Extend you File server with Azure File Sync and Migrate with Windows Admin Center #WindowsServer #Azure #AFS #WAC #HybridCloud #FileServer

In the former blog post :https://robertsmit.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/step-by-step-windows-server-2019-file-server-clustering-with-powershell-or-gui-cluster-ha-azure-windowsadmincenter-windowsserver2019/

I created a File share on a Cluster to make the share HA. This is more the traditional way to make the share HA. But what if you have multiple locations and you want to use this share in Azure. Big internal lines between the Datacenter and copy the files to Azure (DFS) method. but that’s old. Better use the Azure File Sync option the files are synced to all the Server and available in Azure. Better and faster.


 With Azure File Sync , shares can be replicated on-premises or in Azure and accessed through SMB or NFS shares on Windows Server. Azure File Sync is useful for scenarios in which data needs to be accessed and modified far away from an Azure datacenter, such as in a branch office scenario. Data may be replicated between multiple Windows Server endpoints, such as between multiple branch offices. Azure File Sync transforms Windows Server into a quick cache of your Azure file share. You can use any protocol that’s available on Windows Server to access your data locally, including SMB, NFS, and FTPS. You can have as many caches as you need across the world.

To get started with the Azure File Sync we need a Storage account in Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync

We create a storage account in Azure.

Remember this works only on Windows Servers ! System Requirements:

  • A server running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019:

    Supported SKUs
    Supported deployment options

    Windows Server 2019
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)

    Windows Server 2016
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)

    Windows Server 2012 R2
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)


Now that the storage account is created we are starting with the Azure File Sync creation in Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync Deploy Azure File Sync

Name the Storage Sync Service , and create a resource group.

The next step is register the Onpremise server to Azure with the Azure File Sync Agent

Deploy Azure File Sync

Azure File Sync  Agent download https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=858257

The installation is in two steps.

  1. Installing the agent
  2. Configuring the Agent

Deploy Azure File Sync

After the download install the Agent on the File server, As I use a Cluster install the Agent on every node of the Cluster.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

Now that the agent is installed the Second wizard pops up for the configuration and if needed a update.

imageDeploy Azure File Sync

So far so good. As the Agent is connecting to Azure there are some additional components needed.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As this Cluster was a fresh installation and I did not used the PowerShell command for Azure here I need to install the AzureRM modules (or AZ module)


Installing and updating the modules.

Install-Module -Name AzureRM –AllowClobber

Deploy Azure File Sync

With this command you can see the current Powershell version

Get-Module -Name AzureRM -List | select Name,Version


Deploy Azure File Sync

Now that the PowerShell commands are installed we can refresh the page and the installation continues

Deploy Azure File Sync

If you are using a CSP subscription in Azure then you need to set this check box. and use your tenant ID

Deploy Azure File Sync

In all other subscriptions keep this default

Deploy Azure File Sync

Pick the right Resource group the one with the created Storage Sync services in it. else the field will be empty.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Select a resource group that contains a Storage Sync Service, or use the Azure portal to create one in this resource group.

Deploy Azure File Sync

When this process is done we can configure the rest in the Azure portal.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As you can see the Cluster CNO object is named here

In the pane that opens, enter the following information to create a sync group with a cloud endpoint:

  • Sync group name: The name of the sync group to be created. This name must be unique within the Storage Sync Service, but can be any name that is logical for you.
  • Subscription: The subscription where you deployed the Storage Sync Service.
  • Storage account: If you select Select storage account, another pane appears in which you can select the storage account that has the Azure file share that you want to sync with.
  • Azure file share: The name of the Azure file share with which you want to sync.

Next is creating the Sync group.

Deploy Azure File Sync


Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

Pick a name for the Sync group name. and the proper Storage account that we created earlier. In this storage account we did not create a File share this is needed to hold the Files. so the azure file share check box is not showing you anything.

Go the the storage account and create a File share

Deploy Azure File Sync

With this created the creation of the Sync group can be completed.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Next step is creating some endpoints. this means bind the local share to the services and sync this to the Azure storage account share.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Deploy Azure File Sync

Adding the endpoint and pick the registered server and the file share that will be synced.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

If you want to enable cloud Tiering and fill in the values. In this demo I don’t use this.


Only NTFS volumes are supported. ReFS, FAT, FAT32, and other file systems are not supported.

Failover Clustering

Windows Server Failover Clustering is supported by Azure File Sync for the "File Server for general use" deployment option. Failover Clustering is not supported on "Scale-Out File Server for application data" (SOFS) or on Clustered Shared Volumes (CSVs).

The Azure File Sync agent must be installed on every node in a Failover Cluster for sync to work correctly.

In my demo the Share is not listed, I already know why, As I used ReFS for the cluster disk.

This can be painful as you need to format that disk and move all the data to a temp location.

Deploy Azure File Sync        Deploy Azure File Sync

After changing the disk format and a refresh you can see that the deployment is pending and working.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync


After this you have a full Hybrid file share Fully redundant on premise and a off load to Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As last the best option to get the data into this HA file share is using the Windows Admin Center 

In Windows Admin Center there is a great options Storage Migration Services


Opening Windows admin Center and select the source this will be scanned and when done the files can be migrated. (the scanning can take some time)



When the scanning is done the files and shares are listed. more info can be found here https://youtu.be/WCWxAp27ERk


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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 https://robertsmit.wordpress.com Linkedin Profile Http://nl.linkedin.com/in/robertsmit 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

4 thoughts on “Extend you File server with Azure File Sync and Migrate with Windows Admin Center #WindowsServer #Azure #AFS #WAC #HybridCloud #FileServer”

  1. Hello Robert, your articles are awesome! Actually I could use some help with NLB, is it possible to consult a little bit?
    PayPal is not an issue, please let me know Thank you in advance!

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