Create an Azure Stack HCI cluster

Create an Azure Stack HCI cluster

Create an Azure Stack HCI cluster

Standard cluster with at least two server nodes, residing in a single site.

Before you start the wizard, make sure you have the latest extensions installed, particularly the Cluster Creation extension for Windows Admin Center, and any partner extensions. To do so:

  1. Open Windows Admin Center and click Settings (gear icon) at the upper right.
  2. Under Settings, select Extensions.
  3. Select Cluster Creation and then click Install.
  4. Select Cluster Manager and click Install also while you are at it.
  5. Select any applicable hardware vendor extensions and install them as well.

Now you are ready, so let us begin:

  1. In Windows Admin Center, under All connections, click Add.
  2. In the Add or create resourcespanel, under Server clusters, select Create new.
  3. Under  Choose cluster type, select Azure Stack HCI.
    1. create-cluster-type
  4. Under Select server locations, select one the following:
    • All servers in one site
    • Servers in two sites(for stretched cluster)
  5. When finished, click Create. You will now see the Create Cluster wizard, as shown below.
    1. create-cluster-wizard

Step 1: Get started

Step 1 of the wizard walks you through making sure all prerequisites are met, adding the server nodes, installing needed features, and then restarting each server if needed.

  1. Check the prerequisites listed in the wizard to ensure each server node is cluster-ready. When finished, click Next.
  2. Add servers, enter your account username and password, then click Next. This account must be a member of the local Administrators group on each server.
  3. Enter the name of the first server you want to add, then click Add.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for each server that will be part of the cluster. When finished, click Next.
  5. If needed, Join a domain, specify the domain to join the servers to and the account to use. Then click Next.
  6. Install features, review, and add features as needed. When finished, click Next.

The wizard installs the following required features for you:

    1. BitLocker
    2. Data Center Bridging (for RoCEv2 network adapters)
    3. Failover Clustering
    4. File Server
    5. FS-Data-Deduplication module
    6. Hyper-V
    7. RSAT-AD-PowerShell module
    8. Storage Replica (installed for stretched clusters)
  1. Install updates, click Install updates as needed to install any operating system updates. When complete, click Next.
  2. Install hardware updates, click Get updates as needed to get available vendor hardware updates.
  3. Follow the vendor-specific steps to install the updates on your hardware. These steps include performing symmetry and compliance checks on your hardware to ensure a successful update. You may need to re-run some steps.
  4. Restart servers, click Restart servers if required. Verify that each server has successfully started.

Step 2: Networking

Step 2 of the wizard walks you through configuring virtual switches, network adapters, and other networking elements for your cluster. RDMA (both iWARP and RoCE ) network adapters are supported.

  1. Select Next: Networking.
  2. Check network adapters, wait until green checkboxes appear next to each adapter, then select Next.
  3. Select management adapters, select one or two management adapters to use for each server. It is mandatory to select at least one of the adapters for management purposes, as the wizard requires at least one dedicated physical NIC for cluster management. Once an adapter is designated for management, it is excluded from the rest of the wizard workflow.
    1. create-cluster-management-adapters

Management adapters have two configuration options:

    • One physical network adapter for management. For this option, both DHCP or static IP address assignment is supported.
    • Two physical network adapters teamed for management. When a pair of adapters are teamed, only static IP address assignment is supported.

Now do the following for each server:

    • Select the Description checkbox. Note that all adapters are selected and that the wizard may offer a recommendation for you.
    • Clear the checkboxes for those adapters you don’t want used for cluster management.
  1. When changes have been made, click Apply and test.
  2. Under Define networks, make sure each network adapter for each server has a unique static IP address, a subnet mask, and a VLAN ID. Hover over each table element and enter or change values as needed. When finished, click Apply and test.
  3. Wait until the Status column shows Passed for each server, then click Next. It may take several minutes to complete depending on the number of adapters configured.
  4. Under Virtual switch, select one of the following options as applicable. Depending on how many network adapters there are, not all options may be available:
    • Skip virtual switch creation – choose if you want set up virtual switches later.
    • Create one virtual switch for compute and storage together – choose if you want to use the same virtual switch for your VMs and Storage Spaces Direct. This is the “converged” option.
    • Create one virtual switch for compute only – choose if you want to use a virtual switch for your VMs only.
    • Create two virtual switches – choose if you want a dedicated virtual switch each for VMs and for Storage Spaces Direct.


The following table shows which virtual switch configurations are supported and enabled for various network adapter configurations:

Option 1-2 adapters 3+ adapters teamed adapters
single switch (compute + storage) enabled enabled not supported
single switch (compute only) not supported enabled enabled
two switches not supported enabled enabled
  1. Change the name of a switch and other configuration settings as needed, then click Apply and test. The Status column should show Passed for each server after the virtual switches have been created.
  2. Step RDMA is optional. If you are using RDMA, select the Configure RDMA (Recommended) checkbox and click Next.
    1. Select Advanced, then select the Data Center Bridging (DCB) checkbox.
    2. Under Cluster heartbeat, assign a priority level and a bandwidth reservation percentage.
    3. Under Storage, assign a priority level and a bandwidth reservation percentage.
    4. When finished, select Apply changes and click Next.
    5. Define networks, review and edit the Name, IP address, Subnet mask, VLAN ID, and Default gateway fields for each adapter listed.
    6. When finished, click Apply and test. You may need to Retry connectivity test if status is not OK for an adapter.

Step 3: Clustering

Step 3 of the wizard makes sure everything thus far has been set up correctly, automatically sets up two sites in the case of stretched cluster deployments, and then actually creates the cluster. You can also set up your sites beforehand in Active Directory.

  1. Select Next: Clustering.
  2. On 3.1 Validate the cluster, select Validate. Validation may take several minutes.
  3. Review all validation statuses, download the report to get detailed information on any failures, make changes, then click Validate again as needed. You can Download report as well. Repeat again as necessary until all validation checks pass. When all is OK, click Next.
  4. On 3.2 Create cluster, enter a name for your cluster.
    1. create-cluster
  5. Under IP address, select either static or dynamic IP addresses to use. The IP address must be entered in the following format: IP address/current subnet length.
  6. Select Advanced. You have a couple of options here:
    • Register the cluster with DNS and Active Directory
    • Add eligible storage to the cluster (recommended)
  7. Under Networks, select whether to Use all networks (recommended) or Specify one or more networks not to use.
  8. When finished, click Create cluster.
  9. For stretched clusters, on 3.3 Assign servers to sites, name the two sites that will be used.
  10. Next assign each server to a site. You’ll set up replication across sites later. When finished, click Apply changes.

Step 4: Storage

Step 4 of the wizard walks you through setting up Storage Spaces Direct for your cluster.

  1. Select Next: Storage.
  2. On 4.1 Clean drives, you can optionally select Erase drives if it makes sense for your deployment.
  3. On 4.2 Check drives, click the > icon next to each server to verify that the disks are working and connected. If all is OK, click Next.
  4. On 4.3 Validate storage, click Next.
  5. Download and review the validation report. If all is good, click Next. If not, run Validate again.
  6. On 4.4 Enable Storage Spaces Direct, click Enable.
  7. Download and review the report. When all is good, click Finish.
  8. Select Go to connections list.
  9. After a few minutes, you should see your cluster in the list. Select it to view the cluster overview page.
  • It can take some time for the cluster name to be replicated across your domain, especially if workgroup servers have been newly added to Active Directory. Although the cluster might be displayed in Windows Admin Center, it might not be available to connect to yet.
  • If resolving the cluster isn’t successful after some time, in most cases you can substitute a server name instead of the cluster name.
Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *