installing the first guest

  • Install Microsoft iSCSI initiator software on guest.
  • Define a target server
  • Set the targets
  • Click the “Log On” button and set “Automatically restore this connection when the system boots”
  • In Disk Management, you can format and assign drive letters
  • Shut down the first guest and repeat processess described in Step 3 for second guest ( Assign the same drive letters)
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Now you have Quorum and shared data disk. Create and configure MSCS as you normally would.