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 Non-stop Solutions Provided by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco support professionals can assist your business to implement a cost-effective, high-availability environment that addresses major challenges covering a wide array of infrastructure solutions and processes including:

Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's disaster recovery professionals can help you design a workplace recovery plan so you can restore IT functionality in case of an information system disaster. Progent can assist you to develop a complete disaster recovery plan that incorporates scheduled disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified professionals can also help you build an affordable, fault-tolerant system solution that takes into account reliability issues covering a broad range of infrastructure technologies and processes. To find out more, go to Disaster Recovery Consulting.

Fault Tolerant Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-authorized network professionals can show you how to build an economical, high availability Internet configuration solution that can deliver 24x7 Internet connectivity through a broad array of high availability Internet access technologies including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent can provide CCIE professionals to show you how to apply the latest techniques for 24x7 Internet connectivity to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet connections. To find out more, visit Non-stop Internet Access Solutions.

Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to plan and deploy a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's latest Failover Clustering technologies such as 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 high-performance network-attached storage using industry-standard equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for enhancing the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. For more information, visit Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Consulting.

VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and verify a repeatable process for restoring services quickly following an outage. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also supports non-intrusive testing for site recovery, updates and fixes and can produce reports to verify full service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to assist you to design, deploy, test and maintain a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.

NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses array-based storage clustering with synchronous replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between sites that are up to 185 miles apart from each other. Progent offers the skills of a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist you to design, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery system based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your functional needs and budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with tasks like assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and testing your DR solution to show adherence with industry standards and regulatory requirements.

Network Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content dispatching technology such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing products for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To read more, see High Availability Load Balancing.

High-Availability Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you find high availability data centers that match the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant collocation sites are particularly appealing to small and mid-size organizations because of their affordability and simplified logistics in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Attempting to build an on-site data center with even a minimum level of fault tolerance is too costly for most small companies. Progent is ready to help you reap all the advantages of 24x7 colo sites by providing a full array of consulting and maintenance services. For details, go to Non-stop Colocation Expertise.

High-Availability Interoffice Networking
Progentís branch office network infrastructure consultants can help businesses create zero-downtime inter-site connectivity solutions through redundant networks with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-qualified CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy high-availability Inter-office connections based on fault tolerant EIGRP routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and transparent fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice networking. To find out more, visit High-Availability Interoffice Connectivity.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's expert Microsoft SCDPM consultants can assist your company to develop an effective business continuity strategy, implement an affordable zero-downtime network infrastructure, deploy a Microsoft SCDPM-based recovery system, thoroughly test your system, educate your administrative personnel or local consultants how to manage Microsoft SCDPM, or provide extensive information technology outsourcing such as off-site hosting of SCDPM servers in Progent's secure data center. To learn more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting and Support Services.

Fully Managed Offsite Data Protection Manager Backup Service Package
Progentís affordable Offsite DPM Backup Service combines the advanced capabilities of Data Protection Manager (DPM) with the world-class security and availability facilities of the QTS (formerly Herakles) Colocation Center in Sacramento to deliver continual, non-disruptive backup for as much as 2.5TB of data from one or more of your Windows servers. Progent's service package includes all setup, support, and monitoring required for a complete offsite backup system. To find out more, see Fully Managed Offsite Data Protection Manager Backup Service.

Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Experts
Progent offers economical online support from IT engineers with expertise in a wide range of products and technologies that provide solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux servers and workstations as well as laptops and smartphones. Progent offers consulting support for all major backup platforms including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent's consultants can help your company to install, upgrade, or maintain backup/restore solutions for a range of environments such as on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or hybrid. For details, see Backup and Recovery Technology Expertise.

Consulting for Double-Take Software for Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software offers a family of products designed to provide small and midsize businesses a range of affordable alternatives for backing up and restoring business-critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have in-depth experience incorporating Double-Take Software products into small business IT networks to create a high state of availability and business continuity readiness at a budget-friendly price. For details, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.

CRISC-certified IT Risk Management
The CRISC certification program was established by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's skills to design, deploy, and maintain IS control mechanisms to reduce network risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to help you to create and carry out a business continuity plan that follows industry best practices identified by CRISC and crafted to match your company's risk appetite, business goals, and IT budget. For more information, visit CRISC-qualified network risk mitigation experts.

Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and provides high-level application expertise for a broad range of business applications, Progent can assist clients to find complete IT solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of qualified consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, configuring and supporting infrastructure environments built on Cisco technology. The depth and breadth of Progent's technical experience and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small businesses make Progent the ideal partner for building and maintaining a cost-effective, high-availability network.

How to Access Progent's Consultants for High Availability Network Services
To ask Progent about consulting help for high availability computing, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.
















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