Configure Cluster on VMWare Workstation / Virtual PC using iSCSI

Requirments :

iSCSI Target
iSCSI Initiator
VMWare Workstation / Virtual PC

iSCSI Target : For iSCSI Target I used StarWind and install it on my Host PC. There are another tools available for the same, you may use that also, ie iSCSI Cake.

iSCSI Initiator : There are two fine iSCSI Initiator available, I used both of them to connect iSCSI Device on Guest OS

StarPort from StartWind
Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator

VMWare Workstation / Virtual PC : You need 3 Windows 2003 Guest OS, one for AD and two for Cluster Node.

Basic Steps I Follow:

  • On the host pc (my desktop), I install StarWind iSCSI.
  • Create image file for Quorum and other Disk.
  • In the guest operating systems, I install both StarPort and Microsoft Initiator 2.07, but you can install any one of them, don’t have to install both.
  • In the both guest operating system, I configure StarPort for first 3 iSCSI Device and configure Microsoft Initiator for last iSCSI Device.
  • Now I get 4 SCSI disks in Windows 2003 Guest OS , format and assign a drive letter.

Step 1: Install StarWind on host System and Configure the virtual disks

Install StartWind and After installation, open StarWind management Console,

Now Right Click on localhost and click connect.

On password box, type test, to connect StarWind.

You can add devices and make them available over the network with iSCSI. For a basic cluster setup, we need a quorum disk and a data disk. I am using ImageFiles for this purpose.

You can add device by clicking Add Device from context menu,

And follow wizard to add image, here I added 4 ImageFiles,

IMPORTANT: At the time of adding these devices, use the Allow multiple concurrent iSCSI connection(clustering) option to allow multiple initiators to connect to a single device.

Step 2: Install 2 Nodes in VMWare/Virtual PC and install/configure StarPort or MS Initiator

Setup following Network on VMWare,

Public : A virtual network card that uses NAT networking for iSCSI and public connectivity.

Private : A virtual network card that uses Host-Only that will be used for the cluster heartbeat.

After installing the first guest, install the StarPort software or Microsoft Initiator 2.07 on it to connect remote iSCSI Device:



Microsoft Initiator 2.07

In Disk Management, you can then format the disks and assign drive letters:

Shut down the first guest and repeat the steps on second node (install StarPort/MS Initiator to configure the disks and assign the same drive letters).

After all iSCSI Device Connected on 2 node, StarWind will look like following.

Step 3: Validate Cluster Configuration

Before configuring cluster, must have to validate cluster configuration by using Microsoft Cluster Configuration Validation Wizard(ClusPrep).

Download it from following location and install.


Now run wizard.

After clicking Next, select servers you want to configure cluster, and run the test.

Wait until it finish, if everything configured properly, you will get a following screen (in my VM lab i get 100% success).

I am attaching my validation report here,

  Report.chm (43.5 KiB, 1,442 hits)

Step 4: Install and Configure Cluster
Now Create your cluster, here I create CLUSTER as my cluster environment.

Have fun.



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  1. Hi,

    I am getting the following error message while doing the cluster validation in Windows Server 2008.

    I am using Starwind as the iSCSI target and iSCSI initiator of windows.

    List Potential Cluster Disks

    List disks visible to all nodes that will be validated for cluster compatibility. Online clustered disks will be excluded.

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier fe26c528 on node

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier fe26c528 on node

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier f95fadee on node

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier f95fadee on node

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier f95faded on node

    Checking that multi-path I/O (MPIO) works for disk with identifier f95faded on node

    Writing to sector 11 on disk with identifier fe26c528 from node

    Reading sector 11 on disk with identifier fe26c528 from node

    Reading sector 11 on disk with identifier fe26c528 from node

    There are multiple disks with identifier fe26c528
    There are multiple disks with identifier fe26c528

    Any pointers to this issue will be a great help.

    Prashant Thakwani

  2. Thanks for the reply, but i did not try everything with 2008 cluster environment, i don’t have enough RAM in my home computer to run two 2008 virtual PC simultaneously. But still i will try to do the same in my office(not 100% sure).
    Still i recommend you to use built in Microsoft Initiator for connecting virtual iSCSI disk, u always get better performance with that.

    Did you set *Allow multiple concurrent iSCSI connection* for virtual disk?

    And one more thing, u can try to configure cluster without validating, make sure u did everything properly.

  3. Thanks for the really useful info on configuring StarWind and StarPort. I’m currently trying to configure a Windows 2008 cluster on VM Workstation 6.5, and have followed all the guidelines above to create the shared storage target and initiators using StarWind/StarPort, but when I come to running the cluster validation tool, it reports that there are no eligible storage disks available for use by the cluster. The report gives the following characteristics for each disk: “Disk bus type does not support clustering Disk partition style is MBR. Disk partition type is BASIC.” The bus type is ‘SCSI’, so I guess I want this to be ‘iSCSI’ or SAS, but how to I fix this?

    Has anyone else had the same issue? If so could you offer any help to fix this?

    Many thanks

  4. As i already told, i never tested this with windows 2008, coz i am having a system in my home have 1 GB of ram, so i can’t run 2 Win 2008 cluster on virtual PC, but still i will suggest, before u do anything on your system, try it on MS Virtual Lab on following location, it will always help to to solve problem yourself(at least in my case).

    TechNet Virtual Lab: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Failover Clustering Lab

  5. I don’t know if there is any similar tools available for Linux or not…

    But still u can create your own lab using mixed environment..

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