How to migrate Windows Server 2008 R2 file server cluster to Windows Server 2012 R2?

Hi,

Currently, we are maintaining two Windows Server 2008 R2 file clusters, i.e. staff and students. Now, we want to upgrade/migrate them to Windows Server 2012 R2. Our storage is SAN based (fiber). Its shares are mapped to file servers.

Now, in regards to planning, where should I start? Is there any major difference between Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 file clusters?
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A1opusAsked:
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Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:
Managing a cluster on 2012R2 is basically the same as before.  Get used to PowerShell though, you'll get more use and info out of PowerShell than the GUI.

As for planning...

1. What SAN technology/brand are you using?
2. What does your storage utilization look like for the last 1 or 2 years?
3. What is the cost of adding storage capacity to the SAN?
4. Are there applications (exchange, SQL server, 3rd party, etc.) that use the cluster(s)?
5. Are you restricted to using your existing SAN solution?
5. How many sites do you have users in? More than 1 datacenter?
6. Can you plan down time or must the file services be continuously available?
7. Will you be restructuring the share and/or file structures?
8. How have you permissioned your shares and files structure?
8a. Direct on users or via group membership?

As for migrating...

1. How many SAN volumes are presented to the cluster?
2. Does your SAN support volume replication/duplication?
3. Do you use a backup and recovery solution?

Some of your possibilities:
- You may be able to duplicate/replicate a volume to a new LUN and present that LUN to the 2012R2 cluster.  
- You use your backup/recovery system to restore the most current image of your existing clustered disk resources to the new cluster
- You could put replication/synchronization tech (DFS as mentioned above by Mark) to use DFS-R to keep the 2 clusters in sync until you move all your users to the new shares.  IMO, this works best only when DFS Namespaces are in use.

Dan
A1opusAuthor Commented:
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the reply but we are not interested in DFS because we have single forest, single site, relatively small organization therefore, DFS is not for us for sure. Currently, we are managing it via Failover Cluster Resource Manager and cluster disks....
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A1opusAuthor Commented:
Hi Dan,

Thank you for your detailed reply. If I reply to the planning questions, it would be like this:

As for planning...

1. What SAN technology/brand are you using?
NetApp
2. What does your storage utilization look like for the last 1 or 2 years?
Storage utilization or adding more storage is not an issue.
3. What is the cost of adding storage capacity to the SAN?
No worries
4. Are there applications (exchange, SQL server, 3rd party, etc.) that use the cluster(s)?
Nope. Only Faculty, staff, and students and their departmental shares will be hosted on cluster.
5. Are you restricted to using your existing SAN solution?
Yes
5. How many sites do you have users in? More than 1 datacenter?
Only 1 site/datacenter. Pretty simple.
6. Can you plan down time or must the file services be continuously available?
We can plan downtime for few hours, not more than 3 hours.
7. Will you be restructuring the share and/or file structures?
For the time being, we will map the same shares.
8. How have you permissioned your shares and files structure?
Yes, NTFS permissions/ACL are pretty complex.
8a. Direct on users or via group membership?
Both

As for migrating...

1. How many SAN volumes are presented to the cluster?
As I have mentioned, there are two file clusters. Here is the detai:

X file cluster = 3 Services/applications, 2 nodes, cluster disks: 8 + 1 quoram
Y Cluster= 1 Applications/Services, 2 Nodes, Cluster Disks: 10 + 1 quoram
2. Does your SAN support volume replication/duplication?
I need to check
3. Do you use a backup and recovery solution?
Yes, IBM Tivoli/TSM

We don't use DFS
Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:
OK, then... your technology base is set.  The existing clusters appear to be well documented.

The initial steps are pretty straight forward for each cluster:

1. acquire hardware
2. build out OSes on the cluster nodes
3. fully patch server OS
4. drop in, network connectivity for main network and cluster heartbeat
5. drop in SAN connectivity and a test LUN
6. present volume to cluster nodes.
7. run Failover Cluster validation test
8. drop test LUNs and volumes.

Then you create a new cluster, copy of the cluster roles, migrate the SAN resources over to the new cluster nodes, destroy the old cluster.

If you want to use new storage resources, then you will need to plan to either duplicate the LUNs and volumes or restore the file structures to the new cluster's storage resources.

Here is a good overview and planning resource from Microsoft:

link:  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn530779.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396

Dan
TAMUQITSCommented:
Hi Dan,

Thank you for your comment. So, we are planning to add our Windows Server 2012 R2 nodes to existing Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster. Now, as I told you our existing failover cluster's nodes got mapped SAN LUNs. Remember, new nodes are VMWare VMs.

I have already added the roles to new Server 2012 VMs. Now what else should I do before adding them to existing cluster?
Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:
You can't add a 2012 R2 server to a 2008 R2 cluster.  As I mentioned above, you do the following:

1. create a new 2012 R2 cluster
2. use the "Copy Cluster Roles Wizard" to migrate roles and services from the old cluster to the new
3. take the SAN resources off the old cluster and connect the LUNs to the new nodes in the new cluster
4. destroy the old cluster server

I would read thru Microsoft article (as well as the linked articles there) I posted above, it contains all the info on planning and doing the migration.

Another step-by-step article:

http://alexappleton.net/post/92084405009/step-by-step-hyper-v-failover-cluster-migration-to

Again, you are building a new cluster, not adding new servers to the old cluster.  Then migrating the roles and services from the old cluster to the new cluster, then taking the old cluster offline.

Dan

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