A guide to iSCSI target software for Windows

UPDATE: See http://www.nullsession.com/2009/08/06/iscsi-target-software-feature-comparison/ for a feature sheet of Windows iSCSI target software.

After adding a new statistics tool to this site, I’ve realized that 57% of the search words for my visitors are iSCSI-related. Most people seem to search for Microsofts iSCSI target software. This can be aquired either if you buy something like HP’s Storage Server or if you subscribe to MSDN / Technet Plus (and in that case you can’t put it in production, but you could test it).

So what’s available for a Windows platform except for Microsofts iscsi target software?

There are four other “big” targets available, these are:

Starwind from Rocket Division

iSCSI Cake from iscsicake.com

iStorage Server from
Kernsafe Technology

MySan from Nimbus Data

You can read more about Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 over at Microsoft.com and more about Microsoft iSCSI Target Software over at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/storage/iscsifaq.mspx

Update: According to Jose Barretos blog Windows Storage Server 2008 is available to MSDN and Technet Plus subscribers.


In the video you can see how easy it is to install and configure each software listen, except for MySan which won’t install on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Storage Server 2008 which you’ll need to install from scratch since Microsoft won’t support installing the target software on any other edition than Storage Server.

If you’d ask me which software to choose I’d recommend Starwind from Rocket Division, unless you have the money to invest in a Windows Storage Server solution. The new features in Windows Storage Server 2008 really makes it worth the money if we base this on the assumption that you won’t invest in a full SAN solution.

Linux is not my platform, but there are several targets available for Linux. I haven’t tested any of them, there are other sites that focus on that.
Update: http://www.openfiler.com


Some of my visitors have mentioned that it took a while to realize that the videos could be viewed fullscreen which makes it hard to see anything in the video on the frontpage. And some that that they don’t want to watch them fullscreen but not in a stamp sized box either. So in a way to satisfy every wish I’ve made a TV-page which allows you to watch them in a bigger size (but not fullscreen) and allows you to maximize them (to fullscreen). Wonderful when everyone’s needs are met, isnt it?

You can watch the videos at http://www.nullsession.com/tv.

Installing Exchange 2007 on Server Core 2008 R2

UPDATE: Mailbox role installed and running on 2008 R2 Core: http://www.nullsession.com/2009/12/07/exchange-2007-mailbox-role-on-core-2008-r2

Having successfully installed SQL Server on Server Core R2 I decided to go for Exchange 2007 also. After some tricks I managed to get Hub Transport and Client Access roles onto the box but Mailbox “depends” on CDOEX.DLL which doesn’t want to register either in 32- or 64-bit mode. So I’d say that this project was semi-successful.

If you want to give it a try, here are the steps I took to get the two roles onto the box.

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore /featurename:NetFx3-ServerCore /featurename:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell /featurename:IIS-WebServerRole /featurename:IIS-WebServer /featurename:IIS-ASPNET /featurename:IIS-WebServerManagementTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementScriptingTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementService /featurename:IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility /featurename:IIS-Metabase /featurename:IIS-WMICompatibility /featurename:IIS-LegacyScripts /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Web-Services-for-Management-IIS-Extension

Wait for it to finish. Goes fast to about 98%, then it’s waiting time…

dism /online /get-features

Check that all above components are activated.

Copy from a full installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 (Path: c:windowssystem32 to the same directory of a Core installation, make sure the architecture is right too, x64)


Register the dll’s with regsvr32 (in 64-bit mode). Note that not all will register successfully, so it’s not an error on your part.

Download ExchangeMapiCdo:

Extract and install ExchangeMapiCdo.

Insert the DVD / ISO into your machine and run an unattended install of Exchange.

setup.com /mode:install /roles:ca,ht,mb /organizationname:"Your Organization Name" /targetdir:"C:Program FilesExchange Server"

The installation will succeed as far as Client Access and Hub Transport goes. Unified Messaging will fail immediately (tried it twice, seems to need some graphical stuff from .Net) and Mailbox Role really really needs cdoex.dll which I can’t seem to register no matter what. If you figure that one out, let me know and we could make a community effort out of it.

Here are some screenshots from my installation:

Now I’m searching for other challenges, I’ll keep you posted!

SQL Server 2008 on Server Core 2008 R2

In this article and video I’ll show you how to install SQL Server 2008 on Server Core 2008 R2.

Watch the video here: http://www.nullsession.com/tv/

Please note that this is UNSUPPORTED as far as I know!
Update: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143506.aspx#EEx64 states that it’s not supported and I’ve got this confirmed via email. Your on your own if you put it in production!

Starting off with a domain joined Windows Server 2008 R2 Core we first need to enable the features we need as prerequisites for SQL Server. These are .Net Framework and Powershell. Note that the WOW-components are enabled also. This makes it possible to run 32-bit software on an x64 platform.

The tool we’re using is the “new” image management tool “dism.exe”.

Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename: NetFx2-ServerCore /featurename: ServerCore-WOW64 /featurename:NetFx3-ServerCore-WOW64 /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore-WOW64 /featurename: NetFx3-ServerCore /featurename:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell

Once we’ve added the needed features we’re ready to kick off the SQL Server installation. This is done unattended and you don’t have to extract it first, you can like I do in the video run the installation directly from your downloaded package. It’ll self-extract and run correctly anyway. (At least SQL Server 2008 Express Edition did I’ll say.)



Once it’s done, which takes 5-15 minutes (your mileage may vary!) we’ll need to:

Stop the service: net stop mssqlserver


Navigate to: HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftMicrosoft SQL ServerMSSQL10.MSSQLSERVERMSSQLServerSuperSocketNetLibTCP

Set Enabled to 1 and exit regedit.exe

Start the service: net start mssqlserver

Once started we have to enable the correct ports in the firewall for remote management to work:

netsh advfirewall firewall [enter]
set rule group=”remote administration” new enable=yes [enter]
add rule name=”Open Port 1433” dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=1433 [enter]

Now we can switch to our graphical box. On this one you’ll have to run the setup and only select the management tools (there’s no how-to on this one since it’s point and click…).

Fire it up and enter the name of your Core-box now running SQL Server!

Live Meeting Q&A

Questions from Microsoft Live Meeting held on the news in Windows Server 2008 R2, q&a’s in Swedish.

En post på svenska hör ju inte till vanligheterna här, men så blir det! Har klistrat in lite länkar till Technet där det finns djupare teknisk information. Undrar du över fler saker så maila till adresserna från PPT:n eller kommentera här så ska vi se vad vi kan göra åt det.

Tack till er som deltog, hoppas det var en timme ni tyckte var värd att spendera framför skrivbordet trots att det var lunch!

Question: Hörde inte, kan man skapa Managed Service Accounts grafiskt, eller var det bara via PowerShell?
Endast via Powershell.


To configure and manage these accounts for a service running on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you will need to use Windows PowerShell cmdlets. There is no UI support for creating and managing these accounts.

Question: Har minnesbegränsningen utökats i R2 Standard 64-bit jämfört med förra versionen?
Enligt http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778.aspx#physical_memory_limits_windows_server_2008 ser minnesbegränsningen ut som nedan:

• Minimum: 512MB RAM
• Recommended: 2GB RAM or greater
• Maximum 32GB (Standard) or 2TB (Enterprise and Datacenter Editions)

Question: Klarar denna version av RDS av film och ljud, vilket inte TS klarar av så bra idag, ex flashfilmer på en terminalserver?
Answer: Svaret bör vara ja, och iom den nya funktionen “fair share cpu scheduling” kan inte EN flashfilm ta hela cpu:n som tidigare. Däremot är det säkert så att vill du vara säker på att allt flyter finfint behöver du fortfarande en tredjepartsprodukt.


Question: Sparas gruppmedlemskapet i AD Recycle Bin
Svaret är ja, alla attribut sparas så länge kontot är i Recycle Bin.

When you enable Active Directory Recycle Bin, all link-valued and non-link-valued attributes of the deleted Active Directory objects are preserved and the objects are restored in their entirety to the same consistent logical state that they were in immediately before deletion. For example, restored user accounts automatically regain all group memberships and corresponding access rights that they had immediately before deletion, within and across domains.

Question: Hur länge sparas objekt i Recycle Bin?
180 dagar i Recycle Bin, 180 dagar tombstoned.


Question: version som krävs för cluster?
Här svarade jag fel, det är fortfarande Enterprise som krävs: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd443539.aspx

Question: Är det skillnad mellan Cluster i 2008 mot 2008 R2?
Ja, det finns stöd för fler roller i klustret och 2008 R2 krävs för CSV-stöd.


Question: iSCSI fungerade ju plättlätt som klusterdisk, hur lirar det med vanligt SAN?
Fibre Channel stöds också, förutom iSCSI. För att köra Live Motion kan man följa den här guiden: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd446679(WS.10).aspx

Question: Uppfattade jag rätt när han sa att det går att klustra med Windows Server Standard Edition?
Ja, du hörde rätt men jag hade fel… Det är fortfarande Enterprise som krävs. Däremot går det i Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 att klustra, och den är gratis. Däremot stödjer den endast Hyper-V rollen. Det är nog här nånstans som jag blandat ihop det.

Question: Vad var det för Virtuella burkar Sun Virtual Box?
Sun Virtualbox hittar du här: http://www.virtualbox.org/
Tidigare körde jag Windows Server 2008 på min laptop, men numera är det Windows 7. Jag tycker att Virtualbox funktions- och prestandamässigt är bättre än Virtual Pc. Dessutom är den billigare (och i mina ögon bättre här också) än VmWare Workstation.

Question: jumbo frames?
Jumbo Frames är när man skickar större paket via Ethernet än “normalt”. En förklaring på Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo_frame

Question: Kan man köra SQL Server 2008 på en Server Core?
Svaret är ja. Det är däremot osupporterat från Microsoft. Läs artikeln och se filmen där jag gör just det om en kort stund (länk kommer).

Question: Kan man köra PowerShell på Server Core?
Powershell fungerar utmärkt på Core i R2:an.

Question: PowerShell i WinPE?
Enligt Johan Arwidmarks blogg (http://www.deployvista.com/Blog/tabid/70/EntryID/57/language/en-US/Default.aspx) så går det, via t.ex. Thinapp. Det är alltså lite som SQL på Server Core fullt möjligt, men osupporterat 🙂

Om du har fler / andra frågor så tveka inte att maila dom till mig på tidigare angiven adress (fornamn.efternamn@foretag)!