Hi Folks –
In my list of top 10 new features in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, I included two areas of functionality that make it faster and easier to deliver continuous availability:
Both technologies play essential roles in Microsoft's high-level architecture for a cost-effective, resilient compute and storage infrastructure. Under that architecture:
This architecture delivers great scalability and availability, and the latest improvements to Failover Clustering and Hyper-V make things simpler and provide better ways to keep your business up and running. Of course, both technologies also apply to Windows Server 2012 R2 as well.
Now let’s take a closer look at what is new or improved in Failover Clustering and Hyper-V…
Failover clustering technology can run on physical or virtual servers to provide high availability and scalability for many server applications and workloads. In a failover cluster, if one or more of the clustered servers (nodes) fails, the workload on that node will transparently fail over to one of the other nodes in the cluster, which take over that workload and automatically attach to the shared storage resource. The use of Failover Clustering with Hyper-V, SMB 3, and Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) creates a really powerful combination. You can now have multiple SMB Server instances per node, which improves resiliency, performance, and scalability by providing independent processes and queues for regular file server traffic and inter-node traffic, like cluster heartbeats and live migrations.
Figure 2. Multiple SMB Server instances per cluster node improves resiliency, performance, and scalability.
Transparent Failover is one of the key features in this scenario. We introduced it in Windows Server 2012, at the same time we introduced support for storing live production server application data (including VM files and SQL databases) on Windows file shares. These server applications often require uninterrupted access to storage, and transparent failover enables them from encountering issues such as IO errors or unexpected handle closures. Transparent failover also enables administrators to perform hardware or software maintenance on any cluster node without interrupting the server applications that are storing their data files on these file shares.
New features for Failover Clustering in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 include the following:
Improved features for Failover Clustering in Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 include the following:
All of these features were developed based on direct customer feedback and when you combine them all together you can see how they simplify IT administration and give people confidence in their Windows clusters.
More information on what’s new for Failover Clustering in Windows Server 2012 R2 (and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2) can be found here.
As I’ve often stated, Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 is a great way to provide storage for Hyper-V VMs. We began supporting this high-level architecture with Windows Storage Server 2012, delivering impressive performance through new features like SMB 3.0. We also delivered continuous availability through features such as transparent cluster failover and how Storage Spaces handles disk failures. Now that you can depend on Windows Storage Server to provide reliable storage for your application data, it will become a highly recommended deployment model for Hyper-V and SQL Server databases.
New features in Hyper-V make it easy to take advantage of SMB shares hosted on Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, enabling you to consolidate storage for multiple Hyper-V workloads on a single storage infrastructure.
Here’s a list of the latest Hyper-V enhancements:
Improved features related to Hyper-V include:
More information on what’s new for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 (and Windows Storage Server 2012 R2) can be found here.
The new features in Hyper-V and Failover Clustering will make a lot of people very happy. We designed them to simplify management for IT pros, enabling them to more easily (and more confidently) deploy highly available storage.
In my next blog article, I’ll take a closer look at new Storage Spaces and Data Duplication functionality—enhancements that make it easier than ever to cost-effectively scale your storage capacity.
Cheers, Scott M. Johnson Senior Program Manager Windows Storage Server @SuperSquatchy