Looking for design assistance.

Typically, I use a 2 node SAN disk cluster running CentOS and DRBD for high availability. I will then connect the hypervisor(s) via iSCSI; sometimes KVM/QEMU, sometimes Hyper-V Failover Cluster.

I am trying to translate this to a fully Microsoft solution. In total I have 5 physical servers; 3 for the Failover Cluster, and 2 for the Disk Cluster. Each server has 4 NICs, but I don't want to confuse the issue right now with NIC Teaming or anything like that.

At first, I started making a "Disk Cluster" using the 2 servers running Windows Server 2019 and Scale-Out File Services (SOFS). Each server has 2 local disks; one for the OS, and the other (I was thinking) to be made available as storage for the Failover Cluster. I have read a few articles, and watched a few videos, but I think I am missing something. I cannot add disks to the SOFS, because there are none to add.

I do not have the budget for Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, so I cannot use Storage Spaces Direct.

Does anyone have any advise or articles to share for this kind of build? A lot of articles reference StarWind Virtual SAN; maybe that is the route I should take.

I hope I am explaining myself properly. Thanks for any assistance.

2 Answers 2


Re-purposing 2 servers from 5 available to become your shared storage is a waste. Install StarWind VSAN everywhere and create yourself some nice and smooth hyperconverged setup. Resulting 5 node cluster will be way more resilient and better balanced.


Do you have any form of shared storage between the two storage servers? If not, you can't build a "disk cluster" with them.

Storage Spaces Direct is the only Microsoft solution to create logical volumes across multiple servers without actually having shared storage.

A Scale-Out File Server still requires a common storage, either a real shared one (iSCSI, SAS, FC...) or Storage Spaces Direct.

  • 2
    Well, no. That is ultimately what I am trying to do, without CentOS/DRBD. The more I look into it, I think I will have to try a 3rd pary solution like StarWind.
    – G. Bennett
    Feb 22, 2021 at 20:39
  • 1
    Also, Storage Spaces Direct requires at least four data disks per server.
    – Massimo
    Feb 22, 2021 at 20:44
  • 2
    Your best option is to keep using DBRD and connect the Hyper-V servers to it via iSCSI. StarWind Virtual SAN doesn't come cheap.
    – Massimo
    Feb 22, 2021 at 20:48
  • 3
    I'd stick with their free version. It comes with no restrictions except GUI (it's CLI only) and support (which is obvious). starwindsoftware.com/starwind-virtual-san-free Feb 24, 2021 at 16:24
  • 3
    I would agree that StaWind VSAN free would be a great option. I have couple happy customers running their paid version in production. IMO, VSAN would be easier to deploy comparing to DRBD or S2D. StarWind help contains powershell samples, which can be helpful:starwindsoftware.com/help/HeartbeatFailoverStrategy.html
    – Stuka
    Feb 25, 2021 at 16:02

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