Access Based Enumeration (ABE) and High Availability Clustering

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We had a good question come back through the blog the other day - "How do you support ABE on clustered file servers?"

Although our plans for this integrating this feature are geared more toward the Longhorn timeframe, one of our Program Managers for ABE, Sundar Subbarayan, was able to provide this solution for the current version of ABE to work on clustered file servers:

1. Install ABE tool from the download location and install it on each of the nodes in the cluster.

2. From the cluster administrator, for each share in the cluster, create a resource of type “application”. In the command to execute for this resource (under parameters), the following command should be entered “cmd /k abecmd /enable <sharename>”. Additionally, if you don’t want that cmd.exe will appear on the desktop, ensure that the option “Allow interaction with the desktop” isn’t checked.

3. Make this resource depend on the share resource. (Make sure that both the application resource and the share resource are part of the same group)

4. Take the group offline and back online to ensure that the shares that need to be ABE enabled are actually so.

 From this point on, you are good and whenever the share fails over to another node, then ABE setting follows.




Ward Ralston

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  • Hi Ward,

    just for the reference: there's no need to install the full msi-package of the ABETool (do you really need the Whitepaper or GUI on each machine, if you manage ABE mostly via CMD?).

    You can either copy the EXE, or copy and register the DLL for the GUI.



  • Excellent post, Ward. Not many people even know about ABE.

  • Hello.
    Is this an official and supported walkthrough by microsoft?

    Marko Pilz

  • ok, but it doesn't work when you have the feature "share subfolders". How do I get the ABE to work with them? How does it work when I chose ABE for all shares? Does it automatic turn on ABE for those shares?

    Best regards,

  • Hi Ward,

    Thanks for that, we had this problem and MS seemed to support it in documents on KB (such as the DFS/cluster/ABE article). But of course it did not work. It is not in production and the customer is happy. Thanks again.

  • Hi Ward,
    Does it work on Windows Storage Server 2003?


  • Yes - it will work on Storage Server

  • Why are you using "cmd /k ..." and not "cmd /c ..."? The command "cmd /k" will keep the command prompt while "cmd /c" will terminate the commandprompt after the command has been carried out.

  • Because this is a cluster resource. With "cmd /c ...", the process will stop, and the cluster service will regard this as a failure (with the configured consequences involved).

  • If you use /c the commandprompt closes after execution, so applicatin resourcecluster goes fail and so the cluster.
    It's very important to put /k and let cmd "online" so resource will not fail.

    Thanks Ward Ralston i was yesterday some hours trying to make it work, and with you post in some minutes it works fine.


  • Does the discussed problem "ABE and High Availability Clustering" still exist under Windows Server 2003 R2?
    Is Access Based Enumeration (ABE) an integrated Feature of Windows Server 2003 R2, or do I still need to install the tool?
    Will it be an integrated feature of Windows Server Longhorn?

    kind regards
    Ulrich Schlueter

  • Hi
    Can ABE be implemented over NAS or SAN devices. My file server is and EMC datamover
    Please help

  • Can this be implemented over SAN Device

  • Great post Ward,

    You make the live of a system administrator a lot easier :).