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.
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
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 (AzureStorageFile.zip) 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.
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.
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.