Clusters with Windows Server 2012 R2

Strong Together

Preparing the Cluster Nodes

In addition to the shared storage to which all cluster nodes have access, the cluster also needs a name. This name does not belong to a computer account but is used for administration of the cluster. Each node of the cluster is given a computer account in the same domain; therefore, each physical node needs an appropriate computer name.

You need multiple IP addresses for the cluster: one IP address for each physical node, one IP address for the cluster as a whole, and one IP address in a separate subnet for private communication between cluster nodes. Communication with the network and internal cluster communication should only take place on a single network in test environments. In this case, you do not need to modify anything. For test purposes, a cluster can consist of just a single node.

Clusters with Windows Server 2012 R2

To run Hyper-V or other services in a cluster, you first need to install a conventional cluster with Windows Server 2012 R2. You can install clustering in Windows Server 2012 R2 as a feature through Server Manager or PowerShell. During the installation, do not change any settings. Make sure the shared storage is connected to all nodes and uses the same drive letter. You can also use PowerShell to install the features required for a Hyper-V cluster (Figure 3):

Install-WindowsFeature Hyper-V
Install-WindowsFeature Failover-Clustering

After installing the required features, start Failover Cluster Manager on the first node by going to the home screen and typing failover . Press Validate Configuration . In the window, select the potential cluster nodes and decide which tests you want the tool to perform (Figure 4). Cluster management is only available if you install the management tools on a server. You do this using Server Manager or PowerShell.

Figure 3: You can optionally install the cluster service on Windows Server 2012 R2 with PowerShell.
Figure 4: Testing the server for cluster installation before creating a cluster.

After the wizard has successfully tested all the important points, you can create the cluster in PowerShell (Figure 5),

New-Cluster -Name <Cluster-Name>-StaticAddress <Cluster-Address-Node>-Node <Node1>,<Node2>

or in the wizard.

Figure 5: You can create a cluster in Cluster Manager or, as here, via PowerShell.

Enabling Cluster Shared Volumes

Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) are important for live migration in Hyper-V. They allow multiple servers to access shared storage simultaneously. To run Hyper-V with live migration in a cluster, enable Cluster Shared Volumes after creating the cluster. Windows then stores some data in the Cluster Storage folder on the operating system partition. However, the data does not reside on disk C: of the node, but on the shared disk; the call to the C:\Cluster Storage folder is rerouted.

To enable CSV on a cluster, start the Failover Cluster Manager program (Figure 6) and right-click the disk that you want to use for Hyper-V in the Storage | Disks section. Then, select Add to Cluster Shared Volumes .

Figure 6: You can manage the cluster's volumes in the graphical Failover Cluster Manager.

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