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  • Hyper-V failover cluster, different servers

    I'm considering creating a Win2k8 R2 Hyper-V failover cluster. I currently have a DL360G6 and would like to buy an additional DL380G6.

    The DL360G6 currently has a single E5504 CPU (I'd add another one) and the DL380G6 would have two X5550 CPUs. The amount of RAM, NICs would be identical, I'm undecided as far as a SAN model is concerned (shouldn't matter much).

    I've read that Live Migration requires that all servers in the cluster must run the same processor family (even the same processor stepping).
    Would I even be able to create a cluster with these two different machines, would Live Migration (considering I enabled the migration compatibility setting).

    I initially picked (no purchase has been made) the particular DL380G6 model since it has a better CPU and HDD space (not much of an issue with a SAN).

    Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Hyper-V failover cluster, different servers

    Well, here's a quote from "Cluster Validation Tests: Inventory" :
    You can run the following inventory tests by using the Validate a Configuration Wizard:
    • List BIOS Information
    • List Environment Variables: Examples of environment variables are the number of processors, the operating system path, and the location of temporary folders.
    • List Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters
    • List iSCSI Host Bus Adapters
    • List Memory Information
    • List Operating System Information
    • List Plug and Play Devices
    • List Running Processes
    • List SAS Host Bus Adapters: This test lists the host bus adapters for Serial Attached SCSI (SAS).
    • List Services Information: As a general best practice for servers, especially cluster nodes, you should run only necessary services.
    • List Software Updates: You can use this test to help correct issues that are uncovered by one of the System Configuration tests, Validate Software Update Levels. For more information, see Understanding Cluster Validation Tests: System Configuration.
    • List System Drivers
    • List System Information: The system information includes the following:

      • Computer name
      • Manufacturer, model, and type
      • Account name of the person who ran the validation tests
      • Domain that the computer is in
      • Time zone and daylight time setting (determines whether the clock is adjusted for daylight time changes)
      • Number of processors
    • List Unsigned Drivers: You can use this test to help correct issues that are uncovered by one of the System Configuration tests, Validate All Drivers Signed. For more information, see Understanding Cluster Validation Tests: System Configuration.
    ( the highlight in dark red is mine, to emphasize).
    As you can see, the requirement is for number of processors, not their type. I also find it difficult to believe that parameters such stepping should be relevant. Manufacturer of the processor it should, but stepping? I don't know.
    Just to be clear: I never encountered the need to build failover clustering on two different types of servers. They were always the same. So, cannot tell you for sure it is 100% certain.
    But let's deal with a question IMHO should be answered prior this issue: why are you buying a DL380? There are few advantages the 380 series has over the 360 one:
    - more expansion slots (6 vs. 2);
    - more drive bays (16 in some configurations, vs. only 8 in 360);
    - supports both SFF and LFF disks.
    Disadvantages:
    - double in size;
    - more expensive.
    So, the question is: are there any of the advantages relevant to you? From what you said so far, I do not see it. You'll have to have a SAN ( so the disks issue is irrelevant) and the number of additional cards you can add is also irrelevant. Then why buy a DL380?
    I would go for a DL360 G6 and add an additional CPU to the existing one.
    I would ask my supplier for a DL360 G6 with 2xX5550 CPUs for testing, install on it Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role and the Failover Clustering feature and run the "Validate a Cluster Configuration" (from within the Failover Cluster Manager) against these two servers. The report you'll get will tell you anything you need to know about your two-servers configuration. This way, should the test fail, you can always send the server back and buy the other one.
    BTW, both DL380 and DL360 have the same CPU list.

    HTH.

    Sorin Solomon

    »»»»»
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    -
    «««««

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Hyper-V failover cluster, different servers

      Thank you very much sorinso. You're correct I probably don't need a DL380 and can save up a bit there.

      As far as processor compatibility, as I understand it the process Family matters (is a definite requirement for Live Migration), just one of the sites that mention it:
      http://www.simple-talk.com/sysadmin/...ive-migration/

      I'll see if a DL360 G6 with 2 x X5550 CPUs for testing can be provided, worst case I can go with a new DL360G6 with 2 x E5504 and add another CPU to my existing server (not sure how much of a difference there is between the two).

      Probably not the topic to ask this in, but since you've helped me out with the above, I'd appreciate your input as far as a SAN is concerned. I'm not sure a FC SAN is the way to go for our small environment and I currently don't have any 1GB or above switches for an iSCSI (although I heard HP bundles their own which are quite inexpensive).
      I've been considering a SAS one, such as the HP StorageWorks MSA2312sa (would like to stay with HP on this since I only have one vendor to deal with and will get a much better price for the entire package), but have never dealt with a SAN before and am not sure this is what is required.

      I currently have about 1TB of data on all our servers and I'd like to use the SAN for the Hyper-V R2 failover-cluster as well as attaching a DL360G5 ESX server and some (probably 1) additional server to it.

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      • #4
        Re: Hyper-V failover cluster, different servers

        Originally posted by CypherBit View Post
        Thank you very much sorinso. You're correct I probably don't need a DL380 and can save up a bit there.
        Cool. Let us know what you decided

        Originally posted by CypherBit View Post
        As far as processor compatibility, as I understand it the process Family matters (is a definite requirement for Live Migration), just one of the sites that mention it:
        http://www.simple-talk.com/sysadmin/...ive-migration/
        I have to tell you I'm not convinced. I never met this requirement in whitepapers before. I did fond the sentence from the site you posted in another site, but word-by-word, so pretty sure one of them copied from the other. And there's one explanation (as we usually find in undocumented issues). Anyway, it is something worth keeping in the back of your head.

        Originally posted by CypherBit View Post
        I'll see if a DL360 G6 with 2 x X5550 CPUs for testing can be provided, worst case I can go with a new DL360G6 with 2 x E5504 and add another CPU to my existing server (not sure how much of a difference there is between the two).
        Difference from what POV (point of view )?
        Price ? The difference in internet price (the price HP sell the product on their site) between the two is almost $1000 (with X5550 being the expensive, of course).
        Other data? These are the specs for:
        X5550: Intel® Xeon® X5550 (4 core, 2.66 GHz, 8MB L3, 95W)
        E5504: Intel® Xeon® E5504 (4 core, 2.00 GHz, 4MB L3, 80W)
        Notice the differences in frequency, L3 cache memory and power consumption. Depending on the number of VMs you want on the DL360 G6 with E5504, it might be enough.
        Originally posted by CypherBit View Post
        Probably not the topic to ask this in, but since you've helped me out with the above, I'd appreciate your input as far as a SAN is concerned. I'm not sure a FC SAN is the way to go for our small environment and I currently don't have any 1GB or above switches for an iSCSI (although I heard HP bundles their own which are quite inexpensive).
        I've been considering a SAS one, such as the HP StorageWorks MSA2312sa (would like to stay with HP on this since I only have one vendor to deal with and will get a much better price for the entire package), but have never dealt with a SAN before and am not sure this is what is required.

        I currently have about 1TB of data on all our servers and I'd like to use the SAN for the Hyper-V R2 failover-cluster as well as attaching a DL360G5 ESX server and some (probably 1) additional server to it.
        Let me tell you about my set-up:
        - two DL360 G5, with 2xIntel Quad CPUs (don't recall the exact model), 24GB RAM and an additional Quad-Port NIC;
        - one HP MSA2012i (meaning the iSCSI model), with 4TB disks (1.5TB SAS + 2.5TB SATA - they can be combined in the same box);
        - two HP Procurve 2610 switches.
        The servers act as hosts for the VMs. The VHD files reside on the SAN, that is connected to the servers through the two switches (for redundancy). Works like a charm.
        These switches are pretty cheap (some $500 Internet price). I have the iSCSI running on a separate LAN from the Ethernet, hence the need for a quad-port NIC. Considering your needed set-up, an additional two-ports NIC might be enough. One way or another, the two on-board NICs will not be enough anyway.

        Sorin Solomon

        »»»»»
        In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
        -
        «««««

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Hyper-V failover cluster, different servers

          Thank you again.

          I've recently attended a seminar and was told there as well that they have to be in the same processor family for the Live Migration feature to work. The guy even did systeminfo so we'd have a quick way of knowing which family the CPU belonged to.
          MS also mentions something along those lines: http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/faq.aspx I'll try to research this part even further.

          As far as the CPU itself you're correct, I didn't state from what POV I'm interested in the differences. I'll try to get some benchmarks to compare the two. I noticed the price differences just not sure how they compare as far as performance.

          I'll talk to one of the HP partners I regularly deal with as far as the SAN. My setup (if approved) would definitely be very similar to what you've got, including the amount of RAM. Thank you for pointing out the two/quad port NICs, I'll make sure to keep those in mind when ordering.

          Just curious how many VMs, in approximately what configuration (RAM, HDD, CPU, applications/roles) do you have on one of your DL360 G5's (I assume you're not overloading them and can easily swith all VMs from one node to another with some room to spare)?

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