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News
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 »



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 »



May
23

Original Posted Here: Three Intel Server Systems based Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Server Clusters

Here are three base Intel Server Systems configurations we are working on for our Intel Modular Server replacement in a Data Centre or client setting.

Unfortunately, the Intel JBOD does not self-power at this time. So, for SMB/SME solutions we will be supplying a DataON DNS-1640 2U JBOD as it will automatically power-up after a full power outage.

All solution sets are based on Windows Server 2012 R2 as a starting point for Hyper-V, Storage Spaces, and SOFS.

  • Option 1: Asymmetric Hyper-V Cluster via Storage Spaces CSV
    • Intel Server System R2208GZ4GC, Dual E5-2640, 128GB ECC or 256GB ECC, 120GB SSD RAID 1, dual SAS HBAs, add-in Intel i350T4 PCIe
    • Intel JBOD2224S2DP
  • Option 2: Hyper-V Cluster via SMBv3 Scale-Out File Server cluster and Storage Spaces
    • Intel Server System R1208JP4OC, E5-2640, 128GB ECC, 120GB SSD RAID 1, dual SAS HBAs, Intel X540T2 I/O Module, Intel X540T2 PCIe
    • Intel JBOD2224S2DP
    • Intel Server System R1208JP4OC, E5-2640, 128GB ECC, 120GB SSD RAID 1, Intel i350T4 PCIe, Intel X540T2 I/O Module, Intel X540T2 PCIe
    • NETGEAR XS712T 10GbE Switches
  • Option 3: Hyper-V Cluster via SMBv3 Scale-Out File Server cluster and Storage Spaces with enclosure resilience
    • (3) Intel Server System R2208GZ4GC, Dual E5-2640, 128GB ECC, 120GB SSD RAID 1, SIX SAS HBAs, Intel X540T2 I/O Module, Intel X540T2 PCIe
    • (3) Intel JBOD2224S2DP
    • (2) Intel Server System R2208GZ4GC, Dual E5-2640, 128GB ECC, 120GB SSD RAID 1, Intel i350T4 PCIe, Intel X540T2 I/O Module, Intel X540T2 PCIe
    • (2) NETGEAR 24-Port 10GbE Switches
  • Storage Networking Option
    • Option 2 and Option 3 can be facilitated by InfiniBand NICs and Switches
      • Enables RDMA and 56Gbps per connection
      • Microsoft’s 1.4M IOPS demo based on InfiniBand backend
      • Intel Server Systems have an InfiniBand I/O Module with the second being a Mellanox PCIe

The first setup is relatively simple while the second two require some structuring around how the networking is configured to allow for SMB Multi-Channel on the storage network side.

At this point the above setups utilizing Intel Server Systems provide us with an amazing value for our IT budgets.

5 year warranties and next business day on-site support options can be had too.

We purchase our Intel Channel product primarily through ASI Canada. Ingram Micro, Synnex Canada, and Tech Data Canada are also Intel Authorized Distributors.

As an FYI we continue to build our own server systems because the experience proves to be invaluable when it comes to troubleshooting problems especially when software vendors are pointing fingers.

Building our own systems also gives us a very strong foundation for creating server configurations that will work with a client workload set.

And finally, it allows us to be very particular with Tier 1 vendors when it comes to creating a server configuration using their hardware.

EDIT: Note that we _always_ install a physical DC on our cluster networks. For option 1 it would probably be an HP MicroServer while the others would be a 1U single socket with some storage for ISOs.

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 »



Dec
31
Hyper-V: Number of NUMA Nodes on a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 R2208GZ4GC
Posted by Philip Elder on 31 December 2013 07:39 PM

Original Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Hyper-V: Number of NUMA Nodes on a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 R2208GZ4GC

Here is a snip of the number of NUMA Nodes in a newly stood up Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard server with a pair of Intel Xeon E5-2630 CPUs in the Intel Server Systems Grizzly Pass 2U setup:

image

Here is the same setup showing the number of Cores/Threads:

image

Note that we do not have Hyper-Threading turned off on this particular server.

It’s important to note that a VM that is set up with more vCPUs than cores on one CPU may actually perform poorer than the same VM set up with the vCPU setting equal to or one less than the number of cores available on one CPU.

This is what is meant by spanning NUMA nodes.

Suffice it to say we can spend a while discussing the performance impact of too many vCPUs assigned to one VM. Ultimately, one needs to stress test a VM setup using a variety of configurations to find what will be optimal for that particular VM.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. All the best for 2014! :)

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

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


Read more »



Dec
30
Windows Server 2012 R2: Intel PROSet Install Error: No Intel Adapters Present
Posted by Philip Elder on 30 December 2013 02:50 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Windows Server 2012 R2: Intel PROSet Install Error: No Intel Adapters Present

This is a bit of a puzzle:

image

Intel Network Connections Installer Information

Cannot install drivers. No Intel(R) Adapters are present in this computer.

The OS is Windows Server 2012 R2 via the most recent build on Microsoft’s Open License management site.

The server is an Intel Server Systems SR1695GPRX2AC 1U server that has a pair of dual-port 82576 series Intel Server Network Adapters plus another single shared port with the installed Intel RMM.

image

The Windows Server OS is obviously seeing the setup correctly.

So, what do do?

Well, a search via Bing lead us to the following site in the Intel Download Center:

image

We clicked through to the site and downloaded the version 18.8 PROSet driver for Windows Server 2012.

Now, the servers we are working on are Server Core. So, we have a quick cheat to get that driver onto the local machine:

  • Start Notepad [Enter]
  • CTRL+O (or File –> Open)
  • Change Files of type: to All Files
    • image
  • Navigate to the driver file
  • Right Click and Copy
  • Navigate to the destination and Right Click then Paste
    • image
  • Cancel the Open dialogue box and close NotePad

We then executed the archived file:

image

We then waited:

image

Ironically while waiting for the installer to spool up we did a search on the indicated PowerShell module and ended up here:

That in turn took us to here:

Okay, so our setup will not be supported by Intel’s driver set so we will stick with the in-box drivers. That is okay as in our testing we’ve not seen any issues like we did with the in-box driver on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

On the PowerShell note we’ve done some digging around but have not come up with any clear documentation on Intel’s PowerShell commandlets. We have a few queries out so we shall see if anything comes back. :)

Otherwise, once we stand up an Intel Server Systems R2208GZ with Server 2012 R2 we will investigate and post back.

Happy New Year’s everyone! :)

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

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


Read more »



Nov
29
A Server 2008 R2 Core Uptime Mark
Posted by Philip Elder on 29 November 2013 05:41 PM

Original Post here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Server 2008 R2 Core Uptime Mark

Here is a little glimpse into one of our mid-range running Server Core setups:

image

The command: systeminfo | find “System Boot Time”

We are almost exactly three months short of two years for this particular Hyper-V server. It has been a workhorse with nary a problem.

  • Intel Server System SR1695GPRX2AC
  • Intel Xeon X3470
  • 32GB Kingston ECC
  • Intel RAID with 4x 300GB 15K SAS in RAID 10

To date we have _a lot_ of these particular Intel Server Systems in production both as standalone Hyper-V servers as well as Hyper-V Cluster nodes and we have been very happy with them.

They are rock solid and their performance is excellent.

Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers. :)

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

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


Read more »




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