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 High Availability Solutions Offered by Progent's Experts
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can assist you to implement a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information network that addresses critical issues encompassing a wide array of infrastructure technologies and operations such as:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning Solutions?
Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's disaster recovery consultants can show you how to design a disaster recovery plan that will allow you to resume IT operations in the event of an IT system disaster. Progent can assist you to create a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy that incorporates scheduled disaster recovery assessments and testing. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified professionals can also help you create an affordable, fault-tolerant network solution that takes into account reliability issues involving a broad range of infrastructure technologies and procedures. For details, visit Workplace Recovery Consulting and Support Services.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and medium-sized businesses a low cost and fully managed solution for secure backup/disaster recovery (BDR). For a low monthly price, ProSight Data Protection Services automates your backup processes and allows rapid restoration of vital data, apps and virtual machines that have become lost or damaged due to component failures, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight DPS can help you back up, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images, plus Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual machine images. Critical data can be backed up on the cloud, to an on-promises storage device, or mirrored to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can deliver world-class expertise to set up ProSight DPS to to comply with government and industry regulatory standards such as HIPPA, FIRPA, and PCI and, when needed, can help you to recover your critical data. Learn more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery experts can assist you to plan and deploy a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's cloud-tested Failover Clustering technologies such as Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent recovery, Storage Spaces Direct for enterprise-class storage clusters using low-cost hardware, VM Load Balancing for enhancing the performance and resilience of Failover Clusters while reducing TCO and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for easy, economical deployment of a failover cluster quorum arbitration point. For details, go to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery Support.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is a component of VMware vCenter that lets you orchestrate, automate and test a consistent workflow for restoring applications and services quickly following an outage. SRM supports centrally controlled and automated recovery, application mobility, plus non-disruptive site relocation, failback and re-protect. SRM also allows non-intrusive testing for site recovery, upgrades and fixes and can generate reports to verify full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate DR compliance. Progent can provide the skills of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consulting expert to help your organization to design, deploy, test and manage a DR solution powered by VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Platform
NetApp MetroCluster is a disaster recovery platform that combines failover storage clustering along with synchronous replication to deliver rapid, zero RPO disaster recovery (DR) between sites that are as far as 185 miles (300km) apart. Progent can provide access to a certified NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can help your business to design, configure, administer, update, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to choose an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can ensure you adhere to leading practices for installing your MetroCluster environment by delivering help with tasks such as assigning disk pools, determining aggregate and plexes layout, provisioning FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing switches, designing a tiebreaker, setting up a TCP/IP configuration replication network between your peered clusters, and verifying your disaster recovery solution to verify adherence with information assurance standards and regulatory requirements.
High Availability Load Balancing
Progent provides fault tolerant load balancing support covering network load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content delivery products such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Non-stop load balancing solutions for which Progent can provide consulting expertise include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Engine and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. For details, see Non-stop Load Balancing.
Zero Downtime Data Centers
Progent's Data Center engineers can help you select zero-downtime data centers that match the specific needs of your company. High availability collocation sites are especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses because of their low cost and convenience in comparison to taking a do-it-yourself strategy. Attempting to design an on-site data center that offers even a basic level 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 data centers by offering a full range of consulting and maintenance services. To learn more, see High-Availability Data Centers Solutions.
Failsafe Interoffice Networking
Progentís branch office connection engineers can help organizations achieve zero-downtime interoffice connections through redundant networks with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-premier CCIE network engineers can design and implement ultra-reliable Inter-office connections supported by fault tolerant EIGRP routers or zero-downtime OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connectivity and transparent fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice connectivity. To learn more, go to Fault Tolerant Interoffice Networking.
Fault Tolerant Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network professionals can show you how to create an economical, high availability Internet configuration solution that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity through a broad array of high availability Internet access solutions including fault tolerant BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant Internet Service Providers. Progent offers CCIE engineers to help you apply the most advanced techniques for 24x7 Internet connections to create a cost-effective, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other features to deliver zero-downtime Internet availability. For more information, go to Non-stop Internet Access Architecture.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting
Progent offers economical online access to engineers skilled in a broad array of utilities and technologies that deliver solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux/UNIX servers and desktops as well as laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide consulting support for all major data protection products including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist Software, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Software, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Oracle Solaris FLARs. Progent can help you to implement, enhance, or maintain backup/restore systems for a range of architectures including on-premises, edge to datacenter, cloud-based, or a mix. To learn more, go to Backup and Recovery Technology Expertise.
System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) Backup and Recovery Consulting Services
Progent's expert Microsoft SCDPM engineers can assist your company to create an effective disaster recovery strategy, design an affordable fault-tolerante IT architecture, install a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-powered backup and restore system, thoroughly test your DPM system, train your IT staff or regular service providers how to manage System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete IT outsourcing such as remote housing of SCDPM servers in Progent's data center facility. To learn more, go to Microsoft SCDPM Consulting Services.
Barracuda Backup On-premises and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription backup and disaster recovery service for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup deployment can include a purpose-built physical storage device manufactured by Barracuda or a software-based appliance with similar functionality but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects vital business data generated locally, at one or multiple remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster protection, 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 Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts can provide a broad array of consulting services to assist your business to plan, integrate, manage and repair a BDR system built on Barracuda Backup. For more information, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Software for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software offers small organizations a dependable and budget-friendly platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-powered virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, offsite, distributed, and cloud-hosted architectures and also enables low-cost backup to Microsoft Azure storage. Top features include industry-leading inline deduplication to reduce backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as short as five minutes for reducing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), military-grade encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes and VMware vCenter for handling large-scale deployments, and the ability to leverage Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to back up online VMs with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a broad array of services to help you to design, install, optimize and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system based on Altaro VM Backup software. For more information, see Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup and Recovery
Double-Take offers a family of tools intended to deliver small businesses a variety of cost-effective solutions for replicating and recovering business-critical workloads including Exchange Server, SQL Server, Blackberry, and Microsoft Office SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning experts have extensive experience incorporating Double-Take Software products into small business information networks to create a high level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly cost. To find out more, visit Consulting Services Double-Take Software for Data Backup.
CRISC-Certified IT Risk Control
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA to verify a consultant's skills to design, deploy, and support IS control mechanisms to reduce network risk. Progent can provide the expertise of a CRISC-certified consultant to assist you to create and execute a workplace continuity plan based on industry best practices promoted by CRISC and geared to match your company's risk appetite, business objectives, and budgetary guidelines. To find out more, go to CRISC-Certified network risk mitigation specialists.
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and offers professional application support for a broad variety of business software programs, Progent is able to assist clients to find efficient information technology solutions that optimize the productivity of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the expertise of certified engineers and specialists with expertise in designing, deploying and supporting 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 perfect resource for building and running a cost-effective, fault-tolerant information system.
How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Engineers for Fault Tolerant System Support
In order to contact Progent about technical expertise for fault tolerant IT design, call 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.