Tuesday 17 November 2009

TechDays: Three boxes & Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 = High Availability Virtualization

A really inexpensive way to build a High Availability virtualization solution:
+ 3x Core 2 box with Intel-VT enabled.
+ 2 NICs, 3 is better.
+ Switches and cables.
+ TechNet Plus for:
+ Storage Server 2008 for iSCSI Target
+ System Center Virtual Machine Manager
+ Microsoft OSs and servers for VMs

PC's 1 & 2 will have Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 installed.
PC 3 will have Storage Server to host the shared storage.

NIC 1: Local LAN for management.
NIC 2: VMs.
NIC 3: Cluster heartbeat.

From there, putting things together is fairly straight forward.

Another machine can be used to facilitate set up of the HA solution.

We have a few solutions coming that will be built on individual servers as well as on the Intel Modular Server so we will try to build some comprehensive guides for building the HA setup along with its management needs.


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stryqx said...

If you're just after iSCSI, then Windows Storage Server (either 2003 or 2008) is overkill IMNSHO.

FreeNAS or OpenFiler are good alternatives and don't require a TechNet Plus subscription.

If you're looking for a low cost iSCSI appliance, then QNAP and Netgear have some reasonably priced devices that support iSCSI.

Anonymous said...

How can this be considered high availability? All of the storage is on a standard server. If that hardware fails, the entire solutions fails. There's not a lot of difference between this and a single server box without virtualization. I understand that SANs are built with much more redundancy and reliability than regular server equipment. But that adds a whole lot of cost to the equation.

stryqx said...

@Anonymous - a 4th box with something like OpenFiler and DRBD will get you an active/passive cluster. Or you can go the commercial route with something like Open-E iSCSI-R3. Not sure about synchronous replication or failover with Windows Storage Server 2008 - it may require additional software.
If you're getting serious about SAN HA, then you're probably be going to look at storage vendor solutions rather than homebrew.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

Essentially, this configuration is suggested for creating an HA configuration in a lab setting.

I did not make that clear when I posted this. Chaulk that up to a very long day. :|

TechNet Plus gives us access to all of the necessary Microsoft products that we may be working with.

Chris, you are right, there are freebie iSCSI targets that can be beneficial in a lab setting. Putting Starwind or others into a production environment would need careful consideration for the folks implementing the solution.