How to configure two node Windows Server 2012 cluster on Virtual Machines for testing?

In this blog post, I walk you through the steps to quickly setup windows server 2012 cluster on virtual machines in test lab.

To start with, we need 3 windows server 2012 virtual machines. Out of 3, one will be used as an iSCSI target (details on iSCSI target) and other two will be part of the two node windows cluster.

Step 1: Configure iSCSI target


  • Created Virtual Machine with Windows Server 2012 OS
  • Joined to my test lab domain
  • Added extra virtual hard disk (100 GB) to this machine which I will use as shared storage

Install the iSCSI Target Server feature

  • Add Roles and Features Wizard -> Server Roles -> File and Storage Services -> File and iSCSI Service
  • Select iSCSI Target Server and then click on Add Features



  • Restart the virtual machine to complete the feature installation.

 Start iSCSI Initiator on the two Cluster nodes

  • Server Manager -> Tools -> Click on the iSCSI Initiator
  • Click on yes to start the iSCSI service and then click on OK on iSCSI Initiator property window



Configure iSCSI Target Server

  • Server Manager -> File and Storage Services -> iSCSI



  • Click on “To Create an iSCSI virtual disk, start the new iSCSI virtual Disk Wizard”.

This disk will be used as a shared disk on the two cluster nodes.

  • Select the storage location and click Next


  • Provide the name for this iSCSI virtual disk
  • Specify iSCSI virtual disk size


  • Create the iSCSI target


  • Provide the suitable name for iSCSI target, I’m using server name as iSCSI target name
  • Add the servers who can access this iSCSI storage



  • Click Next on Enable Authentication
  • Click create on Confirmation tab and on successful completion, you will see below screen



Configure iSCSI initiator on both nodes

  • Server Manager -> Tools -> iSCSI initiator
  • Type the target server name and click on Quick Connect


  • If connection successful, you will see below screen



Configure the Disks on the iSCSI initiators i.e. Cluster Nodes

  • Server Manager -> Computer Management -> Disk Management
  • Select the disk and make it online and then initialize it.




  • Create the simple volume
  • Also on other node, make the disk online
  • Now this disk will be visible on both the nodes

Installing Windows Cluster

  • On Both the nodes install Failover Clustering feature from Server Manager -> Add Roles and Features -> Features
  • Login to one of the node and open the Failover cluster Manager (Server Manager -> Tools)
  • Click on Validate configuration
  • Add both the node names and run the validation test.


  • After validation tests are successful, click on finish to create the cluster


  • Provide the suitable name for your cluster


  • Click Next on Confirmation and Create New Cluster tabs and click on finish once the creation is complete.


Now cluster is ready to use, have fun!

Comments (30)

  1. Good to hear that this post helped you.

  2. Sreevas says:

    Thank you. This is a great information to create a test environment. Really useful!

  3. sonali says:

    Hi Babulal,

    Good informative blog. Can you please tell me where I can find the software for building VM's in my laptop(Windows Vista).

  4. Jony malik says:

    Thanks for great information.  Can you please tell is it compulsory to have window 2012 server on iscsi target or we can use another server ……………

  5. localadm says:

    This is a fantastic document.  I installed the cluster but the only error is DNS failed. I use domain controller as iSCSI target, is this a problem?

  6. says:

    Thank you for this informational post.. helped me a lot and saved me a lot of time ..

  7. Socalreader says:

    Can explain what typr of virtual network you used (External, Internal, or private) for communications between the three machines

  8. ajay02987 says:

    It is good but how to make two nodes on win server 2012 for clustering If you provide I will be gratful for it

  9. Anonymous says:

    Note : SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups functionality is supported by all versions of System Center

  10. jon says:

    exactly what i was looking for… the order of the steps does matter

  11. Matt says:

    Is this failover clustering only or can this be used as an application shared disk?

  12. Franklin Olusoji says:

    This is a great document to teach Clustering effortlessly. I wached Youtube videos for this particular technology and could not find them extremely useful as this step by step. Thank you for the great job.

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  16. Surendhra Ganji says:

    Great blog

  17. han says:

    Is this iscsi suitable to use in production environment? eg. I put bunch of raid disks on a server, configure iscsi and run sql on another server connecting to it.

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  19. Abdul Rahim says:

    Thank you Very good BLOG

  20. Christi David Johnson says:

    Very helpful blog.

  21. ashish_1 says:

    excellent piece of information

  22. Amuthan says:

    very useful scenario. it’s woking fantastically for me

  23. Sudheer Ramadugu says:

    Very useful info…

  24. Sanjiv says:

    Quorum disk or configuration is not require for MSCS??

  25. Ashok says:

    Can we configure the Two Node Cluster on a VMservers from multiple Datacenters

  26. Craig says:

    Good blog, easy approach and helping others understand.

  27. Justin Thomas says:

    I did all the above the steps. I can see my disk online and connected in Disks tab. But when i try to add a role(file server) i cant see any storage available. Please help!!

  28. Justin Thomas says:

    I did all the above the steps. I can see my disk online and connected in Disks tab under the CLuster manager.i have configured two disk for CSV and Quorum respectively. But when i try to add a role(file server) i cant see any storage available. Please

  29. YVS says:

    Thanks for sharing

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