How to speed up your NAS with iSCSI

We explain how to configure and use an iSCSI target on a NAS server with Windows' built-in iSCSI initiator for fast access.

By Marco Chiappetta, PC World |  Storage, iSCSI, NAS

Step 2: After you allocate space to the RAID, you must format it before continuing. When the formatting process is complete (depending on your drive setup, it could take hours), you can then configure the unused space as an iSCSI target. Note that if you reserved all of the available storage space for iSCSI, you will have no need to format the array at this point.

Step 3: Next, we configured the iSCSI target. On our Thecus NAS, we first had to click the Space Allocation link under the Storage menu in the left pane. Then we clicked the Add button under the 'iSCSI target' tab; a new window popped up, in which we had to set the desired size of the iSCSI target, enable it, and give it a name. At this point, you can also enable CHAP (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol) authentication if you wish to add a layer of security, but we chose not to. Another note: If you decide not to dedicate all of the available space to a single iSCSI target, you can assign individual LUN (Logical Unit Number) identifiers to multiple targets should you want to connect multiple systems to a single NAS device or server, and give each client system its own iSCSI target.

Hit the Target

With the iSCSI target created, you must now connect to it through the iSCSI initiator on the client Windows PC. To do so, click Start, type iSCSI into the Search/Run field, and press Enter (or go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > iSCSI Initiator). If you see a message indicating that the iSCSI service is not running, go ahead and allow it, and the iSCSI initiator will open.

Select the Discovery tab, and then click the Discover Portal button. In the window that opens, enter the IP address of your NAS device or server hosting the iSCSI target (ours was in the necessary field. Leave the port setting alone, assuming that you didn't specify a custom iSCSI port earlier; by default, iSCSI will use port 3260. Note that if you enabled CHAP authentication earlier, you should click the Advanced button here and enter the CHAP login credentials in the necessary fields. Otherwise, just click OK, and the IP address of your NAS or server should appear in the list of Target portals.

If the target is not found and listed, confirm that you entered the IP address correctly and that the necessary port is open in any firewall application you may be running.

Once the server is in the list of Target portals, click the Targets tab at the top. The iSCSI target you created earlier should show up in the groups of discovered targets in the middle of the window. Click the target to highlight it, and then click the Connect button. In the Connect To Target dialog box that opens, check Add this connection to the list of Favorite Targets... and click OK. Then click OK in the iSCSI Initiator Properties window to close it.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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