In the previous article, we have created a free SMB3 file server. I decided to proceed with the testing of Microsoft Server Hyper-V 2016 free version possibilities. In this post, I will try to create Highly Available devices with VSAN from StarWind and then create a Microsoft Failover Cluster to make a Highly Available File Server.

Important note: StarWind does not recommend repeating the steps below because it is a violation of Microsoft license agreement.


We are using 2 servers with Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 added into a domain (Hyper-V-1; Hyper-V-2). Client node with Windows Server 2016 (2016-client-test).

Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 servers added into a domain



Join both nodes into a domain.

PowerShell window

Run PowerShell in cmd window and install StarWind VSAN. Basically, we’ll only need the service, so we’re using /components=service parameter. Additionally, we’ll use /verysilent to start it in the console.

Repeat this procedure on the both nodes.

PowerShell window

We can manage StarWind through PowerShell with included StarWindX module. But in this case, I would like to use GUI StarWind Management Console.

NOTE: StarWind Management Console requires the Desktop Experience feature.

After the installation of StarWind Management Console on Windows with Desktop Experience is completed, we are adding both hosts to the list and creating HA Witness device, and HA for Share device.

StarWind Management Console view

We need to Install MultiPathIO feature using the following command:

Installing MultiPathIO feature using the command

Answer “Yes” to perform the reboot. When the Host will boot up, we need to enable multipath for iSCSI with the command

enable multipath for iSCSI with a command

Also, we need to install the Failover Cluster:

install the Failover Cluster with PowerShell

Let’s connect StarWind devices in Microsoft iSCSI Initiator. You can run iscsicpl in cmd to open GUI for iSCSI Initiator.

iSCSI Initiator Properties view

Open Discovery tab and discover Local IP (, and partner iSCSI channel (for me is

iSCSI Initiator Properties Targets

Connect all devices in the Targets tab.

Note: In the case of the hyperconverged scenario, we recommend connecting witness device just via loopback. It means that the partner Witness drive should be “Inactive”.

VSAN from StarWind is software-defined storage (SDS) solution created with restricted budgets and maximum output in mind. It pulls close to 100% of IOPS from existing hardware, ensures high uptime and fault tolerance starting with just two nodes. StarWind VSAN is hypervisor and hardware agnostic, allowing you to forget about hardware restrictions and crazy expensive physical shared storage.

Build your infrastructure with off-the-shelf hardware, scale however you like, increase return on investment (ROI) and enjoy Enterprise-grade virtualization features and benefits at SMB price today!

How it should be on the first node:

iSCSI Initiator Properties Targets

How it should be on the second host:

iSCSI Initiator Properties Targets

As soon as StarWind devices are connected via iSCSI, we need to create a Volume on them using DISKPART utility.

create a Volume on StarWind devices using DISKPART utility

Once partitions and volumes are created on StarWind devices, we need to create a Failover (we can install the Failover Clustering Manager on Microsoft Server 2016 Desktop version and create the Cluster through GUI). If you decide to use PowerShell instead of GUI, run the following commands to create the cluster:

where “–Name” is a name of the cluster, and “–Node” for the cluster nodes. In my example, I decided to create the cluster via PowerShell.

create the cluster using PowerShell

Next step is adding a File-server role. Run cmdlet

-Cluster” is the cluster where the role is added. “-Name” is the name of the file share. “–Storage” is the available cluster disk.

PowerShell Cluster File Server Role cmdlt

To create the share, we use the following cmdlet:

on the share owner. “-Name” parameter sets directory name of the share. “-Path” is the path to the shared disk of the share. “-Scope” is a file share name. “-FullAccess” provides users with the rights to work with the share.

PowerShell command view

Now we can check the parameters of the share which we have created using the following command in PowerShell:

check the parameters of the share using PowerShell

Additionally, let’s check if we can copy files to the share and if the failover function runs properly. The screenshot shows that everything works as planned (node-owner was turned off and the resource moved to the other node).

resource moving to the other node process


The Highly Available File Server on the free Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 works great! You may follow the instructions, but remember that it must not be used for commercial purposes because that would mean the violation of your license agreement.

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Ivan Ischenko
Ivan works as a Technical Support Engineer at StarWind. Has a deep knowledge of virtualization, storage technologies, and clustering.