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 Zero-Downtime Solutions Supported by Progent
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco support professionals can assist your business to create an efficient, high-availability system that resolves critical problems encompassing a wide array of infrastructure solutions and operations including:
Why Choose Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Workplace Recovery Planning
Progent's business continuity engineers can help you create a business continuity strategy that will allow you to resume network functionality in the event of an information system catastrophe. Progent can help you to create a complete disaster recovery strategy that includes scheduled disaster recovery evaluations and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized professionals can also help you build an affordable, high-availability network solution that takes into account reliability issues covering a wide array of infrastructure technologies and procedures. To read more, go to Disaster Recovery Consulting Services.
Fully Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent offer small and mid-sized organizations an affordable end-to-end service for reliable backup/disaster recovery. For a low monthly rate, ProSight DPS automates and monitors your backup activities and enables fast restoration of critical data, applications and VMs that have become unavailable or corrupted as a result of hardware breakdowns, software glitches, natural disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks such as ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, recover and restore files, folders, apps, system images/, as well as 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 BDR consultants can deliver advanced expertise to set up ProSight Data Protection Services to be compliant with government and industry regulatory standards like HIPPA, FINRA, and PCI and, whenever needed, can help you to recover your critical information. Learn more about ProSight Data Protection Services Managed Backup and Recovery.
Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery
Progent's Windows Server 2016 disaster recovery consultants can assist your organization to design a disaster recovery solution based on Microsoft's most advanced Failover Clustering tools 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 storage clusters using industry-standard equipment, VM Load Balancing for enhancing 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 witness. To read more, visit 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 define, automate and verify a consistent workflow for recovering applications and services rapidly after a breakdown. Site Recovery Manager supports centrally managed and automated disaster recovery, application mobility, and transparent site relocation, failback and re-protect. Site Recovery Manager also allows non-intrusive testing for site recovery, updates and patches and can produce reports to confirm full service recovery, validate Service Level Agreements and demonstrate disaster recovery compliance. Progent can provide the support of a VCDX certified VMware SRM consulting expert to assist you to design, configure, test and manage a DR system based on VMware SRM.
NetApp MetroCluster High Availability and Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that uses array-based storage clustering with replication to provide rapid, zero data loss disaster recovery (DR) between datacenters located up to 185 miles (300km) away from one another. Progent can provide online or on-premises access to a NetApp MetroCluster expert who can assist your business to plan, deploy, administer, update, test and repair a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select a topology for your MetroCluster environment that meets your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow best practices for installing your MetroCluster solution by providing guidance with tasks such as assigning disk pools, determining plexes layout, provisioning NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, installing Cisco and Brocade switches, implementing a tiebreaker mechanism, designing a configuration replication network, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to show compliance with industry standards and government requirements.
Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent provides fault tolerant load balancing support that addresses system load balancing, load balanced applications, LAN/WAN infrastructure routing, and content delivery technology such as Cisco Content Engine. High availability load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting expertise include Windows 2003 and 2008 Server Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Access Suite and Presentation Server, Cisco Content Services Switch, Cisco Content Distribution Manager and ACNS, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, visit Non-stop Load Balancing.
Progent's Data Center engineers can show you how to select fault-tolerant data centers that meet the particular needs of your business. 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 approach. Trying to create an in-house data center with even a minimum level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for the majority of small companies. Progent can show you how to reap all the advantages of high-availability Internet data centers by offering a complete range of consulting and support services. To learn more, go to High-Availability Colocation Expertise.
High-Availability Branch Office Connectivity
Progentís inter-site connectivity consultants can help organizations achieve non-stop inter-site connectivity solutions via fully redundant system architectures featuring automatic failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE engineers can plan and deploy ultra-reliable Inter-office networks supported by zero-downtime EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF configurations of Cisco routers. Progent can show you how redundant connectivity and transparent fail-over can provide economical 24x7 interoffice networking. For more information, visit 24x7 Inter-office Networking.
24x7 Internet Connections
Progent's Cisco-certified IT engineers can help you create an economical, fault tolerant Internet configuration solution that can achieve non-stop Internet access via a broad array of high availability Internet access solutions including non-stop BGP, automatic fail-over, and multiple ISPs. Progent can provide CCIE professionals to show you how to utilize the most advanced technology for 24x7 Internet connections to create an affordable, completely redundant Internet interface with automatic failover and other capabilities to deliver fault tolerant Internet connections. To read more, see Non-stop Internet Access Solutions.
Backup and Restore Technology Consulting
Progent can provide economical remote support from IT engineers skilled in a broad range of products and technologies that provide solutions for backing up Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux servers and workstations plus laptops and handhelds. Progent can provide help for leading backup platforms such as Acronis Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan PRO, Double-Take Software, Mozy, Retrospect, Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery, and Solaris FLARs. Progent can help your company to implement, upgrade, or maintain data backup systems for a range of architectures including on-premises, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. To learn more, go to Backup and Restore Solutions Consulting and Support Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Backup and Recovery Consulting
Progent's expert Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can help your company to develop a practical business continuity plan, implement an affordable fault-tolerante IT infrastructure, deploy a Microsoft SCDPM-based backup and restore system, thoroughly validate your system, educate your IT personnel or local consultants how to manage System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide extensive information technology outsourcing services including off-site hosting of System Center Data Protection Manager machines in Progent's secure data center facility. To find out more, see System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Local, Offsite and Cloud Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is an affordable, subscription-based backup and disaster recovery service for small and medium-size businesses. A Barracuda Backup solution can incorporate a custom-designed hardware appliance built by Barracuda or a virtual appliance with comparable features but which uses your own storage infrastructure. Barracuda Backup protects vital business data generated locally, at one or multiple remote locations, or in the cloud. For disaster recovery, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon AWS, or to any site with a Barracuda appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consultants can provide a wide array of consulting services to help your business to design, integrate, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery solution built on Barracuda technology. For details, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Software for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup offers small and mid-size businesses a dependable and affordable solution for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines (VMs). Altaro VM Backup can be used for local, remote, distributed, and cloud-hosted environments and also enables low-cost cloud backup to Azure storage. Top features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to cut backup storage needs, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup intervals as low as five minutes for minimizing your Recovery Point Objective (RPO), advanced encryption, item-level restore options for specific files and emails, support for Windows Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and for VMware vCenter for managing large-scale environments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up live virtual machines with zero downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a wide array of services to assist you to design, install, manage and troubleshoot a backup and disaster recovery system based on Altaro VM Backup software. For details, go to Altaro VM Backup Consulting.
Consulting for Double-Take Software for Data Backup
Double-Take Software publishes a family of products designed to deliver small businesses a variety of affordable alternatives for backing up and recovering business-critical applications including Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have in-depth experience incorporating Double-Take products into small company information systems to create an advanced state of availability and disaster recovery readiness at a budget-friendly price. To read more, see Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Backup.
CRISC-qualified Network Risk Mitigation
The CRISC program was established by ISACA to validate an IT professional's ability to design, implement, and maintain information system control mechanisms to mitigate risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified engineer to help you to develop and carry out a workplace continuity or disaster recovery strategy that follows industry best practices promoted by CRISC and geared to match your organization's risk tolerance, business goals, and budgetary guidelines. For details, visit CRISC-certified IT risk mitigation experts.
Because Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and provides high-level application support for a broad variety of business applications, Progent can help customers to find efficient IT solutions that optimize the business value of your IT network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent offers the support of certified consultants and specialists with experience in architecting, implementing and maintaining infrastructure solutions based on Cisco technology. The depth and breadth of Progent's IT know-how and Progent's sensitivity to the needs of small companies make Progent the perfect partner for creating and maintaining an affordable, dependable network.
How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Consultants for High Availability Computing Support
In order to ask Progent about engineering expertise for fault tolerant architecture, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.