Nimble Hybrid Storage for Azure VM

Microsoft Azure can be integrated with Nimble Cloud-Connected Storage based on the Nimble Storage Predictive Flash platform via Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute or Equinix Cloud Exchange connectivity solutions.

The Nimble storage is located in Equinix colocation facilities at proximity to Azure data centres to deliver fast, low-latency performance.

Key Features:

  • 9997% uptime and reliability over thousands of systems deployed in production.
  • Triple-parity RAID protection, data durability is improved by over 1,000x compared to traditional RAID6 protection.
  • Accelerates performance and optimises capacity via ExpressRoute and Equinix Cloud Exchange
  • On-Demand pay-for-what-you-use pricing model. Cloud Volumes pricing will start at $0.10/GB/month
  • Data mobility between Azure Cloud and Nimble Storage
  • Nimble’s Cloud Volumes (NCV) store block data for use by Azure compute instances
  • Data protection using Veeam Availability Suite or Veritas NetBackup

Direct Connectivity to Azure

Azure virtual machines connect directly to block storage volumes running on Nimble arrays. This provides access to secure, feature-rich and high-performance storage over a fast and low-latency connection.

Equinix Cloud Exchange provides further flexibility with Azure and Nimble storage connectivity by providing self-service on-demand provisioning and switchable virtual connections in the colocation facility. You can achieve this functionality using Nimble native tooling.

Hybrid Cloud Model

For hybrid clouds where you do need to move data from your on-premise storage to your cloud-connected storage Nimble’s efficient data replication ensures all data is compressed and only changed data is sent to minimise bandwidth requirements.

Nimble’s efficient data replication allows you to gain efficiency, reduce data transfer times, moreover, reduce network costs by avoiding massive data migrations to and from your on-premise storage or private cloud to the public cloud.

Regulatory Compliance

Breakdown one of the top barriers to cloud adoption. You always own and control your data when you use Nimble Cloud-Connected Storage allowing you to address data security as well as corporate compliance or governance requirements.

Low-Cost Disaster Recovery Solution

Pay for disaster recovery only when you need it instead of keeping fully operational secondary servers up at all times. Leverage the ability to quickly turn on Azure virtual machines to enable your DR site for drills and actual failures and turn them off when you are done. All the while Nimble’s efficient data replication ensures your DR data is up-to-date and secure.

Dev/Test Environments

If your production environment is on-premise, it is difficult to leverage the cloud for Dev/test since you need to move data back and forth between the cloud. With Nimble Cloud-Connected Storage, instant snapshots are made of your production environment and zero-copy clones of that data are immediately available for Azure virtual machines that can be spun up quickly for dev/test.

Secure Private Storage for the Public Cloud Apps

Stop debating which applications can move to the cloud due to concerns about Security, privacy performance, and reliability. With Nimble Cloud-Connected Storage, you will always control your data while taking advantage of Azure virtual machines for cloud compute.

Other use cases such as big data analytics and application cloud bursting can leverage Nimble Cloud-Connected Storage to gain agility, improve performance, while maintaining sovereignty and ownership of your data.




EMC Unity Hybrid Storage for Azure Cloud Integration

The customers who have placed their workload in both on-premises and cloud forming a “Hybrid Cloud” model for your Organisation, you probably need on-premises storage which meets the requirement of hybrid workloads. EMC’s Unity hybrid flash storage series may be the answer to your business critical problem. This unified storage array is designed for organisations from midmarket to the enterprise. Cover the broadest range of workloads – SAN and NAS both. The EMC unity has been designed for workloads rather than a tin seating on your data centre consuming power and cooling bills, and you are calling it a SAN. After all, that was a traditional tin-based SAN solution.

Previously I wrote an article about Dell Compellent. I received an overwhelming response from the Compellent user. I have been asked many occasion what other option do we have if not the Compellent storage.

To answer the question, I would choose from either EMC Unity Hybrid Storage, Nimble and NetApp Storage subject to the in-depth analysis of workloads, casestudy and business requirements. But again, this is a “Subject to x,y,z” question. The tin-based storage does not fulfil the modern business requirement. I would personally like to use Azure or AWS than procure any tin and pay for power, cooling and racks.

EMC Unity

The Unity midrange storage for flash and rich data services based on dense SSD technology helps provide outstanding TCO. The Unity provides intelligent insight into SAN health with CloudIQ, which provides cloud-based proactive monitoring and predictive analytics. Additionally, the ongoing operation is simple with proactive assistance and automated remote support.

What I like about Unity is that the Unity Software, most notably CloudIQ, Appsync and Cloud Tiering Appliance. The Unity has the capabilities include point-in-time snapshots, local and remote data replication, built-in encryption, and deep integration with VMware, Microsoft Apps, Hyper-v, Azure Blob, AWS S3 and OpenStack ecosystems. The Unity provides an automated tiering and flash-caching, the most active data is served from flash.


The Unity provides the most user-friendly GUI management interface. After installing and powering on the purpose-built Dell EMC Unity system for the first time, the operating environment will boot. The interfaces are well-defined and highlighted for areas of interest – drive faults, network link failures, etc. Within Unisphere are some options for support, including Unisphere Online Help and the Support page where FAQs, videos, white papers, chat sessions, and more

Provisioning Storage

The EMC Unity offers both block and file provisioning in the same enclosure. The Disk Drives are provisioned into Pools that can be used to host both block and file data. Connectivity is offered for both block and file protocols using iSCSI and Fibre Channel. You can access LUNs, Consistency Groups, Thin Clones, VMware Datastores (VMFS), and VMware Virtual Volumes.

Fast VP

The FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) is a very smart solution for dynamically matching storage requirements with changes in the frequency of data access. Fast VP segregate disk drives in three tiers

  • Extreme Performance Tier – SSD
  • Performance tier – SAS
  • Capacity Tier – NL-SAS

Fast VP Policies – FAST VP is an automated feature but provide controls to setup user-defined tiering policies to ensure the best performance for various environments. FAST VP uses an algorithm to make data relocation decisions based on the activity level of each slice.

  • Highest Available Tier
  • Auto-Tier
  • Start High then Auto-Tier
  • Lowest Available Tier
  • No Data Movement

Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA)

If you are an organisation with hybrid cloud and you would like to move data from on-premises to Azure Cloud or AWS S3, then Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) is the best solutions for you to move data to a cloud-based on user-configured policies. The other way is also true which means you can return your data to on-premises using this appliance.

Why do you need this appliance? If you run of storage or free-up space, you can do it on the fly without capital expenditure. This ability optimises primary storage usage, dramatically improves storage efficiency, shortens the time required to back up data, and reduces overall TCO for primary storage. This functionality also reduces your own data centre footprint. You can move both file and block data to Azure Cloud or AWS S3 using CTA.


Another cool feature is CloudIQ. CloudIQ provides the operational insights and overall health scores EMC midrange storage. CloudIQ provides Central monitoring, predictive analytics and health monitoring.

CloudIQ is a no-cost SaaS application that non-disruptively provides overall health scores for Unity systems through cloud-based proactive monitoring and intelligent, predictive analytics.

AppSync Data Protection

Your priority is workload. You must protect workloads and simplify management of workloads. AppSync empowers you to satisfy copy demand for data repurposing, operational recovery, and disaster recovery with AppSync.

AppSync simplifies, orchestrates, and automates the process of generating and consuming copies of production data. You can integrate AppSync with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange for application-consistent copy management. AppSync is the single user interface and provides VM-consistent copies of data stores and individual VM recovery for VMware environments


EMC RecoverPoint provides continuous data protection with multiple recovery points to restore applications instantly to a specific point in time. EMC RecoveryPoint protects applications with bidirectional synchronous and asynchronous replication for recovery of physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures. Minimize network utilisation with unique bandwidth compression and deduplication, significantly reducing replicated data over the network.

RecoveryPoint is software-only solutions to manage the disaster recovery provisioning and control their replication policies and recovery, ensuring that VM service levels are met.

EMC Storage Analytics

The Storage Analytics software lets you extend VMware vRealize Operations analytics to supported EMC storage platforms. Optimize performance and diagnose issues across physical storage and virtual machines with EMC Storage Analytics (ESA).

The Storage Analytics is dashboards based visual tools provide deep visibility into EMC infrastructure. Actionable capacity and performance analysis help you troubleshoot, identify, and act on issues fast.


EMC Unity lets you encrypt user data as it is written to the backend drives, and decrypted during departure. Because encryption and decryption are handled via a dedicated hardware piece on the SAS interface, there is minimal impact on Unity Storage. The system also supports external key management through the use of the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP).


The Unity Hybrid Storage reduce cost, datacentre footprint, complexity and management overhead of your SAN systems while maintaining workload performance, protection and path to migrate data to Azure Cloud or AWS.

Geo-mapping using Azure Traffic Manager

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control the distribution of user traffic for service endpoints in different datacenters and region. Traffic Manager support distribution of traffic for Azure VMs, Web Apps, cloud services and non-Azure endpoints.

Traffic Manager uses the Azure DNS to direct client requests to the most appropriate endpoint based on a traffic-routing method and the health of the endpoints.

Traffic Manager uses vanity domain name to direct traffic to desired endpoints based on geographic location of the user and nearest Azure Datacentre where endpoint is located.

Domain Name Vanity Domain Name Record Type CNAME

CNAME Public IP Address of endpoint Host A Public IP Address of endpoint Host A

Traffic Manager act like a DNS routing system to direct clients to specific service endpoints based on the rules of the traffic-routing method. Clients connect to the selected endpoint directly. Traffic Manager is not a proxy or a gateway. Traffic Manager does not see the traffic passing between the client and the service.

To Create Traffic Manager Profile,

  1. From a browser, sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Click Create a resource > Networking > Traffic Manager profile > Create
  3. In the Create Traffic Manager profile, Select Geographic Routing Method, Resource Group Location and create profile.
  4. Select the Profile, Navigate to Settings -> Endpoints in Traffic Manager.
  5. Click Add to show the Add Endpoint.
  6. Click Add and in the Add endpoint, Type the Name and Source Type then Add geo-mapping to the endpoint.
  7. To test the Geo-mapping and Traffic routing, you can use any free VPN service or subscribe a VPN service and connect to region using the VPN service and access your endpoint. You will be directed to the nearest endpoint you have configured in step 5 & 6.

Office 365 MailFlow Scenarios and Best Practices

Microsoft Office 365 gives you the flexibility to configure mail flow based on your requirements and uses scenario to delivered email to your organisation’s mailboxes. The simplest way to configure mail flow is to allow Microsoft EOP to handle spam filter and Maiflow of your organisation. However, you may have already invested your infrastructure handle mail flow. Microsoft also accepts this situation and allow you to use your own spam filter.

The below scenario and use cases will allow you to determine how you can configure MailFlow of your organisation.

Mailbox Location MailFlow Entry Point Scenario & Usecases Recommended MailFlow Configuration  and Example MX record
Office 365 Office 365 Use Microsoft EOP

Demote or migrate all mailboxes to office 365

Use Office 365 mailboxes

MX record Pointed to Office 365


SPF:  v=spf1 -all


On-premises On-prem Prepare the on-prem to be cloud ready

Build and Sync AAD Connect

Built ADFS Farm

MX record Pointed to On-prem

SPF: v=spf1 include: -all

Third-party cloud, for example, G-Suite Both third-party and office 365 Prepare to migrate to Office 365

Stage mailbox data

MailFlow co-existance

MX record pointed to third-party cloud

MX record Pointed to On-prem

SPF: v=spf1 include: include: ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM -all

Combination of On-premises and Office 365 On-premises Hybrid Environment

Stage mailbox migration

MailFlow co-existance

MX record Pointed to On-prem spam filter

MX record Pointed to On-prem

SPF: v=spf1 include: -all

Combination of On-premises and Office 365 Third-party cloud spam filter Hybrid Environment

Stage mailbox migration

MailFlow co-existance

MX record Pointed to third-party cloud spam filter

MX record pointed to third-party cloud

MX record Pointed to On-prem

SPF: v=spf1 include: -all

MailFlow Configuration Prerequisites:

  1. Make sure that your email server (also called “on-premises mail server”) is set up and capable of sending and receiving mail to and from the Internet.
  2. Check that your on-premises email server has Transport Layer Security (TLS) enabled, with a valid public certification authority-signed (CA-signed) certificate.
  3. Make a note of the name or IP address of your external-facing email server. If you’re using Exchange, this will be the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of your Edge Transport server or CAS that will receive an email from Office 365.
  4. Open port 25 on your firewall so that Office 365 can connect to your email servers.
  5. Make sure your firewall accepts connections from all Office 365 IP addresses. See Exchange Online Protection IP addresses for the published IP address range.
  6. Make a note of an email address for each domain in your organisation. You’ll need this later to test that your connector is working correctly.
  7. Make sure you add all datacenter IP addresses of Office 365 into your receive connector of on-premises Exchange server

Configure mail to flow from Office 365 to your email server and vice-versa. There are three steps for this:

  1. Configure your Office 365 environment.
  2. Set up a connector from Office 365 to your email server.
  3. Change your MX record to redirect your mail flow from the Internet to Office 365.

Note: For Exchange Hybrid Configuration wizard, connectors that deliver mail between Office 365 and Exchange Server will be set up already and listed here. You don’t need to set them up again, but you can edit them here if you need to.

  1. To create a connectorExchange in Office 365, click Admin, and then click to go to the Exchange admin center. Next, click mail flow click mail flow, and click connectors.
  2. To start the wizard, click the plus symbol +. On the first screen, choose the appropriate options when creating MailFlow from Office 365 to On-premises Server
  3. Click Next, and follow the instructions in the wizard.
  4. Repeat the step to create MailFlow between On-premises to Office 365.
  5. To redirect email flow to Office 365, change the MX (mail exchange) record for your domain to Microsoft EOP, i.e.

Relevant Articles:

Mailflow Co-existence between G-Suite and Office 365 during IMAP Migration

Office 365 Hybrid Deployment with Exchange 2016 Step by Step

Centralized MailFlow: NDR Remote Server returned ‘550 5.7.1 Unable to relay’

Azure Site-to-Site IPSec VPN connection with Citrix NetScaler (CloudBridge)

An Azure Site-to-Site VPN gateway connection is used to connect on-premises network to an Azure virtual network over an IPsec/IKE (IKEv1 or IKEv2) VPN tunnel. This type of connection requires a VPN device located on-premises that has an externally facing public IP address assigned to it.

In this example, I am going to use Citrix CloudBridge feature of a NetScaler. The Citrix CloudBridge works in a pair, one at each end of a link, to accelerate traffic over the link. The transformations done by the sender are reversed by the receiver. One CB virtual appliance  can handle many links, so you do not have to dedicate a pair to each connection. You need just one CB virtual appliance per site to handle traffic to and from Azure datacenter to on-premises datacenter. In a Citrix CloudBridge Connector tunnel, IPSec ensures:

  • Data integrity
  • Data origin authentication
  • Data confidentiality (encryption)
  • Protection against replay attacks

The below exercise creates a IPSec tunnel between 66.128.x.x (On-prem) to 168.63.x.x (Azure).

Basic Requirements:

  • Make sure that the public IPv4 address for your VPN device is not located behind a NAT firewall
  • Make sure you have correct NSG rules are configured for you to access on-premises VM from Azure VM or vise-versa.

IP Address Requirements:

IP address of the CloudBridge Connector tunnel end point (CB Appliance) in the on-premises side 66.128.x.x
IP address of the CloudBridge Connector tunnel end point in the Azure VPN Gateway 168.63.x.x
Datacenter Subnet, the traffic of which is to traverse the CloudBridge Connector tunnel
Azure Subnet, the traffic of which is to traverse the CloudBridge Connector tunnel

Citrix NetScaler Settings

IPSec profile CB_Azure_IPSec_Profile IKE version = v1

Encryption algorithm = AES

Hash algorithm = HMAC SHA1

CloudBridge Connector tunnel CB_Azure_Tunnel Remote IP = 168.63.x.x

Local IP= 66.128.x.x (SNIP)

Tunnel protocol = IPSec

IPSec profile= CB_Azure_IPSec_Profile

Policy based route CB_Azure_Pbr Source IP range = Subnet in the datacenter =

Destination IP range =Subnet in Azure = –

IP Tunnel = CB_Azure_Tunnel

Azure VPN Gateway Settings

Public IP Address of the Azure VPN Gateway 168.63.x.x
Local Network On-prem Network VPN Device IP address = 66.128.x.x (SNIP)

On-prem Subnet =

Virtual Network CloudBridge Tunnel in Azure Side Address Space of the Azure vNET=

Trusted Subnet within the vNET =

Untrusted Subnet within the vNET =

Gateway Subnet=

Region Australia East
VPN Type Route-based
Connection Type Site-to-site (IPsec)
Gateway Type VPN
Shared key Sample Shared Key DkiMgMdcbqvYREEuIvxsbKkW0FOyDiLM

Configuration of Citrix NetScaler CloudBridge Feature

Step1: Create IPSec Profile

add ipsec profile CB_Azure_IPSec_Profile –psk  DkiMgMdcbqvYREEuIvxsbKkW0FOyDiLM  -ikeVersion v1 –lifetime 31536000

Note: DkiMgMdcbqvYREEuIvxsbKkW0FOyDiLM is also used in the Azure VPN connection.

Step2: Create IPSec Tunnel

add iptunnel CB_Azure_Tunnel 168.63.x.x 66.128.x.x –protocol IPSEC –ipsecProfileName CB_Azure_IPSec_Profile

Step3: Create PBR Rule

add pbr CB_Azure_Pbr -srcIP –destIP –ipTunnelCB_Azure_Tunnel

Step4: Apply Settings

apply pbrs

You can configure NetScaler using GUI as well. here is an example.

  1. Access the configuration utility by using a web browser to connect to the IP address of the NetScaler appliance in the datacenter.
  2. Navigate to System > CloudBridge Connector.
  3. In the right pane, under Getting Started, click Create/Monitor CloudBridge.
  4. Click Get Started> In the CloudBridge Setup pane, click Microsoft Windows Azure.
  5. In the Azure Settings pane, in the Gateway IP Address* field, type the IP address of the Azure gateway. The CloudBridge Connector tunnel is then set up between the NetScaler appliance and the gateway. In the Subnet (IP Range)* text boxes, specify a subnet range (in Azure cloud), the traffic of which is to traverse the CloudBridge Connector tunnel. Click Continue.
  6. In the NetScaler Settings pane, from the Local Subnet IP* drop-down list, select a publicly accessible SNIP address configured on the NetScaler appliance. In Subnet (IP Range)* text boxes, specify a local subnet range, the traffic of which is to traverse the CloudBridge Connector tunnel. Click Continue.
  7. In the CloudBridge Setting pane, in the CloudBridge Name text box, type a name for the CloudBridge that you want to create.
  8. From the Encryption Algorithm and Hash Algorithm drop-down lists, select the AES and HMAC_SHA1 algorithms, respectively. In the Pre Shared Security Key text box, type the security key.
  9. Click Done.

Configuration of an IPSec Site-to-Site VPN in the Azure Subscription 

Step1: Connect to Azure Subscription



Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionName “99ebd-649c-466a-a670-f1a611841”

Step2: Create Azure Resource Group in your region

New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name TestRG1 -Location “Australia East”

Step3: Create vNET and Subnets

$subnet1 = New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name “Tursted” -AddressPrefix

$subnet2 = New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name “UnTursted” -AddressPrefix

$subnet3 = New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name “GatewaySubnet” -AddressPrefix

$vnet=New-AzureRmVirtualNetwork -Name TestVNet1 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “Australia East” -AddressPrefix -Subnet $subnet1, $subnet2, $subnet3

Set-AzureRmVirtualNetwork -VirtualNetwork $vnet

Step4: Create On-premises Network

New-AzureRmLocalNetworkGateway -Name Site2 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “Australia East” -GatewayIpAddress “66.128.x.x” -AddressPrefix “”

New-AzureRmLocalNetworkGateway -Name Site2 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “East US” -GatewayIpAddress “” -AddressPrefix @(“”,””)

Step5: Request a Public IP Address

$gwpip= New-AzureRmPublicIpAddress -Name gwpip -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “Australia East” -AllocationMethod Dynamic

Step6: Create Gateway IP Address

$vnet = Get-AzureRmVirtualNetwork -Name TestVNet1 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1

$subnet = Get-AzureRmVirtualNetworkSubnetConfig -Name “GatewaySubnet” -VirtualNetwork $vnet

$gwipconfig = New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkGatewayIpConfig -Name gwipconfig1 -SubnetId $subnet.Id -PublicIpAddressId $gwpip.Id

Step7: Create VPN Gateway

New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkGateway -Name VNet1GW -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “Australia East” -IpConfigurations $gwipconfig -GatewayType Vpn -VpnType RouteBased -GatewaySku VpnGw1

Step8: Extract public IP address of the VPN Gateway

Get-AzureRmPublicIpAddress -Name GW1PublicIP -ResourceGroupName TestRG1

Step9: Create VPN Connection

$gateway1 = Get-AzureRmVirtualNetworkGateway -Name VNet1GW -ResourceGroupName TestRG1

$local = Get-AzureRmLocalNetworkGateway -Name Site2 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1

New-AzureRmVirtualNetworkGatewayConnection -Name VNet1toSite2 -ResourceGroupName TestRG1 -Location “East US” -VirtualNetworkGateway1 $gateway1 -LocalNetworkGateway2 $local -ConnectionType IPsec -RoutingWeight 10 -SharedKey “ DkiMgMdcbqvYREEuIvxsbKkW0FOyDiLM”

Step10: verify Connection

Get-AzureRmVirtualNetworkGatewayConnection -Name MyGWConnection -ResourceGroupName MyRG

Migrate Office 365 Relying Party Trust to Different ADFS Farm

To migrate Office 365 Relying Party Trust from an existing ADFS Farm to new ADFS Farm, follow the step by step guide. Migrating Office 365 Relying Party Trust will incur a minor disruption to SSO environment.


  • Existing ADFS Farm with FQDN
  • New ADFS Farm with FQDN
  • Existing Certificate or a wildcard certificate
  • New certificate with
  • New public IP address for the public CNAME
  • A public CNAME record
  • An internal CNAME record

Note: keep the existing AAD Connect unless you have a requirement to build a new one.

Here are the steps:

Step1: Verify AAD Connect Configuration

  • Open AAD Connect, View Sign-in Option.
  • Check AAD Connect Wizard to make sure you did not configure “Federation with ADFS” Sign-in option. If you have done so then run AAD Connect Wizard again and replace the certificate and ADFS farm details to new ADFS server

Step2: Build ADFS and WAP Servers

Build a new ADFS farm side by side with an existing ADFS farm. It would be redundant effort to write another blog. Please follow my previous blog to deploy ADFS and WAP.

Building Multiple ADFS Farms in a Single Forest

Deploy Web Application Proxy Role in Windows Server 2012 R2 –Part I

Branding and Customizing the ADFS Sign-in Pages

Step3: Test SSO

Log on to the using on-premises credentials to make sure you can single sign-on.

Step4: Gather list of existing federated domains from existing ADFS Farm

Log on to the existing primary ADFS Server, Open PowerShell as an Administrator, execute the following cmdlets.


Connect-MsolService –Credential $cred


Record a list of Federated Domains.

Step5: Update Office 365 RP within the new ADFS Farm

Log on to the new primary ADFS Server, Open PowerShell as an Administrator, execute the following cmdlets.


Connect-MsolService –Credential $cred

Update-MsolFederatedDomain –DomaiName “” –SupportMultipleDomain –Confirm  Execute Update-MsolFederatedDomain Cmdlets if you have additional federated domains such as


Open ADFS Management Console, Make sure Office 365 RP has been created with necessary tokens and permissions. If necessary, clone all incoming and outgoing claims and permission from previous ADFS farm to new ADFS Farm and apply to the newly created Office 365 RP.

Step6: Test SSOOnce you have completed the Step5, wait for Microsoft to update their backend Identity and Federation systems. In my previous implementation work, it took 30 minutes the change to take effect.  Sign on to; you will be redirected to to authenticate. Once you have sign-in successfully, you have completed the migration work.

Step7: New AAD Connect Server (Optional)Check step1 before running AAD Connect Wizard and reconfigure sign-in options. If you need to change sign-in options, please follow the guide to change Sign-in Option.

Relevant Articles:

Upgrading AD FS to Windows Server 2016 FBL

Deploy Web Application Proxy Role in Windows Server 2012 R2 –Part II

Deploy Work Folder in Azure Cloud

The concept of Work Folder is to store user’s data in a convenient location. User can access the work folder from BYOD and Corporate SOE from anywhere. The work folder facilitate flexible use of corporate information securely from supported devices. The work folder can be deployed on-premises and in Azure Cloud. In this article, I will demonstrate how to deploy Work Folder in Azure. Before that, let’s start with application of Work Folder.

Applications of Work Folder in Corporate Environment

  • Provide a single point of access to work files from a user’s work and personal devices
  • Access the work files online and offline. While accessing offline, the data can be synced back to the Sync Server when the device connected to internet or intranet again
  • Deploy with existing deployments of Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and home folders
  • Use Windows File Server, SMB Share and other CIFS share for example NetApp CIFS share
  • Use file classification and folder quotas, to manage user data
  • Apply security policy and encryption to encrypt Work Folders and use a lock screen password
  • Use Microsoft Failover Clustering with Work Folders to provide a high-availability solution

Enhanced Functionality:

  • Azure AD Application Proxy support
  • Faster change replication
  • Integrated with Windows Information Protection (WIP)
  • Microsoft Office integration

Supported Environment:

  • NetApp CIFS, Windows File Server or Windows SMB Storage as the UNC path of Sync Share
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 for hosting sync shares with user files
  • A public certificate or internal certificate domain joined computer
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 level AD DS Schema
  • Windows 10 version 1703,
  • Android 4.4 KitKat and later
  • iOS 10.2 and later

Internal DNS records (CNAME records)

  • pointed to and
  • point to ADFS Servers
  • pointed to ADFS servers

Internal DNS records (Host A Record)


Publishing Work Folder for mobile workforce

  • Access from Internet or use Azure Credentials
  • Web Application Proxy
  • Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) with public DNS record and
  • A public DNS record i.e. CNAME =
  • A public certificate from a public CA i.e. CN=, There must be private key associated with the certificate which means the certificate must in pfx format before importing into the sync servers.

Deploy Work Folder Server

  1. Log on to Azure Portal, Deploy a Windows Server 2016 from Azure Marketplace. Since we will be using this VM for Sync Share. I would recommend selecting an L series VM which storage optimised VM.
  2. Once the VM is provisioned, attached premium data disk for high I/O and low latency file store.
  3. Build a Windows Server 2016, Configure TCP/IP and Join the server to the domain
  4. Remote into the server using domain admins credential. Open the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
  5. On the Select installation type page, choose Role-based or feature-based deployment.
  6. On the Select destination server page, select the server on which you want to install Work Folders.
  7. On the Select server roles page, expand File and Storage Services, expand File and iSCSI Services, and then select Work Folders.
  8. When asked if you want to install IIS Hostable Web Core, click Ok to install the minimal version of Internet Information Services (IIS) required by Work Folders.
  9. Click Next until you have completed the wizard.
  10. Repeat the steps for all Work Folder Servers.

Install Certificate on the Work Folder Server

  1. On the Windows server 2016 where you want to install the SSL certificate, open the Console.
  2. In the Windows start menu, type mmc and open it.
  3. In the Console window, in the top menu, click File > Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. In the Add or Remove Snap-ins window, in the Available snap-ins pane (left side), select Certificates and then click Add
  5. In the Certificate snap-in window, select Computer account and then click Next
  6. In the Select Computer window, select Local computer: (the computer this console is running on), and then click Finish
  7. In the Add or Remove Snap-ins window, click OK.
  8. In the Console window, in the Console Root pane (left side), expand Certificates (Local Computer), right-click on the Web Hosting folder, and then click All Tasks > Import.
  9. In the Certificate Import Wizard, on the Welcome to the Certificate Import Wizard page, click Next.
  10. On the File to Import page, browse to and select the file that you want import and then, click Next.
  11. Notes: In the File Explorer window, in the file type drop-down, make sure to select All Files (*.*). By default, it is set to search for 509 Certificate (*.cert;*.crt) file types only.
  12. On the Private key protection page, provide the password when you exported the certificate, check Mark the Private Key exportable for future use, and check import all extended properties.
  13. On the Certificate Store page, do the following and then click Next, Select Place all certificates in the following store and click Browse.
  14. In the Select Certificate Store window, select Web Hosting and click OK.
  15. On the Completing the Certificate Import Wizard page, verify that the settings are correct and then, click Finish.
  16. Repeat the steps for all Work Folder Servers.

Bind the Certificate:

  1. Log on to a jump box where IIS Management Console is installed, Open IIS Management Console, Connect to Work Folder Server. Select the Default Web Site for that server. The Default Web Site will appear disabled, but you can still edit the bindings for the site and select the certificate to bind it to that web site.
  2. Use the netsh command to bind the certificate to the Default Web Site https interface. The command is as follows:

netsh http add sslcert ipport=<IP address of Sync Share Server>:443 certhash=<Cert thumbprint> appid={CE66697B-3AA0-49D1-BDBD-A25C8359FD5D} certstorename=MY

Create Active Directory Security Group

  1. You need minimum two AD security groups for Work Folder. One for Work Folder Admin and another for Work Folder Sync Share. For this article, let’s assume we have a Sync Share. We will create two Security Groups named FS-HRShareUser-SG and FS-HRShareAdmin-SG
  2. Make sure these security group scope is Global not Universal. In the Members section, click Add. The Select Users, Contacts, Computers, Service Accounts or Groups dialog box appears.

Create a Sync Share

  1. In Server Manager, click File and Storage Services, and then click Work Folders.
  2. A list of any existing sync shares is visible at the top of the details pane. To create a new sync share, from the Tasks menu choose New Sync Share…. The New Sync Share Wizard appears.
  3. On the Select the server and path page, specify where to store the sync share. If you already have a file share created for this user data, you can choose that share. Alternatively you can create a new folder.
  4. On the Specify the structure for user folders page, choose a naming convention for user folders within the sync share. Select either User alias or User alias@domain
  5. On the Enter the sync share name page, specify a name and a description for the sync share. This is not advertised on the network but is visible in Server Manager
  6. On the Grant sync access to groups page, specify the group that you created that lists the users allowed to use this sync share.
  7. On the Specify device policies page, specify whether to request any security restrictions on client PCs and devices. Select either Automatically lock screen, and require a password or Encrypt Work Folders based on your requirements.
  8. Review your selections and complete the wizard to create the sync share.

Setup a Tech Support Email Address

  1. In Server Manager, click File and Storage Services, and then click Servers.
  2. Right-click the sync server, and then click Work Folders Settings. The Work Folders Settings window appears.
  3. In the navigation pane, click Support Email and then type the email address or addresses that users should use when emailing for help with Work Folders. Click Ok when you’re

Publish Work Folder using ADFS Server

You can set up and configure the relying party trust for Work Folders, even though Work Folders hasn’t been set up yet. The relying party trust must be set up to enable Work Folders to use AD FS. Because you’re in the process of setting up AD FS, now is a good time to do this step.

To set up the relying party trust:

  1. Log on to ADFS Server. Open Server Manager, on the Tools menu, select AD FS Management.
  2. In the right-hand pane, under Actions, click Add Relying Party Trust.
  3. On the Welcome page, select Claims aware and click Start.
  4. On the Select Data Source page, select Enter data about the relying party manually, and then click Next.
  5. In the Display name field, enter WorkFolders, and then click Next.
  6. On the Configure Certificate page, click Next..
  7. On the Configure URL page, click Next.
  8. On the Configure Identifiers page, add the following identifier: This identifier is a hard-coded value used by Work Folders, and is sent by the Work Folders service when it is communicating with AD FS. Click Next.
  9. On the Choose Access Control Policy page, select Permit Everyone, and then click Next.
  10. On the Ready to Add Trust page, click Next.
  11. After the configuration is finished, the last page of the wizard indicates that the configuration was successful. Select the checkbox for editing the claims rules, and click Close.
  12. In the AD FS snap-in, select the WorkFolders relying party trust and click Edit Claim Issuance Policy under Actions.
  13. The Edit Claim Issuance Policy for WorkFolders window opens. Click Add rule.
  14. In the Claim rule template drop-down list, select Send LDAP Attributes as Claims, and click Next.
  15. On the Configure Claim Rule page, in the Claim rule name field, enter WorkFolders.
  16. In the Attribute store drop-down list, select Active Directory.
  17. In the mapping table, enter these values:
    • User-Principal-Name: UPN
    • Display Name: Name
    • Surname: Surname
    • Given-Name: Given Name
  18. Click Finish. You’ll see the WorkFolders rule listed on the Issuance Transform Rules tab and click OK.
  19. In the AD FS snap-in, select the WorkFolders relying party trust, On the properties, choose the Encryption tab, Remove the certificate encryption
  20. Choose the Signature tab and make sure the Work Folder Certificate was imported
  21. Click Apply, Click Ok.

Set relying part trust options

These commands set options that are needed for Work Folders to communicate successfully with AD FS, and can’t be set through the UI. These options are:

  • Enable the use of JSON web tokens (JWTs)
  • Disable encrypted claims
  • Enable auto-update
  • Set the issuing of Oauth refresh tokens to All Devices.
  • Grant clients access to the relying party trust

Set-ADFSRelyingPartyTrust -TargetIdentifier “; -EnableJWT $true

Set-ADFSRelyingPartyTrust -TargetIdentifier “; -Encryptclaims $false

Set-ADFSRelyingPartyTrust -TargetIdentifier “; -AutoupdateEnabled $true

Set-ADFSRelyingPartyTrust -TargetIdentifier “; -IssueOAuthRefreshTokensTo AllDevices

Grant-AdfsApplicationPermission -ServerRoleIdentifier “; –AllowAllRegisteredClients

Enable Workplace Join

To enable device registration for Workplace Join, you must run the following Windows PowerShell commands, which will configure device registration and set the global authentication policy:

Initialize-ADDeviceRegistration -ServiceAccountName domain\svc-adfsservices$

Set-ADFSGlobalAuthenticationPolicy -DeviceAuthenticationEnabled $true

Set up AD FS authentication

To configure Work Folders to use AD FS for authentication, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to Sync Share Server. Open Server Manager.
  2. Click Servers, and then select your Work Folders server in the list.
  3. Right-click the server name, and click Work Folders Settings.
  4. In the Work Folder Settings window, select Active Directory Federation Services, and type in the ADFS URL. Click Apply. In the test example, the URL is

Publish the Work Folders web application

The next step is to publish a web application that will make Work Folders available to clients. To publish the Work Folders web application, follow these steps:

  1. Import Work Folder Certificate into WAP Servers
  2. Open Server Manager, and on the Tools menu, click Remote Access Management to open the Remote Access Management Console.
  3. Under Configuration, click Web Application Proxy.
  4. Under Tasks, click Publish. The Publish New Application Wizard opens.
  5. On the Welcome page, click Next.
  6. On the Preauthentication page, select Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), and click Next.
  7. On the Support Clients page, select OAuth2, and click Next.
  8. On the Relying Party page, select Work Folders, and then click Next. This list is published to the Web Application Proxy from AD FS.
  9. On the Publishing Settings page, enter the following and then click Next, use these values:
  1. The confirmation page shows the Windows PowerShell command that will execute to publish the application. Click Publish.
  2. On the Results page, you should see the application was published successfully.

Configure Work Folders on the client

To configure Work Folders on the non-domain join client machine, follow these steps:

  1. On the client machine, open Control Panel and click Work Folders.
  1. Click Set up Work Folders.
  1. On the Enter your work email address page, enter either the user’s email address (for example, or the Work Folders URL (in the test example,, and then click Next.
  2. If the user is connected to the corporate network, the authentication is performed by Windows Integrated Authentication. If the user is not connected to the corporate network, the authentication is performed by ADFS (OAuth) and the user will be prompted for credentials. Enter your credentials and click OK.
  3. After you have authenticated, Click Next.
  4. The Security Policies page lists the security policies that you set up for Work Folders. Click Next.
  5. A message is displayed stating that Work Folders has started syncing with your PC. Click Close.
  6. The Manage Work Folders page shows the amount of space available on the server, sync status, and so on. If necessary, you can re-enter your credentials here. Close the window.
  7. Your Work Folders folder opens automatically. You can add content to this folder to sync between your devices.

To configure Work Folders on the domain joined client machine, follow these steps:

  1. Configure using GPO, use Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Work Folders > Specify Work Folders settings.
  2. Specify Work Folder URL as
  3. Apply the GPO to selected OU.

Relevant Article:

Work Folder FAQ

NetApp CIFS shares not mounting to Windows Server 2012