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 High Availability Technologies Offered by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco support professionals can assist you to design an efficient, non-stop environment that resolves critical problems encompassing a wide array of networking technologies and processes such as:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's business continuity planning professionals can help you design a business continuity strategy so you can resume IT functionality in case of an information system catastrophe. Progent can assist you to create a complete disaster recovery plan that includes scheduled disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized engineers can also show you how to create an affordable, fault-tolerant network solution that addresses reliability issues covering a wide array of infrastructure technologies and procedures. For more information, visit Workplace Recovery Consulting Services.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and enables rapid restoration of vital files, apps and virtual machines that have become lost or corrupted due to component failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR specialists can provide world-class support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when necessary, can assist you to restore your critical information. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can help your organization to plan and deploy a DR system based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies including Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class network-attached storage using low-cost hardware, VM Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, visit Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Help.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you define, automate and verify a consistent runbook for restoring applications and services rapidly after a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager provides centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site migration, failback and site re-protect. SRM also allows non-intrusive testing for site recovery, upgrades and patches and can generate reports to confirm complete service restoration, validate SLAs and prove DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consulting expert to help you to design, deploy, test and manage a disaster recovery solution powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that uses array-based storage clustering with continual replication to provide rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between sites that are up to 300km apart from each other. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can assist your business to design, configure, manage, update, test and repair a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that meets your technical requirements and budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, determining aggregate layout, provisioning volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and testing your DR solution to verify adherence with information assurance standards and government requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent provides fault tolerant load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, visit High Availability Load Balancing.
High-Availability Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to find fault-tolerant data centers that meet the specific requirements of your business. Fault tolerant colocation sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations because of their low cost and convenience compared to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to create an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is too expensive for the majority of small companies. Progent can help you reap all the benefits of 24x7 colocation centers by providing a full array of consulting and maintenance services. To find out more, see High-Availability Internet Data Centers Expertise.
Fault Tolerant Inter-office Connectivity
Progentís multi-site network infrastructure consultants can help companies achieve non-stop interoffice connections by means of fully redundant system architectures with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can design and deploy high-availability Inter-office connections supported by fault tolerant EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and transparent fail-over offers affordable 24x7 interoffice connectivity. For more information, visit 24x7 Inter-office Networking.
Non-stop Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT engineers can help you design an economical, high availability Internet configuration architecture that can deliver 24x7 Internet access through a wide range of high availability Internet access solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to help you utilize the latest techniques for 24x7 Internet connections to build an economical, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to create non-stop Internet connections. For more information, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Experts
Progent can provide affordable online access to IT engineers skilled in a broad range of products and services that deliver solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and workstations plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers expertise for all major data protection platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Software, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist your company to design, enhance, or maintain data backup solutions for a range of architectures such as on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. To learn more, visit Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting Experts
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager support professionals can help your company to create an effective workplace recovery plan, implement an affordable high-availability IT architecture, configure a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and restore solution, comprehensively validate your system, train your administrative personnel or regular consultants how to maintain SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing services such as remote hosting of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's data center facility. To find out more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting Services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup
Double-Take offers a selection of products designed to provide small businesses a range of cost-effective solutions for backing up and recovering vital workloads including Exchange, SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have in-depth backgrounds integrating Double-Take technology into small business IT systems to achieve a high state of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable price. To find out more, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.
CRISC-certified Network Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA in 2010 to validate an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and support information system controls to reduce risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and carry out a business continuity plan based on leading practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. For details, go to CRISC-qualified network risk mitigation experts.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and provides specialized application expertise for a wide range of small business applications, Progent can help clients to find comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your information system. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of qualified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, configuring and troubleshooting infrastructure environments built on Cisco products. The depth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the requirements of small businesses make Progent the ideal resource for creating and running a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.
How You Can Get Help from Progent's Consultants for High Availability Computing Support
To get in touch with Progent about consulting help for fault tolerant networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.