You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

First things first – you should know that the item I’m discussing is an add on to existing Windows Storage Server products (NAS boxes) and that to obtain the “real” version customers should speak to the OEM who provider their Window Storage Server product.

Some background

iSCSI is a protocol that allows clients (called initiators) to send SCSI commands to SCSI storage devices (targets) on remote servers. It is a popular Storage Area Network (SAN) protocol, allowing organizations to consolidate storage into data center storage arrays while providing hosts (such as database and web servers) with the illusion of locally-attached disks. Unlike Fibre Channel, which requires special-purpose cabling, iSCSI can be run over relative long distances using existing network infrastructure.

It was a demonstration for Windows 2008 and the mention of a Iscsi target for storage products that picqued my interest and made me investigate Microsofts “offering”. I acquired a copy of Microsoft’s ISCSI target software and decided to try it out in a simple gigabit network between two machines.

The simplicity of the set up (that I tested) surprised me since it was pretty much as follows :

1) install the target software on the the server that would be sharing the data (a windows sbs 2003 server)
2) create a target virtual disk for sharing
3) allow access to the target (in my case based on IP addresses of the machines initiating the connection)
4) install the initiator software on the Xp machine doing the requesting
5) connect to and format the remote disk from the Xp machine
6) copy files to the newly mapped drive

Thanks goes to Dave Northey who is a Principal Systems Engineer with Developer & Platform Group – Microsoft Ireland for raising my interest in this feature.

I’ll dig a bit deeper in the specifics of the above test in another article…..

(Long pause; Neo begins to reach for the red pill) Remember — all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.
(Neo takes the red pill and swallows it with a glass of water)