2008 R2 core clustering - configuration

I have been reviewing some articles on creating a 2008 R2 Core Server two node cluster.  From what I have read one of the first steps is having a 2008 AD server which is attached via ISCSI to a SAN.  Then I need two 2008 Core Servers to be part of this domain. These two nodes are then clustered  through their connection to the AD server and by proxy through ISCSI on the AD share the SAN. So in reality a 2 node cluster really needs 3 computers at minimum? Or is there a way to create a 2 node cluster with simply two Core Servers?  Could one of them host a 2008 AD VM which would somehow do the job of the physical 2008 AD server?
lineonecorpAsked:
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jakethecatukConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you create a VM and make it your only DC (which I think is what you are suggesting) and you join your 2008 core servers to that domain, then when the 2008 core servers start, they will try and contact and authenticate themselves to the domain - which isn't running yet because HYPER-V starts after networking and your 2008 core machines will fail to start correctly (along with quite a few services).

I can't understand why you are wanting to do things the way you are.

I have built and configured many HYPER-V clusters and I would NEVER build an environment like this because it is fundamentally flawed.  You don't have the expertise of HYPER-V to do this on your own, so you will be posting many more questions on EE when you get stuck.

My final piece of advice is this - have a third physical server to act as the first domain controller and DNS (you can have virtual DC's as well later) and to manage the two HYPER-V core servers.  This third server will not be part of the cluster (as said earlier), it is there purely for management and to act as a DC.  

If you aren't prepared to accept this advise as being the most practicle and safest way to proceed, then you are on your own - GOOD LUCK!
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jakethecatukCommented:
[linecorp quote]From what I have read one of the first steps is having a 2008 AD server which is attached via ISCSI to a SAN[/end quote]

The AD server does not have to be attached via iSCSI to a SAN.  Typically, AD servers only use local storage so this isn't a requirement.

[linecorp quote]Then I need two 2008 Core Servers to be part of this domain. These two nodes are then clustered  through their connection to the AD server and by proxy through ISCSI on the AD share the SAN[end quote]

Ummmm....that does not make sense.  The first line about them being part of the domain, yup - that's correct.  The rest of it is incorrect (well, I've never seen a cluster set up like that).

[linecorp quote]Could one of them host a 2008 AD VM which would somehow do the job of the physical 2008 AD server?[end quote]

You really REALLY don't want to do that unless you have a seperate physical AD server.  Only having one virtual AD server is not a good idea.  Having that virtual machine on a HYPER-V box that is part of the domain that the VM runs will probably cause HYPER-V not to work too well as it will not have an AD server to authenticate against at boot time.

You can have a two node cluster - that is fine.  You will need to provision a small iSCSI LUN and present it to both 2008 core servers - this will be the quorum (the bit that manages the cluster) and it only needs to be around 1gb.

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jakethecatukCommented:
have a read of this technet section (it covers 2008 and 2008 R2)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732488(WS.10).aspx

focus on this bit to start with.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770620(WS.10).aspx
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
I got my ideas reading this article and others like it.  http://thelazyadmin.com/blogs/thelazyadmin/archive/2008/10/16/building-a-2-node-server-core-failover-cluster.aspx

Are you saying I don't need the AD server described here as one of  the necessary items? I don't need an AD at all?

Plus there's no mention of quorum disk in the article. Does it mean I have to divide the SAN storage up into two different volumes? Drive letters?
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jakethecatukCommented:
Thanks for the link.  Now I've read the article I can see why you are confused.

The article assumes a lot and that is where you may have got confused.

Lets start with: -
[The Lazy Admin quote]Before you get started you will need the following:

1.3 servers at minimum (1DC, 2 Nodes)
2.Shared storage (iSCSI or FibreChannel)
3.3 Networks (Public, iSCSI, Heartbeat)[/end quote]

In the article, the DC is there as a domain controller and used to manage the  two 2008 core servers.  The DC does not form any part of the cluster.

The shared storage is the quorum that I mentioned.  

The rest of the article is ok and if you look at the last screen shot, it does mention quorum :)

Give it a go - but not in a production environment :)
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for reading the article. I would prefer your suggestion where there is no DC. So if I just ignore the DC part of the article I can follow the other steps?
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jakethecatukCommented:
If you ignore the DC, you will have more grief than you can begin to imagine.

Not being in a domain will mean that you have to configure all the mangagement, firewall, remote desktop and roles manually and believe me, you don't want to try that on core through the command line.

Create a DC and use that as your management station - your life will be a whole lot easier.
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
"You can have a two node cluster - that is fine.  You will need to provision a small iSCSI LUN and present it to both 2008 core servers - this will be the quorum (the bit that manages the cluster) and it only needs to be around 1gb."

Now I'm confused.  I thought the above indicated that I didn't need a DC. So I do need 3 computers?  I don't care what the 3rd one is called - management station, whatever. I never thought it was part of the cluster apparatus to begin with e.g. I needed to cluster 3 computers at a minimum.  Is there any way I can do this with just two computers?  That's the question I've been after from the beginning.  Can one of the Core Servers be the DC?  
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jandelbasanalCommented:
I think what you mean is, Server Clustering ? if thats the case yes you can configure 2node cluster to connecting to our quorum disks..NO NEED DC on your cluster.I assumed your are in AD environment and wants to know what is the minimum number of clusters.The answer is 2, of course you cant cluster 1 server.Then your second question is, "can one of the core servers be the DC?",this is server clustering right?so the big picture is QUORUM, or storage...and its purpose is high availlability on storage.My answer is, as best practice NO.well you can configure your DC's as your cluster server connecting to storage...but wow you are kiling the servers man....hope that helps
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
What I would like to do ultimately is have a 2008 DC/File server clustered which I thought I could do by having two boxes, a SAN and then running the clustering software.  I was not anticipating needing a third computer.  I thought this was called 2 node clustering. If it's called server clustering then that's my mistake. So how do I go about doing that?

And if I am going to proceed with the DC business - which I started -  what do I do after I have the two nodes are joined to the domain which is what I have now. I can't seem to figure out from the docs how I then get the SAN into the picture - it's there, it's running, I used to have a 2008 server connected to it - how do I 'connect' it now to the nodes so that they they see it as a shared drive?
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jandelbasanalConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I just give you some overview then you search for a detailed instructions,,,Ok now your SAN,setup the clustering,you could create DNS cluster hostname/IP.Then setup cluster management software,add the 2 nodes or computers you want to cluster,setup the storage (SAN) or quorum disks, this is the picture you mention.Then manage you cluster (nodes,storage) Pls refer to link below perfectly for you.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770620(WS.10).aspx

Scenario: You have high availlability shared drives with 2 clustered server handling it. If other node gets down, you still have other node holding your shared drives.And also, search for "Heartbeat"...good luck man..hope that helps
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jakethecatukCommented:
[lineonecorp quote]What I would like to do ultimately is have a 2008 DC/File server clustered which I thought I could do by having two boxes, a SAN and then running the clustering software.  I was not anticipating needing a third computer.  I thought this was called 2 node clustering. If it's called server clustering then that's my mistake. So how do I go about doing that?

And if I am going to proceed with the DC business - which I started -  what do I do after I have the two nodes are joined to the domain which is what I have now. I can't seem to figure out from the docs how I then get the SAN into the picture - it's there, it's running, I used to have a 2008 server connected to it - how do I 'connect' it now to the nodes so that they they see it as a shared drive?[/end quote]

OK - just to make sure I know where you are.
Q. Have you installed 2008 Core on both of the servers you want to use?
Q. Have you given them an IP address?
Q. Have you joined them to an existing domain or are they in a workgroup?



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jakethecatukCommented:
Answer the above questions, and we can walk you through sorting this out once and forall.
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for sticking this out.

Q. Have you installed 2008 Core on both of the servers you want to use?

Yes

Q. Have you given them an IP address?

Yes

Q. Have you joined them to an existing domain or are they in a workgroup?

I have joined them to a domain on a third computer for the purposes of just getting everything working per the instructions I was following - sort of proof of concept. So everything is running now but I really don't want a third box just for the domain in the production environment. Is it possible to create a VM on one of the Core servers that will be the DC for the setup meaning that I won't have to have a separate box just for the domain? Also can I then make the other Core Server the secondary DC or a read-only DC so I have some redundancy there as well?
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jakethecatukCommented:
To answer your third question, anything is possible within reason.  However, it's more a case of whether (a) it's recommended by Microsoft and (b) is it supported by Microsoft.

Going down this route you are going to create yourself a whole heap of problems when it comes to configuration and day to day management.

However, it's your party...so...here you go

1. Install 2008 Core on your 2 servers.
2. Configure the IP addresses
3. Make both servers using dcpromo /unattend:{filename} (see this link to work out how to build your unattend file - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947034).  For your second server, the unattend file will be slightly different.  Create a virtual machine as well as a DC - having three DC's is better than two :)
4. Join a PC to the newly created domain and install the 2008 management tools onto it.
5. Install HYPER-V.  start /w ocsetup Microsoft-Hyper-V.  It will reboot a few times you'll be good to go.

Now using your Management PC, you can start configuring HYPER-V and AD.

Good luck...you really REALLY are going to need it doing it this way.
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the further feedback.

You write:

"Create a virtual machine as well as a DC'

Assume I've already got the HyperV role setup on the core servers.

Again assuming I have the HyperV role assigned on the Core Server and I have a management machine available to access the function, can I not create a 2008 standard VM on the Core Server which I can make a  DC?

And once I have this DC VM configured can I not join the two Core Servers to it as member servers?

And finally can't this DC VM also serve as a management server?

Or is  that what you are saying?

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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the clarification and the warnings.  I just like to know all the options before I start anything.  I had thought of the problem you mentioned about the Core Servers not having a DC to log into but I wanted to have somebody confirm that it was at least doable before pondering further on any ways to work around the disability - like not having autologon on startup of the Core servers, manually starting the DC VM and then logging the Core Servers in to it - again manually.

Thanks for sticking through this. I promise I won't endanger too many  lives with my experiments.
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