Create a Windows Server 2008 Cluster Within Hyper-V

MS PFE Ireland blogged about how to configure a cluster within a Hyper-V environment, i.e. how to set up 2 virtual machines running as a cluster – not how to create a Hyper-V cluster.  They used iSCSI to configure the shared storage to connect the virtual hosts, i.e. for the quorum and the shared service installation.

Setting up a Hyper-V cluster is another story altogether.  Here’s the short version.  The hosts should have a minimum of 3 NIC’s:

  • 1 for the parent partition (on the host network)
  • 1 for the cluster (on a private heartbeat network)
  • 1 for the virtual machines (usually on a network trunk and with TCP unbound).

You’ll probably go for 4 NIC’s.  However, the virtual machine network NIC’s can’t be teamed at the moment.  MS is working with OEM’s to resolve this.  Make sure the h/w is on the cluster compatibility list.  Avoid installing any OEM server network configuration tools until there is support from them for Hyper-V.

Build the machines with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.  You can go with Core if you want but I prefer to use Full installation – the OEM’s haven’t given us accessible ways to manage their hardware from Core yet (if they ever will).  Apply security patches.  Ensure the hosts are identical.

Set up your shared storage, either iSCSI or fibre channel.  If using an even number of hosts you’ll need to configure a small quorum disk or "witness disk".  If uneven then you don’t.  However I set one up anyway in case I need to remove or add a host – VMM will scream loudly if the cluster is not in a supported state, i.e. failover will be unpredictable.

For the virtual network, you’ll need to find out what workarounds (if any) are necessary for getting the VLAN trunk (VLAN tagging) working.  See my previous posts about the NC373i and Intel NIC’s.

Configure Hyper-V and add in the patches for GUID drives and VMM compatibility (see my previous posts).  Install the clustering service as well.  Configure the firewall to allow remote administration.

Build the cluster.  If using an even number of nodes you’ll go with node majority.  If uneven then it’s disk (the witness/quorum) and node majority.  Run the cluster verification report and save the results in case PSS ask for it.  If using an EVA SAN you must remember to set the node type to Longhorn (the codename for W2008) to pass the test.

Now you can configure your virtual networks – do it in the Hyper-V admin console if you don’t have VMM 2008.  Do it in VMM 2008 if you are using it to manage the Hyper-V cluster – you need to import the cluster into VMM 2008 management first 🙂

Set up your VM’s and test them.  Your VM’s will be on their own LUN’s provided by the SAN.  Provision the disk and present it to all your hosts.  Configure the disk (bring online, letterless/GUID and format) on the first host in the cluster.  Add the disk to the cluster.  Note the GUID for VM deployment.  Use your administration console (Hyper-V or VMM 2008) to deploy your VM.

In VMM you should be aiming to see a healthy state.  If you’re told the cluster configuration isn’t supported then check your host virtual network, cluster verification report and VM storage configurations.

There.  That’s probably a day’s worth of training in one short blog post.  Obviously it’s a bit more detailed than all that but it’s a dump on what you should look at.

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