I have a VMWare Workstation running 4 virtual machines.

  1. Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller.
  2. Also WS2012 R2, "WS1", to be a part of a cluster.
  3. "WS2", sysprepped from "WS1".
  4. FreeNAS (also tried NAS4Free, which is nicer) with an iSCSI target running.

My goal is to create a cluster and play with SQL Server on it.


  1. Added this FreeNAS drive to drives at "WS1" using iSCSI initiator tool.
  2. Formatted it and assigned a drive letter, then put offline.
  3. Then I also added the drive on "WS2". After having been put online there, it already gets a drive letter and shows itself as formatted.
  4. Next I put it offline.

So the drive is there on both machines and is offline.

But then I try to create a cluster and no matter what I do, this drive doesn't show up in Storages. Sometimes I get the warning about drive being unavailable and a suggestion to run Clear-ClusterDiskReservation. Even if I do, the tests later just say Test cancelled.

Also, later the drive can't be used on WS1 and WS2. It just shows up as RAW after being put online on any of the servers. This seems to be fixable only by restart of the FreeNAS server.

So, what do I do to make the whole thing work? I've tried these tutorials, but there everything unfortunately goes smoothly.

http://www.ekzorchik.ru/wordpress/2012/12/server2008-failover-cluster-iscsi-freenas/ http://www.sysprobs.com/setup-windows-2008-cluster-vmware-workstation


I used FreeNAS for a few months a while ago and gave up on it from too many bugs, especially around SMB, obviously, that is native to Windows environments. In you FreeNAS case I would suggest you bring the FreeNAS drive online, add to FC as available storage and then add as CSV. That works for me.

Since your approach is to deploy a cluster and run SQL Server on it, it seems to me StarWind Virtual SAN Free is a better choice here. StarWind does a presentation of local storage as iSCSI target to Failover Cluster. For my Hyper-V cluster, StarWind storage was added as CSV to store running VMs. So far, I have no issues with it, only pros (StarWind storage is beneficial for me due to built-in WB RAM caching functionality).

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You have to put the drive in service and then put it on a NTFS or FAT file system.

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  • 1
    FAT? Unfortunately your advice is wrong. FAT isn't supported with CSVFSv1/v2. technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612868(v=ws.11).aspx "In Windows Server 2012 R2, you cannot use a disk for a CSV that is formatted with FAT or FAT32." – BaronSamedi1958 Dec 22 '16 at 11:28
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    Totally agree, FAT as a file system right now can be used in USB drives for the car players:) – Stuka Dec 22 '16 at 14:01

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