Clustering is a key technique to achieve maximum fault tolerance. A cluster is a collection of computer systems responsible for running a shared set of applications and services. The systems in the cluster are interconnected through hardware and software in such a way that in case any component in the cluster stops functioning, the workload will "failover" to, or be assumed by, another system in the cluster without a disruption of service.
Failover clustering clearly has an advantage in increasing network availability in the case of a hardware breakdown, but it also allows non-disruptive system maintenance for environments that have no time window when key applications such as email or web commerce can be taken offline without hurting business. For geographically dispersed environments, multi-site clustering provides insurance against natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
The Enterprise and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2008 included significant improvements in failover clustering such as easier deployment, management, and migration; enhanced support for multi-site clusters; improved security architecture and quorum models; stronger authentication and encryption; and more efficient tools for backup and recovery. Windows Server 2008 R2 offers even more advanced support for clustering through the addition of features that make clusters more secure, more available, and easier to manage. Major clustering improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 include Live Migration support through Cluster Shared Volumes, enhanced support for IPsec security, and expanded cluster storage.
Progent offers a full range of Windows Server 2008 Server consulting services and Windows Server 2008 R2 expertise and can assist businesses of any size to maintain and troubleshoot failover clusters powered by Windows Server 2008. If you are considering an upgrade to a modern version of Windows Server, Progent can provide Windows Server 2019 migration expertise and Windows Server 2016 failover clustering consulting to maximize the availability and performance of your system.
New and Improved Features of Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering
The failover clustering capabilities incorporated into Microsoft Windows 2008 Server represents more than a decade of Microsoft's experience in developing clustering technology. The Enterprise and Datacenter Editions of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 offer a number of new clustering services and capabilities including:
More Convenient Management Interfaces
Windows Server 2008 includes Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0, a new easy-to-use interface for controlling network resources. The new Failover Cluster Administration Console is task oriented rather than cluster resource oriented. To make a file share highly available, for example, the administrator no longer has to create a group, a disk resource, an IP address resource, Network Name, configure IsAlive/LookAlive, configure preferred services, and set dependencies. Instead, the wizard simply asks for the Network Name. You do not necessarily need to assign an IP address because Windows Server 2008 failover clustering now supports DHCP.
Windows Server 2008 also supports remote management via the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT). You can manage multiple clusters throughout the organization from a single MMC. Windows Server 2008 Failover Clusters are also fully scriptable with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).
Built-in Cluster Validate Tool
Windows Server 2008 clustering includes a cluster Validate Tool, an expanded and integrated version of the ClusPrep tool released for Windows Server 2003 server clustering. As a part of the cluster configuration process, Validate runs a set of tests to determine whether the selected servers, cluster networks, and storage meet the requirements for failover clustering. Validate performs an inventory that includes BIOS information, operating systems, adapters, drivers and software updates; verifies cluster topology for redundancy; checks IP configuration details; and makes sure that storage can correctly handle simulated cluster actions. The Validate Tool helps prevents configuration errors, which is one of the most common problems encountered in failover clusters.
Support for Windows Server 2008 Server Core
Windows Server 2008 offers a Server Core installation option that supports failover clustering and provides a bare-bones environment for running distinct server roles. By limiting the services that need to be maintained and updated, this minimalist installation reduces support and management expense and enhances security by shrinking the server's attack surface. Server Core supports a variety of important roles including DHCP server, file services, print services, DNS server, Active Directory Domain Services, streaming media services, and Windows Server 2008 virtualization.
Better Storage and Backup Support
Improvements in storage and backup offer increased stability and availability for failover clusters. Support for both Master Boot Record (MBR) and GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks allows the creation of disks greater than 2 terabytes. Built-in logic initiates self healing automatically as long as the system can find either the disk signature in the Master Boot Record or the SCSI inquiry page 0x83 data (VPD).
Support for Storage Area Networking (SAN) solutions is improved for storage hardware that supports SCSI-3 SPC3-compliant SCSI commands for persistent reservation/release. All multi-path solutions are Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO). The Device Specific Module (DSM) provided by the storage vendor is responsible for sending PR registration information down each path to the storage system. Closer integration with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) makes the backup process easier. Failover clustering in Windows Server 2008 has its own VSS.
With Windows Server 2008, x64-based failover clusters support up to 16 nodes in a single cluster, as opposed to the maximum of 8 nodes in Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2008 failover clusters also now support GPT disks, which use the GUID partition table (GPT) disk partitioning system. A GPT disk allows up to 128 primary partitions and a much larger volume size. In comparison, MBR disks can support up to four primary partitions and a volume size limit of up to 2 terabytes. For greater reliability, GPT disks offer replication and cyclical redundancy check (CRC) protection of the partition table. The increased number of nodes plus support for GPT disks dramatically extends the scalability of larger volumes in cluster environments.
A New Quorum Model
Windows Server 2008 introduces a new failover clustering quorum model that incorporates a combination of Microsoft's earlier shared disk and majority node set models. In Windows Server 2008 failover clustering there are now four ways to establish a quorum:
The quorum mechanism in Windows Server 2008 no longer requires a shared storage resource for the cluster to function. Quorum now refers to a number of votes which must equate to a majority of nodes. All nodes and disk resources have a vote. This avoids failure points in the old model, which required the disk to be available at all times so that disk failure meant cluster failure.
- No Majority - Disk Only (same as Windows Server 2003 shared disk quorum)
- Node Majority (same as the Windows Server 2003 majority node set)
- Node and Disk Majority
- Node and File Share Majority
An Improved Security Model
Windows Server 2008 failover clustering incorporates a new security model that enhances its security and dependability. Changes include:
- Elimination of the need for a domain user account for the Cluster Service Account (CSA)
- Better logging and event tracing
- Transition from unsecure datagram remote procedure call (RPC) communications to TCP-based RPC communications
- Default enabling Kerberos authentication on all cluster network name resources
- The ability to audit access to the cluster service via either the Failover Cluster Management snap-in or the cluster command-line interface
- Ability to secure Inter-Cluster communications.
New Networking Capabilities and More Flexible Dependencies
Windows Server 2008 failover clustering includes a new networking model. Major improvements include:
Administrators no longer have to stretch virtual local area networks across the wide area network to support geographically dispersed servers on different subnets. Failover cluster nodes can now be located on different subnets. Individual cluster nodes can be placed on separate, routed networks, which allows IP Address and Network Name resources to come online when services and applications fail over to remote nodes.
- Enhanced support for geographically distributed networks
- The ability to place cluster nodes on different networks
- The ability to use DHCP server to assign IP addresses to cluster interfaces
- Improvements in the cluster heartbeat mechanism
- Support for IPv6
Cluster IP address resources can now get their addressing from DHCP servers as well as from static entries. The cluster heartbeat mechanism has moved from a UDP broadcast health checking mechanism to a UDP unicast communication that it uses a Ping-like Request-Reply process. This allows better security and more reliable packet sequence numbering. Windows Server 2008 supports IPv6 IP Address resources and IPv4 IP Address resources either alone or in combination in a cluster. Clustering also supports 6-4 and Intra-site Automatic Tunneling Addressing Protocol (ISATAP).
Enhancements to Failover Clustering In Windows Server 2008 R2
Major enhancements to Failover Clustering available with Windows Server 2008 R2 include:
For more details about the improved Failover Clustering support provided by Windows Server 2008 R2, visit Progent's Consulting Services for Windows Server 2008 R2.
- Clustered Shared Volumes (CSV) with dynamic I/O redirection
- Geographically dispersed clustering for immunity from natural disasters
- Easier setup and migration through the new Best Practices Analyzer
- Redundant Quorum Resource to eliminate single-point failure for the cluster quorum
- Improved security through support for IPsec security between client and cluster nodes
- Supports for GPT disks that exceed 2 terabytes in capacity
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 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clustering, set up pilot programs to validate performance and compatibility for your key workloads, develop and execute a cost-effective deployment plan, train your IT staff to manage your clustering environment, and provide ongoing consulting and technical support services remotely or at your site. Progent can also provide comprehensive Help Desk services.
Progent's service professionals can also help you migrate from Windows Server 2003 cluster nodes. This migration requires experience because these two types of nodes cannot share the same cluster, which eliminates a rolling migration.
If you currently have a clustering environment based on Windows Server 2008 R2 and are considering a move to Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2016, Progent can help you plan and carry out a Windows Server 2019 failover clustering upgrade or create a Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery solution.
Progent's CISM, CISA, GIAC, CISSP, and CRISC 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 test business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Zero-Downtime Solutions Provided by Progent's Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified support professionals can help your company to create an affordable, non-stop environment that resolves key challenges covering a wide range of infrastructure solutions and operations including:
Disaster Recovery Planning
Progent's business continuity engineers can help you create a disaster recovery strategy that will allow you to restore network functionality in case of an information network disaster. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes scheduled disaster recovery evaluations and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified professionals can also help you build an affordable, high-availability system architecture that takes into account reliability issues covering a wide range of network technologies and procedures. For more information, visit Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification program was established by ISACA in 2010 to validate a consultant's skills to design, deploy, and support information system controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to help your company to create and carry out a business continuity or disaster recovery strategy that follows industry best practices identified by CRISC and geared to align with your company's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For more information, see CRISC-Certified IT risk management specialists.
Microsoft Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 incorporated significant improvements in capacity, throughput, manageability, security and compliance, application compatibility, Linux support, container networking, and hybrid integration of on-premises and cloud assets. Top new features of Microsoft Windows Server 2019 are Windows Admin Center for centralizing the management and monitoring of hybrid on-premises/cloud resources, System Insights for taking advantage of modern predictive analytics to control local networks, Windows Defender ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) Exploit Guard for host-intrusion defense, container networking using Kubernetes, Cluster Sets for deploying and administering massive high-availability scale-out clusters, and Storage Migration Service for streamlining the migration from outdated versions of Windows Server. To learn more, visit Windows Server 2019 High Availability Failover Clustering Consulting.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist you to design a disaster recovery system based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools 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 industry-standard hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, affordable creation of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, go to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Expertise.
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 test a consistent runbook for recovering services rapidly after an outage. SRM provides centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-intrusive site migration, failback and re-protect. SRM also enables transparent testing for site recovery, upgrades and fixes and can produce audit reports to confirm complete service recovery, validate SLAs and prove DR compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consulting expert to assist you to design, configure, test and maintain a disaster recovery system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses failover storage clustering with continual replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located as far as 185 miles apart. Progent offers access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help your business to plan, configure, administer, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to best practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by providing guidance with procedures such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, arranging aggregate and plexes layout, setting up FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, implementing a tiebreaker, setting up a configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your DR solution to prove adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory requirements.
Network Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content dispatching products including F5 Networks 3DNS. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Engine and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For details, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to identify fault-tolerant data centers that match the specific needs of your business. Fault tolerant off-site data centers are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations due to of their low cost and convenience in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to create an on-site data center that offers even a basic degree of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for most small businesses. Progent is ready to show you how to get all the benefits of non-stop colo sites by offering a full range of consulting and maintenance services. For details, visit Non-stop Internet Data Centers Consulting.
Non-stop Interoffice Networking
Progent's interoffice connection engineers can help businesses create non-stop branch office connections by means of redundant system architectures featuring transparent failover. Progent's Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can design and implement ultra-reliable Inter-office connections based on non-stop EIGRP network routers or fault tolerant OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connections and transparent fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. To find out more, go to Fault Tolerant Inter-office Connectivity.
24x7 Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-authorized network engineers can show you how to design an affordable, high availability Internet connection architecture that can achieve non-stop Internet access through a wide array of fault tolerant Internet network solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent can provide Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert professionals to help you apply the most advanced technology for high availability Internet access to implement an economical, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to create zero-downtime Internet access. To read more, visit 24x7 Internet Connectivity Solutions.
Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services
Progent offers affordable online support from engineers skilled in a wide array of products and technologies that provide solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux servers and desktops as well as notebooks and smartphones. Progent can provide expertise for leading data protection products including Acronis, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist you to design, upgrade, or maintain data backup systems for a range of topologies including on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud-based, or a mix. For details, go to Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's expert System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) support professionals can help your company to develop a practical disaster recovery plan, implement an affordable fault-tolerante IT architecture, install a System Center Data Protection Manager-powered recovery solution, comprehensively validate your system, educate your administrative personnel or local consultants how to maintain System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete information technology outsourcing including off-site hosting of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's world-class data center. To read more, see System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup solution can include a purpose-built physical storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar functionality but which utilizes your existing storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects vital company data generated on-premises, 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 physical or virtual Barracuda appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts can provide a broad range of consulting support services to assist you to design, integrate, operate and troubleshoot a BDR solution based on Barracuda Backup. For details, visit Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting and management.
ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software offers small and mid-size businesses a reliable and affordable solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in local, remote, distributed, and cloud environments and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Altaro VM Backup supports advanced features such as Immutable Cloud Storage for an extra layer of recoverability from ransomware. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a wide array of remote or onsite consulting services to help you to plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a modern backup/restore solution based on Altaro VM Backup software. With ProSight Data Protection Services Altaro VM Backup, Progent delivers a managed backup/recovery service based on Altaro VM Backup software. For more information, visit Altaro VM Backup consulting services.
ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup Services for Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 offers rudimentary archiving but does not have native support for crucial data protection services like Exchange Online backups or greater than 30-day point-in-time recovery for OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup provides a feature-rich BDR solution for programmable backup and quick recovery of all your organization's M365 mailboxes, Teams Chats, SharePoint sites, OneDrive for Business data, and content on Windows endpoints. Progent is an authorized Hornetsecurity/Altaro partner and offers ProSight Data Protection Services (DPS) 365 Total Backup to deliver end-to-end management services for Hornetsecurity's 365 Total Backup product. ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup delivers a low-cost backup-as-a-service solution that guards M365 components against data loss resulting from human or software error, malicious corruption, and malware assaults like ransomware. To read more, visit ProSight Data Protection Services 365 Total Backup services for Microsoft 365.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO
ProSight Data Protection Services ECHO from Progent provide small and mid-sized businesses an affordable and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery. Available at a low monthly cost, ProSight DPS ECHO automates your backup activities and allow rapid restoration of critical data, applications and VMs that have become lost or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software bugs, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS ECHO can help you back up, recover and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Microsoft 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 BDR consultants can provide advanced support to configure ProSight DPS ECHO to be compliant with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to restore your business-critical information. Find out more about ProSight DPS ECHO managed backup and recovery.
ProSight DPS 360 Backup Solutions
Progent's data protection experts can assist you to create, deploy and debug a backup solution based on MSP360 software. MSP360 offers file or image backup/recovery for VMs and physical computers, supports all leading public clouds, and permits businesses to create a data protection ecosystem with a minimum Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and a defined Recovery Point Objective (RPO). With ProSight DPS 360 Backup, Progent offers end-to-end monitoring and management of your backup system to prevent data loss resulting from user miscues, system errors, ill-intentioned insiders, and external assaults like ransomware. To find out more, visit ProSight DPS 360 Backup solutions.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup and Recovery
Double-Take offers a family of tools designed to provide small and midsize businesses a range of affordable solutions for replicating and recovering vital workloads such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progent's business continuity planning experts have in-depth experience incorporating Double-Take products into small business information systems to create a high level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery capability at an affordable price. For more information, see Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers professional application consulting for a wide variety of business applications, Progent is able to help clients to arrive at comprehensive IT solutions that substantially enhance the business value of your network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the services of premier consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, implementing and maintaining networking solutions built on Cisco products. The depth and breadth of Progent's IT experience and Progent's sensitivity to the requirements of small businesses make Progent a great resource for creating and maintaining an affordable, dependable network.
How to Access Progent's Experts for Support for Non-stop Computing
To ask Progent about professional assistance for non-stop computing, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.