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Server 2012 R2 - High avaliability VMSs without shared storage

Hi All,

I have 2 hyper-v hosts, each with local storage. One host will contain a Vm which will act as a file and print server, serving file shares for documents etc.  I want make this VM as highly available as possible so that if it goes down, I can switch over to the second host.

From what I have read, most clustering scenarios in Windows server 2012 R2 require separate hardware for shared storage however I am hoping that there is a better solution out there that will allow me to utilize just the 2 hosts with local storage.

2 Solutions
Cliff GaliherCommented:
There is software that can replicate data synchronously, but the cost/performance usually doesn't work out well since shared SAS is now relatively inexpensive. If you have some tolerance for a small amount of data loss in the event of an unplanned failover, hyper-V replica is an option and is what I'd usually recommend for a small shop where shared storage is too complex/expensive.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
You can do Hyper-V Replica between the two hosts that will allow for VM replication.

It's not a HA setup per se but works in a pinch.

Add a couple of SAS HBAs and a DNS-1640 JBOD and you have your shared storage for a very inexpensive price.

Flip your drives into the JBOD leaving two behind for the host OS, add a few more to complete the set, and away you go with an Asymmetric cluster. We deploy these to clients as small as 15 seats.
Get yourself a used, low-cost external RAID subsystem that IS on the  HCL so you know it will work in a high-availability config.  Lots of them cheap on ebay.

Or, get a SAS JBOD enclosure.  In both cases you want to get LSI non-RAID HBAs, like anyting in the 3x00 familiy if you don't need a lot of disk I/O
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lutherpendragonAuthor Commented:
Sorry, should have added that there is no extra budget available for further purchases. We have to make do with what we have which is local storage on the hosts.
lutherpendragonAuthor Commented:
I'd like to add that someone (elsewhere) suggested using a shared vhdx as the large file share and then configuring the guest VMs with the file server role, replicating them between 2 hosts and attaching that file share (shared vhdx) within them. I've been told that in the event of 1 file server going down, users can still access the fileshare through the other vm.

Has anyone done something similar?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
It doesn't work that way. A shared vhdx is intended for guest clusters, but the VJDX is still a singular entity, not replicated. So the single point of failure is still the local storage that holds the VHDX. Right now, with the "no budget" clause, I still believe hyper-V replica is your best bet as I previously mentioned. Anything else more robust will have a cost, and a not entirely insignificant one at that. Even virtual SAN software with synchronous writes/replication is a but spendy.
lutherpendragonAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the verification. Will look into Hyper-v replica and post seperate questions!
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