Failover clustering improvements in Windows Server 2012

It’s been a while I post anything to the blog due to the new life challenges I faced Smile Anyway now I’m back and started the practice along with ITPro community session regarding the above subject. You can find the relevant slide deck in Slide share (

Looking back at the history and compare the clustering technology starting from Windows NT 4.0 Microsoft has done significant improvements on the technology. Instead of calling high availability now we try to achieve contiounsly availability (Thanks to storage, network improvements) for the mission critical apps through Windows clustering in Windows Server 2012. Apart from that now we have the capability to monitor the clustered services and applications inside the VM’s proactively. In case of a failure of these services we can restart or move to another node (pretty impressive feature where normally SCOM used to do this but now freely integrated with clustering)
Failover clusters also provide Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) (improved)functionality that provides a consistent, distributed namespace that clustered roles can use to access shared storage from all nodes. Apart from that the utilization of scale-out-fileserver and SMB 3.0 are some new add ins to improve the clustering experience and expandability apart from typical SAN environment.

Another new improvements is Cluster Aware Updating (CAU) which describes about the updating the cluster nodes with little intervention from Cluster administration. (Very much welcome feature if you’re handling large clusters)
To have this feature you need to add the particular role to the cluster nodes first. Once it carried out you’ll see the option in the Tools menu in Server Manager.


Once you open the cluster MMC you can select the “Cluster aware Update” option which will open you another menu,


This menu will help you to verify the nodes met the required settings to eligible under CAU.


Another welcome improvements in the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV). In 2008 R2 we have the CSV option but limited to use in HYPER-V scenarios only. With Windows 2012 we can extend this to file servers as well. Combine with Scale-out-fileserver scenario we can have HYPER-V cluster in affordable cost as well. In a nutshell CSVs allow multiple nodes in the cluster to simultaneously access the same NTFS file system without imposing hardware, file type, or directory structure restrictions. As shown in the following figure, with CSVs, multiple clustered virtual machines can use the same LUN and still live migrate or quick migrate from node to node independently. Think CSV as a file system which is referred as CSVFS these days Smile

Figure 3  CSV used by virtual machines on 3 nodes

Honestly there are too many information which cannot be written in one article like this. But you can refer to the TechNet article which describe all the new improvements in Windows 2012 Failover clustering (

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