Tag: Clustering

Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

Learn about Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

A couple of weeks ago, I released a blog post about Hyper-V VM Configuration versions to give an overview about the version history of Hyper-V virtual machines. After that I had the chance to work with John Marlin (Microsoft Senior Program Manager High Availability and Storage) on a similar list of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels.

Why Cluster Functional Levels are important

With Windows Server 2016, Microsoft introduced a new feature called Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade or Cluster Rolling Upgrade. This feature allows you to upgrade the operating system of the cluster nodes to a new version, without stopping the cluster. With mixed-OS mode, you can have for example 2012 R2 and 2016 nodes in the same cluster. Keep in mind that this should only be temporary, while you are upgrading the cluster. You can basically upgrade node by node, and after all nodes are upgraded, you then upgrade the Cluster functional Level to the latest version.

List of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

Since the feature Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade was first introduced with Windows Server 2016, you never really knew about Cluster Functional Levels before. However, it already existed since Windows Server NT4.

Windows Server VersionCluster Functional Level
Windows Server 201910.x
Windows Server 20169
Windows Server 2012 R28
Windows Server 20127
Windows Server 2008 R26
Windows Server 20085
Windows Server 2003 R24
Windows Server 20033
Windows Server 20002
Windows Server NT41

Tips and PowerShell

If you want to know more about Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade, you can check out the Microsoft Docs. Together with John, I created a quick list of some tips for you, and some of the important PowerShell cmdlets.

To check which Cluster Functional Levels your cluster is running on, you can use the following PowerShell cmdlet:

 
Get-Cluster | Select ClusterFunctionalLevel

If you have upgraded all nodes in the cluster, you can use the Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel to update the Cluster Functional Level. Also make sure that you upgrade the workloads running in that cluster, for example upgrade the Hyper-V Configuration Version or in a Storage Spaces Direct Cluster, the Storage Pool version (Update-StoragePool).

 
Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel

In Windows Server 2019 the Clustering team introduced a new PowerShell cmdlet to check how many nodes of the cluster are running on which level. Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion helps you to identify the Cluster Functional Level and the Cluster Upgrade Version.

 
Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion

Cluster Functional Level Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion

This means that the functional level is 11 (Windows 2019).  The Upgrade version column is what you can upgrade to/with, meaning 11.1 or Windows 2019 only.

Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

This means your Cluster Functional Level is 10.  Meaning you can add basically anything 10.x (2016, RS3, RS4) and 11 (2019) to it.

If you are running System Center Virtual Machine Manager, the Cluster OS rolling upgrade, can be fully automated as well. Check out the Microsoft Docs for Perform a rolling upgrade of a Hyper-V host cluster to Windows Server 2016 in VMM.

To find out more about information Cluster operating system rolling upgrade, like how-to, requirements and limitations, check out the Microsoft Windows Server Docs page.



MMS Midwest Management Summit

Speaking at the Midwest Management Summit 2015

Last year I had the chance to speak at the Midwest Management Summit 2014 (MMS). I am proud to annouce that I will speak in two sessions at the Midwest Management Summit 2015, Mall of America
Minnesota, USA.

The Midwest Management Summit is a 3-day conference purposely capped to just 600 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Speakers have time to meet and talk to you. No rushing people out of a session to get the next speaker going. Time to absorb what you see and talk it over with speakers and other attendees. A true learning experience. Real networking. Real-life issues discussed.

I have really good memories at the conference last time, it was a fun experience. This time I am honored to speak together with Symon Perriman, former Microsoft PM and Evangelist and now Microsoft MVP and VP of Business Development at 5Nine. We will talk in four sessions about What is new in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, All you need to know about Nano Server, Hyper-V Security Tips: Fix the Gaps you Never Knew About and Hyper-V High-Availability Best Practices with Failover Clustering.

So make sure you register for MMS and join our sessions!



Migrate Hyper-V Cluster to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V via Cluster Migration Wizard

Windows Server 2012 Logo

If you have already an existing Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V cluster and you want to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 you have two options. The first one is by moving all virtual machines via System Center Virtual Machine Manager from the old Cluster into a new cluster. The second way to do it, is to use the Cluster Migration Wizard which is part of Windows Server 2012.

In my case I have two clusters one “old” Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V cluster and my new Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V cluster. Both Clusters are fully configured and both have access to the same disks/LUNs. The disk and all the VMs are running on the old cluster.

On the new cluster you can start the Cluster Migration Wizard.

Failover Cluster Manager Migrate Roles

This will bring up the Cluster Migration Wizard. The wizard will ask you about the old cluster.

Cluster Migration Wizard Old Cluster

The Cluster Migration Wizard will scan the old cluster for CSVs and Cluster roles. You have to select the Cluster Shared Volume you want to migrate to the new cluster. Note: you can only migrate CSVs including all virtual machines running on this CSV and not just single virtual machines. If you want to migrate single virtual machines you could do a Hyper-V Export/Import or using System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Cluster Migration Wizard Old Cluster Roles

Since the Cluster Migration Wizard detects the roles as Hyper-V virtual machines he also asks for the new Hyper-V Virtual Switch.

Cluster Migration Wizard Hyper-V Virtual Switch

You get a quick summary with all the information what the Migration Wizard will do, and you can migrate all roles. This means the Migration Wizard will create all cluster roles on the new cluster but will not take the existing VMs offline the VMs at this point are still running on the old cluster. You also get a Failover Cluster Migration Report at the end.

Failover Cluster Migration Report

This report also shows you what’s next:

All the clustered services and applications selected for migration were migrated successfully. You may now take the clustered services and applications offline in your old cluster. Also take offline Cluster Shared Volumes used by any migrated roles, as well as storage pools for virtual disks used by any migrated roles. Then these disks, Cluster Shared Volumes, and clustered services and applications can be brought online in your new cluster.

In the new cluster you can now see the roles which are all turned of because there are still running on the old cluster. And you can also see the CSV which is offline on the new cluster and online on the old cluster.

Failover Cluster Migration new roles

As already mentioned we had no downtime until now. Now you can go and shutdown all the virtual machines running on your old cluster and take the migrated CSV offline.

Failover Cluster Migration shutdown VMS

Take the CSV offline

Failover Cluster Migration take CSV offline

On the new cluster bring the CSV online

Failover Cluster Migration bring CSV online

Bring the virtual machines on the new cluster back online.

Failover Cluster Migration bring VMs back online

And this is more how you can migrate a cluster. Remember there are still some tasks left.

There is also a great video from Symon Perriman and Rob Hindman, a Program Manager on the Windows Server Clustering & High-Availability team, in which they explain how you can upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

 



Enable RSAT on Windows Server 2008 R2 for Hyper-V

Hyper-V R2 SP1

With the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) you can administrate the Server with remote consoles. Now you can download the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7, but if you are on Windows Server 2008 R2 you can just enable the tools per ServerManagerCmd.exe.

 
ServerManagerCmd -install RSAT-Hyper-V
ServerManagerCmd -install RSAT-Clustering

 



Hyper-V: “Version 3 kills them all”

Windows Server 8 Server Manager Dashboard

Microsoft showed the latest version of Hyper-V at build conference together with Windows 8 and Windows Server 8. Microsoft showed a lot of new Hyper-V features which turn Hyper-V in really powerful hypervisor.

Some days ago I posted a blog post about new features which Microsoft showed before the build conference, now it’s time to extend the list of new features. There are a lot of even more powerful features than the once I posted back then.

Windows Server 8 as Cloud OS

First let’s start with Windows Server 8 as the base of Microsoft Cloud strategy. Microsofts focus in Windows Server 8 was to make it easy for all to build public and private cloud solutions. There are a lot of improvements to manageability, security, scalability, extensibility, predictability and reliability which will also improve the possibilities with Hyper-V. In technical terms Microsoft made a lot of improvements how you can manage a lot of servers and services, Storage, Networking and Powershell. Of course there is a lot more, but this are the parts I think are the most important. And here are some keywords to the improvements in Windows Server 8:

  • Storage improvements – SMB 2.2, SMB transparent Failover, Data deduplication, Storage Spaces, online filesystem repairs, 64TB NTFS volume etc.
  • NIC Teaming
  • Powershell v3 – You can now just do everything in Powershell and even more with 23000 PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Server Dashboard – The new Dashboard lets you manage all servers, or even better, all Services from one place.
  • Multi-tenant – everything seems to be made for that
  • Performance Counters

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Manager

Hyper-V Host improvements

Hyper-V gets not only a lot of improvements to Virtual Machine, also the Hyper-V Hosts get some new limit improvements.

  • up to 160 logical CPUs
  • supports up to 2TB RAM
  • no more vCPU:pCPU ration limit

Hyper-V Virtual Machine improvements

Microsoft did a lot to extend the existing Virtual Machine hardware to support even high workload Virtual Machines. I will not write a lot about this because the facts here will tell more that a lot of words.

  • VHDX Format – supports up to 64TB Virtual Disks
  • 32 CPUs per VM
  • 512GB RAM per VM
  • Support for Fibre Channel Adapters
  • Supporting Virtual Active Directory Servers

Hyper-V Networking improvements

Hyper-V got a lot of improvements in terms of networking. Microsoft realized that networking features are really important if you start to create private and public cloud scenarios and now even create a mix of public and private cloud scenarios without creating a lot of work for the IT teams to reconfigure Virtual Machines.

  • QoS and flexible bandwidth allocation
  • Support for SR-IOV (Direct Access to the physical Network adapter)
  • Network Virtualization
  • PVLAN support
  • Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (D-VMQ)
  • Receive Side Coalescing (RSC)
  • DHCP Guard
  • Extensible virtual switch
  • IPsec Task offload

Hyper-V Clustering improvements

Hyper-V gets also a lot of Cluster improvements. But you have to be aware that Clusters are for really high availability and this adds a lot of costs to projects and solutions. Microsoft is working on Cloud solutions which will give great availability to low cost. For example Hyper-V Replica or Live Migration to another host over the Ethernet without the need for a shared storage. But if you need real HA you will need the Failover Cluster.

  • supporting up to 4000 VMs per cluster
  • supporting up to 64 Cluster nodes
  • improved Cluster Manager Console
  • VM Monitoring – Application health detection inside the virtual machine
  • New Placement policies – Virtual Machine Priority and enhanced placement
  • Storage Live Migration
  • Hyper-V Replica supporting clustering
  • No need for Block Storage – you can use SMB Shares
  • Support for Storage Spaces
  • Automated Node Draining – like Maintenance mode in SCVMM
  • Cluster Aware Updating (CAU)
  • Cluster Shared Volume Improvements – BitLocker support, a lot of performance improvements, Self-Healing
  • Live Migration Queing
  • Migrate multiple Virtual Machine at the same time

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V VM Move

Hyper-V Storage improvements

A I mentioned earlier Microsoft made a lot of improvements in terms of storage in Windows Server 8 and Hyper-V can take advantage of those which are quiet impressive. For example with the new features in SMB 2.2 you can now use SMB file shares to store your Virtual Machines.

  • VHDX
  • ODX
  • RDMA
  • SMB 2.2 – Transparent Failover
  • 4K native disk support
  • Data Deduplication
  • Virtual Fiber Channel
  • VM boot from SAN

Hyper-V Management Improvements

As everywhere in Windows Server 8 PowerShell is the key. And the new Server Manager Dashboard Microsoft enable to create Server Groups to manage multiple servers from a single console.

  • Powershell for Hyper-V
  • Powershell Workflows – Commands and Tasks across servers
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch – lets vendors to create “plugins”. Could be very interesting for Cisco UCS installations.
  • Server Manager Dashboard – lets you manage multiple Hyper-V host from a single console.
  • SCVMM 2012 – not a part of Windows Server 8 but will add great management solutions

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Powershell

Hyper-V HA and Data Protection

Now I think this is maybe the greatest new feature. You can now live migrate a Virtual Machine from one Hyper-V Host to another without Shared Storage or Cluster configuration. And with this option Microsoft also included a new feature called Hyper-V Replica which includes the option to replicate Virtual Machine to another host which can be hosted in the same network or even in the cloud.

  • Live Migration
  • Live Storage Migration
  • Live Migration to another Hosts (Not clustered) over the Ethernet
  • Hyper-V Replica – Replicated Virtual Machines to another Hyper-V host on-premise or public cloud
  • BitLocker support for CSV

This are not all of the new features Windows Server 8 Hyper-V has to offer but I tried to list the important ones. And if Microsoft sticks with their licensing model, it will be a really strong competitor to the VMWare vShpere 5.