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 (http://www.slideshare.net/susanthasilva1/windows-server-2012-failover-clustering-improvements)

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.

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

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

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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 (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831414.aspx#CommunityContent)

SQL 2008 high availability through Windows 2008 clustering

With the introduction of Windows 2008 Cluster service Microsoft has made the clustering as easy as it can for a system administrators. I’ve been blogging about Windows 2008 clustering on my blog and various other third party software you can use to accommodate the clustering. Once the Microsoft released MS Storage server for the TechNet subscribers I have been using that software frequently. Apart from that I found out StarWind software also providing good solutions as well.

Last month I got the opportunity to demonstrate the Windows 2008 clustering and it’s new capability to the IT Pro community with live demonstration. Too bad I forgot to get some picture on that event 😦 You can download the presentation I have created for that session from here.

This month I have received an invitation from the SQL community group to conduct a session about SQL cluster creation. Special thanks goes for the SQL community MVP’s for giving me the opportunity.

In that session I present about the MSCS (Microsoft Cluster Service) and the new features in the windows 2008 R2 cluster. Apart from that we went ahead of doing a live demo on SQL cluster creation. It too nearly 1.5 hours for the entire demo since I ran everything from singe machine!

Never the less it very exciting session since I got to interact with the SQL community members. Apart from that participant had various questions about the cluster creation since most of them are database developers and some of them have already work on SQL cluster 2005.

One thing I briefly went talk about is the cluster migration from SQL 2005 cluster to SQL 2008. Forum members can download the presentation from www.sqlserveruniverse.com.

Apart from that we went and discuss about various technical setup and configurations you need give attention during the cluster creation and how to do basic level troubleshooting steps.

SQL MVP Dinesh Asanka presenting the SQL session,

forum members who won prizes,

Windows server 2008 R2 failover clustering

People who attend to the hands on workshop in the above topic in Tech.Ed 2010 I do hope you found my demonstration is valuable and got something out of it. During that time I’ve demonstrated how simplified process in creating basic cluster scenario in Windows 2008. Entire lab has been carried out in one single laptop and I know patient is a virtue at that time 🙂

During that time I used SatrWind product for the software based iSCSI solution which has been working as charming as it can be. I have been using this product for demos most of the time and really amazed by it’s simplified GUI console. But don’t think this is a simple software, underneath you’ll find some advance features built inside it. I’ve been blogging about this product for several times since I see a growth software based SAN solutions in the market.

So if anyone interested in demonstrating the clustering features in Windows 2008 you can download that slide deck from here. I have to admit I use various resources and slides from the other people as well. So I thank them all for that as well.

So as I always mention do contact me if you’ll need more support to build a affordable SAN solutions.