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2-node hyperconverged cluster with Windows Server 2016

Last week, Microsoft announced the final release of Windows Server 2016 (the bits can be downloaded here). In addition, Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2016 supports now a 2-node hyperconverged cluster configuration. I can now publish the setup of my lab configuration which is almost a production platform. Only SSD are not enterprise grade and one Xeon is missing per server. But to show you how it is easy to implement a hyperconverged solution it is fine. In this topic, I will show you how to deploy a 2-node hyperconverged cluster from the beginning with Windows Server 2016. But before running some PowerShell cmdlet, let’s take a look on the design.

Design overview

In this part I’ll talk about the implemented hardware and how are connected both nodes. Then I’ll introduce the network design and the required software implementation.


Hardware consideration

First of all, it is necessary to present you the design. I have bought two nodes that I have built myself. Both nodes are not provided by a manufacturer. Below you can find the hardware that I have implemented in each node:

  • CPU: Xeon 2620v2
  • Motherboard: Asus Z9PA-U8 with ASMB6-iKVM for KVM-over-Internet (Baseboard Management Controller)
  • PSU: Fortron 350W FSP FSP350-60GHC
  • Case: Dexlan 4U IPC-E450
  • RAM: 128GB DDR3 registered ECC
  • Storage devices:
    • 1x Intel SSD 530 128GB for the Operating System
    • 1x Samsung NVMe SSD 950 Pro 256GB (Storage Spaces Direct cache)
    • 4x Samsung SATA SSD 850 EVO 500GB (Storage Spaces Direct capacity)
  • Network Adapters:
    • 1x Intel 82574L 1GB for VM workloads (two controllers). Integrated to motherboard
    • 1x Mellanox Connectx3-Pro 10GB for storage and live-migration workloads (two controllers). Mellanox are connected with two passive copper cables with SFP provided by Mellanox
  • 1x Switch Ubiquiti ES-24-Lite 1GB

If I were in production, I’d replace SSD by enterprise grade SSD and I’d add a NVMe SSD for the caching. To finish I’d buy server with two Xeon. Below you can find the hardware implementation.

Network design

To support this configuration, I have created five network subnets:

  • Management network: – VID 10 (Native VLAN). This network is used for Active Directory, management through RDS or PowerShell and so on. Fabric VMs will be also connected to this subnet.
  • DMZ network: – VID 11. This network is used by DMZ VMs as web servers, AD FS etc.
  • Cluster network: 10.10.100/24 – VID 100. This is the cluster heart beating network
  • Storage01 network: 10.10.101/24 – VID 101. This is the first storage network. It is used for SMB 3.11 transaction and for Live-Migration.
  • Storage02 network: 10.10.102/24 – VID 102. This is the second storage network. It is used for SMB 3.11 transaction and for Live-Migration.

I can’t leverage Simplified SMB MultiChannel because I don’t have a 10GB switch. So each 10GB controller must belong to separate subnets.

I will deploy a Switch Embedded Teaming for 1GB network adapters. I will not implement a Switch Embedded Teaming for 10GB because a switch is missing.

Logical design

I will have two nodes called pyhyv01 and pyhyv02 (Physical Hyper-V).

The first challenge concerns the failover cluster. Because I have no other physical server, the domain controllers will be virtual. if I implement domain controllers VM in the cluster, how can start the cluster? So the DC VMs must not be in the cluster and must be stored locally. To support high availability, both nodes will host a domain controller locally in the system volume (C:\). In this way, the node boot, the DC VM start and then the failover cluster can start.

Both nodes are deployed in core mode because I really don’t like graphical user interface for hypervisors. I don’t deploy the Nano Server because I don’t like the Current Branch for Business model for Hyper-V and storage usage. The following feature will be deployed for both nodes:

  • Hyper-V + PowerShell management tools
  • Failover Cluster + PowerShell management tools
  • Storage Replica (this is optional, only if you need the storage replica feature)

The storage configuration will be easy: I’ll create a unique Storage Pool with all SATA and NVMe SSD. Then I will create two Cluster Shared Volumes that will be distributed across both nodes. The CSV will be called CSV-01 and CSV-02.

Operating system configuration

I show how to configure a single node. You have to repeat these operations for the second node in the same way. This is why I recommend you to make a script with the commands: the script will help to avoid human errors.

Bios configuration

The bios may change regarding the manufacturer and the motherboard. But I always do the same things in each server:

  • Check if the server boot in UEFI
  • Enable virtualization technologies as VT-d, VT-x, SLAT and so on
  • Configure the server in high performance (in order that CPUs have the maximum frequency available)
  • Enable HyperThreading
  • Disable all unwanted hardware (audio card, serial/com port and so on)
  • Disable PXE boot on unwanted network adapters to speed up the boot of the server
  • Set the date/time

Next I check if the memory is seen, and all storage devices are plugged. When I have time, I run a memtest on server to validate hardware.

OS first settings

I have deployed my nodes from a USB stick configured with Easy2Boot. Once the system is installed, I have deployed drivers for motherboard and for Mellanox network adapters. Because I can’t connect with a remote MMC to Device Manager, I use the following commands to list if drivers are installed:

gwmi Win32_SystemDriver | select name,@{n="version";e={(gi $_.pathname).VersionInfo.FileVersion}}
gwmi Win32_PnPSignedDriver | select devicename,driverversion

After all drivers are installed, I configure the server name, the updates, the remote connection and so on. For this, I use sconfig.

This tool is easy, but don’t provide automation. You can do the same thing with PowerShell cmdlet, but I have only two nodes to deploy and I find this easier. All you have to do, is to move in menu and set parameters. Here I have changed the computer name, I have enabled the remote desktop and I have downloaded and installed all updates. I heavily recommend you to install all updates before deploying the Storage Spaces Direct.

Then I configure the power options to “performance” by using the bellow cmdlet:


Once the configuration is finished, you can install the required roles and features. You can run the following cmdlet on both nodes:

Install-WindowsFeature Hyper-V, Data-Center-Bridging, Failover-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-Powershell, Hyper-V-PowerShell, Storage-Replica

Once you have run this cmdlet the following roles and features are deployed:

  • Hyper-V + PowerShell module
  • Datacenter Bridging
  • Failover Clustering + PowerShell module
  • Storage Replica

Network settings

Once the OS configuration is finished, you can configure the network. First, I rename network adapters as below:

get-netadapter |? Name -notlike vEthernet* |? InterfaceDescription -like Mellanox*#2 | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Storage-101

get-netadapter |? Name -notlike vEthernet* |? InterfaceDescription -like Mellanox*Adapter | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Storage-102

get-netadapter |? Name -notlike vEthernet* |? InterfaceDescription -like Intel*#2 | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Management01-0

get-netadapter |? Name -notlike vEthernet* |? InterfaceDescription -like Intel*Connection | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Management02-0

Next I create the Switch Embedded Teaming with both 1GB network adapters called SW-1G:

New-VMSwitch -Name SW-1G -NetAdapterName Management01-0, Management02-0 -EnableEmbeddedTeaming $True -AllowManagementOS $False

Now we can create two virtual network adapters for the management and the heartbeat:

Add-VMNetworkAdapter -SwitchName SW-1G -ManagementOS -Name Management-0
Add-VMNetworkAdapter -SwitchName SW-1G -ManagementOS -Name Cluster-100

Then I configure VLAN on vNIC and on storage NIC:

Set-VMNetworkAdapterVLAN -ManagementOS -VMNetworkAdapterName Cluster-100 -Access -VlanId 100
Set-NetAdapter -Name Storage-101 -VlanID 101 -Confirm:$False
Set-NetAdapter -Name Storage-102 -VlanID 102 -Confirm:$False

Below screenshot shows the VLAN configuration on physical and virtual adapters.

Next I disable VM queue (VMQ) on 1GB network adapters and I set it on 10GB network adapters. When I set the VMQ, I use multiple of 2 because hyperthreading is enabled. I start with a base processor number of 2 because it is recommended to leave the first core (core 0)  for other processes.

Disable-NetAdapterVMQ -Name Management*

# Core 1, 2 & 3 will be used for network traffic on Storage-101
Set-NetAdapterRSS Storage-101 -BaseProcessorNumber 2 -MaxProcessors 2 -MaxProcessorNumber 4

#Core 4 & 5 will be used for network traffic on Storage-102
Set-NetAdapterRSS Storage-102 -BaseProcessorNumber 6 -MaxProcessors 2 -MaxProcessorNumber 8



Next I configure Jumbo Frame on each network adapter.

Get-NetAdapterAdvancedProperty -Name * -RegistryKeyword "*jumbopacket" | Set-NetAdapterAdvancedProperty -RegistryValue 9014

Now we can enable RDMA on storage NICs:

Get-NetAdapter *Storage* | Enable-NetAdapterRDMA

The below screenshot is the result of Get-NetAdapterRDMA.

Even if it is useless because I have no switch and other connections on 10GB network adapters, I configure DCB:

# Turn on DCB
Install-WindowsFeature Data-Center-Bridging

# Set a policy for SMB-Direct
New-NetQosPolicy "SMB" -NetDirectPortMatchCondition 445 -PriorityValue8021Action 3

# Turn on Flow Control for SMB
Enable-NetQosFlowControl -Priority 3

# Make sure flow control is off for other traffic
Disable-NetQosFlowControl -Priority 0,1,2,4,5,6,7

# Apply policy to the target adapters
Enable-NetAdapterQos -InterfaceAlias "Storage-101"
Enable-NetAdapterQos -InterfaceAlias "Storage-102"

# Give SMB Direct 30% of the bandwidth minimum
New-NetQosTrafficClass "SMB" -Priority 3 -BandwidthPercentage 30 -Algorithm ETS

Ok, now that network adapters are configured, we can configure IP addresses and try the communication on the network.

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "vEthernet (Management-0)" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway -Type Unicast | Out-Null
Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceAlias "vEthernet (Management-0)" -ServerAddresses | Out-Null

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "vEthernet (Cluster-100)" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -Type Unicast | Out-Null

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Storage-101" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -Type Unicast | Out-Null

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Storage-102" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -Type Unicast | Out-Null

#Disable DNS registration of Storage and Cluster network adapter (Thanks to Philip Elder :))

Set-DNSClient -InterfaceAlias Storage* -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress $False
Set-DNSClient -InterfaceAlias *Cluster* -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress $False

Then I try the Jumbo Frame: it is working.

Now my nodes can communicate with other friends through the network. Once you have reproduced these steps on the second node, we can deploy the domain controller.

Connect to Hyper-V remotely

To make future actions, I work from my laptop with remote PowerShell. To display the Hyper-V VM consoles, I have installed RSAT on my Windows 10. Then I have installed the Hyper-V console:

Before being able to connect to Hyper-V remotely, some configurations are required from the server and client perspectives. In both nodes, run the following cmdlets:

Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role server

In your laptop, run the following cmdlets (replace fqdn-of-hyper-v-host by the future Hyper-V hosts FQDN):

Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value ""
Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value "fqdn-of-hyper-v-host"
Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value ""
Set-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value "fqdn-of-hyper-v-host"

Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role client -DelegateComputer ""
Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role client -DelegateComputer "fqdn-of-hyper-v-host"
Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role client -DelegateComputer ""
Enable-WSManCredSSP -Role client -DelegateComputer "fqdn-of-hyper-v-host"

Then, run gpedit.msc and configure the following policy:

Now you can leverage the new Hyper-V manager capability which enable to use an alternative credential to connect to Hyper-V.

Domain controller deployment

Before deploying the VM, I have copied the Windows Server 2016 ISO in c:\temp of both nodes. Then I have run the following script from my laptop:

# Create the first DC VM
Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential pyhyv01\administrator

$VMName = "VMADS01"
# Create Gen 2 VM with dynamic memory, autostart action to 0s and auto stop action set. 2vCPU
New-VM -Generation 2 -Name $VMName -SwitchName SW-1G -NoVHD -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -Path C:\VirtualMachines
Set-VM -Name $VMName -ProcessorCount 2 -DynamicMemory -MemoryMinimumBytes 1024MB -MemoryMaximumBytes 4096MB -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -AutomaticStartAction Start -AutomaticStopAction ShutDown -AutomaticStartDelay 0 -AutomaticCriticalErrorAction None -CheckpointType Production

# Create and add a 60GB dynamic VHDX to the VM
New-VHD -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\W2016-STD-1.0.vhdx -SizeBytes 60GB -Dynamic
Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\W2016-STD-1.0.vhdx

# Rename the network adapter
Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName $VMName | Rename-VMNetworkAdapter -NewName Management-0

# Add a DVD drive with W2016 ISO
Add-VMDvdDrive -VMName $VMName
Set-VMDvdDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\temp\14393.0.160715-1616.RS1_RELEASE_SERVER_EVAL_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO

# Set the DVD drive as first boot
$VD = Get-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -ControllerNumber 0 -ControllerLocation 1
Set-VMFirmware -VMName $VMName -FirstBootDevice $VD

# Add a data disk to the VM (10GB dynamic)
New-VHD -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\data.vhdx -SizeBytes 10GB -Dynamic
Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\Data.vhdx

# Start the VM

# Create the second DC VM with the same capabilities as below
Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential pyhyv02\administrator
$VMName = "VMADS02"

New-VM -Generation 2 -Name $VMName -SwitchName SW-1G -NoVHD -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -Path C:\VirtualMachines

Set-VM -Name $VMName -ProcessorCount 2 -DynamicMemory -MemoryMinimumBytes 1024MB -MemoryMaximumBytes 4096MB -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -AutomaticStartAction Start -AutomaticStopAction ShutDown -AutomaticStartDelay 0 -AutomaticCriticalErrorAction None -CheckpointType Production

New-VHD -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\W2016-STD-1.0.vhdx -SizeBytes 60GB -Dynamic
Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\W2016-STD-1.0.vhdx
Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName $VMName | Rename-VMNetworkAdapter -NewName Management-0
Add-VMDvdDrive -VMName $VMName
Set-VMDvdDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\temp\14393.0.160715-1616.RS1_RELEASE_SERVER_EVAL_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO
$VD = Get-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -ControllerNumber 0 -ControllerLocation 1
Set-VMFirmware -VMName $VMName -FirstBootDevice $VD
New-VHD -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\data.vhdx -SizeBytes 10GB -Dynamic
Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName $VMName -Path C:\VirtualMachines\$VMName\Data.vhdx

Deploy the first domain controller

Once the VMs are created, you can connect to their consoles from Hyper-V manager to install the OS. A better way is to use a sysprep’d image. But because it is a “from scratch” infrastructure, I don’t have a gold master. By using sconfig, you can install updates and enable Remote Desktop. Once the operating systems are deployed, you can connect to the VM across PowerShell Direct.

Below you can find the configuration of the first domain controller:

# Remote connection to first node
Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential pyhyv01\administrator

# Establish a PowerShell direct session to VMADS01
Enter-PSSession -VMName VMADS01 -Credential VMADS01\administrator

# Rename network adapter
Rename-NetAdapter -Name Ethernet -NewName Management-0

# Set IP Addresses
New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Management-0" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -Type Unicast | Out-Null

# Set the DNS (this IP is my DNS server for internet in my lab)
Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceAlias "Management-0" -ServerAddresses | Out-Null

# Initialize and mount the data disk
initialize-disk -Number 1
New-Volume -DiskNumber 1 -FileSystem NTFS -FriendlyName Data -DriveLetter E

# Install required feature
install-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services, DNS -IncludeManagementTools

# Deploy the forest
Import-Module ADDSDeployment

Install-ADDSForest `
    -CreateDnsDelegation:$false `
    -DatabasePath "E:\NTDS" `
    -DomainMode "WinThreshold" ` #should be soon Win2016
    -DomainName "int.HomeCloud.net" `
    -DomainNetbiosName "INTHOMECLOUD" `
    -ForestMode "WinThreshold" ` #should be soon Win2016
    -InstallDns:$true `
    -LogPath "E:\NTDS" `
    -NoRebootOnCompletion:$false `
    -SysvolPath "E:\SYSVOL" `

Promote the second domain controller

Once the first domain controller is deployed and the forest is ready, you can promote the second domain controller:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential pyhyv02\administrator

# Establish a PowerShell direct session to VMADS02
Enter-PSSession -VMName VMADS02 -Credential VMADS02\administrator

# Rename network adapter
Rename-NetAdapter -Name Ethernet -NewName Management-0

# Set IP Addresses
New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Management-0" -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -Type Unicast | Out-Null

# Set the DNS to the first DC
Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceAlias "Management-0" -ServerAddresses | Out-Null

# Initialize and mount the data disk
initialize-disk -Number 1
New-Volume -DiskNumber 1 -FileSystem NTFS -FriendlyName Data -DriveLetter E

# Install required feature
install-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services, DNS -IncludeManagementTools

# Deploy the forest
Import-Module ADDSDeployment
Install-ADDSDomainController `
    -NoGlobalCatalog:$false `
    -CreateDnsDelegation:$false `
    -Credential (Get-Credential) `
    -CriticalReplicationOnly:$false `
    -DatabasePath "E:\NTDS" `
    -DomainName "int.HomeCloud.net" `
    -InstallDns:$true `
    -LogPath "E:\NTDS" `
    -NoRebootOnCompletion:$false `
    -SiteName "Default-First-Site-Name" `
    -SysvolPath "E:\SYSVOL" `

Configure the directory

Once the second server has rebooted, we can configure the directory has below:

Enter-PSSession -computername VMADS01.int.homecloud.net
#Requires -version 4.0
$DN = "DC=int,DC=HomeCloud,DC=net"

# New Default OU
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Default" -Path $DN
$DefaultDN = "OU=Default,$DN"
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Computers" -Path $DefaultDN
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Users" -Path $DefaultDN

# Redir container to OU
cmd /c redircmp "OU=Computers,OU=Default,$DN"
cmd /c redirusr "OU=Users,OU=Default,$DN"

# Create Accounts tree
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Accounts" -Path $DN
$AccountOU = "OU=Accounts,$DN"
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Users" -Path $AccountOU
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Groups" -Path $AccountOU
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Services" -Path $AccountOU

# Create Servers tree
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Servers" -Path $DN
$ServersOU = "OU=Servers,$DN"
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Computers" -Path $ServersOU
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "Groups" -Path $ServersOU
New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name "CNO" -Path $ServersOU

# New User's groups
$GroupAcctOU = "OU=Groups,$AccountOU"
New-ADGroup -Name "GG-FabricAdmins" -Path $GroupAcctOU -GroupScope DomainLocal -Description "Fabric Server's administrators"
New-ADGroup -Name "GG-SQLAdmins" -Path $GroupAcctOU -GroupScope DomainLocal -Description "SQL Database's administrators"

# New Computer's groups
$GroupCMPOU = "OU=Groups,$ServersOU"
New-ADGroup -Name "GG-Hyperv" -Path $GroupCMPOU -GroupScope DomainLocal -Description "Hyper-V Servers"
New-ADGroup -Name "GG-FabricServers" -Path $GroupCMPOU -GroupScope DomainLocal -Description "Fabric servers"
New-ADGroup -Name "GG-SQLServers" -Path $GroupCMPOU -GroupScope DomainLocal -Description "SQL Servers"

Ok, our Active Directory is ready, we can now add Hyper-V nodes to the domain 🙂

Add nodes to domain

To add both nodes to the domain, I run the following cmdlets from my laptop:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential pyhyv01\administrator
$domain = "int.homecloud.net"
$password = "P@$$w0rd" | ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force
$username = "$domain\administrator"
$credential = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($username,$password)
Add-Computer -DomainName $domain -Credential $credential -OUPath "OU=Computers,OU=Servers,DC=int,DC=HomeCloud,DC=net" -Restart

Wait that pyhyv01 has rebooted and run the following cmdlet on pyhyv02. Now you can log on on pyhyv01 and pyhyv02 with domain credential. You can install Domain Services RSAT on the laptop to parse the Active Directory.

2-node hyperconverged cluster deployment

Now that the Active Directory is available, we can deploy the cluster. First, I test the cluster to verify that all is ok:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName pyhyv01.int.homecloud.net -credential inthomecloud\administrator
Test-Cluster pyhyv01, pyhyv02 -Include "Storage Spaces Direct",Inventory,Network,"System Configuration"

Check the report if they are issues with the configuration. If the report is good, run the following cmdlets:

# Create the cluster
New-Cluster -Name Cluster-Hyv01 -Node pyhyv01,pyhyv02 -NoStorage -StaticAddress

Once the cluster is created, I set a Cloud Witness in order that Azure has a vote for the quorum.

# Add a cloud Witness (require Microsoft Azure account)
Set-ClusterQuorum -CloudWitness -Cluster Cluster-Hyv01 -AccountName "<StorageAccount>" -AccessKey "<AccessKey>"

Then I configure the network name in the cluster:

#Configure network name
(Get-ClusterNetwork -Name "Cluster Network 1").Name="Storage-102"
(Get-ClusterNetwork -Name "Cluster Network 2").Name="Storage-101"
(Get-ClusterNetwork -Name "Cluster Network 3").Name="Cluster-100"
(Get-ClusterNetwork -Name "Cluster Network 4").Name="Management-0"

Next I configure the Node Fairness to run each time a node is added to the cluster and every 30mn. When the CPU of a node will be utilized at 70%, the node fairness will balance the VM across other nodes.

# Configure Node Fairness
(Get-Cluster).AutoBalancerMode = 2
(Get-Cluster).AutoBalancerLevel = 2

Then I configure the Fault Domain Awareness to have a fault tolerance based on rack. It is useless in this configuration, but if you add nodes to the cluster, it can be useful. I enable this because it is recommended to make this configuration before enabling Storage Spaces Direct.

# Configure the Fault Domain Awareness
New-ClusterFaultDomain -Type Site -Name "Lyon"
New-ClusterFaultDomain -Type Rack -Name "Rack-22U-01"
New-ClusterFaultDomain -Type Rack -Name "Rack-22U-02"
New-ClusterFaultDomain -Type Chassis -Name "Chassis-Fabric-01"
New-ClusterFaultDomain -Type Chassis -Name "Chassis-Fabric-02"

Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name Lyon -Location "France, Lyon 8e"
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name Rack-22U-01 -Parent Lyon
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name Rack-22U-02 -Parent Lyon
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name Chassis-Fabric-01 -Parent Rack-22U-01
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name Chassis-Fabric-02 -Parent Rack-22U-02
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name pyhyv01 -Parent Chassis-Fabric-01
Set-ClusterFaultDomain -Name pyhyv02 -Parent Chassis-Fabric-02

To finish with the cluster, we have to enable Storage Spaces Direct, and create volume. But before, I run the following script to clean up disks:

icm (Get-Cluster -Name Cluster-Hyv01 | Get-ClusterNode) {

    Get-StoragePool |? IsPrimordial -eq $false | Set-StoragePool -IsReadOnly:$false -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

    Get-StoragePool |? IsPrimordial -eq $false | Get-VirtualDisk | Remove-VirtualDisk -Confirm:$false -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

    Get-PhysicalDisk | Reset-PhysicalDisk -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

    Get-Disk |? Number -ne $null |? IsBoot -ne $true |? IsSystem -ne $true |? PartitionStyle -ne RAW |% {

        $_ | Set-Disk -isoffline:$false

        $_ | Set-Disk -isreadonly:$false

        $_ | Clear-Disk -RemoveData -RemoveOEM -Confirm:$false

        $_ | Set-Disk -isreadonly:$true

        $_ | Set-Disk -isoffline:$true


    Get-Disk |? Number -ne $null |? IsBoot -ne $true |? IsSystem -ne $true |? PartitionStyle -eq RAW | Group -NoElement -Property FriendlyName

} | Sort -Property PsComputerName,Count

Now we can enable Storage Spaces Direct and create volumes:


New-Volume -StoragePoolFriendlyName "S2D*" -FriendlyName CSV-01 -FileSystem CSVFS_ReFS -Size 922GB

New-Volume -StoragePoolFriendlyName "S2D*" -FriendlyName CSV-02 -FileSystem CSVFS_ReFS -Size 922GB

To finish I rename volume in c:\ClusterStorage by their names in the cluster:

Rename-Item -Path C:\ClusterStorage\volume1\ -NewName CSV-01
Rename-Item -Path C:\ClusterStorage\volume2\ -NewName CSV-02

Final Hyper-V configuration

First, I set default VM and virtual disk folders:

Set-VMHOST –computername pyhyv01 –virtualharddiskpath 'C:\ClusterStorage\CSV-01'
Set-VMHOST –computername pyhyv01 –virtualmachinepath 'C:\ClusterStorage\CSV-01'
Set-VMHOST –computername pyhyv02 –virtualharddiskpath 'C:\ClusterStorage\CSV-02'
Set-VMHOST –computername pyhyv02 –virtualmachinepath 'C:\ClusterStorage\CSV-02'

Then I configure the Live-Migration protocol and the number of simultaneous migration allowed:

Enable-VMMigration –Computername pyhyv01, pyhyv02
Set-VMHost -MaximumVirtualMachineMigrations 4 `
           –MaximumStorageMigrations 4 `
           –VirtualMachineMigrationPerformanceOption SMB `
           -ComputerName pyhyv01,pyhyv02

Next I add Kerberos delegation to configure Live-Migration in Kerberos mode:

Enter-PSSession -ComputerName VMADS01.int.homecloud.net
$HyvHost = "pyhyv01"
$Domain = "int.homecloud.net"

Get-ADComputer pyhyv02 | Set-ADObject -Add @{"msDS-AllowedToDelegateTo"="Microsoft Virtual System Migration Service/$HyvHost.$Domain", "cifs/$HyvHost.$Domain","Microsoft Virtual System Migration Service/$HyvHost", "cifs/$HyvHost"}

$HyvHost = "pyhyv02"

Get-ADComputer pyhyv01 | Set-ADObject -Add @{"msDS-AllowedToDelegateTo"="Microsoft Virtual System Migration Service/$HyvHost.$Domain", "cifs/$HyvHost.$Domain","Microsoft Virtual System Migration Service/$HyvHost", "cifs/$HyvHost"}

Then I set authentication of Live-Migration to Kerberos.

Set-VMHost –Computername pyhyv01, pyhyv02 `
           –VirtualMachineMigrationAuthenticationType Kerberos

Next, I configure the Live-Migration network priority:

To finish I configure the cache size of the CSV to 512MB:

(Get-Cluster).BlockCacheSize = 512

Try a node failure

Now I’d like to shut down a node to verify if the cluster is always up. Let’s see what happening if I shutdown a node:

As you have seen in the above video, even if I stop a node, the workloads still working. When the second node will be startup again, the virtual disks will enter in Regenerating state but you will be able to access to the data.

You can visualize the storage job with the below cmdlet:


2-node configuration is really a great scenario for small office or branch office. Without the cost of an expansive 10GB switch and a SAN, you can have high availability with Storage Spaces Direct. This kind of cluster is not really hard to deploy but I heavily recommend you to leverage PowerShell to make the implementation. Currently I’m working also on VMware vSAN and I can confirm you that Microsoft has a better solution in 2-nodes configuration. In vSAN scenario, you need a third ESX in a third room. In Microsoft environment, you need only a witness in another room as Microsoft Azure with Cloud Witness.

About Romain Serre

Romain Serre works in Lyon as a Senior Consultant. He is focused on Microsoft Technology, especially on Hyper-V, System Center, Storage, networking and Cloud OS technology as Microsoft Azure or Azure Stack. He is a MVP and he is certified Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE Server Infrastructure & Private Cloud), on Hyper-V and on Microsoft Azure (Implementing a Microsoft Azure Solution).


  1. Hi, I have just gone through your two nodes solution, and learn a lot. I just started my test environment, so I want to get advice from you. The network configuration is too complex for me, with maybe 4 adapters, right? Can I just use one adapter to set up the test environment?

    • Hi,

      If you have one adapter of 10GB/s for a lab it is ok. Be careful about just one 1GB/s because the solution will be not efficient at all.



      • So is there a more simple way to set up a two-node, or maybe management+two-node cluster, without network configuration and active directory? I am not familiar with AD and network, and I just want to test the failover feature.

        Best Regards.

        • To try Failover Clustering you can implement a single network with a single NIC per node. However, I recommend you at least two NICs and two networks to fully understand how works Failover Clustering.

  2. Good Afternoon Sir,

    We have used your guide to setup a cluster, however we are seeing a strange issue when copying files from a host to a LUN that isn’t owned by that node. The transfer speed starts lower then what we would expect (160 – 170 MBs) and at random intervals this drops to 0MBs for periods of a few seconds, then returns to the original speed. It will do this throughout the transfer.

    We have RDMA enabled on our 10GB NICs and have also tried disabling it, but this makes the situation worse as the top transfer speed then drops to around 10MBs.

    We have setup a set enabled virtual switch for the 10GB NICs on which we are running storage and production network. As documented here – https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/mt403349.aspx

    Have you seen this issue before?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi,

      I have seen this issue with a poor caching device. Could you try to disable the cache (Set-ClusterS2D -cachestate disabled) and try again ?

      What kind of disk have you implemented in your solution ?


      • Hi Romain,

        Thanks for the reply. We have disabled the cache state as you suggested, but the problem still persists just with a lower top speed.

        The disks we are using per node are;
        Toshiba MG04ACA4 HDD 4tb x12
        Intel SSDSC2BX80 SSD 800Gb x4
        Storage controller – Dell HBA330 Mini

        Thanks again

        • Hi,

          You have 4TBx12 per node (48TB) and 800GBx4 (3,2TB) of cache. You have not enough of cache. It is recommended to install at least 10% of capacity for the cache. So in your situation, you should install 4,8TB of cache. Try to remove 4 HDD disks and try again your transfer to validate this statement.



        • Try disabling SMB Signing and SMB Encryption. My test domain had this enabled by default and it meant that even though using RDMA for transfers, speeds were capped by the speed in which my CPU could decrypt the traffic.

  3. Hi, I’ve learned a lot from this article. Thank you for taking the time to put all this down. Can I ask why none of your network configurations have a default gateway configured?


  4. Hi,

    This is a great guide. i have learned alot from this

    I have a very similar build with the difference being i have a switch with 2 10Gbps SFP+ ports on it and my 2 servers also have 2 10Gbps SFP+ ports on the each.

    My question is can i connect one cable from each server to the switch and then use the other 10Gbps SFP+ to connect both nodes together? is it a good idea?



    • Hi,

      Are you sure that 2x 10Gbps SFP+ on switch are not dedicated to link between switch ?

      I don’t recommend you this installation because you wil different architecture between 10Gb/s links.



  5. Dear Romain,
    thank you for this article, this helped me a lot !

    I wonder why it does have to be domain controllers on the nodes, couldn’t they be just very plain ordinary servers with the DCs then as VM ?


    • Hi,

      It is not mandatory to deploy the DC inside the cluster. If you have DC outside the cluster, it’s better. But in my lab, I have not a physical server dedicated to this role



  6. Good Morning,

    I am testing your solution with our own material. Everything is going fine but I have two questions.

    We have 4 ssd in each server. one 120gb to boot, one 120gb forced as journal and two 1.6tb as capacity.
    S2d does not find any suitable drive for cache, do we need nvme or is there any trick to force it to use the 120 GB ?

    I would also like to compare some perfs. I am using diskspd. my test vm run at 5875 iops, is that good performance or am I missing a lot ?

    Many thanks for the blog, it helped me a lot.


  7. Hello Romain,

    how can additional nodes added to the cluster. Is it right, that in the 2-node configuration the load on each server should not be greater 50%?

    Thanks, Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      To add a node to the cluster, you configure it as others and you add it to the cluster. Once you have added the node to the cluster, you add the physical disk to the storage pool.

      In two nodes configuration, the load should not be greather than 50% to take into account a node failure (N+1 rule).



  8. Hey Romain,

    thanks for your answer. Is it a problem to use 10G Network-Interface Card without RDMA-Feature?

    Would it be possible to replace the 10G NIC (with one with RDMA) in a running system? Downtime for the replacement would be no problem.

    Thank you an best regards,


    • Hi,

      In Microsoft documentation, the RDMA is recommended especially when hosting VM. I recommend you strongly to implement RDMA from the beginning if the S2D hosts VM.

      Don’t forget that Software-Defined Storage solutions rely on the network. This component is primordial to get good performance and stability in S2D. The network must be considered seriously in this kind of configuration. This week a customer bought each 10GB Mellanox double ports for 200$. This kind of NICs are now affordable 🙂

      If you plan to host VM and If you can’t implement RDMA, I don’t recommend you to implement S2D.

      Have a good week-end.


  9. Hello Romain, great article, thanks for putting it together!

    I have followed the instructions and now have a 2 node hyper-converged cluster using S2D configured. Live migration of VMs between nodes works fine, but when I shut one of the nodes down then the other node looses sight of its CSV folders in c:\clusterstorage\volume1\ or whatever. Of course that means the VMs that were living in that CSV folder stop working.

    Do you have any ideas why, or any advice on how to troubleshoot this? Cluster validation passes all tests fine.

    My setup differs from your in that the DC the cluster nodes are attached to is at a different site and connected to it via VPN. It is also an SBS2011 DC. All routable NICs have their DNS pointing to this remote DC and can access it via the VPN, but I wonder if there is some problem due to this configuration. I also use a File Share Witness installed on a physical server 2012r2 box on the same site as the nodes are at.

    If you have any thoughts I would love to hear them! Thank you for your time.

    • Hi,

      You can contact me by E-mail and we can make a skype to show me your setup and the issue. You can find my E-mail in contact tab.



      • Thank you for your kind offer Romain but at this time I will politely decline simply because I have been on the phone to Microsoft for 4 hours today troubleshooting this. We clustered the nodes, enabled s2d, configured the file witness and then created two volumes, put a VM into it, added it to the cluster and then showed that failover did not work. They used get-clusterlogs and also a microsoft troubleshooting app to take away a lot of logging and they are going to get back to me in 2-3 days with (hopefully) a solution as to why this is happening.

        If this doesn’t work maybe I will ask the expert to look at my setup 🙂

        • Ok. I don’t want to disappoint you but it seems that Microsoft support is not yet qualified for S2D. We have had some discussions with other MVP about that. But let me know if they find the reason 🙂

    • Hi
      I have exactly the same issue. Let me know if you will find a solution.

      • Hi,

        Could you describe your hardware configuration ?

      • If I find a solution I will let you know. It is in MS’s hands now.

        FWIW my setup is 2 x Dell T630s with 96 GB RAM, an 8-core Xeon with HT, 1 x 186 GB SSD for the OS, 2 x 480 GB SSDs & 4 x 4 TB HDs for the S2D storage, 2 x 10 GbE Mellanox NICs, 4 x 1 Gbps NetXtreme NICs, and an HBA330 for the storage controller. All firmware is up to date, as are drivers. OS is Server 2016 Data Center.

        The two 10 GbE ports on each node are connected into two Dell S3048 switches. When we spec’d this with dell we told them they were for S2D and recommended us that S3048 switch, but it turns out it doesn’t support PFC (IEEE 802.1Qbb), ETS (IEEE 802.1Qaz) or DCBx. I don’t think this is an issue though, as I tried configuring the nodes without the switch like Romain did in his example, and exactly the same thing happened. RDMA is all enabled and working, as far as I can tell anyway.

        One thing MS made me do whilst troubleshooting was to use a server 2012(r2) server to create a vHD that was presented to the network via iSCSI, then map each node onto the iSCSI HD and test fail-over like that. This worked properly, so ruled out a clustering configuration problem and pointed to S2D.

        Anyway, now I await for MS’s response in 48-72 hours to see what they say. I still await a response from Dell as to the suitability of the hardware they sold us for S2D (they initially sent us a Perc730 controller for the storage controller, but in both pass-through mode and HBA mode the OS still saw the storage devices as connected to a RAID controller and so none of the HDs were eligible for the S2D storage pool.)

        If you come across a fix please let me know 🙂

  10. Hello,

    I still have a small problem with the s2d config. I add a disk in each server making 2*112gb as cache and 2*1.46tb as capacity.

    I used set-physicaldisk to force the 112gb as journal.

    Here is the s2d report, it is unable to use any disk as a cache. How can I force it ? Is there any magic cmdlet ?

    Disks claimed




    Disks used for cache

    BEMERSHV10 2c97ca17-cb8b-cdfe-7348-45792843e5db ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB01
    BEMERSHV10 93622255-b26e-1a79-ac4c-9a3f6a75a7d3 ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB12
    BEMERSHV10 7f4b451e-a3fb-0218-37d3-19a49bd8c1fc ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB12
    BEMERSHV10 b24e2404-9493-a53d-fccb-52fea7b30520 ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB01
    BEMERSHV11 5a0f5599-6c98-ce50-84ea-a7f91907c74c ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB12
    BEMERSHV11 42fdf210-b4f3-babb-f832-93eae638d847 ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB01
    BEMERSHV11 e41f1139-01ea-87b8-35e5-724434a2a227 ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB12
    BEMERSHV11 4f9f9a5f-971c-7583-591c-8e8af895fe09 ATA INTEL SSDSC2BB01

    Many thks for your help.

    Ps. I spoke to my boss about buying some nvme disk to have different kind of bustype in the servers, when he saw the price, he turned red 🙂

  11. Romain – Do you have a config and setup for this type of deployment using SCVMM?

    • Hi,

      Currently I have not. I don’t use SCVMM 2016 because, for the moment, there are too many bugs. I’ve tried to deploy it for a customer, and it caused me lot of trouble.



  12. Hi. Great article, thank you!

    Did you run any performance tests on your 2-node cluster?

    • Hi,

      For this current lab with consumer-grade SSD, I have 47K IOPS with 70% Read and 30% Write.

      Three weeks ago, I have deployed a 2-node solution for a customer with enterprise-grade SSD based on the same design of this article. This solution provides 75K IOPS with 70% Read and 30% Write. Not bad !

      Good week-end !


  13. This article has great details on W2106 S2D set up. Very appreciate for the detail sharing.

    Some command and question:
    1. W2106 S2D needs to have Switch which support RoCE (RDMA over converged Ethernet). You have set up the RDMA NIC card, but when we in our lab with RDMA enabled switch, there are still works needed to get them in sink. Once Switch and NIC connected, you will see the performance issue to enable enough Hyper-V VM. We believe there are works needed there while we are working with MS for tech support.

    2. Have your configuration passed the MS W2016 SDDC (Software-Defined DataCenter) certification? Even MS mentioned that the solution can be deployed with two nodes (To be exact, we believe it is Three nodes as minimum). And for full performance guaranty, the MS W2016 S2D certification is required.

    Steve Wang

    • Hi,

      Thank you for this kindly comment.

      1. In this 2-node configuration, both nodes are directd connected for the 10GB. So I have no switch configuration. In your lab, if you use a switch, you have to configure PFC and DCB on switch side. The PFC must be set like the OS configuration. Ex: if you have set PFC to use the priority 3 for SMB on OS side, you have to set the same priority on switch side

      2. Microsoft supports 2-node configuration. You can believe that 2-node configuration works plenfully.My lab is not certified by Microsoft because I have built servers myself. But I have already built several 2-node configuration which are certified by Microsoft.

      Good week-end.


      • Thank you for the input.

        We are working with MS for W2106 S2D certification and worked closely with MS S2D cert. team on the technical details discussion.

        The MS S2D cert. test we have required 4 server nodes with Switch and control server set up to run and all the component used should also certified. It is good to know that you can have two nodes with network looping and get their certification as W2016 Hyper-converged solution.

        Good information to have.


  14. Hi,Romain. I see you just put the two 10GB together end-to-end with this two nodes. Why did this work for storage transation? I am not familar with SMB and end-to-end connection. Did you have any doc referred to SMB and network setup, so that I can learn and test? Thanks.

    • Hi Andes,

      By default, Storage Spaces Direct takes network adapters where RDMA is enabled for SMB transaction. So I have enabled RDMA on 10GB NIC and disable it on 1GB network adapter. In this configuration, 10B/s networks handle the SMB transactions (S2D and Live-Migration).


      • I see, thanks. And I suppose the Mellanox Connectx3-Pro you use is a Dual-Port Adapter in each node, so that you just bind this two port together in SET, am I right?

        • is each port bi-directional, or one in one out?

          • Hi,

            I have not added both Mellanox ports to a SET. Each ports are direct attached from first server to the second. So I have specified a network subnet for each link. This is standard Ethernet so there are bi directionnal.



      • Hah, I misunderstand something. Thank you for pointing me out!

      • I almost get the server ready but I don’t know what’s the difference between my 10-Gb Ethernet adapters and RoCE adapters.

        Now My network adapters are list below in one server:

        lspci | awk ‘/[Nn]et/ {print $1}’ | xargs -i% lspci -ks %

        03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82599ES 10-Gigabit SFI/SFP+ Network Connection (rev 01)
        Subsystem: QUANTA Computer Inc Device 8986
        Kernel driver in use: ixgbe
        03:00.1 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82599ES 10-Gigabit SFI/SFP+ Network Connection (rev 01)
        Subsystem: QUANTA Computer Inc Device 8986
        Kernel driver in use: ixgbe
        06:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation I350 Gigabit Network Connection (rev 01)
        Subsystem: QUANTA Computer Inc Device 8986
        Kernel driver in use: igb
        06:00.1 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation I350 Gigabit Network Connection (rev 01)
        Subsystem: QUANTA Computer Inc Device 8986
        Kernel driver in use: igb

        Do I need add RoCE adapters to fit this deployment?


  15. hi,

    thanks ,a great article .

    i got two questions :

    1. you are using only one disk for the OS, this is kind of a single point of failure. do you have some kind of software RAID or any other kind of technology to replicate the OS disk? this is very impotent as the DC virtual machine and running of this disk
    2. can you please explain what does the following commands do:

    #Disable DNS registration of Storage and Cluster network adapter (Thanks to Philip Elder :))

    Set-DNSClient -InterfaceAlias Storage* -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress $False
    Set-DNSClient -InterfaceAlias *Cluster* -RegisterThisConnectionsAddress $False


    • Hi,

      1. It is not a problem since if I lose a node, the storage still working. I run the DC on Hyper-V VM because it is a lab. In production situation, you should host nothing on OS disk. A physical DC is recommended.

      2. These commands disable the DNS registration of cluster and storage net adapter in DNS. Sometimes, the “private” IP are registered in DNS. Only the routed IP should be registered in DNS.



  16. I am working on setting up a new small hyper-v cluster. my question is, when does the storage pool become available to the hyper-v host? Do I install that roll on the hyper-v servers? I have two seperate bare-metal boxes for my domain controllers, so my plan was to have hyper-v installed on a core or nano install. I just don’t know when to setup a storage pool direct cluster to use for vm storage.

    Hyper-V builds
    2*Xeon E5-2670 8 core processors
    2* 250GB raid 1 7200 rpm OS disk(s)
    16*4GB Quad-Channel ECC Mem
    2 * 480GB SSD disks
    4 * 1TB mechanical disks

    Also, are you saying that two ssd disks is not enough disks for storage pools direct? I feel like 4 ssds in each machine is a bit excessive for our needs. My main question, again, is when do i add all the drives to the storage pool to use for host vhdx files. I’m trying to avoid building a dedicated bare-metal SAN for storage being used exclusively by hyper-v.

    • Hi,

      First I don’t recommend you Nano Server for Hyper-V or/and storage. Secondly, you have enough SSD in your configuration because you have 10% of cache or more regarding capacity.

      If you follow my topic, you see that I enable storage spaces direct on the cluster and so a Storage Pool is created.



  17. Hi. Great article, thank you!

    Need a SAS HBA adapter for S2D?


    • Hi,

      Yes you need a SAS HBA Adapter (a RAID adapter which works in non-raid :)). Exemple:

      Dell: HBA330
      Lenovo: N2215



      • Why do you advise the HBA adapter, although you do not use it in your configuration?

        • Hi,

          The presented configuration is a lab and it is located in my restroom 🙂 I use a SATA Controller which is not supported in production because of lack of functionality compared to SAS controller (disk location for exemple).

          However I advise you these HBA because I have deployed production environment and I have used these one.



  18. Steven Weinstein

    Can you explain why you setup 2 storage networks and 2 CSV?


    • Hi,

      I setup 2 Storage Networks for redundancy and bandwidth (SMB MultiChannel). Then I create two CSVs in order that each node manage a CSV to balance the workloads.



  19. Hi

    almost got it runnging but Enable-ClusterStorageSpacesDirect gets stuck in 27%. Yes, I cleaned the disk. Out of ideas.

    • Well, I tried everything until I thought to shut down the cluster while Enable-ClusterS2D was hanging on 27%. After starting cluster again and running Enable-ClusterS2D again, it worked. So finally i can continue whit my testing. I hope MS will fix it because this is not recommended for production enviroments.

      • Hi,

        I have had this issue also. When this issue happens, I cancel the Enable-ClusterS2D, I reboot all nodes and I run Disable-ClusterS2D. Then I run agian Enable-ClusterS2D and it works.



  20. Romain,

    Thank you for the article. Do the nodes need to run Windows 2016 Datacenter Edition, or can this be implemented with Windows 2016 Standard edition?

    • Hi,

      Windows Server 2016 Datacenter is a requirement for Storage Spaces Direct.



      • Romain,

        Thank you for the response. Do you have any experience with software based vSAN solutions like Starwind? For a 2-node cluster with less than 14 virtual machines, paying 6K+ per node for a license is a bit much.

  21. Hi Romain,

    I see you are using 1 NVMe per node as cache. This technet article states that you need 2 NVMe cards.

    Can you clarify how this works?

    • Hi,

      This is because it is a lab. I have build this configuration with my own money and NVMe are expensive. But I’m agree, in production, if you implement mix storage devices like SSD + HDD, 2 cache devices are required.



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