Azure File share usage for Windows Server 2012R2 and Cluster Quorum usage #Azure #winserv #cloud   Leave a comment

The file share option in azure can be used for several configurations. Say you want a azure share on your desktop or build a DFS in azure and use this in your private cloud. or build a file share witness for your cluster, and in the Windows Server technical preview there is the Cloud witness. But this can be done in windows server 2008 also.  there is no change but only the method on how to do this and maybe the cluster Support.

Azure Files is built on the same technology as the Blob, Table, and Queue Services, which means Azure Files is able to leverage the existing availability, durability, scalability, and geo redundancy that is built into our platform.





The File share can be used for several Scenarios

  • “Lift and Shift” applications

Azure Files makes it easier to “lift and shift” applications to the cloud that use on-premise file shares to share data between parts of the application. To make this happen, each VM connects to the file share (see “Getting Started” below) and then it can read and write files just like it would against an on-premise file share.

  • Shared Application Settings

A common pattern for distributed applications is to have configuration files in a centralized location where they can be accessed from many different virtual machines. Such configuration files can now be stored in an Azure File share, and read by all application instances. These settings can also be managed via the REST interface, which allows worldwide access to the configuration files.

  • Diagnostic Share

An Azure File share can also be used to save diagnostic files like logs, metrics, and crash dumps. Having these available through both the SMB and REST interface allows applications to build or leverage a variety of analysis tools for processing and analyzing the diagnostic data.

  • Dev/Test/Debug

When developers or administrators are working on virtual machines in the cloud, they often need a set of tools or utilities. Installing and distributing these utilities on each virtual machine where they are needed can be a time consuming exercise. With Azure Files, a developer or administrator can store their favorite tools on a file share, which can be easily connected to from any virtual machine.


Again this is just a preview Just be sure to understand the limitations of Azure Files the most important are:

  • 5TB per share
  • Max file size 1TB
  • Up to 1000 IOPS (of size 8KB) per share
  • Up to 60MB/s per share of data transfer for large IOs
  • SMB 2.1 support only


Here are the Links to the How to create a azure file share and build your desktop share

Build the Windows Server Cluster Azure Quorum Cloud Witness  in just a few Steps.

And yes you can build several configurations with the Azure File share Cloud Storage is there to use it. there is only one thing with the Cloud you will need an internet connection to your servers. unless you already use expressroute.


Happy clustering

Robert Smit



Technorati Tags: Windows Azure,Azure File service,Windows,Server,Clustermvp,Blob,cloud witness

Configuring cloud witness quorum Windows Server Cluster Azure Files #cloud #azure #winserv #witness   1 comment

Earlier I create a blog post about creating a file share in Azure.


But now this file share can also be used for your Private Cluster Or Azure Cluster but remember your cluster needs internet access to connect to Microsoft Azure.



Edited 5-11-2014 <>>>>>>

So if you want to have a file witness then you will need the fileshare option but the cloud witness is using the BLOB storage and will cost you almost noting with Azure Credits

However the File share is still in preview under Windows Azure Files

Sign up for a preview

Now that we have created a new storage account We can use this for the cluster.

If you select the storage account you will see something like this.


We are using the blob storage and skip the above but you can use this for other things



At the bottom you can select the Manage Access Keys. This is the information we needed for the cluster.


Keep this save ! You will need this in your cluster.


When opening my windows Cluster Failover manager under more actions you can configure the quorum settings.


As always we do the Advance configuration.


Now we check the Cloud Witness option.


We use the Account name and the Key from the Azure portal that we created earlier.

The screen may differ as you could have a different version!


And we have a Cloud Witness here configured in my Public Cloud.


We don’t need a site to site VPN just connect the Cluster nodes to Internet ( atleast a Azure connection )


If we check the Azure Configuration and there you can see the creation of MSFT-Cloud-Witness. With the files in the blob storage.



You can also configure this in azure.

With the Get-ClusterQuorum we find quickly what witness we have.


and Configuring this is also quickly done put your account name and key in the set-clusterquorum and it will create a Cloud Witness.

Set-ClusterQuorum -AccessKey V7CR1/DijezGyA== -AccountName clusterw10 –CloudWitness


Happy clustering

Robert Smit


Failed to install .NET Framework 3.5 Feature Windows Server 2012R2 OR on #Azure VM Error 0x800f081f Working Solution #winserv #MVPBuzz   2 comments

you have just installed a fresh new Windows Server 2012R2 on premise or in Azure and you need to install .Net Framework 3.5 Features

But it fails with an error 0x800f081f

a quick search says you need this command to do this well eh why ? but any way it is on the web so it must be right .

dism.exe /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:E:\sources\sxs  <> Will not Work

But why everybody says thanks! let me that you to the real problem. Reminder this is for all Servers even in Azure !


We checked the .Net Framework 3.5 Features and failed


Next attempt Give the Source to the installation. not very handy in Azure first download a ISO then mount this to the OS.

But it is on the Web so it must be true and the installation says he I need a Source I do not have these files and the OS is not lying or does it ?


So we put in the Source and give it a try.




Same error and with the source, maybe my source is not right , yeh right.

Test tis one more time form the Command

Then there is this line, this should work eh yes is did not.

dism.exe /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:E:\sources\sxs



See it did not work, I told you so in the first line So what is really going on in this system.

The Real fix for installing .NET Framework 3.5 Feature and Error 0x800f081f

If you open a PowerShell window and query the roles and features Get-WindowsFeature take a look at .NET Framework 3.5.


In the last column the Install state is different, it says Removed ?

  1. Removed means that you can install the feature but the source files for that are not available for this OS (not always)
  2. Installed means that the role or feature is already enabled and in use
  3. Available means that you can install the feature and the source files are on the machine and the OS can use them

But Removed, If the @Azure Team has removed this feature could this be the problem ?

Let me check if there are Updates for my system.



What there is an update for me and I do not have the .NET 3.5 Framework features installed.

then there must be an update there for me that is nagging me. Let me search the updates for .NET 3.5 Framework and compare them to the Installed updates.


This is an .NET 3.5 Framework update ad must be installed when the .NET 3.5 Framework was installed and patched


I uninstalled this update


Reinstalled .NET 3.5 Framework feature and see now it is working.


So all the time a Windows Update is keeping me from installing the .NET 3.5 Framework Feature.

Sometimes Windows can be a pain, But you are in control !

Happy Clustering!

Robert Smit




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First look at Windows Volume Replication Storage Replica in Windows Server #windows10 #winserv #storage #WVR   1 comment

With the release of the Windows Server Technical Preview, a lot of new features are there as  Storage Replica.

Storage Replica enables storage-agnostic, block-level, synchronous replication between clusters or servers for disaster recovery, as well as stretching of a failover cluster for high availability. Synchronous replication enables mirroring of data in physical sites with crash-consistent volumes ensuring zero data loss at the file system level. Asynchronous replication allows site extension beyond metropolitan ranges with the possibility of data loss.


First look at Windows Volume Replication Storage Replica in Windows Server

In this post I take a look a this and see if it is working in the demo lab, My first impression is this needs planning and this is not that easy and how does this work. Well you need to play with this the get the feeling.

In this case I build a normal cluster just a set of disk with a file server on it and two nodes both running the Windows Server 10.

For the disk you will need some steps to prepare not all disk are suitable for the

Disk prerequisites :

  • You must create two volumes on each enclosure: one for data and one for logs.
  • Data volumes must be formatted as GPT, not MBR
  • The two data volumes must be of identical size.
  • The two log volumes should be of identical size.
  • The log volume should use SSD storage with a mirrored space or RAID 1/RAID 10
  • The data volume can use HDD, SSD, or a tiered combination and can use either mirrored or parity spaces or RAID 1 or 10, or RAID 5 or RAID 50
  • The data volume should be no larger than 10TB (for a first test, we recommend no more than 1TB, in order to lower initial replication sync times)
  • The log volume should be at least 10% of the size of the data volume and must be at least 2GB


First look at Windows Volume Replication Storage Replica in Windows Server

As you create a role and added a disk to this there is an new option Replication on the Disk

On a available disk the replication is grayed out.


Added the Disk to a Cluster Role the Replication can be enabled.


Currently the GUI is not the best method to test this.

Starting With Windows Volume Replication On windows Server

I use a cluster based on shared VHDX.

I just need to create some disks and add them to the cluster nodes

1..8 | % { New-VHD -Path n:\hyper-v\WVR_SSD_$_.VHDX -Fixed –Size 12GB}

1..8 | % { Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName windows10-node1 -ControllerType SCSI -Path n:\hyper-v\WVR_SSD_$_.VHDX -ShareVirtualDisk}
1..8 | % { Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName windows10-node2 -ControllerType SCSI -Path n:\hyper-v\WVR_SSD_$_.VHDX -ShareVirtualDisk}


So what is needed to get this working, is an extra feature installed on both nodes Windows Volume Replication


When starting to build our cluster we installed all our features

add-windowsfeature Failover-Clustering,WVR,RSAT-Clustering –IncludeAllSubFeature

After this we get new powershell commands from the WVR Windows Volume Replication


and with the new-cluster we create a new Cluster

New-Cluster -Name Windowscl10 -Node win2015-1,win2015-2 -NoStorage -StaticAddress ""

Get-ClusterAvailableDisk –Cluster Windowscl10 |Add-ClusterDisk

Now that the cluster is in place with the disk we can start and we create a new File server and add two disks to this File server Role.


It does not need to be a scale-out file server.

Next step is create a Storage Replication Partnership based on Source and Destination with the Replication Groups

This can also be done in the GUI.

New-SRPartnership -SourceComputerName win2015-1 -SourceRGName resource_group01 -SourceVolumeName p: -SourceLogVolumeName h: -DestinationComputerName win2015-2 -DestinationRGName resource_group02 -DestinationVolumeName I: -DestinationLogVolumeName J: -LogSizeInBytes 2gb



but the destination disk is not selectable. and in PowerShell it is working.

But you can also follow this guide in the GIU : a downloadable guide to provide you with step-by-step instructions for evaluating the Stretch Cluster and the Server-to-Server scenarios. These are both designed for Disaster Recovery and provide “over the river” synchronous metro replication.

When first playing with this and added just a couple of drives I got this “ disk with different Sizes”

Possible reasons:
- log size in those two groups are different.
- data partition sizes are different in those two groups.
- data partition physical section size are different in those two groups.

So keep in mind the Disk need to be GPT and the size must be the same. 



New-SRPartnership : Unable to create replication partnership between "rg01" and "rg02", detail reason: "Replication groups "rg01" and "rg02" do not
match. Possible reasons:

- log size in those two groups are different.
- data partition sizes are different in those two groups.
- data partition physical section size are different in those two groups.".
At line:1 char:1
+ New-SRPartnership -SourceComputerName win2015-1 -SourceRGName rg01 -S …
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (MSFT_WvrAdminTasks:root/Microsoft/…T_WvrAdminTasks) [New-SRPartnership], CimException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Windows System Error 4,New-SRPartnership


Building the Windows Volume Replication

First create the new Replication Partnership.

And I must say there is a lot of things going on in your cluster and disk when you do this. watch your cluster Failover manager! and select the Disk view !

But after this you got a working replication.

New-SRPartnership -SourceComputerName win2015-1 -SourceRGName resource_group01 -SourceVolumeName p: -SourceLogVolumeName h: -DestinationComputerName win2015-2 -DestinationRGName resource_group02 -DestinationVolumeName I: -DestinationLogVolumeName J: -LogSizeInBytes 2gb

All the Available disk are moved from one node to the other node and there will be a new resource group

and the output will be like this

ComputerName       : Windows10
Description        : 
Id                 : 279b4fb3-239f-4238-a3dd-fdd42fb8f772
IsAutoFailover     : True
IsCascade          : False
IsCluster          : True
IsInPartnership    : True
IsPrimary          : True
IsSuspended        : False
IsWriteConsistency : False
LogSizeInByte      : 2147483648
LogVolume          : H:\
Name               : resource_group01
NumOfReplicas      : 1
Partitions         : {776e66b8-f26c-4480-85bf-c37df3a58e98}
PSComputerName     :
ReplicationMode    :

Now Close the FCM GUI and reopen this else you won’t see the replication tabs



After the GUI restart you can see the replication.


and as you can see the source resource is also in the destination resource. So in case of a failover the replica will also be briefly down.

And if you want to reverse  the source destination with the GET-SRPartnership

Set-SRPartnership -NewSourceComputerName win2015-2 -SourceRGName resource_group02 -DestinationComputerName win2015-1 -DestinationRGName resource_group01

In the Event log you can find the WVR ( windows Volume Replication ) this is a separate Event log



As you can see in the event log the replication is there and working.


There are a few PowerShell commands to see if things are working.


There is no info in the GUI as this is a Preview.


This is a nice new playground and I can see the benefit of this.

There is a great guide from Microsoft on how to to this wit more background information on WVR

Download the guide:

Download Windows Server Technical Preview evaluations:

To help you get familiar with Storage Replica, we have a downloadable guide to provide you with step-by-step instructions for evaluating the Stretch Cluster and the Server-to-Server scenarios. These are both designed for Disaster Recovery and provide “over the river” synchronous metro replication.

Happy clustering

Robert Smit


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Hyper-v Virtual Machine Connection in Windows Server 2012R2 #hyper-v #winserv   Leave a comment

Did you know that you could connect to other Hyper-v servers and then open the Console ?

In the system32 folder there is a file vmconnect.exe

You can connect to the local or to other Hyper-v servers in your domain




Just type your Hyper-v server and all the VM’s are listed and you can easy connect to them.


The console is opened and you can even change the settings. how cool is that!


With this there is less reason to connect with RDP to the Hyper-v Servers for just to change something in the VM. this is an easy tip.

Happy Hyper-v

Robert Smit


Posted October 4, 2014 by Robert Smit [MVP] in Windows Server 2012 R2

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