How-to create a scale out file server (SOFS) with #scvmm #sysctr

This post is a quick guide on how to create a Scale Out File Server using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 starting from existing Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts. The scenario is different form provisioning a SOFS from bare metal. I hadn’t been able to find a comprehensive  documentation for this scenario so here it is.


          At least 2 Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts (winrm configured and proper ports opened on firewall to permit VMM agent installation)

          The hosts need to have access to the shared storage to be used for the scale out file server

          Create a domain account (SOFS Runas Account), set it as local administrator for all the cluster nodes, add it as an administrator on the VMM Server. This runas account must be created, it must be different from the VMM Service account

          Pre-provision the computer accounts needed for the cluster in Active Directory (see for details)

o   Create the cluster name computer account, give the SOFS RunAs Account rights to provision the computer. Disable the account.

o   Create the SOFS name computer account, give the cluster computer account Full Control rights to the account. Disable the account.

Pre-provisioning the computer accounts in Active Directory is the only way I’ve been able to make the SOFS creation works from VMM. This is what’s really missing from the product documentation. If you don’t pre-provision the accounts, once the cluster is created (provided the runas account you’re using has the rights to join new computer accounts to the OU where the nodes computer accounts reside) the SOFS cluster name creation will fail. The SOFS computer account is created in the context of cluster computer account, this is the reason we need to pre provision.

Once the previous steps are completed the documented procedure on technet works fine.

Just to recap, create a new file server cluster and specify the runas account previously created.



Add the cluster and sofs name, the ones that need to be pre-provisioned


Add the nodes and everything is set to run.



One final note on Azure, if you’re trying to use Azure to test this feature you must be aware that on Azure VMs are still not able to have multiple IPs, so to make the whole scenario work you must:

          Define a static IP during the cluster creation Wizard in VMM. To define a static IP you must add an address pool in VMM, the IP must be part of this pool

          Add an entry on the hosts. file on the VMM server where the cluster name must be resolved by the owner node (it is a good idea to force the cluster name to be bound to just one node, after all this is a test environment). For example if the node IP address is and the cluster name is Cluster, a row for “ Cluster” must be added to hosts.



  1. #1 by Daniele Grandini on November 11, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    Hi, I can only think of AD replica timings, maybe when you try to create the cluster the information about the disabled account has not yet propagated. More on TechNet (see link in my post) you can read: If you create the cluster name account (cluster name object) before creating the cluster—that is, prestage the account—you must give it the Create Computer objects and Read All Properties permissions in the container that is used for computer accounts in the domain. You must also disable the account, and give Full Control of it to the account that will be used by the administrator who installs the cluster. For more information, see Steps for prestaging the cluster name account, later in this guide.

  2. #2 by Anon. on November 7, 2014 - 11:16 pm

    I’ve disabled the “Cluster name account” in AD but get the following error when I try to create the SOFS.

    Error (26534)
    The network name [CLUSTER.NAME] already exists in Active Directory.

    Recommended Action
    Choose a different name or remove the name from Active Directory, then try the operation again.

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