Manage Azure Stack HCI clusters using Windows Admin Center

Applies to: Azure Stack HCI, version 20H2; Windows Server 2019

Windows Admin Center can be used to manage your Azure Stack HCI clusters. Specifically, you will be using the Cluster Manager feature in Windows Admin Center to manage your clusters.

View the cluster dashboard

The cluster dashboard displays information regarding cluster health and performance.

Cluster Dashboard screen

To view this information, select the cluster name under All connections, then under Tools on the left, select Dashboard. You can view the following:

  • Cluster event alerts
  • List of the servers joined to the cluster
  • List of virtual machines running on the cluster
  • List of disk drives available on the cluster
  • List of volumes available on the cluster
  • Total cluster CPU usage for the cluster
  • Total cluster memory usage for the cluster
  • Total cluster storage usage for the cluster
  • Total cluster input/output operations/second (IOPS)
  • Average cluster latency in milliseconds

Change storage settings

You can select to use server memory to cache frequent reads and specify the maximum memory to be used per sever. For more information, see Understanding the cache in Azure Stack HCI.

  1. In Windows Admin Center, select Cluster Manager from the top drop-down arrow.

  2. Under Tools, select Settings at the bottom.

  3. Select In-memory cache and enter the new name.

    cluster In-memory cache screen

  4. You can change the name of the storage pool that Storage Spaces Direct uses. Select Storage pools and enter the new name. This is applicable for stretched clusters.

    cluster storage pool screen

  5. You can change Storage Spaces Direct settings. Select Storage Spaces Direct and change the following settings as needed:

    • Persistent cache - enable or disable the persistent cache
    • Cache mode for HDD - change the cache mode for HDD drives
    • Cache mode for SSD - change the cache for SSD drives

    cluster Storage Spaces Direct screen

Change cluster settings

There are several general settings that can be applied to your cluster. Here is where you can set and manage access points, node shutdown behavior, traffic encryption, VM load balancing, and cluster witness.

  1. In Windows Admin Center, select Cluster Manager from the top drop-down arrow.

  2. Under Tools, select Settings.

  3. To change the cluster name, select Access point and enter the new name.

    Active/active stretched cluster scenario

  4. To control node shutdown behavior, select Node shutdown behavior and ensure the checkbox is enabled. This moves any virtual machines from the node first to allow graceful node shutdown.

    cluster Node shutdown behavior screen

  5. To encrypt SMB connections used to send data between cluster nodes, select Cluster traffic encryption, then select Encrypt from the dropdown boxes for the following:

    • Core traffic - encrypts traffic sent over NetFT (cluster virtual adapter) on port 3343

    • Storage traffic - encrypts Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) and Storage Bus Layer (SBL) traffic

      cluster Cluster traffic encryption screen

  6. To automatically load-balance virtual machines across the cluster, select Virtual machine load balancing, and do the following:

  7. To select a quorum witness type, select Witness, then for Witness type select one of the following:

  8. To use affinity rules to control virtual machine placement across host servers and sites, select Affinity rules, then click Create rule. For detailed information on how set up rules, see Create server and site affinity rules for VMs.

    cluster Affinity rules screen

  9. To select how much data to send to Microsoft for diagnostics, select Diagnostic data, then select one of the following:

    • Diagnostic data off (Security) - no data is sent
    • Required (Basic) - minimum data sent to keep things secure and up-to-date
    • Optional (Full) - all applicable data sent

    cluster Data Diagnostics screen

Change Hyper-V settings

There are several Hyper-V host settings that can be applied to your cluster.

  1. In Windows Admin Center, select Cluster Manager from the top drop-down arrow.

  2. Under Tools, select Settings.

  3. Select General and then use the following settings:

    • Virtual Hard Disks Path - specify the default folder for storing virtual hard disk files.

    • Virtual Machines Path - specify the default folder for storing the virtual machine configuration files.

      cluster Hyper-V General settings  screen

  4. To allow redirection of local devices and resources from virtual machines, select Enhanced Session Mode. Note that enhanced session mode connections require a supported guest operating system.

    cluster Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode screen

  5. To allow virtual machines to span physical NUMA nodes, select NUMA Spanning. Non-uniform memory architecture (NUMA) spanning can provide a virtual machine with more memory than what is available on a single NUMA node.

    cluster NUMA Spanning screen

  6. To specify the number of VMs that can be simultaneously moved while running (live migrated), select Live Migration, select a number, then specify the following:

    • for Authentication Protocol, select either CredSSP or Kerberos.

    • for Performance Options, select either Compression or SMB. Compressed data is sent over a TCP/IP connection.

    • enable the Use any network checkbox to use any available network on a node to perform the migration

      cluster Live Migration screen

  7. To specify the number of storage migrations that can be performed at the same time, select Storage Migration, then select a number.

    cluster Storage Migration screen

Register the cluster with Azure

To register or unregister your cluster with Azure, select Azure Stack HCI registration. For detailed information on how to do this, see Connect Azure Stack HCI to Azure.

cluster Azure Registration screen

Next steps

To monitor your cluster, see Monitor Azure Stack HCI with Azure Monitor.