July 19, 2013

High Availability Hyper-V with 2 Node/Servers & NO Shared Storage

By Geekphreek

One of the joys of my job is trying to run multiple companies on next to no budget.  Up until now I’ve managed to do it, slowly buying and preserving servers over 7 years old to leverage the absolute maximum achievable out of them.  Due to this, I’ve currently got 12 physical servers running, sapping electricity and at any moment, one may fail.  It’s 2013, I tasked myself to get the company running in a Virtual Environment.

The joy comes when you start spec’ing up exactly what this is going to cost you.  A beefy HP DL380 with a bucket load of ram x 2, a decent 12TB NAS (only one as we like eggs all being in one basket) and bam – £20k easily spent.  This is before software licensing.  Then we have a choice, Hyper-V or VMWare?  Which is going to rape the budget more?  Which is easier to maintain?  Consult Google, get frustrated with everyone’s wars over what is better than each one.

After consulting multiple big companies, chatting to IT guys and having a sniff about the world wide wobbly, I finally decided to see where I could cut costs but also get high resilience.  I wanted High Availability on a budget.  Cue stage left:  Enter StarWind’s Native SAN for Hyper-V.  You take 2 servers, fill them with RAM and DISK (RAID 0, 1 or 10), you follow their guide (or mine, which will be forth-coming) and with 2 servers, 2 x 10Gb SFP+ cables you have yourself a cluster that just works using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

From initial purchase to running 8 VMs it’s taken under 5 working days, that includes rack mounting the servers, cutting the cables and patching the buggers in.  If you fancy a play, it’s FREE to use up to 128GB, there after you need to pay.  30 days of free play though with cost nothing.  Give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

My new set up is currently running 2 x DCs, 1 x Exchange 2010, 1 x SQL 2008, 1 x Linux with Squid authenticated proxy, 1 x Phone System on XP (don’t ask! :() and 1 x File & Print server, all Windows 2008R2.  My licensing is covered from my old domain so thumbs up there.

Anyway, my 2 page full config is going to be posted shortly.