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.
Other Non-stop Technologies Supported by Progent's Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco support professionals can help your business to build a sensible, high-availability system that addresses major challenges covering a wide range of networking solutions and processes including:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's business continuity consultants can show you how to design a workplace recovery plan in order to resume IT operations in case of an information network catastrophe. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes periodic disaster recovery assessments and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized consultants can also show you how to build an affordable, non-stop system solution that takes into account reliability issues covering a broad array of network technologies and processes. For details, visit Business Continuity Consulting.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services offer small and mid-sized businesses a low cost end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a fixed monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and allows fast recovery of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become unavailable or damaged as a result of component failures, software bugs, natural disasters, human error, or malicious attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, as well as Hyper-V and VMware images/. Critical data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's backup and recovery consultants can deliver world-class expertise to set up ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, FINRA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever needed, can help you to restore your critical information. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can help you to plan and deploy a DR system built around Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering tools including Cluster Operating System 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 equipment, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the speed and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while minimizing TCO and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for fast, economical creation of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. For more information, go to 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 orchestrate, automate and test a consistent process for recovering services quickly after a breakdown. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also enables transparent testing for site recovery, upgrades and patches and can produce audit reports to verify complete service restoration, validate SLAs and prove compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to assist your organization to plan, configure, test and administer a disaster recovery system powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that combines failover storage clustering with synchronous replication to deliver rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery between datacenters located as far as 185 miles apart. Progent offers online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can help you to plan, configure, manage, update, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your technical needs and budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to best practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by providing help with procedures such as assigning disk pools, determining aggregate layout, provisioning FlexVol 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 storage clusters, and testing your disaster recovery system to verify compliance with information assurance standards and regulatory requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses network load balancing, load balanced applications, network backbone routing, and content dispatching products including F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Content Engine and LocalDirector 400 series, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To find out more, go to Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
Non-stop Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can help you find fault-tolerant data centers that meet the particular needs of your company. Fault tolerant colocation sites are particularly attractive to small and mid-size companies because of their low cost and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to build an in-house data center with even a minimum degree of fault tolerance is too expensive for typical small businesses. Progent is ready to show you how to reap all the advantages of 24x7 data centers by offering a complete array of consulting and support services. To find out more, visit Fault Tolerant Colocation Expertise.
24x7 Interoffice Networking
Progentís branch office connection professionals can help businesses achieve non-stop multi-site connectivity solutions through redundant system architectures featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can plan and implement ultra-reliable Inter-office networks supported by non-stop EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connectivity and automatic fail-over offers economical non-stop interoffice networking. To read more, visit 24x7 Interoffice Connectivity.
Non-stop Internet Connectivity
Progent's Cisco-authorized network experts can show you how to build an affordable, fault tolerant Internet connection architecture that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity via a broad range of fault tolerant Internet network technologies including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent offers CCIE engineers to help you apply the most up-to-date techniques for 24x7 Internet connections to create a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other capabilities to create non-stop Internet connections. For more information, see 24x7 Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting
Progent offers affordable remote access to engineers with expertise in a broad array of products and services that deliver solutions for backing up Windows, Mac, and Linux servers and workstations plus laptops and smartphones. Progent offers help for leading data protection products such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and FLARs. Progent can assist you to install, enhance, or maintain backup solutions for a range of environments such as on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud, or a mix. For details, go to Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Recovery Consulting and Support Services
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help your company to develop a practical business continuity plan, implement an affordable high-availability IT architecture, configure a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based recovery system, thoroughly test your DPM system, educate your IT staff or local consultants how to manage SCDPM, or provide extensive IT outsourcing including remote hosting of Microsoft SCDPM servers in Progent's data center facility. To learn more, see Microsoft SCDPM Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Multi-site and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup/restore platform for small and medium-size organizations. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a purpose-built physical storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable functionality but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital business data generated locally, at one or more remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any location with a Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a broad range of consulting services to help you to plan, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Barracuda Backup. For details, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small and mid-size organizations a dependable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, remote, multi-site, and cloud-hosted environments and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Headline capabilities include industry-leading Augmented Inline Deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), advanced encryption, item-level restore options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server CSV and for VMware vCenter for handling large-scale environments, and the ability to leverage Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to back up online virtual machines without downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a broad array of services to help you to design, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup software. For details, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software offers a family of tools intended to provide small companies a variety of affordable solutions for replicating and restoring business-critical applications including Exchange, SQL Server, Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive backgrounds integrating Double-Take Software technology into small company IT systems to create a high state of availability and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly cost. For details, see Consulting for Double-Take Software for Backup.
CRISC-Certified Network Risk Mitigation
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was established by ISACA to validate an IT professional's ability to design, deploy, and maintain IS controls to reduce risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to develop and carry out a workplace continuity or disaster recovery plan based on industry best practices identified by CRISC and crafted to match your organization's risk tolerance, business objectives, and IT budget. To find out more, visit CRISC-Certified IT risk management experts.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides high-level application support for a wide variety of small business software programs, Progent can help customers to find comprehensive information technology solutions that optimize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent offers the services of premier engineers and specialists with experience in architecting, installing and troubleshooting networking environments based 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 partner for building and maintaining a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.
How You Can Access Progent's Experts for Non-stop Network Support
To contact Progent about engineering assistance for high availability infrastructure, phone 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.