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If you use the DHCP Role to provide IP addresses to your clients but don’t have a solid monitoring solution (System Center Operations Manager) you probably find out your DHCP server is down when all your customer start calling the help desk. And considering how business is more than ever about being connected and having access to the services and the data you need to get the job done. Any downtime is not a good thing.
In this Step-By-Step, we’ll take a look at setting up DHCP failover using Windows Server 2012 R2 which can be downloaded here. As always you can use the info in this post to setup your lab. (It was originally written for 2012 but the same steps work for 2012 R2)
In previous Windows versions like Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2003, you have two options to make DHCP highly available:
Those were good, but not great solutions. In Windows Server 2012 DHCP Failover enables administrators to deploy a highly resilient DHCP service to support your business without the challenges of the 2 options discussed above. It provide DHCP service availability at all times on the enterprise network. If a DHCP server is no longer reachable, the DHCP client is able to extend the lease on its current IP address by contacting another DHCP server on the enterprise network.
There are also 2 way of making the DHCP role highly available. You can set it up your failover partners in hot standby mode or in load sharing mode.
In hot standby mode, an active server is responsible for providing IP addresses and configuration information to all clients in a scope or subnet and the secondary server assumes the responsibility if the primary server becomes unavailable. (Your Primary can also be the secondary for another scope and/or subnet which make this arrangement very well suited for environment where a central office or data center server acts as a standby backup server to a server at a remote site (ex: hub and spoke deployment).
In a load sharing mode, which is the default mode and the one we will setup in our lab, the two servers simultaneously serve IP addresses and options to clients on a given subnet. The client requests are load balanced and shared between the two servers.
I started with my lab where I have 4 servers and 3 client machines
(For this Step-By-Step I will assume you already have a DHCP server already providing addresses to your clients.)
We will install the DHCP role on DC1 and make it highly available.
To configure DHCP on DC1.contoso.com. (Our scope is already created on Lab-srv-3)
That’s it you are done. Now if either lab-srv-3 or DC1 fails the clients on my network will continue to receive their IP configuration information from a DHCP server.
For more information on this subject you can refer to the TechNet page.
And as always I encourage you to get the preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 here and try it for yourself.
Pierre Roman, MCITP, ITIL | Technology Evangelist Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
I really do appreciate the time you spend in putting the various step-by-step articles together. It makes me happy to have recently discovered the canitpro blog.
If the current DHCP server is running Windows Server 2008 R2, which is the best way to proceed? Thank you very much, John