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Dec
1
Cluster: Firewall GPO Settings
Posted by Philip Elder on 01 December 2014 10:59 AM

Original here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Cluster: Firewall GPO Settings

Here are some firewall settings that we configure via GPO for both our AD environment but also for our cluster setups.

Domain linked GPO:

image

At the domain level, thus all systems are impacted by these settings, we configure Remote Desktop inbound, Remote Event Log Management, Remote Volume Management, and finally Remote Firewall management.

Cluster OU linked GPO:

image

Here we set the inbound rules that allow us to manage our clusters. The Inbound Rule for Remote Shutdown is a critical one to implement as that allows Cluster Aware Updating to run.

And, there is one rule that seems to be in both places. Chalk that up to export/import. :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Oct
23

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: SMB Kitchen Content Posted: Exchange Migration Documentation, Cluster Quotes, and Proposal Template

I’ve published three very significant documents to the ASP SMBKitchen knowledgebase.

Exchange Migration Guide

The following is the product of many Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 migrations.

image

The guide walks through all of the necessary steps to migrate from Exchange 2003 and up to Exchange 2013. If migrating from v2003 then a two-step process would be required where we’d migrate to Exchange 2010 and then on to 2013.

We’ve done the two-step process on a number of occasions with small and large Public Folder stores without any real issues. It works quite well

Note that the primary focus of this guide is all of the PowerShell required to configure Exchange, work within the process, and recover from some specific errors that may happen. Everything is there as far as configuring Virtual Directories, the Service Connection Point (SCP), setting quotas, limits on send, and more.

On-Premises Proposal Document

The second document posted is an Excel spreadsheet that allows us to publish a proposal for an on-premises infrastructure deployment. It presents one number including a number for deposit to the end-user.

image

It includes two Intel Server Systems based configurations, which can be changed to Dell or other system, software licensing costs, and a labour section that allows for a detailed scope for us with a brief in the proposal itself.

1U Cluster Quote

The third document is a quote in Excel for the base Scale-Out File Server Cluster setup we would propose for an on-premises infrastructure setup.

It uses the above template with four Intel Server Systems R1208JP4OC 1U single socket servers configured for either the Scale-Out File Server cluster node or the Hyper-V cluster node. It uses a 10GbE backend for SMB traffic via two NETGEAR XS712T 12-Port 10GbE switches.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business

Related Posts

  • 67
    I’m excited to announce that I will be doing some presenting at the upcoming TechFest in Orange County, California! :) SMB TechFest Amy Babinchak will be delving into the changes we are seeing in our industry and how she is working those changes into her own IT practice Harbor Computer Services. Boon Tee will be…
    Tags: smb, hyper-v, kitchen, business, smbkitchen, clusters, opportunity
  • 67
    I’m excited to announce that I will be doing some presenting at the upcoming TechFest in Orange County, California! :) SMB TechFest Amy Babinchak will be delving into the changes we are seeing in our industry and how she is working those changes into her own IT practice Harbor Computer Services. Boon Tee will be…
    Tags: smb, hyper-v, kitchen, business, smbkitchen, clusters, opportunity
  • 64
    Original Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: MPECS Inc. Blog: Our SBS (Small Business Solution) Options with Standalone and Cluster Hardware ConsiderationsWe’ve received a number of questions about the “How” we present our SBS to prospective and existing clients. Our primary focus is on what we have provided with Small Business Server starting with SBS 2003 Standard.…
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  • 64
    Hello SMBKitchen subscribers! We have an author's chat in 10 minutes. Let's discuss my new Hyper-V Hardware Configuration Guide and my upcoming Hyper-V Cluster Considerations document (in final review – pending Amy's vacation return!). This particular monthly chat is available to subscribers only. :) Philip Elder MPECS Inc. Microsoft Small Business Specialists Co-Author: SBS 2008…
    Tags: smbkitchen, hyper-v, business, small, mpecs, guide, cluster, document, clusters
  • 64
    Hello SMBKitchen subscribers! We have an author's chat in 10 minutes. Let's discuss my new Hyper-V Hardware Configuration Guide and my upcoming Hyper-V Cluster Considerations document (in final review – pending Amy's vacation return!). This particular monthly chat is available to subscribers only. :) Philip Elder MPECS Inc. Microsoft Small Business Specialists Co-Author: SBS 2008…
    Tags: smbkitchen, hyper-v, business, small, mpecs, guide, cluster, document, clusters

Read more »



Oct
16
2 Node 1 JBOD Hyper-V Cluster Connectivity Guide
Posted by Philip Elder on 16 October 2014 03:27 PM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: 2 Node 1 JBOD Hyper-V Cluster Connectivity Guide

Okay, so just how do we wire up that cluster?

image

We connect two SAS cables from each HBA on each node to one expander on the JBOD.

image

We then connect two SAS cables from each HBA on each node to one expander on the JBOD. Note the left/right split between the cable sets to keep things simple and clean.

This gives us two redundant paths between the Hyper-V hosts if setting up an asymmetric cluster (2 nodes 1 JBOD) or redundant paths between SOFS nodes and the JBOD.

The following shows the setup for an Intel Server System R1208JP4OC 1U single socket server:

image

We always try to keep the cables plugged in identically on each node. So, in this case the bottom HBA is plugged into Expander 0 and the top HBA is plugged into Expander 1.

In a Scale-Out File Server cluster where we have three nodes and three JBODs we would be utilizing an LSI SAS HBA with 4 external ports (-16e). In that case we would cable up each node just as we did here between each JBOD giving us the left/right split.

Given the Intel JBOD2224S2DP’s three external ports per expander we would be limited to the three node setup unless we utilized our LSI SAS6160 SAS Switches to scale beyond three nodes and JBODs.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Oct
6
Microsoft: Excitement Rekindled
Posted by Philip Elder on 06 October 2014 10:36 AM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Microsoft: Excitement Rekindled

Back in the day, heh ;) , I was privileged to work with the SBS team both
prior and post MVP award.

Many of us in SBS Land can remember just how active the team was around SBS
2003 RTM/R2, SBS 2008 Standard/Premium, and finally SBS 2011 Standard.

By the latter product release much of the old guard had moved on but the new
team and us SBS MVPs had a strong business relationship.

The key here is in the relationships and communication levels we were
experiencing with the teams.

For must of us both within the MVP realms but also in the public that came to
a full-stop when development of the then Windows Server 2012 pre-release cycle
became better known.

We were all held in the dark. This situation continued with the 2012 R2
development cycle.

Silence. Dead Silence *insert sound of crickets here*

For those of us both within the MVP community and outside the MVP community
that are truly passionate about the clients we serve, the products we work with,
and just all-around geeking out about tech the silence was deafening and
deadening.

Tie that into the seemingly endless “Death to the IT Pro” messages coming out
of Microsoft over the last number of years and there were a lot of flames
snuffed out these last two product release cycles.

Change for the Good

One thing is for certain: Something has changed at Microsoft.

While I most certainly cannot provide “insight” into Microsoft’s motivations
for the recent change I can most certainly say that the change is welcome. Big
Time!

We now have a public release of Windows vNext bits. We have forums to discuss
these bits.

For many of us MVPs we have, and I can’t say “unprecedented” given previous
experience, an amazing amount of information flowing from our product teams.

The conversations we’ve been having with the team(s) lately have been
refreshing. Yes, they’ve been listening to us.

And, I’ll make no bones about it, I feel very excited about this upcoming
product release like I had been with the then new versions of SBS Standard!

So, hat’s off to you in Microsoft whoever you are that allowed the floodgates
of communication, shared tech passion, and business relationships to happen
again!

And thanks to the Microsoft Teams that have been sharing your product
excitement. It is refreshing and invigorating for us to experience and work
with!

We both stand to benefit greatly from this “new” openness from Microsoft.

Oh, and Cluster is definitely key to our company’s future. ;)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster
MVP

MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small
Business


Read more »



Oct
2
Cluster: Why We Always Deploy a Physical DC in a Cluster Setting
Posted by Philip Elder on 02 October 2014 02:48 PM

Original Posted Here: Cluster: Why We Always Deploy a Physical DC in a Cluster Setting

A somewhat new feature with Windows Server was the ability to cold-boot a
cluster after a full shutdown thus “eliminating the need for a physical DC” in a
cluster setting.

While this feature is indeed there and does indeed work we have found that
there are a number of very key reasons why we have taken up the practice of
always having a physical DC in cluster deployments.

  • AD may be needed in the event of a cluster failure
  • DNS IS required in the event of a cluster failure
  • Physical DC is our time authority (Critical in a virtualized environment
    especially with high-load VMs where time skews)
  • Point of management in the event of a problem

The third point is probably the most important in the mix. Keeping time in a
domain is absolutely critical. One cannot configure a time authority to
continually poll NTP.ORG without receiving a Kiss-of-Death packet from the
polled server.

So, we have a physical DC polling NTP.ORG at the standard interval and all
domain members looking to it for time. Then, any VM that requires a much more
frequent polling frequency can be configured to poll the DC without being shut
down.

For obvious reasons if a VM’s time hits the five minute mark for variance it
loses its ability to continue serving whatever services and/or LoBs that may be
running on it to the domain.

We make sure to install an iDRAC Enterprise, HP iLO Advanced, or Intel RMM in
that physical DC so that we can have out-of-band access to the server along with
KVM over IP to manage from the “console”.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster
MVP

MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small
Business


Read more »



Sep
15

Original Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: MPECS Inc. Blog: Our SBS (Small Business Solution) Options with Standalone and Cluster Hardware Considerations

We’ve received a number of questions about the “How” we present our SBS to prospective and existing clients.

Our primary focus is on what we have provided with Small Business Server starting with SBS 2003 Standard.

  • Active Directory permissions based security

  • Remote Web Access (RWA/RWW) Portal
  • Remote Desktop access via RD Gateway (since SBS 2008 Standard)
  • RemoteApp access via RD Gateway for LoBs (since SBS 2008 Standard)
  • E-mail services access via Outlook, Outlook Anywhere, Exchange ActiveSync, and Outlook Web Access
  • Remote Folders and Files access
  • SharePoint based document management system
  • SQL backend for LoB, SharePoint, and other needs

We focus on the services the prospect would require while our existing clients are already used to them.

Once we have an understanding of the prospect’s needs, since we already know our client’s business really well, we move forward with a proposal that would be geared towards their business size and sensitivity to downtime.

On the services front where we are installing into a standalone host we would have two options:

  1. Base

    1. Requires two Windows Server OS Licenses

    2. DC, Exchange, RDS, and LoB (WSUS and LoBs)
  2. Premium Add-On
    1. Requires one Windows Server OS License

    2. SQL and SharePoint

Obviously the server and CALs would also be needed for the various components that will be installed into the guest OS.

If we are setting up a cluster then one needs to consider the number of VMs running on one or more of the nodes in the event of a node failure.

On the hardware side we would have a number of options:

  1. Entry-Level Single

    1. E3-1270v3, 32GB ECC, Hardware RAID, 8x 2.5” 10K SAS
  2. Mid-Level Single
    1. Single Socket 1U R1208JP4OC, E5-2600 series, 128GB ECC, Hardware RAID, 8x 2.5” 10K SAS
  3. High-Level Single
    1. Dual Socket 2U R2208GZ4GC, E5-2600 pair, 128GB-256GB ECC, Hardware RAID, 8x 2.5” 10K SAS or 16x 2.5” 10K SAS
  4. Entry-Level Asymmetric Cluster
    1. Pair of 1U R1208JP4OC or 2U R2208GZ4GC and an Intel JBOD2224S2DP
  5. Mid-Level Cluster
    1. Four 2U R2208GZ4GC and an Intel JBOD2224S2DP

      • Two Scale-Out File Server cluster nodes

      • Two Hyper-V cluster nodes
  6. High-End Cluster
    1. Six 2U R2208GZ4GC and three Intel JBOD2224S2DP units

      • Three Scale-Out File server cluster nodes

      • Three Intel JBODS with Two-Way or Three-Way Mirror and Enclosure Resilience
      • Three Hyper-V server cluster nodes

Within the above hardware configurations we would have a lot of flexibility that allows us to customize to the specific needs of the prospective client or our clients.

We work with a number of different firms that are prime candidates for at least an asymmetric cluster setup to minimize the possibility of downtime. The cost associated with these entry-level clusters versus a single larger server for the host platform makes them very attractive.

The basic VM configuration would involve fixed VHDX files unless the files are installed on dedicated partitions/LUNs. Note that we would use a shared set of partitions/LUNs if there are around 10 or more VMs as things get to be a bit of a bear to manage otherwise.

Our base VM configurations would be as follows:

  • DC: 4GB, 95GB OS VHDX, and 1TB Data VHDX

  • Exchange: 8GB, 95GB OS VHDX, and 250GB + 20GB/Mailbox Data VHDX
  • RDS: 4GB+, 95GB OS VHDX, and 100GB + 20GB/User Profile Disk
  • LoB: 8GB, 95GB OS VHDX, and 1TB Data VHDX Minimum
  • SQL: 16GB, 95GB OS VHDX, and 250GB+ Data VHDX
  • SharePoint: 16GB, 95GB OS VHDX, 200GB Data VHDX

We have a set of PowerShell steps and scripts that we use to configure these environments. PowerShell helps to greatly reduce the amount of time required to set things up. It also gives us consistency across all of our client deployments which is vital to troubleshooting if the need arises.

Shameless Plug: We’ve spent some time on the above in our SMBKitchen ASP Author Chats. If you are looking for more information the Author Chat is one of the best ways to do so.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »




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