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Affordable SAN/ISCSI for Hyper-V Failover Cluster

Posted on 2010-11-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am looking to pull from everyone's first hand experience regarding Microsoft Hyper-V's failover cluster support.  I need a device out there that doesn't cost huge money and still supports this technology.  I found something from EMC I think might work around $8500.  Anyone esle have a suggestion or more input?
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Question by:tarkmyler
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kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 34128496
Starwindsoftware.com for iSCSI target software that runs on Windows
openfiler.com for iSCSI target software that is linux based

Both of these can be run on VMs running in Hyper-V, or you can probably run Starwind directly on the Hyper-V hosts or another host.

Drobo.com sells some inexpensive and easy to use devices, as well as Celeros.com.

vm6software.com is also directly targeting your needs.

It kind of all depends on what kind of performance, reliability, and availability (redundancy) you are looking for and are willing to pay for. Basically anything that support iSCSI will work, though performance and other capabilities will vary.
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by:tarkmyler
ID: 34128933
After reading a few whitepapers on Hyper-V failover clustering and Cluster Shared Volumes, it appears that it needs to be an ISCSI 3 device, and needs to specifically support CSV.  I guess multiple ISCSI initiators need to be able to connect to the same ISCSI volume for this configuration?  Anyone have experience that can clear this up?
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 34130166
Yes, you do need to be able to support multiple initiators, and SCSI-3 reservations. You should double check the HCL before buying, but it seems that most systems are compatable. There is no separate capability that needs to be present to support CSV.
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Author Comment

by:tarkmyler
ID: 34157973
Kevinhsieh,

That being said, is it possible to do away with NAS and have Hyper-V failover clustering configured with DAS? {Direct Attached Storage to each server}
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 34157992
No, you can't cluster with DAS that is acting as DAS. You would have to put an iSCSI front end to the DAS like Starwind or OpenFiler.
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Author Comment

by:tarkmyler
ID: 34158313
To continue picking your brain, if I had two servers running Hyper-V with two separate ISCSI devices, one for use with each server, would I be able to use Hyper-V clustering?  Let's assume that the NAS devices that were being used for ISCSI storage didn't support Cluster Shared Volumes.


What am I getting at:
Does the cluster mirror data, or do you have to have some kind of ISCSI device that allows for multiple hosts to connect to one volume?
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 34158768
The cluster will not mirror the data without 3rd party replication software, which is expensive. The iSCSI target needs to support persistent reservations, which is part of the SCSI-3 specification. It's a requirement for Windows 2008 clustering with shared disk. Cluster Shared Volumes doesn't present a higher requirement than regular clustering, and the iSCSI target doesn't need to know about it. It only needs to allow multiple initiators (hosts) to connect to the volume.

If you are unable to use CSV, you can use regular disk clustering where only 1 server at a time has access to the disk. Will you probably only store 1 VM per volume, because all of the servers on a volume will need to fail over to the same node at the same time. You will probably also need to mount every volume as its own drive letter. I was unable to properly do clustering until Windows 2008 R2 was released because I have many more VMs than there are drive letters, and trying to do clustering without drive letters and just using drive GUIDs was a nightmare.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770625(WS.10).aspx
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