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 High Availability Solutions Provided by Progent's Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consulting experts can assist your company to build an affordable, fault-tolerant IT architecture that addresses critical challenges covering a broad array of networking solutions and operations such as:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's business continuity engineers can show you how to create a workplace recovery strategy so you can restore IT functionality in the event of an IT system disaster. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy that incorporates scheduled disaster recovery evaluations and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified professionals can also help you create an affordable, zero-downtime network solution that takes into account availability issues involving a broad array of infrastructure technologies and processes. To read more, see Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
Fault Tolerant Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT professionals can help you design an economical, fault tolerant Internet connection architecture that can achieve 24x7 Internet access via a broad array of fault tolerant Internet access technologies including fault tolerant BGP, automatic fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent can provide CCIE professionals to help you apply the most advanced technology for fault tolerant Internet connectivity to build an economical, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet availability. To read more, see Non-stop Internet Access Architecture.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can help you to design a DR solution built around Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using industry-standard hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical deployment of a stretch cluster quorum witness. For more information, see Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is an extension to VMware vCenter that allows you to define, automate and test a consistent workflow for restoring applications and services quickly following a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally managed and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site relocation, failback and site re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports transparent testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate reports to confirm full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to assist your organization to plan, configure, test and manage a DR solution powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between sites that are up to 300km away from one another. Progent can provide access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help your business to design, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your technical requirements and budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing help with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, setting up NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up NetApp Snapshot, provisioning switches, implementing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network, and verifying your DR system to show compliance with information assurance standards and regulatory mandates.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing support that addresses network load balancing, load balanced applications, network infrastructure routing, and content delivery technology such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, visit Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to find zero-downtime data centers that match the particular needs of your business. High availability off-site data centers are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations because of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to design an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is too costly for the majority of small organizations. Progent can show you how to get all the benefits of non-stop colocation facilities by providing a complete range of consulting and support services. To learn more, go to High-Availability Data Centers Expertise.
Failsafe Branch Office Connectivity
Progentís inter-site network infrastructure engineers can help organizations achieve zero-downtime interoffice connections through redundant networks featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE engineers can plan and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office connections supported by non-stop EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and transparent fail-over offers affordable 24x7 interoffice connectivity. To learn more, see 24x7 Inter-office Networking.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Recovery Consulting and Support Services
Progent's expert Microsoft SCDPM consultants can assist you to develop an effective business continuity strategy, design an affordable fault-tolerante IT architecture, install a Microsoft SCDPM-based recovery solution, thoroughly validate your DPM system, educate your IT staff or regular service providers how to manage Microsoft SCDPM, or provide extensive information technology support outsourcing including off-site hosting of SCDPM machines in Progent's world-class data center facility. For details, see System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Managed Offsite DPM-based Backup Service Package
Progentís affordably priced Offsite Data Protection Manager Backup Service Package combines the power of Data Protection Manager (DPM) with the state-of-the-art security features of the QTS Data Center in Sacramento, California to provide continual, non-disruptive backup for as much as 2.5 Terabytes of critical data from one or several of your Windows-powered servers. Progent's managed service offering includes all configuration, management, and monitoring needed for a comprehensive offsite backup solution. To learn more, see Fully Managed Offsite Data Protection Manager Backup Service.
Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services
Progent can provide economical online support from consultants with expertise in a wide range of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations as well as laptops and handhelds. Progent offers consulting support for all major data protection platforms such as Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Backup, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can assist you to design, upgrade, or maintain backup solutions for a variety of architectures such as local, edge to datacenter, cloud, or a mix. To learn more, go to Backup and Restore Technology Consulting.
Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup
Double-Take publishes a selection of tools intended to deliver small and midsize companies a variety of affordable solutions for backing up and restoring vital applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have in-depth backgrounds integrating Double-Take technology into small company IT systems to create a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable price. To read more, see Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup.
CRISC-qualified Network Risk Mitigation
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification program was established by ISACA to validate a consultant's skills to design, deploy, and support information system controls to mitigate network risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help you to create and carry out a workplace continuity strategy that follows industry best practices identified by CRISC and crafted to align with your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. For details, visit CRISC-qualified network risk mitigation specialists.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and offers professional application expertise for a broad variety of small business applications, Progent can assist clients to arrive at efficient information technology solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the support of qualified consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, implementing and supporting networking solutions built on Cisco products. The broad scope of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's familiarity with the requirements of small and midsize companies make Progent the ideal resource for creating and maintaining an affordable, fault-tolerant network.
How to Get in Touch with Progent's Consultants for Fault Tolerant System Support
In order to get in touch with Progent about engineering expertise for non-stop architecture, phone 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.