Setting Up Failover Clustering for Hyper-V (Part 2)

by [Published on 7 April 2011 / Last Updated on 7 April 2011]

This article continues the discussion of failover clustering for Hyper-V by showing you how to begin creating the shared storage pool that will eventually be used by your failover cluster.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

Introduction

In the first part of this article series, I discussed the basic infrastructure requirements for building a failover cluster with Hyper-V. In this article, I want to continue the discussion by showing you how to set up the necessary shared storage on which your virtual hard disks will be stored.

Before I Begin

There are a number of different products available that you can use to create a shared storage volume. Because this article focuses primarily on Microsoft products, I decided to use Microsoft’s storage solution – Windows Storage Server 2008. Of course you are certainly free to use any storage product that you like, so long as it is compatible with Windows failover clustering.

Unfortunately, the Windows Storage Server 2008 operating system isn’t something that you can go out and buy. Microsoft only sells it as an OEM product. In other words, if you want to use Windows Storage Server 2008 you will have to purchase a physical storage server with the operating system already installed. However, this does not mean that you cannot experiment with Windows Storage Server 2008 before making a purchase. You can download a copy of Windows Storage Server 2008 from TechNet.

One helpful tidbit of information is that TechNet lists Windows Storage Server 2008 as Windows Storage Server 2008 Embedded. Just because Microsoft calls the software embedded however, it does not mean that you have to integrate the software into a physical appliance.

Believe it or not, the version that is available on TechNet does not require you to have any specialized hardware. If your test server is capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 then you should have no trouble running Windows Storage Server.

The Installation Process

Aside from a few minor differences, the process for setting up Windows Storage Server 2008 is nearly identical to the procedure that you would use to manually deploy any other edition of Windows Server 2008.

You can begin the deployment process by booting from the installation DVD. Once the Windows installation wizard loads, you will be prompted to specify your language and regional settings. Make your selection and click Next.

At this point, you will be taken to a screen that asks you if you want to install Windows or if you want to repair your computer. Since we are setting up Windows Storage Server, click the Install Now button.

The next screen that you will encounter asks you for your product key. You don’t have to put in a product key right now unless you want to though. If you do choose to provide a product key then enter your product key and select the Automatically Activate Windows When I’m Online check box.

The screen that you will see when you click Next will vary depending on whether or not you have entered a product key. If you did not provide the installation wizard with a product key then you will be taken to a screen that asks you to select the edition of Windows Storage Server 2008 that you want to install. For the purpose of this article series, I will be installing Windows Storage Server 2008 Enterprise, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A: Choose the edition of Windows Storage Server 2008 that you want to install.

When you have made your selection, select the I Have Selected the Edition of Windows that I Have Purchased check box and click Next.

You should now arrive at a screen that asks you to accept the license agreement for the operating system. After doing so, click Next.

The following screen asks you if you want to perform an upgrade or a Custom (Advanced) installation. You will have no choice but to perform a custom installation because the Upgrade option is disabled for new installations. Therefore, click the Custom (Advanced) button.

At this point, you must tell the installation wizard where you want to install Windows. Being that we are installing Windows Storage Server, there are likely to be multiple volumes available for installation, as shown in Figure B. I recommend installing Windows onto your server’s C: drive and saving any remaining volumes for the shared storage pool that you will be creating later on. After you have made your selection, click Next and Windows will install the necessary files and complete the installation process.


Figure B: You should install Windows Storage Server onto your server’s C: drive and save the other volumes for use as shared storage pools.

Logging In to Windows Storage Server

Normally, when you install Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you will be prompted to change the administrative password before you will be able to log in for the first time. Windows Storage Server 2008 is different in that the administrative password has already been set and you will not be able to log into the server unless you know what that password is. The default administrative password is: wSS2008! The letter W is lower case, and both instances of the letter S are upper case. Don’t forget the exclamation point at the end.

The iSCSI Target Software

As I explained in the first part of this article series, we are going to be using our Windows Storage Server as a shared storage pool. The cluster nodes that we will be creating later on will attach to the shared storage pool by using an iSCSI connection.

What might surprise you is that Windows Storage Server 2008 does not contain all of the software necessary to act as an iSCSI target. The server comes equipped with iSCSI initiator software, but it does not contain the necessary iSCSI target software.

If you are a TechNet subscriber, you can download the iSCSI target software directly from TechNet. As you can see in Figure C, the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.2 is the second item on the list of Windows Storage Server 2008 downloads.


Figure C: You will need to download the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target.

Installing the iSCSI Software Target

The process of installing the iSCSI Software Target is really easy. If you download the software from TechNet, the download will consist of a CD image (an ISO file). Even though this image is only a few megabytes in size, you will need to burn it to a CD or a DVD.

When you have created the necessary media, insert it into your storage server and navigate to the disk’s X64 folder, and then double click on the iSCSITarget file (ignore the iSCSIClient file). When you do, Windows will launch the Microsoft iSCSI Target Setup Wizard. Click Next to bypass the wizard’s Welcome screen. You will now be prompted to accept the software’s license agreement. After doing so, click Install and the necessary files will be copied to your server. When the process completes, click Finish.

Conclusion

In this article, I have shown you how to acquire and install Windows Storage Server 2008. In Part 3 of this article series, I will continue the discussion by showing you how to establish an iSCSI connection to your Windows Storage Server. 

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

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