Adding Hyper-V Hosts and Host Clusters, and Scale-Out File Servers to VMM


Updated: May 13, 2016

Applies To: System Center 2012 SP1 - Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager

This section shows how to add Hyper-V hosts, Hyper-V host clusters, and as of System Center 2012 R2, Scale-Out File Server clusters, to Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). This section also includes information about how to configure Hyper-V host properties, such as networking and storage settings.

You can add the following types of servers as managed Hyper-V hosts:

  • Windows Server computers or Windows Server failover clusters in an Active Directory domain that is trusted by the domain of the VMM management server


    This includes Windows Server computers in a disjointed namespace.

  • Windows Server computers or Windows Server failover clusters in an Active Directory domain that is untrusted by the domain of the VMM management server

  • Windows Server computers in a perimeter network or in a workgroup (stand-alone computers only)

  • Physical computers that do not have an operating system installed (often called “bare-metal computers”)


    Through the VMM console, you can deploy an operating system to the physical computers, and add the computers as managed Hyper-V hosts. You can also use this method to overwrite an existing operating system on a physical computer.

    If you want to deploy Scale-Out File Server clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2 to bare metal, the VMM management server must also run Windows Server 2012 R2.

The topics in this section are organized according to the different methods that you can use to add Hyper-V hosts, Hyper-V host clusters, or as of System Center 2012 R2, Scale-Out File Server clusters. The topics include example scenarios that will help guide you through the process. The example scenarios refer to a fictitious organization,


When adding hosts or host clusters, you must perform all procedures in this section as a member of the Administrator user role, or as a Delegated Administrator whose management scope includes the host groups where you add the hosts or host clusters.

Advantages of Managing Scale-out File Servers with VMM

With Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, you can deploy virtual machines to block storage using Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), iSCSI, or Fibre Channel protocols. If there are Scale-out File Servers in your environment, Hyper-V supports VM virtual hard disks (VHDs) deployed to a continuously available file share using SMB3 protocol. With Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), you can manage the Scale-out File Server and create new file shares and set permissions on the file shares so that the Hyper-V hosts can access the share. In System Center 2012 R2VMM, if the Scale-out File Server is connected to shared SAS disks, then disk pooling is possible using Windows Server Storage Spaces and VMM.

This section describes additional advantages of managing Scale-Out File Servers with VMM.

Storage Spaces

When you add a new Scale-out File Server to VMM, the Spaces provider discovers all SAS physical disks that are available. You can list the physical disks that are available for pooling, and then select a subset or all of the physical disks that are on that list. You can also create a new pool. VMM also supports adding new disks to the storage pool. If the Scale-out File Server already has storage pools, then VMM discovers them and automatically brings them under management.

Storage Classification

Storage pools managed by VMM must have a storage classification. Storage classification is used to differentiate between storage types based on either performance or guarantees offered by the underlying storage device. You can create a storage pool with all solid-state drives (SSDs) and associate that with a “MaximumPerformance” classification. A separate pool can have SSD and hard disk drive (HDD) from multiple enclosures which you can associate with a “MaximumResiliency” classification. Storage pools that are discovered by VMM are automatically classified as “RemoteStorage”. You can modify that classification at any time in the file server properties, or in the storage pool properties. VMM uses storage classification for VHD placement (which is defined in templates or at creation time), and for scoping self-service users consuming cloud to specific storage.

File shares inherit the storage classification that is set for the underlying storage pool. If you need to further differentiate between two shares on the same pool, you can set storage classification at the file share level. In this case, if the storage pool is “Gold,” then one share can inherit from the storage pool so it will also be classified as “Gold”, and another file share can have a “Silver” classification.

Storage File Shares

VMM supports creation of file shares from a storage pool from a volume, or by using specific paths. In the case of creation from a storage pool, VMM uses the Storage Management API to create a new Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) from a Spaces storage pool. This operation consists of creating the disk, attaching the disk to a cluster, initializing, partitioning, formatting the volume, and finally converting the volume to CSV. VMM then calls File Server SMB3 APIs to create the Scale-Out file share.

If the CSV already exists, then all you need to do is select the volume; VMM will create the file folder structure and file share. Finally, VMM can create a file share using a specific path. For example, if the file share was accidently deleted, you can recreate the file share using an existing folder path.

File Share Permissions

Setting up permissions on folder and file shares is required before Hyper-V hosts and host clusters can access virtual machine files stored on a file share. VMM automates setting permissions on the file system folder and share with the computer accounts from the Hyper-V hosts or host cluster nodes. In addition, when you use VMM to add and remove Hyper-V nodes from a cluster, VMM modifies the permissions on the file share and the file system.

Library Storage

You can use file shares that are managed by VMM for library storage or for Hyper-V storage. You cannot use the same file share for both.

File Share Placement

VMM associates the share with the host/cluster so placement can consider file storage when evaluating its rating (similar to block storage). Placement looks at available capacity and whether a specific storage classification is required (based on the intent that is expressed in the template).

File Share Deployment

VMM offloads data transfers using CopyFile APIs. The Library server and Hyper-V host management accounts need to be set for this feature to work. If the accounts are not specified properly, VMM defaults to BITS transfer. After registering the file share with the Hyper-V host or host cluster, you can deploy a new virtual machine, and the data copy is automatically offloaded. With a SAN, the Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) feature handles the file transfer within the array. With a Scale-out File Server, CopyChunk support offloads the file copy and helps avoid the network roundtrip. If no offloads are available, the copy APIs reverts back to a regular SMB copy over the network. If that transfer fails for any reason (for example due to a network issue), VMM restarts the file copy job using BITS.

Cloud Storage Capacity

You can use storage classification to expose storage capacity to clouds. Self-service users do not need to pass in a share name or a mount point. Templates created by self-service users can specify a storage classification; for example if they want to use a specific VHD on gold storage. Or, the template might have no storage classification, in which case any storage that is available to the cloud can be used.

Overview Topics

Before you begin the procedures, review the information in the overview topic that applies to the type of servers that you plan to add as managed Hyper-V hosts, host clusters, or Scale-Out File Server cluster.

Topic Description
Adding Windows Servers as Hyper-V Hosts in VMM Overview Provides an overview, links to the operating system requirements, and links to the procedures for adding existing Windows Server computers and failover clusters as managed Hyper-V hosts.
Adding Physical Computers as Hyper-V Hosts or as Scale-Out File Servers in VMM Overview Provides an overview, describes the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) requirements, and links to the procedures for how to discover physical computers and convert them to managed Hyper-V hosts, or to a Scale-Out File Server cluster.
Configuring Hyper-V Host Properties in VMM Describes the different host properties that you can configure in VMM. Includes detailed information about how to configure storage, networking and baseboard management controller (BMC) settings on a Hyper-V host.