Failover clustering plays a critical role in serious disaster recovery strategies. Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clustering support introduced enterprise-class fault tolerance and recoverability to Microsoft's server platform. Windows Server 2012 R2 builds on this technology and offers important new and enhanced features that offer more expandability, non-stop storage availability for server applications, easier management, quicker automatic failover, and more options for designing failover clusters.
In addition to offering comprehensive Windows Server 2012 R2 consulting services, Progent's Microsoft-certified failover clustering experts can help you evaluate the benefits of adopting Windows Server 2012 R2 clustering technology to build an advanced high-availability/disaster recovery solution, assist you to design and deploy a failover cluster environment powered by Windows Server 2012 R2, provide online or on-premises consulting services and technical support for clustered physical servers or virtual machines, and show you how to streamline the management of clustered servers.
New and Improved Features of Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clustering
With failover clustering, if any clustered servers (called nodes) stop working properly, other servers automatically and transparently take up (or failover) their workloads such as Exchange Server or SQL Server. Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) is a refinement of failover clustering that provides a consistent, shared namespace that clustered services and applications (called roles) can use to utilize shared storage regardless of the node that is currently running them. This ability to replace IT resources on the fly can dramatically enhance network availability and facilitate rapid recovery in case of a localized catastrophic event.
Cluster Shared Volumes Allow Cluster Nodes to Access the Same NTFS File System Simultaneously
The failover clustering enhancements built into Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 include:
Failover clusters in Windows Server 2012 R2 can scale to a greater number of nodes and virtual machines than clusters in Windows Server†2008†R2. Windows Server 2012 R2 scales to 64 nodes and 8,000 virtual machines per cluster. In contrast, Windows Server 2008 R2 supports 16 nodes and 1,000 virtual machines per cluster.
Server Manager and Failover Cluster Manager
Windows Server 2012 R2's Server Manager makes it easy to manage cluster nodes by enabling remote multi-server management as well as the remote installation of roles and features. Server Manager can also start Failover Cluster Manager, which provides a wealth of new features including new search, filtering, and custom views; the ability to select a defined set of VMs for performing desired operations such as live migration; one-click configuration of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs); and support for Hyper-V Replica for point-in-time replication of VMs.
Virtual Machine Mobility
Multiple live migrations including VM storage can be initiated at the same time to nodes with adequate resources and failed migrations are automatically retried. In addition, you can add or a virtual machine to a failover cluster while the VM is running.
Cluster Shared Volumes
Improvements to Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs), which provide clustered VMs with common storage, include storage capabilities for additional clustered roles, the CSV proxy file system (CSVFS), support for BitLocker encryption, Direct I/O for faster access to file data, elimination of external authentication dependencies, integration with SMB Multichannel and SMB Direct for better performance and with Storage Spaces for lower-cost storage, and the ability to scan and fix volumes without service disruption.
Support for Scale-Out File Servers
The new clustered file server makes it possible to store server application data like Hyper-V virtual machine files on scale-out (known as active-active) file shares, offering performance and manageability similar to storage area network (SAN) solutions.
Cluster-Aware Updating (CAU)
This new feature allows the automation of software updates to the host operating system or other system components on clustered servers without downtime.
Monitoring and Managing VM Applications
This new capability enables high-level monitoring of applications hosted on clustered VMs running Windows Server 2012 R2.
Integration with Active Directory Domain Services
Enhanced integration with Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) improves flexibility and resilience by including easy alignment of failover cluster dependencies on AD DS, automated recovery of unintentionally removed cluster virtual computer objects (VCOs), support for cluster deployments in branch office with read-only domain controllers, and the ability for failover clusters to start without AD DS dependencies.
Cluster Quorum Management
Improvements to cluster quorum management that simplify quorum setup and increase the uptime of clusters during the failover process include a revamped quorum configuration wizard, the ability to assign which nodes have quorum votes, and the ability to automate quorum vote assignment depending on the current state of the node.
Enhancements to the Cluster Migration Wizard
The enhanced Migrate a Cluster Wizard in Windows Server 2012 R2 simplifies the tasks of installing, updating, and migrating Windows 2008 failover clusters through improvements that include the ability to export and re-import Hyper-V VMs, migrate to Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) disks, map virtual networks and storage, and reuse current storage.
Task Scheduler Integration
Windows Server 2012 R2 failover clustering features a new integrated Task Scheduler that makes it possible to use Windows PowerShell cmdlets to configure cluster tasks, providing a versatile tool for utilizing cluster resources to run processes or applications at set times. Tasks can be scheduled to run on a single random node, all nodes, or nodes with specified resources.
Windows PowerShell support
An enhanced Failover Cluster module for Windows PowerShell provides a library of cmdlets for automating support for the Failover Clustering features in Windows Server 2012
R2. New cmdlets support a variety of features such as the ability to manage cluster registry checkpoints, create Scale-Out File Servers, monitor VM applications, change the properties of a Distributed Network Name resource, create and manage clustered tasks, and create a fault-tolerant iSCSI Target Server.
For details about Progent's consulting expertise for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, which provides enhanced support for failover clustering, refer to Progent's Consulting Services for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V.
How Progent Can Help You Benefit from Microsoft's Failover Clustering
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you evaluate the business benefits of Windows Server 2012 R2 failover clustering, set up test systems to help you optimize performance and ensure compatibility for your critical workloads, design and carry out an efficient roll-out plan, train your administration staff to manage your failover clustering solution, and provide as-needed consulting and technical support either online or onsite to keep your system productive. Progent can also provide comprehensive Help Desk services.
Progent's service professionals can also help you migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Clusters from Windows Server 2008 R2 or from Windows Server 2003 clustering technology.
Progent's CISM, CISA, GIAC, CRISC, and CISSP certified security engineers can assess the protection offered by your cluster environment and can recommend and implement affordable improvements. Progent's security experts can also help you design, document, and validate disaster recovery and business continuity and plans.
If you are considering the creation of a hybrid network model that integrates on-premises resources with public cloud services like those offered by Microsoft Azure, Progent can help you evaluate and deploy Windows Server 2016, which incorporates major elements of Azure technology and is designed to support hybrid networks. See Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consulting.
Other Zero-Downtime Technologies Offered by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco consulting experts can assist your company to implement an affordable, non-stop network that resolves major challenges covering a wide range of networking solutions and operations including:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's business continuity professionals can show you how to design a business continuity strategy in order to resume network operations in the event of an information network disaster. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that incorporates periodic disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can also show you how to build an affordable, high-availability network solution that addresses reliability issues covering a wide range of infrastructure technologies and processes. For more information, visit Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services offer small and medium-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and allows rapid recovery of vital files, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted as a result of component breakdowns, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery consultants can deliver advanced support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards like HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever necessary, can help you to restore your critical data. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist your organization to design a disaster recovery system built around Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using commodity equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable creation of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Expertise.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that allows you to specify, automate and verify a repeatable process for restoring services rapidly following an outage. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and non-disruptive site migration, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows transparent testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can produce reports to verify complete service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and prove compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to help your organization to design, deploy, test and manage a DR solution powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery software suite that combines array-based storage clustering along with replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between sites located as far as 185 miles apart. Progent can provide access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help you to plan, deploy, manage, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your technical requirements and IT budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by delivering help with procedures such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, implementing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and verifying your DR system to verify compliance with industry standards and government requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support covering system load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content delivery products such as Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, visit Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
High-Availability Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to identify zero-downtime data centers that meet the particular needs of your company. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses due to of their low cost and convenience compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to design an in-house data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too costly for typical small companies. Progent is ready to help you get all the benefits of non-stop colocation facilities by providing a full range of consulting and maintenance services. To learn more, see High-Availability Data Centers Consulting.
Failsafe Branch Office Networking
Progentís multi-site connection engineers can help organizations achieve fault tolerant multi-site connections via redundant networks with automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can plan and implement ultra-reliable Inter-office connections based on zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connectivity and automatic fail-over offers economical 24x7 interoffice networking. For more information, see Failsafe Inter-office Networking.
High Availability Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network professionals can help you build an affordable, high availability Internet connection architecture that can deliver 24x7 Internet connectivity through a wide array of high availability Internet access solutions including high availability BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers CCIE engineers to help you utilize the most up-to-date technology for fault tolerant Internet connectivity to build a cost-effective, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet availability. To learn more, see Fault Tolerant Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting and Support Services
Progent can provide affordable online access to consultants skilled in a broad range of products and services that provide solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and desktops plus laptops and smartphones. Progent offers help for all major backup platforms such as Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Backup, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and FLARs. Progent can help you to implement, upgrade, or maintain backup/restore systems for a range of architectures including local, edge to datacenter, cloud, or hybrid. To learn more, see Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consultants
Progent's certified Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can assist your company to create an effective business continuity strategy, implement a cost-effective fault-tolerante network infrastructure, deploy a System Center Data Protection Manager-based recovery solution, comprehensively test your system, educate your administrative staff or regular consultants how to maintain Microsoft SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing services such as off-site housing of virtual or physical SCDPM servers in Progent's world-class data center facility. To read more, go to Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.
Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription backup and disaster recovery service for small and mid-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built physical storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with comparable features but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical company data generated on-premises, at one or more remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any location with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a wide range of consulting support services to help you to design, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a BDR system based on Barracuda technology. For more information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.
Altaro VM Backup Software for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small businesses a dependable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, multi-site, and cloud-hosted environments and also supports cost-effective backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top features include state-of-the-art Augmented Inline Deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as low as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, item-level recovery options for specific files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for vCenter for managing larger environments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft VSS technology to back up online virtual machines without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide array of consulting services to help you to design, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup/restore system based on Altaro VM Backup. To learn more, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a family of tools intended to deliver small and midsize companies a variety of cost-effective solutions for backing up and restoring vital workloads including Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive backgrounds incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small company IT networks to create an advanced level of fault tolerance and business continuity readiness at an affordable cost. To find out more, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup.
CRISC-certified Network Risk Control
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and maintain IS control mechanisms to reduce risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to assist you to create and carry out a business continuity plan based on leading practices identified by CRISC and geared to match your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. To read more, visit CRISC-certified network risk mitigation specialists.
Since Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and offers specialized application expertise for a wide variety of business applications, Progent can help customers to arrive at efficient IT solutions that maximize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of certified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, deploying and managing infrastructure environments built on Cisco technology. The depth of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent the perfect partner for creating and running a cost-effective, dependable information system.
How to Contact Progent's Consultants for Non-stop System Support
To ask Progent about engineering support for fault tolerant architecture, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.