High Availability with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate

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1 High Availability with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) delivers innovative new capabilities that enable you to build dynamic storage and availability solutions in which workloads, networks, and storage become more flexible, efficient, and available than ever before. Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. All rights reserved. The information contained in this document relates to a pre-release product which may be substantially modified before it is commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied with respect to the information presented here.

2 The path to continuous availability with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate In IT organizations, there s only one thing more critical than information and that s ensuring access to that information whenever it s needed. Today s organizations simply cannot afford system failures or maintenance to cause downtime in any area. That s why Windows Server 2012 RC includes enhancements that not only protect data but maximize availability from the foundational layers of the storage stack all the way up to the application and beyond. Windows Server 2012 RC goes beyond high availability with a versatile array of capabilities that are flexible enough to address storage availability needs under a wide variety of scenarios. Whether your organization is small or large, whether your environment is heterogeneous or not, Windows Server 2012 RC capabilities can help you lead your organization down the path toward continuous availability. Availability at every layer Windows Server 2012 RC was designed with availability and reliability in mind at every layer. From the way it integrates with the latest disk I/O technologies, through the application layer with new storage options for Microsoft SQL Server and Hyper-V, and into the cloud with innovations that allow you to use cloud storage for business continuity. These capabilities can also be combined in a number of ways to give your organization the advantage of a powerful end-to-end storage solution with continuous availability. On disk and in the file system Windows Server 2012 RC offers many new enhancements at the foundation of the storage stack with Disk I/O and File System capabilities that can help protect you from drive failures, protect the data on those drives from corruption, and perform self-healing operations online if corruption does occur. Storage Spaces Windows Server 2012 RC introduces a new storage virtualization capability that allows you to use commodity storage with virtual storage pools, which can then be provisioned as storage spaces. A storage space is a virtualized drive that can be formatted and accessed, just like a physical drive, and dynamically resized with the addition of more physical drives to the storage pool. Storage Spaces has options that can supply resiliency against hardware failures with the ability to provision spaces as mirrored or striped sets along with the option of assigning specific physical drives as hot spares, enabling Storage Spaces to resolve hardware failures automatically and transparently. Additionally, storage provisioned through spaces can leverage all the advanced capabilities Windows Server 2012 RC has to offer, like thin provisioning and data deduplication. ReFS Windows Server 2012 RC introduces a new local file system called Resilient File System (ReFS). ReFS maximizes data availability and online operation, despite errors that would historically cause data loss or downtime. Data integrity ensures that business-critical data is protected from errors and available when needed while its architecture is designed to provide scalability and performance in an era of constantly growing data set sizes and dynamic workloads. Robust disk updating ReFS offers robust disk updating to maximize reliability by avoiding problems associated with power failures during disk updates. This is accomplished by updating data with writes to different locations in an atomic fashion, rather than updating data in-place. Data integrity ReFS is designed to detect disk corruption, including degradation of data on media. All file system metadata is protected with data integrity and, optionally, user data can be protected as well. When ReFS is used in conjunction with a mirrored Storage Space, detected corruption both metadata and user data, when integrity streams are enabled can

3 be automatically repaired using the alternate copy provided by Storage Spaces. Availability In the unlikely event of corruption that cannot be repaired automatically with Storage Spaces, ReFS will remove corrupt data from the namespace on a live volume; non-corrupt data is not adversely affected by this operation. Scalability The amount and size of data that is stored on computers continues to increase rapidly, and ReFS is designed to work well with extremely large data sets (petabytes and larger) without performance impact. Proactive error identification ReFS integrates with a data scrubber that periodically scans the volume, trying to detect latent corruption and, when running on top of a Mirrored Storage Space, automatically repairs the corrupted data. NTFS Online Corruption Repair In Windows Server 2012 RC, NTFS has been enhanced to maintain data integrity when using cost-effective industry standard SATA drives and provides online corruption scanning and repair capabilities that reduce the need to take volumes offline. This new online scanning capability significantly reduces repair times that previously numbered into hours down to minutes or seconds. When combined, all these new capabilities allow very large, multi-terabyte NTFS volumes to be deployed with confidence. Clustering and file/block access Windows Server 2012 RC gives you the flexibility to deploy storage for applications and virtualization in a number of ways, while giving you the power to cluster those storage options and create continuously available storage solutions using SMB, iscsi, or even NFS. Continuously available SMB Windows Server SMB file shares can now be used as storage for applications like SQL Server and Hyper-V, giving you additional flexibility in addressing application storage needs. Not only this, but using SMB file servers for applications allows you to leverage a host of new SMB capabilities that improve performance and availability as well. Beyond the performance and availability gains available with SMB for SQL Server and Hyper-V, there are some features that combine to make SMB a very appealing highly available application storage option: SMB Transparent Failover. SMB file server cluster failovers occur rapidly enough to appear transparent to the applications or virtual machines accessing them for storage. SMB Scale Out. Windows Server 2012 RC quadruples the scalability of Windows Server 2008 R2 with support for an industry best of 4,000 virtual machines and scales out to 64 nodes per cluster. Single Namespaces with CSV v2. Using CSVs with SMB clusters gives all nodes of the cluster simultaneous access to the same storage instance as a singular namespace, essentially allowing for active/active file server clusters. iscsi Transparent Failover Beyond supplying storage for workloads requiring block-based storage access, iscsi Target software has been popular since it was introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 because it is an inexpensive alternative to SANs. Windows Server 2012 RC gives you even more reasons to consider using iscsi Target with the addition of iscsi Network Boot capabilities and support for transparent failover. The improved clustering model in this version of Windows Server allows iscsi Target to handle higher scalability and availability, ensuring that up to 256 iscsi initiators can be failed over without causing application errors. NFS transparent failover The server for Network File System (NFS) can now dynamically respond to server problems by supporting the improved transparent failover capabilities in Windows Server 2012 RC. This capability isn't just advantageous for traditional NFS workloads; it also enables you to reliably deploy and run VMware ESX/ESXi virtual machines from file-based storage on a server running Windows Server by using the NFS file sharing protocol. Additional improvements in failover clustering make it possible to deploy Server for NFS in a clustered configuration and take advantage of better resilience to hardware and software outages that may afflict individual cluster nodes. At the same time, failover clustering isolates VMware ESX hypervisor hosts from intermittent glitches during failovers.

4 Cluster-Aware Updating Cluster-Aware Updating, or CAU, reduces downtime by using transparent failover capabilities and automation capabilities to eliminate impact on applications and users associated with applying updates to cluster nodes. This feature is integrated into any existing Windows update management infrastructure through use of a client running a process called an orchestrator and can easily be extended and automated through use of PowerShell. High-Availability DHCP Network availability isn t only about making sure your network connections remain available; it also means keeping underlying network services running as well. Windows Server 2012 RC gives you the ability to deploy DHCP servers in a non-clustered failover configuration that includes multi-subnet support. Network availability Having a highly available storage solution doesn t help if your network suffers an outage. This is why several new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 RC address the need for a robust and resilient network through a number of flexible capabilities that help maintain network availability at every layer as well. SMB Multichannel When Windows Server 2012 RC detects more than one valid UNC path to an SMB share it automatically enables the new SMB Multichannel feature. This feature creates load balanced failover connections to remote file servers that not only fail over when connections are lost, but also evaluates the condition of available connections to route traffic away from congested links. While this capability offers performance boosts in addition to resiliency, it can be combined with other high performance features like SMB Direct to deliver fibre Channel SAN performance from SMB file servers. Network Adapter Teaming Windows Server 2012 RC also gives you the ability to combine network adapters in load balanced failover teams regardless of manufacturer or capability for other uses, all without the need for special third-party drivers or utilities. Virtual Fibre Channel Hyper-V now supports Fibre Channel HBA virtualization at the Hyper-V guest level. This gives you the ability to allow virtual machines to have direct access to Fibre Channel HBAs, along with MPIO support, that is unhindered by the host operating system. This means you can assign DHCP servers on different subnets as backups for the DHCP servers in those other subnets, creating an easy to manage DHCP availability solution without requiring additional severs. High-availability virtualization To create a true end-to-end high availability solution, Windows Server 2012 RC also has a number of features and capabilities that protect applications and virtual machines from planned and unplanned outages: Live Migration While Hyper-V Live Migration was first introduced with Windows Server 2008 R2 it has been enhanced in Windows Server 2012 RC to support the use of higher bandwidth network connections (up to 10 GB) and the simultaneous migration of multiple virtual machines. Additionally, Live Migration now allows you to perform live migrations outside of failover clusters when the virtual machine s storage is either local on the server or centrally located in an SMB file share. Live Storage Migration In addition to improvements made with Live Migration, Windows Server 2012 RC now gives you the ability to perform live migrations of virtual machine storage independently of the virtual machine itself, without any downtime. This capability can be used in a number of scenarios including a need to redistribute virtual machine storage when disk space may run low or in order to perform maintenance on underlying storage without disrupting the virtual machine.

5 Virtual Networking Clustering with File and Block Access Disk I/O and File System Hyper-V Replica Hyper-V Replica is a new feature with Windows Server 2012 RC that allows you to create replicas of virtual machines across standard networks or WAN links to other Hyper-V hosts in other locations or sites. When a Hyper-V guest is configured for replication, an HTTP or HTTPS connection between the host and replica server is established using either integrated authentication, certificate-cased authentication, or a non-encrypted connection. After an initial synchronization of the Hyper-V guest s state, which can initially be performed over the network or via removable storage, subsequent synchronizations occur at a rate configured by the administrator. When the source server encounters an outage condition, the replica server starts up the replicated guest automatically, again based on policies set by the administrator. Layer Feature Description Storage Spaces Resilient File System (ReFS) NTFS Enhancements Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) SMB Scale Out SMB Transparent Failover SQL Server over SMB Hyper-V over SMB iscsi Target Transparent Failover VSS for Remote SMBB File Shares SMB Multichannel LBFO NIC Teaming DHCP Failover Virtual Fibre Channel Hyper-V Live Migration Hyper-V Live Storage Migration Hyper-V Replica Deploy cost-effective storage for business-critical data that can leverage advanced Windows Server 2012 RC capabilities to deliver SAN-like performance, reliability, and scalability features on inexpensive commodity storage. Maximize volume scalability and availability with the new ReFS file system that was built upon the successes of NTFS along with new capabilities designed to work in conjunction with Storage Spaces and the latest storage technologies. Deploy large NTFS volumes with the confidence that they are always available and resilient against downtime caused by potential file corruption. Deploy SMB clusters that present a single namespace from all nodes with active/active clustering capabilities supporting application, virtualization, or user data workloads. Deploy easily managed and highly scalable file server clusters that use the powerful new capabilities of SMB. Supports up to 64 nodes and an industry best 4,000 virtual machines per cluster. Take advantage of transparent failover capabilities to keep applications running through node outages. Supports active/active file shares from multiple nodes of a cluster taking advantage of Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and the powerful new capabilities of SMB Deploy SQL Server data on flexible high-performance SMB file shares where administrators can analyze database storage performance and manage large sequential transfers, such as SQL Server data warehouse, database backup, or restore operations. Gain flexibility and efficiency by using advanced SMB features to deploy continuously available high-performance storage for Hyper-V. Enable storage sharing at block level using industrial standard protocol iscsi. Take advantage of transparent failover capabilities to keep applications running through node outages. Leverage proven Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to offload snapshot and backup operations to remote storage from VSS hardware providers within Hyper-V virtual machines. Enable automatic aggregation of network bandwidth and fault tolerance when multiple paths are available between Windows 8 SMB clients and Windows Server 2012 RC SMB file servers. Combine network adapters regardless of make or manufacturer into load-balanced failover teams to improve resiliency against network outages while improving network bandwidth. Leverage multiple DHCP servers to create resilient DHCP services whether they manage the same subnet or not and without the need for clustering. Give Hyper-V guests direct and unhindered access to Fibre Channel HBAs for workloads that require it or to extend MPIO capability directly to Hyper-V guests. Enable Hyper-V guests to migrate between hosts without any apparent downtime whether for planned or unplanned outages. Also perform live migrations outside of Hyper-V clusters. Maintain maximized service-level availability even while you move virtual machine storage between host servers independent of the actual virtual machine. Replicate virtual machines between storage systems, clusters, and data centers in two sites to provide business continuity and disaster recovery, with just a few clicks.

6 Learn more Whether implementing a high-availability storage solution is around the corner or over the horizon for you, Windows Server 2012 RC offers the best platform to prepare for and implement solutions that go beyond high availability. To learn more about Windows Server 2012 RC, visit

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