Shared VHDX was introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2 and it enables a VHDX file that is connected via the SCSI controller in a VM and stored on a CSV volume (either directly or via a scale-out file server) to be connected to multiple VMs and those VMs see the shared VHDX as shared storage allowing it to be used as cluster storage for guest VMs. In Windows Server 2016 some of these limitations have been removed and some key features with shared VHDX now include:

Dynamic resize (resizing while VMs are running)
Host level backup
Hyper-V Replica support

These following step shows how to create and share a virtual hard disk that is available in the .vhdx file format. Do this step for each shared .vhdx file that you want to add. Example, you might want to add few shared disks that will act as data disks, and a separate shared disk that you can be as the disk witness for the guest failover cluster.

How to create a virtual hard disk to share:

  1. In Failover Cluster Manager, expand the cluster name, and then click Roles
  2. In the Roles pane, right-click the virtual machine on which you want to add a shared virtual hard disk, and then click Settings
  3. In the virtual machine settings, under Hardware, click SCSI Controller
  4. In the details pane, click Shared Drive, and then click Add
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  6. Click on New In the Shared Drive pane, which is shown under Virtual hard disk
  7. The New Virtual Hard Disk Wizard opens
  8. On the Before You Begin page, click Next
  9. On the Choose Disk Format page, accept the default format of VHDX, and then click Next
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  11. On the Choose Disk Space page select Fixed Size and click next
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  13. On the Specify Name and Location page, do the following:
    1. In the Name box, enter the name of the shared virtual hard disk
    2. In the Location box, enter the path of the shared storage location
    3. Example 1, where the shared storage is a CSV disk, enter the path:
    4. C:\ClusterStorage\VolumeX, where C:\ is the system drive, and X is the desired CSV volume number
    5. Example 2, where the shared storage is an SMB file share, specify the path:
    6. \\SMBServerName\ShareName, where ServerName is the client access point for the Scale-Out File Server, and ShareName is the name of the SMB file share
    7. Here we are going to use CSV disk so, We are going to see Example 1 here
    8. Click Next
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  15. On the Configure Disk page, keep the default option of Create a new blank virtual hard disk, specify the desired size, and then click Next
  16. On the Completing the New Virtual Hard Disk Wizard page, click Finish after reviewing
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  18. Add the virtual hard disk to each virtual machine that will use the shared .vhdx file

Online Resize of Shared VHDX:

Online Resize of Shared VHDX is new feature which is introduced in Windows Server 2016 along with shared VHDX. To increase the actual size of a shared VHDX follow these steps:

  1. Go to settings on a VM which has the shared VHDX select the shared drive and click edit
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  3. Click next on Locate Virtual hard disk page
  4. Choose Expand and click next
  5. Specify the new size in this page and click next
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  7. On completing the edit virtual hard disk page,verify the changes and click finish
  8. Now go to the disk management on the VM and expand the volume to add the additional space to the shared drive

Conclusion:

Its very simple to create and share virtual hard disk in Windows Server 2016. Some new features have been included in Windows Server 2016 with shared vhdx.

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How to Create and enable a shared virtual hard disk in Windows Server 2016
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