Creating a Virtual Disk for an iSCSI Target

Applies To: Microsoft iSCSI Software Target

You can use the Create Virtual Disk Wizard to create an iSCSI virtual disk and enable iSCSI target access. The virtual disk is created as a file that resides on an NTFS volume. As with any other file, the file system determines where to place the file on the physical disk. This offers flexible provisioning, snapshots that persist after restarting the iSCSI target server, and compatibility with replication software. When you create the virtual disk, specify the following:

  • File

    The name of the folder and file must be specified by using the full path for the virtual disk file (for example C:\Virtual Disk\contoso1.vhd). You can create it in an existing folder or specify the name for a new folder and the wizard will create the new folder when it creates the virtual disk.

    If you set up failover clustering for iSCSI storage, the virtual disk can reside only on a cluster disk.

  • Size

    Specify a fixed size for the virtual disk in megabytes (MBs) by using whole numbers. A virtual disk file can later be extended by using the Extend Virtual Disk Wizard. For more information, see Extending a Virtual Disk for an iSCSI Target.

  • Description

    It is useful to specify a description that readily identifies the content and purpose of the virtual disk. For example, you can specify the name of the group that is to have access to the virtual disk or the type of information that is to be stored on the virtual disk.

  • Access

    You can specify the iSCSI target that is to have access to the iSCSI virtual disk. The virtual disk is dynamically added without requiring a shutdown of the iSCSI target. If you do not specify an iSCSI target in the wizard, you can specify it at a later time. For more information, see Assigning a Virtual Disk to an iSCSI Target.


Configuring a virtual disk for access by more than one iSCSI target can cause data corruption unless the virtual disk is part of a cluster environment or the iSCSI initiators use a storage area network (SAN) file system to coordinate access to the storage.

To use failover clustering for iSCSI storage, the clustering environment must be configured first, and the virtual disk can only be assigned to an iSCSI target in the same resource group. For more information about setting up clustering, see [Configuring iSCSI Storage for High Availability](gg232621\(v=ws.10\).md).  


As an alternative to creating a new virtual disk, you can use the Import Virtual Disk Wizard to import a previously created virtual disk. For more information, see Importing a Virtual Disk.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review the details in "Additional considerations" in this topic.

To create a virtual disk for an iSCSI target

  1. In Microsoft iSCSI Software Target, in the console tree, click Devices, right-click Devices, and then click Create Virtual Disk.

  2. Follow the steps in the Create Virtual Disk Wizard.

Additional considerations

  • You must be a member of the local Administrators group to perform these tasks.

  • To open iSCSI Software Target, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Microsoft iSCSI Software Target. (Another way to open iSCSI Software Target is to click Start, click Run, and then type iscsitarget.msc.)

Additional references

Creating and Managing Virtual Disks for iSCSI Targets

Extending a Virtual Disk for an iSCSI Target

Assigning a Virtual Disk to an iSCSI Target

Configuring iSCSI Storage for High Availability

Importing a Virtual Disk