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 Zero-Downtime Technologies Offered by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco consultants can help your company to design an efficient, high-availability system that resolves key issues covering a wide array of infrastructure solutions and operations such as:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants can show you how to design a business continuity plan in order to restore network operations in case of an IT system disaster. Progent can assist you to develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that incorporates periodic disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized engineers can also show you how to create an affordable, fault-tolerant system architecture that takes into account reliability issues involving a wide range of network technologies and processes. For details, visit Disaster Recovery Expertise.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized organizations an affordable and fully managed service for reliable backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly rate, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup activities and allows fast restoration of critical files, applications and virtual machines that have become unavailable or corrupted due to hardware breakdowns, software glitches, disasters, human error, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, apps, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to restore your business-critical data. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup and Recovery.
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity experts can assist you to design a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies including Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for zero-data-loss recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance network-attached storage using low-cost hardware, VM Load Balancing for improving the speed and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical creation of a stretch cluster quorum arbitration point. To learn more, go to Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Help.
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 restoring applications and services quickly after an outage. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also enables transparent testing for disaster recovery, updates and patches and can produce reports to confirm full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to help your organization to design, configure, test and administer a DR system based on VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Software
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters located as far as 185 miles away from one another. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist your business to design, deploy, administer, update, test and repair a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster environment that meets your technical requirements and IT budget. Progent can ensure you follow leading practices for configuring your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with tasks like assigning shelf IDs, determining plexes layout, setting up FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning Cisco and Brocade switches, designing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network, and testing your disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with industry standards and government requirements.
Network Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing consulting covering system load balancing, load balanced programs, network infrastructure routing, and content dispatching products such as Cisco Content Engine. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent can provide consulting services include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Distributed Director and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks 3-DNS. For details, visit Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers
Progent's Data Center professionals can show you how to identify high availability data centers that meet the specific requirements of your company. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are especially attractive to small and mid-size organizations due to of their low cost and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself approach. Trying to build an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is too costly for most small businesses. Progent can show you how to reap all the benefits of high-availability colocation facilities by offering a full range of consulting and support services. To learn more, see Non-stop Data Centers Consulting.
High-Availability Branch Office Networking
Progentís branch office connection consultants can help companies achieve fault tolerant multi-site connectivity solutions by means of redundant networks with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can design and implement fault-tolerant Inter-office connections based on zero-downtime EIGRP routers or fault tolerant OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and transparent fail-over can provide affordable non-stop interoffice connectivity. To find out more, go to Failsafe Interoffice Networking.
Fault Tolerant Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-authorized IT professionals can help you design an economical, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can achieve 24x7 Internet connectivity via a broad array of fault tolerant Internet access solutions including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent offers Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert engineers to help you utilize the latest technology for 24x7 Internet access to implement an economical, fully redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet access. To read more, visit High Availability Internet Access Solutions.
Backup and Restore Technology Consultants
Progent can provide economical remote support from IT engineers skilled in a wide array of products and services that deliver solutions for protecting Windows, Mac, and Linux servers and desktops plus notebooks and handhelds. Progent can provide help for all major data protection products including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Solaris FLARs. Progent can help you to implement, enhance, or troubleshoot data backup systems for a variety of topologies including local, remote, cloud, or a mix. For details, go to Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consulting
Progent's certified System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can help you to develop an effective workplace recovery plan, design a cost-effective fault-tolerante IT infrastructure, deploy a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based backup and recovery system, thoroughly validate your DPM system, educate your administrative staff or local service providers how to maintain Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete IT outsourcing including remote housing of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's data center facility. For more information, visit Microsoft SCDPM Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup and disaster recovery platform for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup deployment can incorporate a custom-designed physical storage device built by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with comparable features but which utilizes your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup safeguards vital company 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 physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a certified Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a wide range of consulting support services to help your business to design, configure, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system built on Barracuda technology. For more information, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consultants.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup provides small organizations a reliable and budget-friendly solution for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in local, offsite, multi-site, and cloud environments and also supports low-cost cloud backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup intervals as little as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective, advanced encryption, item-level recovery capability for specific files and emails, extensive support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes and vCenter for managing large-scale deployments, and support for Microsoft VSS technology to back up online VMs without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide array of services to assist you to design, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore system based on Altaro VM Backup software. For more information, visit Altaro VM Backup Consulting.
Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup
Double-Take Software offers a family of tools designed to provide small companies a range of affordable solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have in-depth experience integrating Double-Take products into small business IT networks to achieve a high level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery readiness at an affordable cost. To find out more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Backup.
CRISC-Premier IT Risk Mitigation
The CRISC certification program was established by ISACA to validate an IT professional's ability to plan, deploy, and support information system controls to mitigate network risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to create and execute a workplace continuity plan based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and crafted to align with your company's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, see CRISC-Premier IT risk mitigation experts.
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers high-level application expertise for a broad variety of business software programs, Progent can assist clients to find comprehensive IT solutions that optimize the business value of your information system. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with experience in designing, installing and maintaining infrastructure solutions built on Cisco products. The breadth of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent the ideal partner for creating and running a cost-effective, dependable network.
How to Get in Touch with Progent's Experts for Fault Tolerant Computing Services
If you wish to ask Progent about consulting support for non-stop architecture, phone 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.