How to Install VM OS on iSCSI Disks in VirtualBox

Installing virtual machines on iSCSI disks in VirtualBox is a good idea to keep your virtual machines at a centralized location. Also, it is one of the requirement to do live migration between VirtualBox hosts using teleportation. This post illustrates how to connect iSCSI disks in Virtual Media manager, and install OS on iSCSI disks.

In this example, I have two hosts (Windows 7 Operating System) with VirtualBox – desktop Virtualization software. I’m using FreeNAS as an iSCSI storage server in one of the Windows 7 host. I installed FreeNAS as a virtual machine in one of the hosts and iSCSI disks are created. Read more here about how to install and create FreeNAS iSCSI disks in VirtualBox.

On another host, we will install Windows 7 as a virtual machine (Guest) on iSCSI disk. My second host computer is communicating with FreeNAS virtual machine which is running on the first host. This makes sure that the network communication is working fine between two computers.

Steps to Connect iSCSI disks in VirtualBox Virtual Media Manager

1) Make sure that the host computer can communicate to the iSCSI server which confirms the working network connectivity and firewall settings are correct.

2) Get the correct iSCSI disk target name address. Below is the FreeNAS iSCSI disk target I created for this example.

Connect iSCSI disks to Virtualbox

3) Open the command prompt and type the following command.

vboxmanage addiscsidisk –server 10.10.11.250 –target iqn.2007-09.jp.ne.peach.istgt:vbos

10.10.11.250FreeNAS iSCSI server IP which configured in another host.

iqn.2007-09.jp.ne.peach.istgt:vbosTarget name (shown in 2nd step)

is a double dash ( – )

Attaching command

4) Successful execution returns a message like below with new UUID for the disk.

Successfully added iSCSI disk

5) Newly added iSCSI disk can be found under Virtual Media manager in Oracle VirtualBox as shown below.

VB Media Manager with iSCSI Disk

6) That’s it. We have successfully added FreeNAS iSCSI disk to VirtualBox media manager. This disk can be used to create virtual machines on this computer. As you are aware, this iSCSI disk is located on a network and we can use it on any hosts to install OS with VirtualBox.

7) Let’s create a new Windows 7 (Guest) virtual machine inside VirtualBox, instead of creating the new hard disk, select existing disk option and select this iSCSI disk.

VM Settings

8) Adjust the other settings as you like and start the virtual machine. The installation will go smoothly. I created two partitions and installed Windows 7 successfully on network iSCSI disk.

Recap the Main Steps

  • Two Windows physical computers involved in this example. Installed FreeNAS as a virtual machine in one host computer and configured iSCSI disks, so this virtual machine works as iSCSI server.
  • Connected iSCSI disk with Virtual Box media manager on another host. Then used this disk to install Windows 7 as a guest virtual machine.

Currently, the Windows 7 guest OS is running on network storage (iSCSI disk) in VirtualBox. If you have a high-speed network then this method will be useful to keep virtual machines in a centralized network location. Maintenance, backup and live migration of virtual machines in VirtualBox between different hosts can be done easily by these type of central storage.

Share your comments and issues about installing OS on iSCSI disks in VirtualBox and connect iSCSI disks in the virtual media manager.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

2 thoughts on “How to Install VM OS on iSCSI Disks in VirtualBox”

  1. Respected Sir/Madam,
    I try to teleport the OS from one source machine to destnation machine. What are the requirements in target system.
    Thanking you,
    Karthik.M

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