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I'm trying to test some backup solutions for our fileserver running on Windows Server 2012 R2. I have recently inherited this IT-environment and it is currently running Cobian backup as a pure file backup which seems to work ok for the moment.

But I want to test the built in Windows Server backup instead and run it to an iSCSI enabled synology NAS target. I have got everything connected and windows server backup running as well to the LUN (just testing atm). So no issues getting everything to run. It is using NTFS file system.

But I was thinking a bit further ahead. Say this file server breaks down, can I mount the same iSCSI LUN from a different server without initializing and formatting it as a new drive?

Of course not accessing the LUN simultaneously between different machines, it's not a cluster enabled environment or file system.

If I could mount it on a different server in case of failure, this would in my mind provide a pretty safe remote backup but still being able to keep the multiple versions of the files that Windows server backup can do on "local" disks. It can't really do that if it's a pure network share.

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Yes, an iSCSI drive formatted with a given file system can be mounted by every system that can connect to the target and can understand the file system. On a logical level, the target is nothing else then any other block storage like a physical disk connected via e.g. SATA, SAS or USB.

So, any system that can handle the Windows backup media format can use this target.

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    Thank you for that information. Figured it was like that, but couldn't find any info about it. Gonna test this scenario soon so I know it'll work properly in our environment. – Linus Lundgren Dec 4 '16 at 18:14
  • It's a good idea to stick with a SMB3 or NFS instead of iSCSI. File level protocols are much easier to handle! Just my $0.02....... – BaronSamedi1958 Dec 6 '16 at 3:02
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Basically, you have already anwered to you question by youown. You can mount the same iSCSI LUN from a different server without initializing and formatting it as a new drive, but unmounting LUN from previous host.

It's correct, NTFS is not shared File System and only a single host can use it at same time.

We are using cluster of two hosts with StarWind iSCSI HA device and mupltipathing to run Scale-Out File Server. So, in order a number of hosts could write data simoultaniously without any datacorruption we use Failover Cluster's CSV over NTFS iSCSI LUN.

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