John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

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Blogcast: Virtual Server 2005 R2 Host Clustering Walkthrough

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With Virtual Server 2005 R2 just a few days away from public availability, many of you will want to know more about Host Clustering - a new capability supported with this release - what better way to find out than with a live on-demand demonstration, so read on....

Some of you may have been fortunate enough to see the demonstration of Host Clustering during the keynote presentation by Bob Muglia and Josh Cohen at IT Forum. For those that weren't that fortunate, I spent a significant chunk of the weekend building a poor-mans reproduction so you can see it in action any time you like through a simple blogcast.

This is what you might call a "Poor-mans version" of the IT Forum demo - here's a couple of photos of what my home office looks like right now :) Please don't take this as a physical version of what you should replicate in your production server room - I don't recommend using laptops for production servers! I also don't have WS-Management capability in my Virtual Server hosts (a desktop and a laptop) as was demonstrated at IT Forum where Bob & Josh show fans being pulled out to demonstrate the complete integrate capabilities with MOM....


Host Clustering allows two types of failover for guests running on Virtual Server hosts: Planned and Unplanned downtime.

Planned downtime is where you want to take one node of a cluster offline for some reason - patching, disk failure etc, but want your users to continue working throughout this. Hence, you move the guests from one node to another.

Unplanned downtime is where there is a catastrophic error of some kind, and similarly, you want to ensure that the guest operating system remains available.

Note that for both planned and unplanned downtime, the solution is guest operating system agnostic - in other words, I could have easily been running Linux as a guest, and the same results would be seen.

The blogcast walks you through the environment I created and demonstrates both planned and unplanned downtime. Click here to view. In the next part, I'll walk through how the environment was configured from the ground up.

Links:
View blogcast of Host Clustering
Virtual Server 2005 R2 and iSCSI whitepaper
Virtual Server 2005 R2 Host Clustering configuration whitepaper
How to upgrade to Virtual Server 2005 R2
Virtual Server 2005 R2 Release Notes


NB When running the webcam simultaneously with a MOM virtual machine, an NT4 virtual machine and Windows Media Encoder from a single  laptop, things unsurprisingly slow down. Hence a little of the recording is garbled near the start so for reference:

From left to right in the physical environment:

    • Node1, a desktop machine running WS2003 EE and VS2005 R2
    • Two network switches for public and private cluster networks
    • XP Professional laptop running Virtual Server 2005 R2 with a single guest:
        - Guest is ClusterDC
        - Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
        - WinTarget iSCSI target hosting Quorum and Shared disk for cluster
        - Domain Controller & DNS for democluster.com
    • Monitor for Node 1
    • Node2, a laptop running WS2003 EE and VS2005 R2, hosting:
        - Virtual Machine running WS2003 EE and MOM2005 monitoring the cluster nodes
Comments
  • Hey John, that's really neat. Loved it!

  • Great Blogcast John - I love the webcam work

  • That is an excellent way to convey how a system works!
    I must tell my teaching Staff!

  • John, very cool demo. Thanks for taking the time to create and post the video. It's especially interesting to see it work on the poor man's hardware. I may try to scrape together enough bits and pieces to try it this weekend.

  • From a VS blogger:
    So what's in Beta 1? Functionally, the main change is the support for Intels VT processors...

  • There will be a couple of beta releases of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 - today we are announcing...

  • Microsoft have released today 4 new whitepapers for Microsoft Virtual Server. They all are about ~20

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