Category Archives: Uncategorized

Network Teaming for Failover Cluster Nodes

Just an FYI, there have been some changes to this document.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254101/

In the past, there were issues around the use of NIC teaming for the heartbeat (private) network in clustering. In Windows Server 2008, there have been some changes. The update to KB 254101 states that NIC teaming is fully supported for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering.

This is a nice change and has been requested by several people over the years. Personally, if I want to provide fault tolerance for the private network, I would just create multiple private networks, but that is just my preference. Your mileage may vary.

 

More on StarWind Software Version 5.0

Last week, I was in Indianapolis delivering one of our ClusterHelp.com classes. When we did the Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster lab, I configured a Quorum and two other disks for each student by using StarWind Software 5.0. We then set up the clusters for each student after configuring the iSCSI initiator in Windows Server 2008. The performance was fantastic.

After class, I went back to my hotel room and continued to play with v 5.0. I am more than just a little impressed.

From the StarWind Software website, I pulled the following bullets regarding the features of StarWind 5.0, and added my comments in bold type:

·         Synchronous Mirroring with Automatic Failover:  mirrors data in real time across a storage cluster, ensuring that storage is continuously available in the event of failure. RK: I tested this feature and it was really slick how the iSCSI initiator of the Windows Server 2008 server was able to connect to the other target without having to reconfigure the iSCSI initiators. 

·         Failback with Fast Synchronization: re-synchronizes data back to the original storage node and restores it to a previous live state before failure. RK: Not only will it failover to the other target, but it will re-sync the original target that previously failed through a back fill process to bring it up to date once it is back online.   

·         Remote Replication across a WAN: replicates data to a remote location. allowing multi-site disaster recovery in the event of a disaster at the primary site. RK: It doesn’t matter whether the replication target is in the LAN or if it is accessible through a WAN connection. It just works.  

·         CDP & Snapshots: captures instant, point-in-time volume images, allowing a user to rollback and recover an entire volume or individual files and folders. RK: What a great feature. To get this same functionality in a SAN will cost you a considerble amount of money, but it is readily available in 5.0.

·         Server clustering: supports Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, VMware ESX and vSphere 4.0 and other applications. RK: I am going to write a white paper and put together a web cast in the very near future covering Windows Server 2008 Failover Clutering. I am really excited about this functionality and support.

·         Redesigned User Interface:  allows IT professionals to easily manage all storage from a central management console built on the same tree structure used in Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere. RK: this is a huge improvement from a management of SANs perspective. You can early connect to and manage disks on multiple SANs from the same interface saving the need to connect to multiple StarWind SAN targets by connecting to multiple servers using remote desktop. The interface is also incredibly intuitive. I had absolutely no problem figuring out how to create disks and make them available to multiple different servers running initiators.

I hear from cluster administrators all the time, and I always hear the complaint that SANs are expensive, and software to support replication is outrageous. I suppose that cost is relative, but StarWind 5.0 is really priced well and has some fantastic features. I highly suggest a look.

Yes, I am excited about this new release, which is why I have blogged about it a few times now. I am really into great pricing with great performance, what can I say? 

StarWind 5.0 Preview – It is Official

I strongly recommend a visit to StarWind’s website to read about the upcoming release of StarWind’s iSCSI target software software. I usually explain what it is to people by calling it a software SAN for Windows servers.

Any Windows server can be made into a SAN by using StarWind’s software. However, version 5.0 adds automated failover between servers to provide fault tolerance for the storage.

For more info, visit the StarWind site at http://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-v5-preview.

I am really excited about this upcoming release and what it means to high availability.

Want Replicated Storage Without Buying Multiple SANs?

If the answer is a loud and resounding , “YES!” then you are not alone.

I hear from reliable sources that the new StarWind Software release will have this capability in it and will enable WAN separated clustering of file services as well as other services.

How? I am glad you asked. From what I have seen, the software will perform the replication and control it and also provide a single user interface for iSCSI so that the cluster can point to a single iSCSI target source and if it fails, the replica will continue to run and allow access via the single name.

Yes, it is that simple, but I am sure the software is not that easy to develop.

Watch for the official news in the next couple of days.

 

 

Antivirus for Windows Home Server

I was using the freebie that came with my WHS, which is provided by McAfee. So, me being a lazy person, I figured I would just purchase the product since the free trial ran out. Once on the console, it looked easy. I clicked the link to buy the product.

Well, that is where it because a major pain. While McAfee was more than willing to take my money, they don’t seem very willing to tell you how to install it. No problem, I will suck it up and call the tech support team. Well, the tech support team that handles home users does not support WHS. The Enterprise team supports WHS. Oh yeah, that makes sense. After about an hour on hold, I got to talk to a tech who did not seem to understand that WHS is a product and it is not just a server at my home. After going back and forth on hold and finally getting a tech that seemed to know what to do, I was cut off.

What to do, what to do… Being a bit of a hot head, I called McAfee and got my money back.

The solution? Avast has a WHS version, and it works like an add-on for WHS. It was fast, it was easy, and I am glad that I found Avast.

StarWind Software – Cluster Presentations

StarWind Software has been a wonderful partner to work with over the last few years. I first started working with the product when it was part of Rocket Division, but it was split off and became its own company several months ago.

I recently did a web cast for StarWind Software, and it was a fun project. They also have had several others do web casts on cluster topics. I highly recommend that everyone visit their site to learn more about clustering and to see how their product works with clustering. I think you will be happy to see it.

http://www.starwindsoftware.com/experts

Exchange 2007 CCR on Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster – Steps and Videos

I wrote up some information on deploying CCR on Windows Server 2008 after doing a full day workshop. After trying to explain how to perform some of the steps, I found it was easier to demo some of the steps, so I used Camtasia to capture them and save them as .avi files.

Make a trip to my Mindsharp blog for more info:

http://unifiedcommunications.mindsharpblogs.com/RussK/archive/2009/04/03/Exchange-Server-2007-CCR-on-Windows-Server-2008-Failover-Cluster.aspx

New Office Communications Server (OCS) Blog

I started a new blog on the MindsharpBlogs.com site. So far, I am just having a little fun, but I will be adding lots of new content there in the next few weeks. Make sure to add it to your feed list.

My plan is to discuss Unified Communications in general, OCS 2007 and OCS 2007 R2, and hardware such as headsets and phone devices. I have a few headsets that I need to review, so I will post those reviews there, too.

For those that hate links, here is the URL: http://unifiedcommunications.mindsharpblogs.com/RussK/default.aspx