Building and configuring Windows Server 2012 “Server 8 Beta” Scale-Out “Transparent” file server cluster

Windows Server “8” Beta introduces Scale-Out File Server with features that let you store server application data, such as a Hyper-V virtual machine files, on file shares, and obtain a similar level of reliability, availability, manageability, and high performance that you would expect from a storage area network.

In Windows Server “8” Beta, Scale-Out File Server is designed to provide scale-out file shares that are continuously available for file-based server application storage. Scale-out file shares provides the ability to share the same folder from multiple nodes of the same cluster. For instance, if you have a four-node file server cluster that is using Server Message Block (SMB) scale-out, a computer running Windows Server “8” Beta can access file shares from any of the four nodes. This is achieved by leveraging new features in the Windows file server protocol, failover clusters in Windows Server, and SMB 2.2. Administrators can provide scale-out file shares and continuously available file services to server applications and respond to increased demands quickly by simply bringing more servers online. All of this can be done in a production environment and it is completely transparent to the server application.

Key benefits provided by Scale-Out File Server in Windows Server “8” Beta include:

  • Scale capacity dynamically   Scale-Out File Server supports two nodes and it can scale up to four. You can add and remove nodes without impacting the server applications that connect to the file servers.
  • Increased bandwidth   All cluster nodes can accept and serve SMB client requests for scale-out file shares, which results in higher utilization rates. Additionally, the SMB client servicing capability is no longer constrained by a cluster node, but rather the capability of the backing storage system.
  • Transparent failover and node fault tolerance   Supporting business-critical server application workloads requires the connection to the storage subsystem to be continuously available. SMB 2.2 server clusters and clients cooperate to provide transparent failover to alternative cluster nodes during planned maintenance and unplanned failures.
  • Load balancing   Scale-out file shares let you balance the load across cluster nodes by allowing you to direct clients to any cluster node without service interruption.

In this post we will walkthrough building and configuring and transparent file Server cluster composed of two nodes “ServerA.foresta.local and ServerB.foresta.local

Note: Storage LUNs used in this post are created on Windows Server 8 Beta iSCSI target server that was detailed in previous post.


  1. Log on to the server as a member of the local Administrators group.
  2. Server Manager will start automatically. If it does not automatically start, click Start, type servermanager.exe, and then click Server Manager.
  3. In the QUICK START section, click Add roles and features.


  1. On the Before you begin page of the Add Roles and Features Wizard, click Next.


  1. On the Select installation type page, click Role-based or feature-based installation, and then click Next.


  1. On the Select destination server page, select the appropriate server, and then click Next. The local server is selected by default.


  1. On the Select server roles page, expand File and Storage Services, expand File Services, and then select the File Server check box. Click Next.


  1. On the Select features page, select the Failover Clustering and Share and Storage Management Tools check boxes, and then click Next.



  1. On the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.


  1. These steps will be repeated for ServerB and we can use the same server manager on ServerA by adding ServerB to be managed as per the below


Then ServerB will be shown during the Select destination server page, complete the installation as per the previous steps.


  1. Click Tools, and then click Failover Cluster Manager.


  1. Right click the Failover Cluster Manager, click Create Cluster.


  1. On the Before You Begin page, click Next.


  1. On the Select Servers page, in the Enter name box, type the FQDN of one of the servers that will be part of the cluster, and then click Add. Repeat this step for each server that will be in the cluster.


  1. Click Next.
  2. On the Validation Warning page, ensure that the Yes, When I click next , run configuration validation tests, and then return to the process of creating the cluster option is selected, and then click Next.


  1. On the Before you begin page, click Next.


  1. On the Testing Options page, ensure that the Run all tests (recommended) option is selected, and then click Next.


  1. On the Confirmation page click Next.


  1. On the Summary page, click Finish. The Create Cluster Wizard appears.
  2. On the Access Point for Administering the Cluster page, in the Cluster Name box, type a name for the cluster, and then click Next.


  1. On the Confirmation page, ensure that the Add all eligible storage to the cluster check box is selected, and then click Next.


  1. On the Summary page, click Finish.
  2. In Failover Cluster Manager Click Storage, right-click the disk that you want to add to the cluster shared volume, and then click Add to Cluster Shared Volumes.


  1. Right-click the cluster, and then click Configure Role.


  1. On the Before You Begin page, click Next.


  1. On the Select Role page, click File Server, and then click Next.


  1. On the File Server Type page, select the File Server for scale-out application data option, and then click Next.


  1. On the Client Access Point page, in the Name box, type a NETBIOS name that will be used to access Scale-Out File Server, and then click Next.


  1. On the Confirmation page, confirm your settings, and then click Next.


  1. On the Summary page, click Finish.
  2. Expand the cluster, and then click Roles.
  3. Right-click the file server role, and then click Add Shared Folder.


  1. On the Select the profile for this share page, click SMB Share – Server Application, and then click Next.


  1. On the Select the server and path for this share page, click the cluster shared volume, and then click Next.


  1. On the Specify share name page, in the Share name box, type a name, and then click Next.


  1. On the Configure share settings page, ensure that the Enable continuous availability check box is selected, and then click Next.


  1. On the Specify permissions to control access page, click Customize permissions and grant the following permissions:
    • If you are using this Scale-Out File Server file share for Hyper-V, all Hyper-V computer accounts, the SYSTEM account, and all Hyper-V administrators must be granted full control on the share and the file system.
    • If you are using Scale-Out File Server on Microsoft SQL Server, the SQL Server service account must be granted full control on the share and the file system.


  1. On the Confirmation page, click Create.