DRBD is a protocol for mirroring the storage on one server with the storage on another. Essentially it gives you a highly available (HA) cluster of storage across two or more physical machines, without the need for an expensive SAN.

It seems this kind of setup is possible in Linux, but I use Windows 2012 and Hyper V to host my virtual machines, some of which are Win 2012, some of which are Linux.

Put simply - is it possible to either create a DRBD setup on a Windows machine - I've seen the Starwind app but they want silly money for it - you may as well buy a SAN? Alternatively is it possible to create a DRBD share on 2 Linux boxes, and then use that storage for cluster Hyper V storage? Can a DRBD share on Linux present itself as an iSCSI target / SMB 3 volume?

  • Have you looked at using Hyper-V with Windows Scale Out File Server services? It accomplishes what I think you might be looking for using built in Windows technologies. A high overview is here (blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2012/11/05/…) But basically you create a Scale Out File Server as a cluster and house your HyperV VHDs on there. Just food for thought..
    – MikeAWood
    Jan 15, 2014 at 0:50
  • As far as I can gather, and some posts are pretty difficult to fathom exactly - you still need some form of shared storage - even for a SOFS. I really don't want to invest in more hardware, that would be overkill - would like to make the most of the machines I've got. Seems on paper like it should be fairly straightforward but isn't! Jan 15, 2014 at 20:52
  • Can we just close it? 2018 there is either starwind (similar) or S2D as part of Windows, which end of the year (2019 version) likely gets into standard edition
    – TomTom
    May 24, 2018 at 8:53

5 Answers 5


I doubt you can get DRBD to run on Windows, but you can easily create a DRBD device on Linux and export it as an iSCSI target, as the DRBD device is just another block device for the Linux storage layer.

Using Samba4 to export an SMB3 share should be possible as well, but I have no experience with this.


Well, you have two options here:

1.you need to create the VMs on HAST/DRBD in FreeBSD/Linux that'll have iSCSI disks (obviously this requires configuration) and those disk will serve for Hyper-V after. This is not the most high-performable scenario, but it should work.

2.Take a look at the free Windows based SAN solutions like StarWind or something else (I'm not sure if there any other free product on the market). BTW if you`ll stick with SW product you should take a look at Native SAN scenario, which allows installing the SAN software directly on the Hyper-V server, which is pretty beneficial due to obvious reasons.

  • 3: Wait for 2016 - next version of windows server gets mirroring capabilities missing ;) Simple like that.
    – TomTom
    Nov 14, 2015 at 19:11

Using a DRBD based Cluster exporting a storage as Cluster resource is standard setup you'll find plenty information and tutorials on it. DRBD in combination with Pacemaker as Cluster Resource Manger and Heartbeat for Cluster Communication is a stable way to build an high available SAN and will also work with your Windows Hypervisor.

Detailed Documentation on how to deploy a DRBD-based SAN is provided directly from the developers of the components mentioned above.

Please see the links for further information:

DRBD Users Guide you can fin on drbd.org

LINBIT(authors of DRBD) Techguides:

Highly available iSCSI with DRBD and Pacemaker

Highly available NFS with DRBD and Pacemaker

Pacemaker Documentation you can find on clusterlabs.org


It looks like someone has been porting DRBD to Windows! wdrbd
(I haven't tried it though, yet)


drbd should work with hyper V if the lvm partition is mounted on hyper V as an iSCSI device, simply put the hyper V host simplpy sees the iSCSI mount. it doesnt need to know that the disk its attaching to is replicating and failing over to another disk. that being said, if there is a substantial difference between one DRBD node and another you will probably see the VM crash. If the Drive the hyper V host is attached to fails and DRBD fails over to the other system you will probably see a syste-critical error in the hyper V console. but a simple reboot would have you back in operation. The only way to truly get failover on the VHDX is to use what is mentioned above and use Clustered storage. Clustered sotrage can be used in conjunction with DRBD.

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