Configure iSCSI Initiators

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

With Storage Explorer, you can configure the iSCSI initiators used by servers in your storage area network (SAN).


This feature enables you to perform a select subset of the tasks that relate to iSCSI configuration and administration. You can also perform these and other tasks using the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator, which is included in Windows Server 2008 or later in Administrative Tools. Additionally, vendors of networking and storage solutions provide similar tools to perform iSCSI configuration and administration tasks. For more information about iSCSI, see

Servers that require access to the storage resources on an iSCSI device have to connect to the iSCSI target that those storage resources have been assigned to. To connect to a target, a server in the SAN uses an iSCSI initiator.

An iSCSI initiator is a logical entity, such as a program or service, that enables the server to communicate with the target. The iSCSI initiator first logs on to the target and requests to start a session. The target must authorize the session and the session must be established before the server can access the storage resources.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at

To configure an iSCSI initiator

  1. In Servers, click the iSCSI initiator that you want to configure.

  2. To change the symbolic name of the initiator:

    1. In the Actions pane, click Rename.

    2. Type a new symbolic name for the initiator and click OK.


Changing the symbolic name of an iSCSI initiator can affect access to iSCSI targets. After changing the name, you might need to reconfigure the targets accessed by the initiator, so that they can recognize the new name.

  1. To set a new Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) secret to use when connecting to a target:

    1. In the Actions pane, click Set CHAP Secret.

    2. Type the new CHAP secret and click OK.


The targets that will be accessed by the initiator must also be configured with the new secret—otherwise, the initiator will not be able to log on to the targets.

  1. To reset the CHAP secret, in the Actions pane, click Reset CHAP Secret.

  2. To add an Internet Storage Name Service (iSNS) server for target discovery, in the Actions pane, click Add iSNS Server. For more information, see Add an iSNS Server to the Fabric.

  3. To add a target portal:

    1. In the Actions pane, click Add Target Portal.

    2. Type the IP address of the target portal.

    3. If the target portal uses a socket number different than the default (3260), type the socket number.

    4. To choose the connection settings, click Connection. Configure the connection parameters that you want to use, configure the CHAP parameters that are required to connect to the target portal, and click OK. For more information about CHAP, see iSCSI Security.

    5. To choose the Internet Protocol security (IPsec) settings, click IPSec. Configure the IPsec parameters that are required to connect to the target portal, and click OK. For more information about IPsec, see iSCSI Security.

    6. To add the new target portal, click OK.

Additional considerations

  • The most secure CHAP secrets are not words or phrases, but a random sequence of characters.

Additional references