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 Non-stop Technologies Offered by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-certified consultants can help you to build an affordable, high-availability environment that addresses major problems encompassing a wide array of networking solutions and processes including:
Why Pick Progent for Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning?
Business Continuity Planning
Progent's business continuity planning professionals can help you create a business continuity plan so you can resume IT operations in the event of an information system disaster. Progent can assist you to define a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that incorporates periodic disaster recovery assessments and drills. Progent's Microsoft and Cisco-authorized consultants can also show you how to create an affordable, non-stop network architecture that takes into account reliability issues involving a broad range of infrastructure technologies and processes. To read more, go to Business Continuity Consulting Services.
Managed Cloud Backup: ProSight Data Protection Services
ProSight Data Protection Services from Progent provide small and medium-sized businesses a low cost end-to-end service for secure backup/disaster recovery. Available at a low monthly cost, ProSight Data Protection Services automates and monitors your backup processes and enables fast restoration of critical files, apps and VMs that have become unavailable or damaged due to hardware failures, software glitches, disasters, human mistakes, or malware attacks like ransomware. ProSight Data Protection Services can help you protect, retrieve and restore files, folders, applications, system images/, plus Hyper-V and VMware images/. Important data can be backed up on the cloud, to a local storage device, or to both. Progent's cloud backup consultants can deliver world-class support to configure ProSight DPS to to comply with regulatory requirements such as HIPPA, FIRPA, PCI and Safe Harbor and, when needed, can help you to recover your critical data. Find out more about ProSight DPS Managed Backup.
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 latest Failover Clustering tools such as Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade for non-intrusive migration to Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica for crash-consistent Recovery Point Objective (RPO), Storage Spaces Direct for high-performance storage clusters using low-cost equipment, VM Load Balancing for improving the performance and fault-tolerance of Failover Clusters while reducing capital investment and management overhead, and Cloud Witness for fast, economical creation of a failover cluster quorum witness. To learn more, go to Windows Server 2016 Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Consulting.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Disaster Recovery Solutions
VMware's Site Recovery Manager is an extension to VMware vCenter that lets you specify, automate and verify a consistent process for recovering applications and services rapidly following a breakdown. SRM provides centrally managed and automated recovery, application mobility, plus transparent site migration, failback and site re-protect. SRM also enables non-disruptive testing for disaster recovery, upgrades and patches and can produce audit reports to confirm complete service restoration, validate Service Level Agreements and prove compliance. Progent offers the support of a VCDX certified VMware Site Recovery Manager consultant to help your organization to design, deploy, test and manage a DR system powered by VMware Site Recovery Manager.
NetApp MetroCluster Disaster Recovery Technology
NetApp MetroCluster is a high-availability and disaster recovery platform that combines array-based storage clustering with synchronous replication to deliver fast, zero RPO disaster recovery between datacenters that are up to 185 miles away from one another. Progent can provide the skills of a NetApp MetroCluster consultant who can assist your business to plan, deploy, administer, upgrade, test and troubleshoot a disaster recovery solution built around NetApp MetroCluster. Progent can help you to select an architecture for your MetroCluster deployment that meets your functional needs and IT budget. Progent can make sure you follow best practices for configuring your MetroCluster environment by providing guidance with tasks such as assigning shelf IDs, determining aggregate layout, setting up NetApp FlexVol volumes, setting up Data ONTAP configuration replication service, provisioning switches, designing a tiebreaker, designing a TCP/IP configuration replication network, and testing your MetroCluster disaster recovery solution to prove adherence with industry standards and government requirements.
Fault Tolerant Load Balancing
Progent offers fault tolerant load balancing support that addresses network load balancing, load balanced programs, LAN/WAN backbone routing, and content dispatching technology such as F5 Networks 3DNS. Fault tolerant load balancing technologies for which Progent offers consulting services include Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Network Load Balancing Manager, Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway, Cisco CSS, Cisco Distributed Director and Cisco CDN Software, and F5 Networks BIG-IP. To learn more, go to Fault Tolerant Load Balancing.
High-Availability Data Centers
Progent's Data Center consultants can show you how to select high availability data centers that match the particular requirements of your business. Fault tolerant colocation sites are particularly appealing to small and mid-size companies because of their affordability and convenience in comparison to pursuing a do-it-yourself strategy. Trying to create an on-site data center with even a basic level of fault tolerance is financially prohibitive for typical small businesses. Progent can show you how to get all the advantages of high-availability colo centers by offering a full range of consulting and support services. To find out more, go to Fault Tolerant Data Centers Solutions.
Failsafe Inter-office Networking
Progentís interoffice connectivity consultants can help companies create non-stop multi-site connectivity solutions through fully redundant system architectures with transparent failover. Progentís Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can plan and implement fault-tolerant Inter-office connections supported by non-stop EIGRP network routers or non-stop OSPF deployment of Cisco routers. Progent can demonstrate how multi-path connectivity and transparent fail-over can provide affordable 24x7 interoffice networking. For more information, go to Non-stop Interoffice Connectivity.
24x7 Internet Access
Progent's Cisco-certified network consultants can show you how to create an economical, high availability Internet connection architecture that can deliver non-stop Internet connectivity through a broad array of fault tolerant Internet network technologies including high availability BGP, transparent fail-over, and redundant ISPs. Progent can provide CCIE engineers to show you how to apply the latest techniques for fault tolerant Internet connections to build a cost-effective, fully redundant Internet network with automatic failover and other features to create fault tolerant Internet access. For more information, go to Non-stop Internet Access Solutions.
Backup and Recovery Solutions Consulting
Progent offers affordable remote access to IT engineers skilled in a wide range of utilities and services that provide solutions for protecting Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux physical and virtual servers and workstations plus laptops and smartphones. Progent can provide help for leading data protection products including Acronis, Backup Exec, BackupAssist, CrashPlan, Double-Take Backup, MozyPro, Retrospect for Macintosh, Apple Time Machine, VMware Data Recovery (VDR), and Solaris FLARs. Progent can help your company to deploy, upgrade, or maintain backup/restore solutions for a range of topologies such as local, remote, cloud-based, or hybrid. To learn more, visit Backup and Recovery Technology Consulting Services.
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Data Recovery Consulting Experts
Progent's expert System Center Data Protection Manager engineers can assist your company to develop an effective business continuity plan, design a cost-effective high-availability IT infrastructure, deploy a Microsoft SCDPM-powered backup and recovery system, comprehensively validate your DPM system, train your IT staff or local service providers how to maintain System Center Data Protection Manager, or provide complete information technology outsourcing services including off-site housing of Microsoft SCDPM machines in Progent's world-class data center facility. For details, see Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Consulting.
Barracuda Backup Cloud and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery
Barracuda Backup is a low-cost, subscription-based backup/restore service 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 comparable features but which uses your own storage hardware. Barracuda Backup protects critical business data produced locally, at one or multiple remote sites, or in the cloud. For disaster preparedness, you can replicate data to the Barracuda Cloud, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), or to any site with a physical or virtual Barracuda Backup appliance. Progent is a Barracuda partner and Progent's Barracuda Backup consulting experts offer a wide array of consulting services to assist you to plan, integrate, operate and troubleshoot a BDR solution based on Barracuda Backup. For details, see Barracuda Backup and disaster recovery consulting.
Altaro VM Backup Solutions for Backup and Disaster Recovery
Altaro VM Backup software provides small businesses a dependable and affordable platform for backing up and restoring Hyper-V and VMware-based VMs. Altaro VM Backup can be deployed in on-premises, offsite, multi-site, and cloud architectures and also supports cost-effective cloud backup to Azure Block Blob storage. Headline features include state-of-the-art inline deduplication to reduce backup storage requirements, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) with backup spacing as low as five minutes for minimizing your exposure to data loss, military-grade encryption, granular recovery options for individual files and emails, extensive support for Windows Server Cluster Shared Volumes and VMware vCenter for managing larger environments, and support for Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to back up online VMs without downtime. Progent is an Altaro partner and offers a broad range of consulting services to help you to plan, deploy, manage and troubleshoot a backup/restore system powered by Altaro VM Backup software. For details, go to Altaro VM Backup Consulting Services.
Consulting for Double-Take Software for Backup/Restore
Double-Take offers a family of tools intended to provide small and midsize businesses a range of affordable solutions for backing up and restoring vital applications such as Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, RIM Blackberry, and SharePoint. Progentís disaster recovery planning consultants have extensive experience integrating Double-Take products into small company information networks to create a high state of fault tolerance and business continuity readiness at a budget-friendly price. For more information, go to Consulting Services Double-Take Solutions for Data Backup.
CRISC-qualified IT Risk Mitigation
The CRISC program was initiated by ISACA in 2010 to verify a consultant's ability to design, implement, and maintain information system controls to mitigate network risk. Progent offers the services of a CRISC-certified consultant 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 tolerance, business objectives, and IT budget. For more information, visit CRISC-certified network risk mitigation experts.
Since Progent is a Microsoft Partner and provides professional application support for a wide range of small business software programs, Progent is able to assist customers to find comprehensive IT solutions that optimize the productivity of your network. As a Registered Partner for Cisco, Progent can provide the services of qualified consultants and specialists with expertise in architecting, installing and troubleshooting networking environments built on Cisco technology. The depth of Progent's IT experience and Progent's familiarity with the needs of small and midsize businesses make Progent a great resource for building and running an affordable, high-availability information system.
How You Can Get in Touch with Progent's Consultants for High Availability System Support
In order to get in touch with Progent about engineering help for non-stop networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.