Creating a 2 Node File Server Cluster (Powershell + Manual)

I was recently working on a small business case which required some sort of a redundant infrastructure for a simple SMB based file server for their User Profile Disks (This was a solution that was using Microsoft RDS for their Shared VDI deployment). The emphasis was on the redundancy and ease of setup! While i was at it, i did some learning and this is the outcome of the tests in my lab + Courtesy of Microsoft’s documentation 🙂

(Apologies for Bad Image Quality)

My Lab overview / Pre-Reqs:

  • 1 Domain controller Server (Servername: AD)
  • 2 File Server Nodes – Domain joined Systems (ServerNames: FS1, FS2)
  • 1 iSCSI target Server as a provider for the shared storage volume for the cluster
  • A Quorum Disk for Witness with appropriate NTFS permissions as i was using the FileShare Witness (\AdQuoromDisk)
  • Good old PowerShell Scripting!!!!

My final PowerShell Script to deploy the failover Cluster looked something like this:

Note that i had all the pre-requisites ready with appropriate permissions for the cluster objects at my AD + the Quorom Disk for this to go smoothly.

Installation of Failover Cluster:

  • Begin with Running the powershell script once all the pre-requisites are met and you have you have your Cluster Nodes, Cluster IP, Cluster Name Defined.
  • It gave me a few Warnings when i ran this script mostly because i was using a single Network Interface in my deployment as this was my lab setup
  • Ignoring the warnings it threw at me: I had a working failover Cluster in no time with a Witness Quorum Drive (Normally this is a very painful part to go through N number of configurations on multiple servers)
  • Now it was time to setup the file server role on this failover cluster to make it fully functional for the purpose, from here on I use GUI to make this happen.

Mapping the Shared Drive / Volume!

Follow the below steps to achieve this:

  • Perform the below steps on both the Nodes(Formatting is required on the first node only), so as to map the iSCSI shared storage volume on both the File Server Nodes which are part of the failover cluster.
  • In my case the iSCSI target server was a straight forward configuration without any additional authentication in place.
  • Open the iSCSI Initiator and add the iSCSI target Server IP to retrive the volume.
  • in Case you get a prompt to enable the iSCSI initiator service, just go ahead and click “yes”.
  • Enter the IP address of the iSCSI target server and Click Quick Connect
  • If all goes well you will see the next screen shot with the iqn information
  • Post this activity, you can proceed to disk initialization and formatting on Node1.

Open the Disk Management console, and follow the below steps:

  • You will notice an uninitialized disk

Bring the disk Online

Initialize the disk

Complete the initialization then proceed to volume creation.

Create a New Volume and assign it to a Drive Letter (For ease of management ensure the Drive Letters are identical on both Nodes)

Follow the Volume creation wizard and complete it to look something like this on bboth the File Servers

As a final step add the Disk to the Failover Cluster Disk using the failover cluster manager as below:

Installing the File Server Role and Create File Shares:

For creating the file server role on the failover cluster I used the GUI method again.

To install the File Server Role, Select the Roles option and Select Configure Roles

Select File Server and continue the wizard for installation.

In my Case i am going for a File Server for General use. A Scale Out File Server maybe choosed for specific purposes based on the environment it is being deployed on.

Provide a File Server Access Name

Select the Storage Disk that was attached for the File Server Purpose

In My Case i am letting the DHCP provide an IP for my TestFileServer.

And we are done!

We have a 2 node failover file server cluster!

At times it might take a few minutes for the File Server to be fully functional for you to Deploy your file shares. To deploy file shares you may just right click on the File Server created and follow the wizard for various options.

Create a Highly Available File Share:

Select Add File Share by right clicking on the HA File Server so Created:

In My case i selected an Advanced SMB Share as my use case required advanced features

Provide a Folder Path for the SMB file share to be created.

Provide the File Share Name:

Select the options for your File Share to support:

Provide custom permission as required:

Update the type of file share that is being targetted for the deployment

Select the Quota if need be. In my case i am going with no Quota applied.

And… we are good to go!

Successfully created a highly available File Share for use for variety of EUC purposes.

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About Surendra Dhondale

A Truly Passionate IT Guy, leveraging skills learned over years to provide the best solutions/answers for difficult IT questions!! Knowledge Areas/Skill Summary: - Technology Leadership - Technology Transformation - Technical Consulting - Solution Architecture - Infrastructure Design - DevOps - EUS/EUC expert - Data Science, ML / AI - Passionate about Automation / Scripting - Programming

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