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Implementation Advice on building a ActivePassive Failover with HyperV Machines

I am building out a high availability solution and I am looking for advice in the design and implementation.

My infrastructure currently consists of 1 windows 2008 Enterprise server

Dell 2950III -> 32Gigs ram -> windows 2k8 enterprise, hyperV
Dell 2950II -> 28gigs ram -> windows 2003R2
Dell 2850 -> 12 Gigs ram -> windows 2003
Dell MD3000i -> iSCSI SAN

I am going to be updating the dell2850 to windows 2008 enterprise 64bit and make it a domain controller.  My 2 2950s will be clustered in an Active/Passive setup with the 2950III bearing the active role.  My VHD files will be on the iSCSI box.

My question is this:

What are the pros / cons of making the hyperv machines highly available at the hypervisor level vs. making them clustered at the VM level ?  Is it also possible to combine the clustering failover roles at the hypervisor and at the VM level ?  
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Teething
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Teething
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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
I would suggest setting up clustering at the VM level instead at the Hypervisor level as failover occurs at the granular level. Say if there is a cluster resource which crashed inside a VM, only that particular cluster group will failover to another VM which is hosted on another Hyper V server. When the complete Hyper V server goes down, even then the fail over occurs fine. Of cource this is a very tedious task to setup cluster at VM level if there are many VMs, but you will enjoy the advantages of it. More over, Hyper V fail over cluster does not guarantee data integrity when a fail over occurs (even VMware does not guarantee).

Is it also possible to combine the clustering failover roles at the hypervisor and at the VM level ?
Both ways are possible. keep in mind that the only option you have is using iSCSI shared disks. It does not make any sense to cluster at both VM and Hypervisor level. so have either one of them.
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TeethingAuthor Commented:
If the clustering is done at the VM level, how do you do segment network communications ?  Dedicate one of the nics on the hyperV server for cluster network communication and bridge it to the VMs ?

How do you ensure data integrity when setting up failovers at the VM level ?  I would think with shared storage with the VHDs on the SAN that data would be intact .
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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
You just have to configure the Hyper V network as if they are stand alone VMs. Yes it is preferred if you can dedicate separate physical NIC for each VM for better performance, or else it is fine.

Hyper V failover cluster will move the VM from one host to another but will not be able to move the data which is in the memory in case of the active node failure, this way there is no guarantee that the file is closed properly, but if you go for VM cluster the data is handled properly by the cluster service running inside the VM. a good example I can take is an Exchange database.

In both cases, you will setup to store the data on SAN.
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TeethingAuthor Commented:
Ok, so no clustering services installed on the host machine, only the VMs...

Where would the VHDs go ?  I wanted to put them on the SAN to make use of the snapshot backup techonology  so could I create a passthrough disc or iSCSI boot ?

My hyperV host will be running iSNS .

Should I also do all the configuration of the storage server through the hyperV host, or should I configure the storage at the storage server level ?
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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
Yes, the VHDs will be on SAN no difference here. What ever LUNs your Hyper V host see's, put your VHDs in that partitions.

"Should I also do all the configuration of the storage server through the hyperV host, or should I configure the storage at the storage server level ?"

Do you have another machine which is running Windows Storage Server OS? sorry I dint get this question.
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TeethingAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help.
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TeethingAuthor Commented:
All of my servers will be windows 2008 enterprise.   My hyperV host machines run the iSCSI initiator that is included with the OS.  

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ashwin_kumar525Commented:
You actually have two options:

using the LUNs mapped on the Hyper V host and storing the VHD files in there as I mentioned in my previous post or directly mapping the specific LUNs to the specific VMs using iSCIS initiator. Any thing is fine, the first one will be better than the second one as it will reduce administrative overhead.
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