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iSCSI 2 Node Failover (Not About Hyper-V)

Posted on 2012-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Alright, I can make a Hyper-V failover with iSCSI just fine and it works. Now, where I want to go with this... I want to make the iSCSI storage server failover.

Maybe I am taking the wrong approach but, this is what I have done.

Install Windows Server 2008 R2 x64
Patch up
Add to domain
Add both machines to a failover cluster
** Stated in the readme, it says to do this before I install the iSCSI target Software 3.3
Install the iSCSI Target Software 3.3
Patch again

This is where it is looking hairy.

Following the iSCSI help instructions for HA, I pass cluster validation and create the Generic Service as stated.  All is well. I use the iSCSI console to create a target, works fine and shows up in the generic service resource. Then I try to create a virtual disk.  It will not let me because I don't have any disks available. I just have 1 iscsi target disk on another machine as the witness.

So after all that reading, what this seems like it is boiling down to is that, I still need a third machine to store all the data on, to pass between the two nodes when one goes down.

So, in essence, it doesn't matter what I do, I will ALWAYS have 1 point of failure?

Am I missing something?  Oh, the storage nodes have 3 gigabit nic cards each on different subnets. 1 for the domain so I can add the cluster to AD. 1 on a private network that is only for storage (172.17.2.x) and another nic card on a different subnet just because the help says to have it (I am assuming for MPIO) (172.17.3.x)

I can provide diagrams and whatnot if that will make it easier but, please don't tell me it all boils down to storing my data on 1 machine.
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Question by:cefranklin
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 37762790
To make MS iSCSI cluster you need shared storage, for example a dual ported SAS disk enclosure.
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by:cefranklin
ID: 37762869
So, that's still the single point of failure... a dual-port sas disk enclosure.  Is there anything to take two or more computers, and have them share the same data and if one fails, the other takes over with the same data?  It seems like SAN is the answer but, for that, I would have to buy specialized equipment, correct?
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by:andyalder
ID: 37762876
Starwind Synchronous mirroring would work, you would remove the MS iSCSI target software and install StarWind target instead. You have to buy disk storage for both Windows iSCSI boxes of course. You can also install the iSCSI target software as virtual machines and use the disks in your front end hosts as the iSCSI backend cluster.

Several other mirrored iSCSI target software soltions about that don't need shared storage bt mirror synchronously instead on the marked, both physical under Windows or Linux, or virtal under Hyper-V or VMware etc.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 37762896
Dual ported SAS enclosure isn't necessarily a SPOF. A controller or PSU can fail and even a SAS expander on the backplane can fail without it stopping. The box itself is a SPOF of course, but if it's well designed it's a bit like saying the rack it's housed in is a SPOF.
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Author Comment

by:cefranklin
ID: 37762943
Any suggestions for me to follow for the Hyper-V or Linux solution?  I have tons of hyper-v and disk capacity, just want to make it work.  I'd sleep better at night lol.

These two nodes I have for storage are both RAID 5 w/ dual power supply, I just want them to fail over to each other without having to store the data on a third machine... kinda defeats the purpose of having all that storage if it is just going to be sitting on a third machine. I also have the MPIO and 2 switch failover going.
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Accepted Solution

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cefranklin earned 0 total points
ID: 37763051
Okay, it looks like I am going to have to build a do-it-yourself SAN for this.  Wish me luck.

Will leave this open in case anyone has any do it yourself san articles they would like to share :D

I went ahead and took the two storage servers out of failover and will use them as-is for now. I am dedicating one for the Hyper-V VM storage and the other for all the data that the VM's themselves would use, like a report server, etc.

If this fails, I will just settle for a SPOF :( Yeah, I can back up all day long and I have RAID5 but, if the hardware craps out, it will take down a lot of machines. That's what I am afraid of.
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Author Closing Comment

by:cefranklin
ID: 37810106
I ended up having to make a SAN. I used StarWind's SAN Symphony on 2 storage servers and 2 front end storage failover cluster.  This works since Hyper-V requires non "shared" space like DFS namespace etc. Onl downside, I need faster drives... there is a lot of disk IO.
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