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 Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified engineers can assist your business to create a sensible, high-availability IT architecture that resolves critical problems encompassing a wide array of networking technologies and operations including:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Disaster Recovery Planning
Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants can show you how to create a disaster recovery plan in order to resume IT functionality in the event of an information system disaster. Progent can assist you to create a complete disaster recovery strategy that incorporates periodic disaster recovery evaluations and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized consultants can also show you how to build an affordable, non-stop network architecture that takes into account availability issues involving a broad range of network technologies and processes. For details, visit Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end solution for secure backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup activities and enables rapid recovery of vital files, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted as a result of component breakdowns, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to an on-promises device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can provide world-class support to configure ProSight Data Protection Services to to comply with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to restore your critical information. Read more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to design a DR system based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using commodity equipment, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical creation of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. To read more, see Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to specify, automate and test a consistent workflow for restoring services quickly after a breakdown. SRM provides centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows non-intrusive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate audit reports to confirm full service recovery, validate SLAs and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consulting expert to assist you to plan, configure, test and manage a DR solution powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that uses array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to deliver fast, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between sites located up to 300km apart from each other. Progent can provide online or on-premises access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to design, configure, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery system built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your technical needs and IT budget. Progent can make sure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing help with procedures like assigning shelf IDs, arranging aggregate layout, setting up NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, implementing a tiebreaker, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network, and verifying your DR system to prove compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
Network Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing support that addresses system load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content dispatching technology such as Cisco Content Engine. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For more information, go to High Availability Load Balancing.
Progent's Data Center professionals can help you select zero-downtime data centers that meet the specific needs of your business. Fault tolerant colocation sites are especially appealing to small and mid-size businesses due to of their low cost and simplified logistics compared to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to build an in-house data center that offers even a minimum level of fault tolerance is too expensive for most small companies. Progent is ready to show you how to reap all the benefits of high-availability colo sites by providing a complete range of consulting and support services. For details, go to Non-stop Colocation Expertise.
Non-stop Branch Office Networking
Progentís branch office connectivity engineers can help companies achieve non-stop branch office connectivity solutions by means of fully redundant networks featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can design and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by non-stop EIGRP routers or non-stop OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and automatic fail-over offers economical non-stop interoffice connectivity. To find out more, see High-Availability Inter-office Networking.
24x7 Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified network experts can show you how to build an economical, fault tolerant Internet configuration solution that can achieve non-stop Internet access through a broad range of high availability Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert professionals to show you how to utilize the most advanced techniques for fault tolerant Internet access to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet connections. For details, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Restore Technology Consulting and Support Services
Progent offers affordable online access to engineers with expertise in a broad array of products and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations as well as laptops and handhelds. Progent offers consulting support for leading backup platforms including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Software, MozyPro, Retrospect, Time Machine, vSphere Data Protection, and FLARs. Progent can assist your company to implement, enhance, or troubleshoot backup/restore solutions for a variety of topologies such as local, remote, cloud, or a mix. To read more, see Backup and Restore Technology Consulting Services.
System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Restore Consulting
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) consultants can assist you to create a practical disaster recovery plan, design a cost-effective high-availability IT infrastructure, install a SCDPM-powered recovery system, comprehensively validate your DPM system, train your IT staff or regular service providers how to maintain SCDPM, or provide complete information technology outsourcing such as off-site hosting of System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's world-class data center facility. To learn more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting and Support Services.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup/restore 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 similar functionality but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital business data produced locally, at one or multiple remote sites, 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 appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide range of consulting services to assist your business to plan, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution built on Barracuda Backup. For details, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software offers small and mid-size organizations a dependable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be used for on-premises, offsite, distributed, and cloud architectures and also enables low-cost backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Headline capabilities include industry-leading inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your exposure to data loss, advanced encryption, item-level restore capability for specific files and emails, support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes and for vCenter for managing large-scale deployments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up live virtual machines without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a broad array of services to help you to plan, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system powered by Altaro VM Backup software. For more information, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup/Restore
Double-Take offers a family of tools designed to deliver small and midsize companies a range of cost-effective solutions for backing up and restoring business-critical applications including Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software technology into small company information systems to achieve an advanced level of availability and business continuity capability at a budget-friendly cost. For details, see Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-qualified IT Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification program was established by ISACA to verify an IT professional's ability to plan, deploy, and support IS control mechanisms to reduce network risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified engineer to help you to create and execute a workplace continuity strategy that follows leading practices identified by CRISC and crafted to match your company's risk tolerance, business goals, and IT budget. For details, visit CRISC-qualified network risk control specialists.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and provides professional application support for a broad variety of small business applications, Progent can assist customers to arrive at comprehensive IT solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the support of certified consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, configuring and troubleshooting networking solutions based on Cisco products. The depth and breadth of Progent's technical know-how and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small companies make Progent the perfect partner for creating and running a cost-effective, high-availability information system.
How to Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Fault Tolerant System Support
To get in touch with Progent about professional support for high availability computing, phone 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.