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 Solutions Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco support professionals can assist your business to design a sensible, zero-downtime network that resolves major issues encompassing a wide array of infrastructure solutions and operations such as:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's disaster recovery planning engineers can show you how to create a business continuity strategy in order to resume network functionality in the event of an IT system catastrophe. Progent can help you to define a complete disaster recovery strategy that incorporates periodic disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can also show you how to create an affordable, non-stop network architecture that takes into account availability issues covering a broad range of infrastructure technologies and processes. To learn more, visit Disaster Recovery Expertise.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services provide small and mid-sized organizations a low cost end-to-end solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). Available at a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup processes and allows fast recovery of vital files, applications and VMs that have become lost or damaged due to component failures, software bugs, disasters, human mistakes, or malicious attacks such as ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Important data can be protected on the cloud, to a local device, or mirrored to both. Progent's backup and recovery specialists can deliver advanced support to set up ProSight DPS to be compliant with government and industry regulatory requirements like HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, whenever necessary, can help you to restore your critical information. Read more about ProSight DPS Managed Cloud Backup.
Microsoft Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can assist you to design a DR system based on Microsoft's most advanced 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 high-performance network-attached storage using industry-standard hardware, Virtual Machine Load Balancing for improving the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while minimizing capital investment and operational expenses, and Cloud Witness for fast, affordable creation of a stretch cluster quorum witness. For details, see Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Consulting.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you define, automate and test a consistent process for recovering services rapidly following a breakdown. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and non-disruptive site relocation, failback and site re-protect. SRM also enables transparent testing for disaster recovery, updates and fixes and can produce reports to verify complete service restoration, validate SLAs and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent offers the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consultant to help you to design, configure, test and maintain a DR solution based on VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery software suite that combines array-based storage clustering along with continual replication to provide rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between datacenters that are as far as 185 miles (300km) apart. Progent offers the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help you to design, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution based on NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can assist you to select a topology for your MetroCluster deployment that aligns with your technical needs and budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to best practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with tasks like assigning disk pools and shelf IDs, determining aggregate layout, provisioning volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning switches, implementing a tiebreaker, designing a configuration replication network between your storage clusters, and verifying your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to prove adherence with industry standards and regulatory mandates.
Network Load Balancing
Progent offers high availability load balancing consulting that addresses system load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content delivery technology including Cisco Content Engine. Fault tolerant load balancing solutions for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and LocalDirector 400 series, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For details, go to Non-stop Load Balancing.
Non-stop Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can help you identify fault-tolerant data centers that match the particular needs of your business. Fault tolerant Internet Data Centers are particularly attractive to small and mid-size companies because of their affordability and simplified logistics compared to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to build an on-site data center with even a basic degree of fault tolerance is too expensive for most small businesses. Progent can show you how to get all the benefits of high-availability colocation centers by providing a complete range of consulting and support services. For more information, visit Fault Tolerant Internet Data Centers Expertise.
24x7 Interoffice Connectivity
Progentís multi-site network infrastructure consultants can help businesses achieve non-stop multi-site connections by means of redundant system architectures featuring transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can plan and deploy fault-tolerant Inter-office connections based on fault tolerant EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connections and transparent fail-over can provide affordable 24x7 interoffice networking. To find out more, see Non-stop Interoffice Connectivity.
High Availability Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified network engineers can help you design an affordable, fault tolerant Internet connection solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity via a broad range of fault tolerant Internet access technologies including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent offers CCIE consultants to help you apply the most up-to-date technology for 24x7 Internet access to create an economical, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver non-stop Internet availability. To read more, see High Availability Internet Connectivity Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting Services
Progent offers economical remote access to consultants with expertise in a wide range of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX physical and virtual servers and desktops as well as laptops and smartphones. Progent offers help for all major backup products including Acronis Backup and Recovery, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect, Apple Time Machine, VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP), and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can assist your company to install, enhance, or troubleshoot data backup systems for a variety of architectures such as on-premises, remote, cloud, or hybrid. For details, go to Backup and Recovery Solutions Expertise.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Restore Consulting and Support Services
Progent's certified Microsoft SCDPM engineers can assist you to create an effective disaster recovery plan, design an affordable high-availability IT infrastructure, install a System Center Data Protection Manager-powered recovery solution, comprehensively validate your system, train your IT staff or local consultants how to manage Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive information technology outsourcing services including off-site hosting of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's secure data center facility. To learn more, go to System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud 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 deployment can incorporate a purpose-built hardware appliance manufactured by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with similar features but which utilizes your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects vital company data generated locally, at one or more remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster recovery, 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 Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants offer a broad array of consulting services to assist you to design, configure, operate and repair a BDR solution built on Barracuda technology. For additional information, go to Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small businesses a reliable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and recovering Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, distributed, and cloud-hosted environments and also enables cost-effective backup to Azure storage. Top capabilities include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection with backup spacing as low as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective, military-grade encryption, item-level recovery options for individual files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for VMware vCenter for handling large-scale deployments, and the ability to leverage Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up live VMs without downtime. Progent is a certified Altaro partner and can provide a wide array of consulting services to help you to plan, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution based on Altaro VM Backup. For details, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting.
Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup/Restore
Double-Take Software publishes a family of tools designed to deliver small companies a variety of affordable solutions for replicating and restoring business-critical applications such as Exchange, SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís business continuity planning experts have extensive experience integrating Double-Take Software products into small company IT networks to create a high state of availability and business continuity capability at an affordable cost. For details, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.
CRISC-Premier Network Risk Control
The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) program was initiated by ISACA to validate an IT professional's ability to design, implement, and support IS controls to mitigate risk. Progent can provide the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help your company to develop and execute a workplace continuity or disaster recovery strategy that follows leading practices identified by CRISC and geared to match your organization's risk appetite, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, visit CRISC-Certified IT risk control experts.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers high-level application support for a broad range of business applications, Progent is able to assist clients to find comprehensive information technology solutions that substantially enhance the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner with Cisco, Progent can provide the expertise of certified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, implementing and troubleshooting infrastructure environments based on Cisco products. The broad scope of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's appreciation for the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent the ideal resource for building and maintaining a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.
How to Get Help from Progent's Engineers for Fault Tolerant System Services
To contact Progent about technical expertise for high availability architecture, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.