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.
Additional Non-stop Technologies Offered by Progent
Progent's certified consultants can help you to design a sensible, fault-tolerant network that resolves key issues covering a wide array of infrastructure solutions and processes including:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants can show you how to design a business continuity plan so you can resume IT functionality in case of an IT system catastrophe. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes periodic disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized consultants can also show you how to build an affordable, non-stop network solution that addresses availability issues involving a broad array of infrastructure technologies and procedures. For details, go to Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized businesses an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and allows fast restoration of critical files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to component failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver world-class expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory standards like HIPPA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever needed, can help you to recover your critical information. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist your organization to design a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies including Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using low-cost hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable creation of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, visit Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and test a consistent runbook for recovering applications and services rapidly following an outage. SRM provides centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site migration, failback and site re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports non-intrusive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and patches and can generate audit reports to confirm full service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to help you to plan, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery system based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering along with replication to provide rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between datacenters located up to 300km apart. Progent can provide online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to design, configure, administer, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your technical requirements and budget. Progent can ensure you follow best practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by delivering guidance with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, determining plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a configuration replication network, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery system to verify compliance with information assurance standards and government mandates.
Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing support covering system load balancing, load balanced programs, network backbone routing, and content dispatching products including F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To find out more, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can show you how to find fault-tolerant data centers that match the specific requirements of your company. High availability co-location sites are especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses because of their low cost and simplified logistics in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to create an in-house data center that offers even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too costly for typical small businesses. Progent can show you how to get all the advantages of high-availability colocation facilities by providing a full array of consulting and maintenance services. For details, see Fault Tolerant Data Centers Expertise.
Non-stop Branch Office Networking
Progentís branch office connection consultants can help businesses achieve zero-downtime branch office connectivity via fully redundant networks featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE engineers can plan and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office networks based on non-stop EIGRP network routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connectivity and transparent fail-over offers economical 24x7 interoffice networking. To learn more, go to High-Availability Interoffice Connectivity.
Non-stop Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT consultants can show you how to design an affordable, high availability Internet configuration solution that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity via a wide range of high availability Internet access solutions including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to help you utilize the most up-to-date techniques for high availability Internet connections to create an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create non-stop Internet access. To read more, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services
Progent can provide economical remote access to IT engineers skilled in a broad array of utilities and technologies that provide solutions for backing up Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations plus laptops and handhelds. Progent offers expertise for leading data protection platforms including Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist your company to install, enhance, or maintain backup solutions for a range of topologies such as local, edge to datacenter, cloud, or hybrid. For details, visit Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's expert System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can assist your company to create a practical disaster recovery plan, implement a cost-effective high-availability IT infrastructure, deploy a System Center Data Protection Manager-powered recovery solution, thoroughly validate your system, educate your administrative personnel or local consultants how to maintain System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete information technology outsourcing services such as remote housing of virtual or physical SCDPM servers in Progent's data center. For details, see System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup
Double-Take offers a family of tools designed to deliver small companies a variety of cost-effective solutions for backing up and restoring vital workloads including Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have in-depth experience incorporating Double-Take technology into small company IT systems to create an advanced state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable cost. To read more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-certified IT Risk Management
The CRISC certification program was initiated by ISACA to verify a consultant's skills to design, implement, and support information system control mechanisms to mitigate network risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist you to create and execute a business continuity or disaster recovery plan that follows leading practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to match your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and IT budget. For more information, see CRISC-certified IT risk control specialists.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and offers professional application support for a wide range of small business applications, Progent is able to help customers to find efficient IT solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the support of qualified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, configuring and maintaining infrastructure environments built on Cisco technology. The extent of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent a great partner for building and maintaining an affordable, dependable network.
How You Can Contact Progent's Consultants for Fault Tolerant System Services
If you wish to ask Progent about consulting support for fault tolerant LAN design, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.