Taking a Fresh Look at Hyper-V Clusters (Part 5)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

So far in this article series, I have walked you through the processes of building a Windows Server 2012 R2 based failover cluster and making a virtual machine fault tolerant. Although the techniques that I have shown you should result in the creation of a fully functional cluster, there are some additional considerations that need to be taken into account.

One such consideration is that a single cluster might be inadequate for meeting your business needs. While it is true that Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 can scale to produce some really massive clusters, larger organizations may find that even a fully scaled cluster is insufficient for accommodating all of their virtualized workloads.

Even if cluster capacity is not an issue per se, there might be other issues that limit cluster growth. For example, the underlying storage infrastructure might not be able to deliver a sufficient number of IOPS to keep all of the virtualized workloads running smoothly.

Isolation is another consideration. Some organizations find that they need to keep certain workloads isolated for legal reasons, or because those workloads require higher end hardware than the organization’s typical workload.

Whatever the reason, it is very common for an organization to have more than one failover cluster. That being the case, the question becomes a matter of how best to manage an environment consisting of multiple clustered Hyper-V servers.

The best solution for doing so involves using Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager. I don’t want to turn this article series into a crash course in using Virtual Machine Manager, because I have another article series that explains the basics of working with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2. However, I do want to show you how you can add a Hyper-V failover cluster to virtual machine manager in order to achieve centralized management of all your clustered Hyper-V deployments.

Managing a Cluster with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

Before you will be able to manage your clustered Hyper-V deployment using System Center 2012 R2, you will need to make Virtual Machine Manager aware of your cluster. This process is sometimes referred to as bringing resources under management.

Assuming that you already have System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 up and running in your organization, bringing a clustered Hyper-V deployment under management should be a fairly easy process. Before I show you how to do so, I want to point out that the technique that I am about to show you assumes that your clustered Hyper-V servers and your System Center Virtual Machine Manager server are all members of a common management domain.

So with that said, log into your Virtual Machine Manager server and then open the Virtual Machine Manager Console. When the console opens, go to the VMs and Services workspace. Figure A shows what the console tree currently looks like on my Virtual Machine Manager server.

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Figure A: This is what my console tree currently looks like.

You will notice that there is a container named All Hosts. This is a default container that includes all of the Hyper-V servers that have been brought under management. If you look just beneath the All Hosts container, you will see a container named Lab and another container named Production. These are custom containers that I created to separate my lab servers from my production servers. In a real world environment, you could use host containers similar to the ones shown in the figure to group your clusters by function. Of course it is also perfectly acceptable to lump all of your clustered Hyper-V deployments into the All Hosts container (especially in smaller organizations).

So with that said, it is a relatively easy process to bring a clustered Hyper-V deployment under management. To do so, right click on either the All Hosts container or the container that you want to use for the cluster. When you do, you will see the shortcut menu shown in Figure B. Choose the Add hyper-V Hosts and Clusters option from the menu.

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Figure B: Choose the Add Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters option from the shortcut menu.

At this point, Virtual Machine Manager will launch the Add Resource Wizard. The wizard’s initial screen will prompt you to specify the location of the computers that you want to bring under management. Assuming that your Hyper-V hosts exist in the same management domain as the Virtual Machine Manager server, choose the Windows Server Computers in a Trusted Active Directory Domain option, as shown in Figure C.

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Figure C: Choose the Windows Server Computers in a Trusted Active Directory Domain option.

Click Next, and you will be prompted to provide a RunAs account. A RunAs account is a security account that Virtual Machine Manager can use to perform administrative functions on your behalf. The RunAs account must have domain admin permissions, but you should not use the built-in Administrator account.

After entering your RunAs account credentials, click Next and you will be taken to the Discovery Scope screen. This screen requires you to enter the names of the systems that you want to bring under management. You can enter servers by computer name, fully qualified domain name, or IP address, as shown in Figure D. Enter the names of your cluster nodes or the name of the cluster itself and click Next.

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Figure D: Enter the names of your cluster nodes or the name of the cluster and click Next.

At this point, you will be taken to the Target Resources screen. If you look at the previous screen capture, you will notice that I specified each individual node by entering its fully qualified domain name. Now take a look at what happens in Figure E.

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Figure E: Virtual Machine Manager detects the clustered Hyper-V deployment.

As you look at Figure E, you will notice that Virtual Machine Manager detected the individual servers that I specified in the previous step, but it was smart enough to realize that these servers are clustered. In fact, you will notice that there is no check box next to the individual servers. The check box only appears next to the cluster. In other words, because the servers are clustered you are able to bring the cluster under management, but you can’t bring the individual cluster nodes under management. That being the case, select the checkbox next to the cluster and click Next.

At this point, Virtual Machine Manager will ask you which host group you want to add the cluster to. Make your selection and click Next. You should now see a screen that displays a summary of the options that you have chosen. Make sure that the options appear to be correct and then click Finish. It may take a couple of minutes for Virtual Machine Manager to bring the cluster under management, but when the job completes you should see your cluster listed in the console tree, along with the servers that make up the cluster. You can see what this looks like in Figure F.

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Figure F: The cluster has been added to the Virtual Machine Manager Console.

Conclusion

In this article, I have shown you how to bring a clustered Hyper-V deployment under management. In the next article in the series, I will show you how to use Virtual Machine Manager to prioritize your virtual machines.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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