Nifty new MS cluster feature (2016 Server tech) – configure your own witness in the cloud

An interesting feature within W2k16 within the clustering framework is the cloud witness. Quorum maintenance being one of the most important parts of any cluster design. With DR can be a design challenge as MS recommend that the quorum is located in a 3rd data center. As a lot of companies operate using 2 data centers this can pose a problem.

With the tech preview edition of 2016 it introduces a new feature called the cloud witness that looks to address this problem.

Creating one is simple and via the usual means to create a quorum using the Cluster Quorum wizard. The pre-requisites are straightforward enough too. Need:

i) An active Azure subscription

ii) Storage account

To launch the wizard:

i) Right-click the server in the Failover Cluster Manager

ii) Point to More Actions

iii) Select Configure Cluster Quorum Settings

iv) Select the Quorum Witness option

v) Select the Configure a Cloud Witness option

vi) On the next page provide the name of your Azure storage account, copy the key from the Azure Portal to the clipboard and type the Azure service endpoint

When the wizard is completed you’ll see the cloud witness displayed in the Cluster Core Resources pane in the Failover Configuration Manager snap-in.


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