How to Configure the File Share Witness or #Cloud Witness ,Windows Server #ws2003 #ws2008 #ws2012 #ws2016 #winserv


The file share witness feature is an improvement to the current Majority Node Set (MNS) quorum model. This feature lets you use a file share that is external to the cluster as an additional "vote" to determine the status of the cluster in a two-node MNS quorum cluster deployment.
Consider a two-node MNS quorum cluster. Because an MNS quorum cluster can only run when the majority of the cluster nodes are available, a two-node MNS quorum cluster is unable to sustain the failure of any cluster node. This is because the majority of a two-node cluster is two. To sustain the failure of any one node in an MNS quorum cluster, you must have at least three devices that can be considered as available. The file share witness feature enables you to use an external file share as a witness. This witness acts as the third available device in a two-node MNS quorum cluster. Therefore, with this feature enabled, a two-node MNS quorum cluster can sustain the failure of a single cluster node.image

This is not new and you can configure this even on a windows server 2003. but did you know you can use Azure a cloud witness yes even for 2003. but it will not work out of the box. special handling is needed. and this keeps me thinking what code had windows server 2016 build in that can do this fun part.

Well lets take a look at the servers :

But if you are still using windows server 2003 you have way to much time : Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14, 2015

But for this demo it will work Winking smile

I have a couple of clusters like in a museum 2003,2008 etc up to 2016.

Windows Server 2003 Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14, 2015


Checking the Cluster Quorum Currently local.


Windows Server 2008

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

As Windows Server 2003 & 2008 are not in my scope anymore I will not go into depth on how to configure this. but you should look in the webDAV options.



But In Windows Server 2016 it is easy there is already an option in the Cluster manager to do this in the Azure Cloud.





This looks easy but you will need to create a storage account in Azure first and copy and past the Password.

Vote on my Idea to create all this directly in the FCM


More info about this :

And also you can use the Azure file share locally and or on other Clusters ( versions ) 

We need to make sure PowerShell and the new Azure File Share CmdLets are installed.  If you need to install PowerShell, you can install it from here.  Once PowerShell is installed, you need to install the CmdLets for Azure File Share here

The download is a ZIP-file ( that you should save und unpack to a local directory. Do not store the content in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Azure\PowerShell\ServiceManagement\Azure (i.e. the default directory of the Azure PowerShell installation), as this will result in some versioning issues. In our example, let’s say you will extract files to c:\AzureFiles.

Using the Azure File share





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


Author: Robert Smit [MVP]

Robert Smit is Senior Technical Evangelist and is a current Microsoft MVP in Clustering as of 2009. Robert has over 20 years experience in IT with experience in the educational, health-care and finance industries. Robert’s past IT experience in the trenches of IT gives him the knowledge and insight that allows him to communicate effectively with IT professionals who are trying to address real concerns around business continuity, disaster recovery and regulatory compliance issues. Robert holds the following certifications: MCT - Microsoft Certified Trainer, MCTS - Windows Server Virtualization, MCSE, MCSA and MCPS. He is an active participant in the Microsoft newsgroup community and is currently focused on Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, SQL Server, Azure and all things related to Cloud Computing and Infrastructure Optimalization. Follow Robert on Twitter @ClusterMVP Or follow his blog Linkedin Profile Http:// Robert is also capable of transferring his knowledge to others which is a rare feature in the field of IT. He makes a point of not only solving issues but also of giving on the job training of his colleagues. A customer says " Robert has been a big influence on our technical staff and I have to come to know him as a brilliant specialist concerning Microsoft Products. He was Capable with his in-depth knowledge of Microsoft products to troubleshoot problems and develop our infrastructure to a higher level. I would certainly hire him again in the future. " Details of the Recommendation: "I have been coordinating with Robert implementing a very complex system. Although he was primarily a Microsoft infrastructure specialist; he was able to understand and debug .Net based complext Windows applications and websites. His input to improve performance of applications proved very helpful for the success of our project

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