Windows Server 2012 R2 SupportFailover 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.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Cluster Shared Volumes

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:

Cluster Expandability
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 High Availability Solutions Offered by Progent's Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified engineers can assist your business to build an efficient, fault-tolerant system that addresses key issues encompassing a broad array of networking technologies and processes including:

Business Continuity Planning
Progent's business continuity planning consultants can help you create a business continuity plan in order to resume network functionality in the event of an information system disaster. Progent can help you to develop a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy that includes periodic disaster recovery assessments and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified professionals can also show you how to create an affordable, non-stop system architecture that takes into account availability issues involving a wide array of network technologies and procedures. For details, go to Disaster Recovery Consulting and Support Services.

Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery. For a fixed monthly price, ProSight DPS automates your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital files, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to hardware failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human error, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's BDR consultants can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever needed, can help you to recover your business-critical information. Find out more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.

Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can help you to design a disaster recovery system built around Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For more information, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Help.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is an extension to VMware vCenter that allows you to orchestrate, automate and verify a repeatable runbook for restoring applications and services quickly after an outage. SRM supports centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also supports non-intrusive testing for disaster recovery, updates and patches and can generate audit reports to verify complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and prove compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to assist you to design, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that uses array-based storage clustering along with replication to deliver fast, zero RPO disaster recovery between sites located as far as 185 miles away from one another. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to plan, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by delivering help with tasks like assigning disk pools, arranging aggregate layout, setting up FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning switches, implementing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with industry standards and regulatory mandates.

Network Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content dispatching products including Cisco Content Engine. Non-stop load balancing products for which Progent offers consulting services include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Engine and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For details, go to Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.

Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can show you how to identify zero-downtime data centers that meet the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are especially appealing to small and mid-size organizations because of their low cost and simplified logistics compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to create an on-site data center that offers even a basic degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small businesses. Progent can show you how to reap all the benefits of non-stop colocation facilities by providing a complete array of engineering and support services. For details, go to High-Availability Internet Data Centers Consulting.

24x7 Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís interoffice connectivity professionals can help businesses create non-stop interoffice connections through fully redundant system architectures with automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can plan and implement high-availability Inter-office networks supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and automatic fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice connectivity. To learn more, see Fault Tolerant Inter-office Connectivity.

24x7 Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-authorized network experts can show you how to design an affordable, high availability Internet configuration solution that can deliver 24x7 Internet access through a broad array of fault tolerant Internet network technologies including fault tolerant BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple Internet Service Providers. Progent offers CCIE professionals to show you how to apply the most up-to-date technology for 24x7 Internet connectivity to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver non-stop Internet connections. For more information, visit High Availability Internet Access Solutions.

Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting
Progent can provide economical online support from consultants skilled in a broad array of products and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent can provide consulting support for leading data protection products such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take, Mozy, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and FLARs. Progent can assist you to implement, upgrade, or maintain backup/restore solutions for a range of architectures including on-premises, remote, cloud, or hybrid. For details, see Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting and Support Services.

System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Recovery Consulting and Support Services
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) engineers can assist you to create an effective workplace recovery strategy, implement a cost-effective fault-tolerante network infrastructure, configure a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and restore system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your IT personnel or local consultants how to manage Microsoft SCDPM, or provide extensive IT support outsourcing such as off-site housing of virtual or physical SCDPM machines in Progent's data center facility. For details, see System Center Data Protection Manager Expertise.

Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription backup and disaster recovery service for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built physical storage device built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects critical business data generated locally, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any location with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide array of consulting support services to assist you to design, integrate, operate and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system built on Barracuda technology. For details, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.

Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small organizations a reliable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, multi-site, and cloud architectures and also enables cost-effective cloud backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Top capabilities include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as low as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, granular restore options for individual 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 VMs with zero downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a wide array of services to assist you to design, deploy, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.

Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup
Double-Take publishes a family of products designed to provide small and midsize businesses a range of affordable alternatives for backing up and restoring vital applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning consultants have extensive experience integrating Double-Take Software technology into small company information networks to create a high level of availability and business continuity readiness at an affordable price. For details, go to Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.

CRISC-qualified Network Risk Mitigation
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to validate a consultant's skills to plan, implement, and support IS controls to reduce network risk. Progent offers the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to assist you to develop and execute a business continuity strategy based on leading practices promoted by CRISC and geared to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. To read more, see CRISC-certified network risk management experts.

Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides high-level application expertise for a broad variety of business applications, Progent is able to help customers to find complete IT solutions that optimize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the support of qualified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, installing and troubleshooting infrastructure environments built on Cisco products. The depth of Progent's IT experience and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small and midsize companies make Progent the ideal resource for creating and maintaining an affordable, dependable network.

How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Fault Tolerant Computing Support
If you wish to get in touch with Progent about consulting help for high availability computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
















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