Deploying Failover Clusters

The Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering feature is not installed on a system by default and must be installed before failover clusters can be deployed. Remote management on administrative workstations can be accomplished by using the Remote Server Administration Tools feature, which includes the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in, but the feature needs to be installed on all nodes that will participate in the failover cluster. Even before installing the Failover Clustering features, several steps should be taken on each node of the cluster to help deploy a reliable failover cluster. Before deploying a failover cluster, perform the following steps on each node that will be a member of the failover cluster:

» Configure fault-tolerant volumes or LUNs using local disks or SAN-attached storage for the operating system volume.

» Configure at least two network cards, one for client and cluster communication and one for dedicated cluster communication.

» For iSCSI shared storage, configure an additional, dedicated network adapter or hardware-based iSCSI HBA.

» For Hyper-V clusters, configure an additional, dedicated network adapter on each node for virtual guest communication.

» Rename each network card property for easy identification within the Failover Cluster Manager console after the failover cluster is created. For example, rename Local Area Connection to PRODUCTION, Local Area Connection 2 to iSCSI NIC, and Local Area Connection 3 to HEARTBEAT, as required and possible. Also, if network teaming will be used with third-party software, configure the team first and rename each physical network adapter in the team to TEAMMEMBER1 and 2. The virtual team adapter should then get the name of PRODUCTION. Remember, teaming is not supported or recommended for iSCSI and heartbeat connections.

» Configure all necessary IPv4 and IPv6 addresses as static configurations.

» Verify that any and all HBAs and other storage controllers are running the proper firmware and matched driver version suitable for Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters.

» If shared storage will be used, plan to utilize at least two separate LUNs, one to serve as the witness disk and one to serve as the cluster disk for a high-availability Services and Applications group.

» If applications or services not included with Windows Server 2008 R2 will be deployed in the failover cluster, as a best practice, add an additional fault-tolerant array or LUN to the system to store the application installation and service files.

» Ensure that proper LUN masking and zoning has been configured at the FC or Ethernet switch level for FC or iSCSI shared storage communication, suitable for failover clustering. Each node in the failover cluster, along with the HBAs of the shared storage device, should have exclusive access to the LUNs presented to the failover cluster.

» If multiple HBAs will be used in each failover node or in the shared storage device, ensure that a suitable Multipath I/O driver has been installed. The Windows Server 2008 R2 Multipath I/O feature can be used to provide this function if approved by the HBA, switch, and storage device vendors and Microsoft.

» Shut down all nodes except one and on that node, configure the shared storage LUNs as Windows basic disks, format as a single partition/volume for the entire span of the disk, and define an appropriate drive letter and volume label. Shut down the node used to set up the disks and bring each other node up one at a time and verify that each LUN is available, and, if necessary, configure the appropriate drive letter if it does not match what was configured on the first node.

» As required, test Multipath I/O for load balancing and/or failover using the appropriate diagnostic or monitoring tool to ensure proper operation on each node one at a time.

» Designate a domain user account to be used for Failover Cluster Manager, and add this account to the local Administrators group on each cluster node. In the domain, grant this account the Create Computer Accounts right at the domain level to ensure that when the administrative and high-availability Services and Applications groups are created, the account can create the necessary domain computer accounts.

» Create a spreadsheet with the network names, IP addresses, and cluster disks that will be used for the administrative cluster and the high-availability Services and Applications group or groups that will be deployed in the failover cluster. Each Services and Applications group requires a separate network name and IPv4 address, but if IPv6 is used, the address can be added separately in addition to the IPv4 address or a custom or generic Services and Applications group needs to be created.

After the tasks in the preceding list are completed, the Failover Clustering feature can be installed. Failover clusters are deployed using a series of steps, including the following tasks:

1. Preconfigure the nodes, as listed previously and create a domain user account to be used as the cluster service account.

2. Install any necessary Windows Server 2008 R2 roles, role services, or features that will be deployed on the failover cluster. If any wizards are included with the role installation, like creating a DFS namespace or a DHCP scope, skip those wizards. Repeat this installation on all nodes that will be in the cluster.

3. Install the Failover Clustering feature on each node logged on with the cluster service account.

4. Run the Validate a Configuration Wizard and review the results to ensure that all tests pass successfully. If any tests fail, the configuration will not be supported by Microsoft and can be prone to several different types of issues and instability.

5. Run the Create a Cluster Wizard to actually deploy the administrative cluster.

6. Customize the failover cluster properties.

7. Install any Microsoft or third-party applications that will be added as applicationspecific cluster resources, so the application can be deployed using the High Availability Wizard.

8. Run the High Availability Wizard to create a high-availability Services and Applications group within the failover cluster, such as a file server, print server,
DHCP server, virtual machine, or another of the included or separate services or applications that will run on a Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster.

9. Test the failover cluster configuration, and back it up.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed (2010)

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