Windows 8 – Administrative Tools – iSCSI Initiator

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iSCSI, abbreviation of Internet Small Computer System Interface, and interestingly pronounced like “eye-skuzee”, is a standard for network storage devices.

iSCSI is used to link and maintain storage devices across the networks. It can be used to transfer data over LAN, WAN or internet.

The best part is that you don’t need to incur extra hardware costs; the basic hardware – storage devices, Ethernet connection, computers – are just fine to implement iSCSI.

Two entities participate in iSCSI protocol –

  • Targets – The storage devices scattered across the networks. However, sometimes, the computers to which the storage devices are connected are also considered as targets.
  • Initiator – The client who initiates the iSCSI call. It can be hardware, which can implement iSCSI calls with the help of its firmware, or software built as a device driver.

Windows has a built-in iSCSI initiator. This admin tool lets you manage the initiator properties.

How to Launch It

Control Panel Way

  • Open “Administrative Tools” applet from the traditional Control Panel.
  • Launch “iSCSI Initiator” from the list of administrative tools.

Command Way

  • Invoke Run window or Search Charm. Select the Settings tab in case of Search Charm.
  • Type in the command “iscsicpl.exe”, and hit Enter.

This will launch a 6-tabbed small window.

Targets Tab

This tab lets you manage the discovered iSCSI targets – the computers that have associated iSCSI devices.

Also, you can quickly connect to a new iSCSI target if you know its IP address or DNS name.

The Quick Connect section requires only the IP address or DNS name, and it will try to connect to the target. If the initiator connects to the target successfully, the target is stored to the list of favorite targets.

This tab also lists the iSCSI targets that have been discovered by the initiator.

You need to discover a new target through the Discovery tab or through Quick Connect before it can make a place in this list. For each target, you can

  • Connect to the target
  • Completely disconnect from the target
  • Manage multiple sessions held with the target
  • Manage the iSCSI devices connected to the target

Discovery Tab

You can discover a new iSCSI target through this tab.

This tab lists the portals (combination of IP address and port) that have associated iSCSI storage devices.

To add a new iSCSI target, you need to discover it from here and add it to the list of portals. After the discovery, you can connect to the target’s devices.

Your network may contain Internet Storage Name Service (iSNS) servers – computers that can query the network for iSCSI devices on your behalf. It is easier to ask iSNS server to find targets as it keeps the devices listed.

You can add new iSNS servers or remove existing servers in this tab.

Favorite Targets Tab

If an iSCSI target is favorited, then the initiator will try to connect to that target each time your computer restarts.

This way, you get a consistent availability of those iSCSI storage devices. This tab lists your Favorite Targets.

In order to add a target to this list, you need to connect to it either using the Quick Connect option in the Targets tab, or select the option “Add to list of Favorite Targets” while configuring a target.

Volumes and Devices Tab

This tab lists all the iSCSI storage devices associated with the favorited targets.

This way, when your system starts, the initiator automatically connects to the favorited targets and keeps the listed storage devices ready to be used by programs.

You can auto-configure available devices from the favorited target list, or you can manually add or remove devices.

RADIUS tab

iSCSI initiator can use either CHAP or RADIUS protocol to authenticate a connection between itself and an iSCSI target. The RADIUS protocol requires a server, which will authenticate the connection.

The initiator sends a request to a RADIUS server, which authenticates it and allows the connection to happen.

This tab lists the RADIUS servers found in your network.

You can add or remove a server to/from the list.

Also, you can ask a RADIUS server to verify the iSCSI targets listed in your initiator.

Configuration Tab

Through this tab, you can make global changes to the properties of initiator. The changes made here might require a restart in order to apply.

This tab lets you:

  • Change iSCSI initiator name.
  • Set the CHAP authentication secret phrase. This phrase is used between the iSCSI initiator and target in order to authenticate a connection. Naturally, the targets should be aware of the phrase set here.
  • Create a report on all the connected iSCSI targets and devices.

 

NOTE - If you would like to find out more about the next version of Microsoft Windows - Windows 9, here are some links you should probably check out.

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