A Windows Server 2012 R2 Cluster Is Born


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Original Post is here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Windows Server 2012 R2 Cluster Is Born

We are just in the process of finishing up a newly configured domain with one physical DC and a four node Hyper-V cluster built on Windows Server 2012 R2 Core:

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As you can see we build out a custom MMC on an RSAT enabled Windows 8.1 x64 Enterprise VM with the above snap-ins that allow us to fully manage that cluster. A copy of the MMC will reside on the physical DC for management from that point if required.

An Intel RMM (Remote Management Module) that is Internet facing is configured on the physical DC. This gives us console access to the DC that is especially important for managing the cluster for anything from updating through to full power-down situations.

Failover Cluster Manager has the best logging facilities bar-none. Sorry, but VMM (Virtual Machine Manager) does not have anything near what FCM has especially when it comes to live logging the cluster and the nodes. All one needs to do is build a custom query that includes all Cluster and Hyper-V Event streams. We can also build custom queries that are focused on cluster, storage, and Hyper-V streams.

While we have added the Windows Firewall snap-in for each node to date we have not had a need to tweak anything at the node level since we set the basic port exemptions at the Group Policy level as well as permitting local exceptions. This allows the Cluster Service setup routine to configure the firewall as appropriate.

Note that it is a good idea to set up the Cluster Service _after_ the nodes have been joined to the domain, teams created if being used, and the Network Awareness service is set to Automatic (Delayed) if Windows Native teaming is being used. This allows the port exemptions to be placed in the correct firewall profile.

This particular cluster will end up hosting a number of different workloads including DCs, File services, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and a few LoB specific ones.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

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