Introduction

This article describes the improvements and issues that are fixed in the Azure File Sync Agent v11.1 release that is dated November 2020. Additionally, this article contains installation instructions for the update.


Improvements and issues that are fixed

New cloud tiering modes to control initial download and proactive recall

  • Initial download mode: you can now choose how you want your files to be initially downloaded onto your new server endpoint. Want all your files tiered or as many files as possible downloaded onto your server by last modified timestamp? You can do that! Can't use cloud tiering? You can now opt to avoid tiered files on your system. To learn more, see Create a server endpoint section in the Deploy Azure File Sync documentation.

  • Proactive recall mode: whenever a file is created or modified, you can proactively recall it to servers that you specify within the same sync group. This makes the file readily available for consumption in each server you specified. Have teams across the globe working on the same data? Enable proactive recalling so that when the team arrives the next morning, all the files updated by a team in a different time zone are downloaded and ready to go! To learn more, see Proactively recall new and changed files from an Azure file share section in the Deploy Azure File Sync documentation.

Exclude applications from cloud tiering last access time tracking

You can now exclude applications from last access time tracking. When an application accesses a file, the last access time for the file is updated in the cloud tiering database. Applications that scan the file system like anti-virus cause all files to have the same last access time which impacts when files are tiered.


To exclude applications from last access time tracking, add the process name to the HeatTrackingProcessNameExclusionList registry setting which is located under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Azure\StorageSync.


Example: reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Azure\StorageSync" /v HeatTrackingProcessNameExclusionList /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d "SampleApp.exe\0AnotherApp.exe" /f


Note: Data Deduplication and File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) processes are excluded by default (hard coded) and the process exclusion list is refreshed every 5 minutes.


Miscellaneous performance and reliability improvements

  • Improved change detection performance to detect files that have changed in the Azure file share.

  • Improved sync upload performance.

  • Initial upload is now performed from a VSS snapshot which reduces per-item errors and sync session failures.

  • Sync reliability improvements for certain I/O patterns.

  • Fixed a bug to prevent the sync database from going back-in-time on failover clusters when a failover occurs.

  • Improved recall performance when accessing a tiered file.

More information about the Azure File Sync Agent v11 release

  • This update is available for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019 installations.

  • Azure File Sync agent version 4.0.1.0 or a later version is required to upgrade existing agent installations.

  • A restart may be required if files are in use during the agent installation.

  • The agent version for the v11.1 release is 11.1.0.0.

How to obtain and install the Azure File Sync Agent

The Azure File Sync agent is available from Microsoft Update, Microsoft Update Catalog, and Microsoft Download Center.


Notes

  • If the Azure File Sync agent is not currently installed on a server, use the agent installation package on the Microsoft Download Center. The agent installation package on Microsoft Update and Microsoft Update Catalog is intended for agent upgrades only.

  • To update existing agent installations, run AfsUpdater.exe (located in the agent installation directory) or download and install the update from Microsoft Update or Microsoft Update Catalog.

Microsoft Update


To obtain and install from Microsoft Update, follow these steps on a server that has Azure File Sync agent installed:


Server 2016 and Server 2019

  1. Click Start, and then click Settings.

  2. In Settings, click Update & security.

  3. In the Windows Update window, click Check online for updates from Microsoft Update.

  4. Verify the Azure File Sync agent update is listed and then click Install now.

Server 2012 R2

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In Control Panel, double-click Windows Update.

  3. In the Windows Update window, click Check for updates.

  4. Click Important updates are available.

  5. Verify the Azure File Sync agent update is selected, and then click Install.

Microsoft Update Catalog


Go to the following website to manually download this update from the Microsoft Update Catalog:


Azure File Sync Agent v11.1 release: November 2020 (KB4539951)


To manually install the update package, run the following command from an elevated command prompt:

  • msiexec.exe /p packagename.msp REINSTALLMODE=OMUS REINSTALL=StorageSyncAgent,StorageSyncAgentAzureFileSync,StorageSyncAgentGuardFilter,StorageSyncAgentUpdater /qb /l*v KB4539951.log

For example, to install the Azure File Sync agent update for Server 2016, run the following command:

  • msiexec.exe /p StorageSyncAgent_WS2016_KB4539951.msp REINSTALLMODE=OMUS REINSTALL=StorageSyncAgent,StorageSyncAgentAzureFileSync,StorageSyncAgentGuardFilter,StorageSyncAgentUpdater /qb /l*v KB4539951.log

Microsoft Download Center

Go to the Microsoft Download Center to manually download the agent installation package for new agent installations.


How to perform a silent installation for a new agent installation


To perform a silent installation for a new agent installation that uses the default settings, run the following command at an elevated command prompt:

  • msiexec /i packagename.msi /qb /l*v AFSv11Installation.log

For example, to install the Azure File Sync agent for Windows Server 2016, run the following command:

  • msiexec /i StorageSyncAgent_WS2016.msi /qb /l*v AFSv11Installation.log

Notes

  • Use the /qb switch to display restart prompts (if required), agent update, and server registration screens. To suppress the screens and automatically restart the server (if required), use the /qn switch.

  • To perform a silent installation with custom settings, follow the steps documented in KB4459986.

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