Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Mihai Corbuleac, Pat Romanski, David Bermingham

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Post

Step-by-Step: Building a Hyper-V Server 2012 Cluster - Part 1 of 2

Hyper-V Server 2012 provides an Enterprise-Ready Private Cloud Foundation!

Overhead at one of my recent IT Pro events:

The FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 sounds AWESOME! With the same features and scalability as the Hyper-V role in the full Windows Server 2012 OS, I could really use this to virtualize my application workloads very cost effectively.  But … I need high availability too!

HOW EASY IS IT TO CONFIGURE HYPER-V SERVER 2012 IN A CLUSTER?

- Kris”

Great question, Kris! Configuring our FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 in a highly available cluster can be really easy.  In this article, I’ll step through the configuration of a Hyper-V host cluster configuration that uses Hyper-V Server 2012 so that you'll have the details to step through this process in your own lab environment.

In Part 2 of this article series, I’ll finish up with the steps needed to provision and test a highly available virtual machine within your new cluster.

Let’s start with a common scenario …

In this article, we’ll be building a small 2-node Hyper-V Server 2012 host cluster, but the same steps below can be applied to much larger cluster configurations – the FREE Hyper-V Server 2012, like Windows Server 2012, supports up to 64 physical nodes and up to 8,000 virtual machines per cluster.

To build the operating system on each of the Hyper-V hosts, we can leverage the Getting Started Guide to perform the following basic post-installation configuration tasks using the SConfig.cmd script:

  • Set static IP address information on each NIC
    • I’d recommend at least three (3) physical NICs for each cluster host as follows:
      • One NIC for cluster management and storage
        • Connect to a local storage subnet and do not set a default gateway address
        • Note that NIC teaming should not be used for storage networks using iSCSI.  Instead, if more bandwidth and/or resiliency is needed than a single NIC can provide, consider using multiple NICs or iSCSI HBAs with MPIO configured.
      • One NIC or NIC Team for live migration traffic
        • Connect to a local live migration subnet and do net set a default gateway address
      • One NIC or NIC Team for client network traffic to/from the VMs.  
        • Connect to your client network, configure default gateway and DNS info on this NIC or NIC team.
    • Note: If you are interested in leveraging NIC teaming on your Hyper-V hosts to create high bandwidth resilient network connections for live migration and client network traffic interfaces, see this study guide on configuring NIC teaming from our “Early Experts” study group.
  • Set a desired computer name on each host
  • Join each host to an Active Directory domain
    • Note that Active Directory is required for normal operation of Failover Clustering in Hyper-V Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012.  However, the product team has enhanced clustering a bit so that a cluster can now be brought online in disaster recovery situations where Active Directory may not be available on the network.
  • Enable Remote Management and Remote Desktop

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you should now have two standalone Hyper-V hosts that are ready to be configured as part of a cluster.

But wait! I need Shared Storage, Don’t I?

Yes, indeed – for Hyper-V Host Clusters you’ll need to provide shared storage in one way or another that each Hyper-V host can access for storing highly available VM’s.  Commonly, shared storage between Hyper-V hosts in a cluster can be provided via:

  • Fibre Channel (FC) SAN Arrays
  • iSCSI SAN Arrays
  • SAS JBOD Enclosures with SAS Expanders
  • SMB 3.0 Shared Folders on a Windows Server 2012 file server or, preferably, by a Windows Server 2012 clustered file services role for continuous storage availability.

If you already have an investment in FC or iSCSI SAN storage, Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 will certainly continue to support those array options as shared storage solutions – in fact, with new features, like support for Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX), newer intelligent SAN arrays can perform amazingly better than ever with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012!

However, if you haven’t invested yet in an intelligent SAN array for shared storage, SAS and SMB 3.0 can be cost-effective shared storage alternatives worth your consideration for a Hyper-V host cluster.

SAS? SMB? I don’t recognize those as shared storage options for VMs!

Support for shared SAS enclosures and SMB 3.0 shared folders as shared storage options for VMs in a cluster is new with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012.  Both options can provide cost effective alternatives to more expensive intelligent SAN arrays.

  • SAS enclosures are supported as shared storage in a failover cluster via our new Storage Spaces subsystem in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012.  Along with OEM partners, we’ve demonstrated SAS solutions based on Storage Spaces that have achieved ~1 Million IOPs using commodity storage components.
  • SMB 3.0 has been enhanced in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 for large amounts of random IO in big files, such as what you’d typically find with VM’s hosted in a shared folder, and continuous availability of shared folders when configured in a Windows Server 2012 file services cluster.  In fact, when leveraging hardware that supports SMB Direct, our testing has shown that SMB storage traffic can be within 2% of the performance of direct attached storage!

Both of these options can simplify shared storage configurations tremendously by leveraging commodity storage components over easily configured interfaces.

It’s SMB 3.0 for ME!

I already have a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster that supports a number of clustered File Services roles in my environment, so I’ll be using SMB 3.0 shared folders as shared storage locations for my Hyper-V host cluster in this article.  I’ll create two “continuously available” shared folders on one of my clustered File Services roles as follows:

  • \\CAFSC01\HVCVMWitness – this clustered shared folder will be used as a witness by the new Hyper-V host cluster. A witness is a special resource that is used when a physical cluster node fails to determine which node is the “surviving” node to which clustered resources should failover.  In particular, it’s important to use a witness resource when you have an even number of physical nodes within your cluster, as we do in this 2-node cluster scenario.
  • \\CAFSC01\HVCVMStorage – this is a shared folder that I will use as a storage location for highly available virtual machines that I provision in the Hyper-V host cluster.

Note that each of your Hyper-V Server 2012 computer accounts in Active Directory will need to be granted Full Permissions to each of these shared folders and the underlying NTFS folder structure.

Let’s Build Our Hyper-V Host Cluster!

OK … now that we’ve got the basic infrastructure needs addressed, let’s start off by installing the Failover Clustering feature on each Hyper-V host and configuring an external Virtual Network Switch for VM network traffic.  Then we can move on to validating and configuring our new cluster.

Note: We can configure a Hyper-V host cluster remotely by using the Failover Cluster Manager GUI tool from a remote Windows Server 2012 management host or a Windows 8 admin client with the Remote Server Admin Toolkit (RSAT) installed.  However, in this article, I’ll make the assumption that you’ll be doing all of the cluster configuration from the Hyper-V Server 2012 host consoles directly using PowerShell … It’s really very easy!

On our Hyper-V Server 2012 consoles, we can configure our new Hyper-V host cluster by using a bit of PowerShell as follows:

  1. Install the Failover Clustering feature on each Hyper-V Server 2012 host using the Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet:

    Install-WindowsFeature –Name Failover-Clustering –IncludeManagementTools
  2. Configure an external virtual network switch on each Hyper-V Server 2012 host.  Be sure to use exactly the same virtual switch name on each host.  You can use the Get-NetAdapterName cmdlet first to verify the name of each network adapter to make sure you select the correct NIC for binding to the new virtual switch.

    Get-NetAdapterName

    Now that I know the name of my network adapter, I’m going to use the New-VMSwitch cmdlet to configure a new external switch named KEMLABNET01.

    New-VMSwitch “KEMLABNET01” –NetAdapterName “Ethernet 2” –AllowManagementOS:$True
  3. Next, let’s validate the configuration of our Hyper-V Server 2012 hosts to make sure they are compatible with a cluster configuration by using the Test-Cluster cmdlet.  For my new cluster, my individual Hyper-V host computer names are KEMLABHV06 and KEMLABHV07.

    Test-Cluster –Node KEMLABHV06,KEMLABHV07

    The output of the Test-Cluster cmdlet will be written to:

    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Temp\1\Validation Report [Date] at [Time].xml.mht

    Ultimately, we want to review this report and make sure that the cluster validation tests passed on each of our hosts.
  4. Now that we’ve validated our host configurations, we can create our new cluster with the New-Cluster cmdlet.  I’m going to name my new cluster KEMLABHVC01.

    New-Cluster –Name KEMLABHVC01 –Node KEMLABHV06,KEMLABHV07 –StaticAddress 192.168.249.40

    The output from the New-Cluster cmdlet will be logged to:

    C:\Windows\Cluster\Reports\Create Cluster Wizard [Cluster_Name] on [Date] at [Time].mht

    After creating your new cluster, it’s a good idea to review this report to ensure that no unexpected errors occurred.
  5. After our new cluster is created, our final step is to configure our file share witness with the Set-ClusterQuorum cmdlet:

    Set-ClusterQuorum –Cluster KEMLABHVC01 –NodeAndFileShareMajority \\CAFSC01\HVCWitness

That’s it! Our new Hyper-V host cluster is now built!

To test the status of our new cluster, we can use the Get-ClusterGroup cmdlet:

Get-ClusterGroup

This command should show that our Cluster Group resource group is online on one of our nodes.  Note that the Available Storage cluster resource group may show as Offline because in our configuration above, we aren’t using any shared disk storage – just SMB 3.0 shared folders!

What’s Next? Your Turn!

Now, you try it!

  • Download our FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 installation bits
  • Complete the process outlined above to build out your own Hyper-V Host Cluster

In Part 2 of this article series, I’ll step through provisioning and testing new virtual machines that are highly available on our new Hyper-V host cluster.

In the meantime …

Be sure to check out our “Early Experts” study group and our new “Virtualizer Quest" at http://aka.ms/EarlyExpertsVirtualizer.  The Virtualizer Quest includes structured study guides that walk through configuring the other new features associated with the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012.

Along the way, you’ll be preparing for the new MCSA on Windows Server 2012 certification exams and be entered into a chance to win FREE MCSA Exam Vouchers in our December sweepstakes!

Are you ready to Cluster?

Did the article help you prepare for clustering Hyper-V hosts in your environment?  Be sure to leave your feedback, questions and comments below!

Keith

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.