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 Non-stop Solutions Provided by Progent
Progent's certified engineers can help your company to create a sensible, high-availability network that addresses critical issues covering a wide range of networking solutions and operations such as:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's business continuity planning consultants can help you design a disaster recovery strategy that will allow you to restore IT functionality in case of an information system disaster. Progent can assist you to develop a complete disaster recovery plan that includes scheduled disaster recovery evaluations and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized consultants can also show you how to build an affordable, non-stop network solution that takes into account reliability issues covering a broad range of infrastructure technologies and processes. For more information, visit Business Continuity Consulting and Support Services.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations a low cost and fully managed solution for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a fixed monthly cost, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup processes and enables fast restoration of critical files, applications and VMs that have become lost or damaged as a result of component breakdowns, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's BDR specialists can provide advanced support to configure ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when necessary, can help you to recover your business-critical information. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can help your organization to design a disaster recovery solution built around Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-disruptive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using commodity equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable deployment of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. For more information, see Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Expertise.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a component of VMware vCenter that allows you to define, automate and test a repeatable runbook for restoring applications and services rapidly following an outage. Site Recovery Manager provides centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site relocation, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also supports non-disruptive testing for site recovery, upgrades and patches and can produce reports to confirm full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and prove compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to help your organization to plan, deploy, test and manage a DR system based on VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses array-based storage clustering with replication to provide fast, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between sites that are up to 185 miles (300km) apart. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can assist you to design, configure, manage, upgrade, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that aligns with your technical requirements and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by delivering help with tasks such as assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with industry standards and government requirements.
Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent provides high availability load balancing consulting covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, network infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products including Cisco Content Engine. High availability load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting services include Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Access Gateway, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Distributed Director and ACNS, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. To read more, see Non-stop Load Balancing.
High-Availability Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you identify fault-tolerant data centers that match the particular needs of your company. High availability collocation sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size organizations due to of their low cost and simplified logistics in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to create an in-house data center that offers even a basic level of fault tolerance is too costly for typical small businesses. Progent can help you get all the advantages of non-stop colocation facilities by offering a complete array of consulting and maintenance services. To find out more, visit Non-stop Internet Data Centers Expertise.
Failsafe Inter-office Connectivity
Progentís interoffice connectivity consultants can help companies create non-stop inter-site connections by means of fully redundant networks with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can plan and implement high-availability Inter-office connections supported by zero-downtime EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how redundant connectivity and automatic fail-over offers affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. To read more, see 24x7 Interoffice Networking.
24x7 Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network consultants can help you design an affordable, fault tolerant Internet connection architecture that can achieve non-stop Internet connectivity through a broad range of fault tolerant Internet access solutions including non-stop BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert professionals to help you apply the most up-to-date technology for fault tolerant Internet access to build an affordable, completely redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create fault tolerant Internet access. For details, see Non-stop Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting Services
Progent offers affordable remote access to consultants skilled in a broad array of products and technologies that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as notebooks and handhelds. Progent offers expertise for leading data protection platforms including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, HP Data Protector, Double-Take Software, Mozy, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Solaris FLARs. Progent can help your company to deploy, upgrade, or maintain data backup systems for a variety of topologies including local, edge to datacenter, cloud-based, or a mix. For more information, see Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting and Support Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consulting Experts
Progent's certified Microsoft SCDPM support professionals can assist your company to develop an effective workplace recovery strategy, implement an affordable fault-tolerante IT architecture, configure a SCDPM-powered recovery system, thoroughly validate your DPM system, train your administrative personnel or local service providers how to maintain Microsoft SCDPM, or provide extensive IT outsourcing services including off-site hosting of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager servers in Progent's secure data center facility. To read more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Multi-site and Cloud Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup/restore platform for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a custom-designed hardware appliance built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which uses your existing storage hardware. Barracuda Backup safeguards critical company data produced 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 site with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a wide array of consulting support services to help your business to plan, integrate, operate and repair a BDR system built on Barracuda Backup. For more information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small and mid-size businesses a dependable and affordable solution for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, offsite, distributed, and cloud architectures and also supports cost-effective backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Headline capabilities include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup spacing as little as five minutes for reducing your exposure to data loss, advanced encryption, granular restore options for individual files and emails, support for Windows Server CSV and VMware vCenter for managing larger environments, and support for Microsoft VSS technology to back up live VMs with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and can provide a wide range of services to help you to plan, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup/restore system powered by Altaro VM Backup. To learn more, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup/Restore
Double-Take offers a selection of tools designed to provide small businesses a range of cost-effective alternatives for replicating and restoring business-critical workloads including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL, RIM Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take technology into small business information systems to create a high state of availability and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly price. To read more, see Consulting for Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to verify an IT professional's skills to plan, deploy, and support IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist your company to develop and carry out a business continuity strategy based on industry best practices identified by CRISC and geared to align with your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, visit CRISC-Premier IT risk mitigation experts.
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers high-level application expertise for a wide range of small business applications, Progent can assist clients to find comprehensive IT solutions that substantially enhance the business value of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the support of premier consultants and specialists with expertise in designing, implementing and managing infrastructure solutions built on Cisco technology. The depth and breadth of Progent's IT experience and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small businesses make Progent the perfect resource for creating and running a cost-effective, high-availability network.
How to Contact Progent's Engineers for High Availability Network Support
In order to contact Progent about professional support for high availability computing, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.