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Remove additional SSD storage from Azure SharePoint 2013 non-HA Farm deployment

Azure VHDS blob storage

When we deployed a SharePoint 2013 non-HA Farm from the Azure Marketplace we noticed that a lot of additional storage space was added to our resource group. All three servers (Active Directory, SQL, SharePoint 2013) got at least one additional VHD blob with each 1000 GiB of SSD space that was attached to the specified server. Even when you shut down the virtual machines Microsoft Azure will still debit your subscription with the costs of those additional storage (which is not quite cheap).

This article explains how to remove the additional SSD storage to save Azure credit and to keep the SharePoint 2013 farm running and performant.

Azure VHDS blob storage
More than 4.000 GiB of additional storage was deployed by the SharePoint 2013 non-HA Farm template

Select the desired virtual machine, go to Disks in the navigation pane and select the additional data disk. Detach the disc. After that the lease state of the blob is changed to “available” and you can finally delete the blob from the storage container.

You can repeat this for all virtual machines. But regarding the SQL server and the Active Directory server we have to ensure some additional steps before deleting the blobs.

Detach VHS blob from Azure virtual machine
Detach VHS blob from Azure virtual machine

SQL server

Go to the Server Properties via the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Select Database Settings and edit the Database default locations as you desire. The best practice recommendations are available on MSDN. Before restarting the SQL server make sure to shut down the SharePoint server to avoid unwanted side effects.

After that you follow the instructions of the MSDN to move the SharePoint databases and log files. Don’t forget to configure the file permissions for the database engine.

When you finished the operations your database file locations should look like this.

Moved SharePoint database files
SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation, state_desc FROM sys.master_files

Now start the SharePoint 2013 machine and validate if the system is working as expected. When everything is fine you can repeat the steps to remove and delete the attached VHD blob of the SQL virtual machine like we did with the SharePoint server.

Active Directory server

To remove the drive from the Active Directory server we have to relocate the AD database files (NTDS) and the SYSVOL directory of the Active Directory Domain Services.

The relocation of the database files is quite forward and is explained in this MSDN article. To relocate the SYSVOL directory is more complicated because the MSDN instructions are not fully correct. Execute the following instructions where are some commented by me.

Checking the NTDS database file integrity
Checking the NTDS database file integrity

If you have any further questions or need help then don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂



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