High Availability in Cluster Services

Posted on 2011-04-20
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I got a question that i can't seem to find an answer for.  When using hyper-v failover cluster services you can create a high available share or other service or application.  This confuses me.  What does this acomplish?  For instance, whats the difference if i create a file share thru the failover cluster manager, or create a file share on the shared storage the virtual server running on the cluster is using?

is there something more highly available about it?
Question by:beaconlightboy
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    Yes. The prior is referenced using a dedicated IPs thus doesn't need reconfiguration on the client end. but the latter is a share on a shared storage which can change ownership there reconfiguration  is required. For instance If you share a folder on  shared storage on a FO cluster w/o making it HA share. You can use is by \\CURRENTOWNER\share. If the owner of the shared storage is change you will not be able to access the share with this configuration. You will have to reconfigure the share at the client end and point it to the current owner.  
    Whereas in the case of the share itself being HA and managed using FCM, the share has a Virtual Name and IP assigned to it. If case of Node failure, the HA share moves to another node along with it vName and IP address requiring no re-configuration.
    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    So what your saying is... a HA share isn't tied to a windows server?  it's tied to the cluster?
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    it is not bound to a particular node in a cluster rather it becames a application servicable anywhere within the cluster.
    LVL 41

    Assisted Solution

    There are a couple of different levels at which you can clustering to protect a resource. The traditional way is to have two nodes connected to shared storage. You use the cluster manager to create a high availability share. This creates a share associated with a virtual server name that is created by the cluster. One node will run the services associated with the share at a time. During failover, the other node takes ownership of the storage and quickly restarts the service.

    If you have a VM providing a file share, when failover happens, the entire VM restarts on the other node. This takes a lot longer. You are also not protected against corruption or problems inside the VM image. Setting up a VM is generally simpler than dealing with a clustered service. You can generally treat a VM acting as a file server just like a normal server. Backups on a clustered service are more complicated, for example.

    It is also possible to have two VMs running in the same or separate Hyper-V clusters where the VMs themselves are running the cluster service and are working together to serve a file share.
    LVL 3

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for clarifying guys.

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