Failover Clustering - Production Server + New Server

Scenario:  I have a newly deployed Server 2012 R2 Standard Server running Hyper-V.  The VM is a 2012 R2 Standard Primary Domain Controller and File Server.  I will be adding a second Hyper-V Host Server with an identical configuration and will be a backup Server.

My Question:  Seeing as the first Server is already in production, is it possible to configure a Failover Cluster?   Would I be better off configuring it as a Backup Domain Controller?  I would be much happier with a Failover Cluster.

I've never configured a Cluster and will be winging it.  I plan to have a backup of both of the Hyper-V Host Servers prior to getting started.  Any advise is welcome.  A rundown of the process would be appreciated, as well.  

Thanks in advance!

- Josh
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
You can certainly create a cluster, however a few things to consider:

1) Don't "wing it." Clusters are highly complex systems and you can *easily* permanently break your environment. Because cluster objects are in AD, a really bad mistake can mean rebuilding your entire domain.

2) Clustering DCs is not supported.

3) having a DC guest move between cluster nodes is discouraged. You are better served with a DC on each node and locked to it.

4) Following the advice for #3 means that, given your description, to make your file server highly available would require separating that role and data from the existing DC.

basically? I'm not sure this is a project you want to consider taking on. Based on my impressions, the limitations and abilities of a failover cluster have not been fully researched.

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AtuNaseemAuthor Commented:
Great answer.  You've cleared up a lot of questions.  And yes, the research had just begun.   I thought I'd reach out to someone with experience to start and I'm glad I did.  

Looks like I'll be setting up a BDC.  Do you have any suggestions on how to sync the data drives in case of PDC failure?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
DCs are multi-master and keep themselves in sync. PDC/BDC terminology and functionality went away with NT4.

If you are talking about keeping multiple copies of a file server data though, no. That has nothing to do with DC functionality and thus there is no shortcut for a file server cluster in that regard.
AtuNaseemAuthor Commented:
Thanks for another quick response.   I do understand the functionality of DCs.  I was only speaking of the data itself, to see if you had any suggestions to keep the two directories in sync.  You've already been a great help and have solved my initial question.

Thank you.
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Windows Server 2012

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