Extend your File server with Azure File Sync and Migrate with Windows Admin Center

In the former blog post “step by step Windows Server 2019 File Server clustering With powershell or GUI #Cluster #HA #Azure #WindowsAdminCenter #WindowsServer2019” I created a File share on a Cluster to make the share HA. This is more the traditional way to make the share HA. But what if you have multiple locations and you want to use this share in Azure. Big internal lines between the Datacenter and copy the files to Azure (DFS) method. but that's old. Better use the Azure File Sync option the files are synced to all the Server and available in Azure. Better and faster.


With Azure File Sync , shares can be replicated on-premises or in Azure and accessed through or NFS shares on . Azure File Sync is useful for scenarios in which data needs to be accessed and modified far away from an Azure datacenter, such as in a branch office scenario. Data may be replicated between multiple endpoints, such as between multiple branch offices. Azure File Sync transforms Windows Server into a quick cache of your Azure file share. You can use any protocol that's available on Windows Server to access your data locally, including , NFS, and FTPS. You can have as many caches as you need across the world.

To get started with the Azure File Sync we need a account in Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync

We create a account in Azure.

Remember this works only on Windows Servers ! System Requirements:

  • A server running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019:Version
    Supported SKUs
    Supported deployment options

    Windows Server 2019
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)

    Windows Server 2016
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)

    Windows Server 2012 R2
    Datacenter and Standard
    Full (server with a UI)


Now that the storage account is created we are starting with the Azure File Sync creation in Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync Deploy Azure File Sync

Name the Storage Sync Service , and create a resource group.

The next step is register the Onpremise server to Azure with the Azure File Sync Agent

Deploy Azure File Sync

Azure File Sync  Agent download https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=858257

The installation is in two steps.

  1. Installing the agent
  2. Configuring the Agent

Deploy Azure File Sync

After the download install the Agent on the File server, As I use a Cluster install the Agent on every node of the Cluster.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

Now that the agent is installed the Second wizard pops up for the configuration and if needed a update.

imageDeploy Azure File Sync

So far so good. As the Agent is connecting to Azure there are some additional components needed.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As this Cluster was a fresh installation and I did not used the PowerShell command for Azure here I need to install the AzureRM modules (or AZ module)


Installing and updating the modules.

Install-Module -Name AzureRM –AllowClobber

Deploy Azure File Sync

With this command you can see the current Powershell version

Get-Module -Name AzureRM -List | select Name,Version


Deploy Azure File Sync

Now that the PowerShell commands are installed we can refresh the page and the installation continues

Deploy Azure File Sync

If you are using a CSP subscription in Azure then you need to set this check box. and use your tenant ID

Deploy Azure File Sync

In all other subscriptions keep this default

Deploy Azure File Sync

Pick the right Resource group the one with the created Storage Sync services in it. else the field will be empty.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Select a resource group that contains a Storage Sync Service, or use the Azure portal to create one in this resource group.

Deploy Azure File Sync

When this process is done we can configure the rest in the Azure portal.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As you can see the Cluster CNO object is named here

In the pane that opens, enter the following information to create a sync group with a cloud endpoint:

  • Sync group name: The name of the sync group to be created. This name must be unique within the Storage Sync Service, but can be any name that is logical for you.
  • Subscription: The subscription where you deployed the Storage Sync Service.
  • Storage account: If you select Select storage account, another pane appears in which you can select the storage account that has the Azure file share that you want to sync with.
  • Azure file share: The name of the Azure file share with which you want to sync.

Next is creating the Sync group.

Deploy Azure File Sync


Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

Pick a name for the Sync group name. and the proper Storage account that we created earlier. In this storage account we did not create a File share this is needed to hold the Files. so the azure file share check box is not showing you anything.

Go the the storage account and create a File share

Deploy Azure File Sync

With this created the creation of the Sync group can be completed.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Next step is creating some endpoints. this means bind the local share to the services and sync this to the Azure storage account share.

Deploy Azure File Sync

Deploy Azure File Sync

Adding the endpoint and pick the registered server and the file share that will be synced.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync

If you want to enable cloud Tiering and fill in the values. In this demo I don't use this.


Only NTFS volumes are supported. ReFS, FAT, FAT32, and other file systems are not supported.

Failover Clustering

Windows Server Clustering is supported by Azure File Sync for the “File Server for general use” deployment option. Clustering is not supported on “Scale-Out File Server for application data” (SOFS) or on Clustered Shared Volumes (CSVs).

The Azure File Sync agent must be installed on every node in a Cluster for sync to work correctly.

In my demo the Share is not listed, I already know why, As I used ReFS for the cluster disk.

This can be painful as you need to format that disk and move all the data to a temp location.

Deploy Azure File Sync        Deploy Azure File Sync

After changing the disk format and a refresh you can see that the deployment is pending and working.

Deploy Azure File SyncDeploy Azure File Sync


After this you have a full Hybrid file share Fully redundant on premise and a off load to Azure.

Deploy Azure File Sync

As last the best option to get the data into this HA file share is using the Windows Admin Center

In Windows Admin Center there is a great options Storage Migration Services


Opening Windows admin Center and select the source this will be scanned and when done the files can be migrated. (the scanning can take some time)



When the scanning is done the files and shares are listed. more info can be found here https://youtu.be/WCWxAp27ERk


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This article was originally published by Microsoft's Secure Blog. You can find the original article here.