There are many obvious benefits to server virtualization and consolidation. This technology allows mid-sized companies in the Philadelphia and Central Pennsylvania region to maximum the investment in their current hardware. It also reduces energy consumption and cooling needs in the data center. Cost savings is the most common effect of virtualization.
However, a very welcome byproduct of the virtualization trend, whether it’s Hyper-V, VMWare or another technology, is disaster recovery capability. This benefit was historically reserved for large enterprise environments. Due to lowered costs of storage, the purchase of Storage Area Networks (SANs) is no longer out of reach for mid-sized businesses. Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 has also made disaster recovery more attainable for the mid-market. It appears that Microsoft has paid attention to their customers’ needs with the recent development of Hyper-V Replica.
Microsoft has the built in the ability to create an exact replica of your server environment to separate hardware. The hardware can be placed onsite or, ideally, at another location in order to provide for “true” disaster recovery. This functionality is included with Windows Server 2012 so no additional software cost is incurred.
Some of the shining features of Hyper-V Replica are as follows:
- Not dependent on server hardware
- Built for standard WAN links
- Works with clusters
- Provides failover broker
- Asynchronous replication
- Point in time failover
These features allow flexibility in how a disaster recovery solution is designed. The ability to failover between hosts is no longer dependent on identical hardware. Failover can be enabled to much less expensive machines with slower disks, which is optimal for offsite disaster recovery to another location. Built in compression and asynchronous replication allows the data replication to work over standard and readily available WAN links. As a result, expensive highly-provisioned bandwidth links are not required to handle the replication. A replication and failover broker handles the tasks of failing over to another Hyper-V server dynamically (i.e. without user intervention) in the event of a disaster.
All of the aforementioned features use to be out of reach for mid-sized businesses due to prohibitive costs. Until the latest Hyper-V 2012 release, a company would have been required to purchase a costly SAN in both locations and pay for advanced implementation services in order to configure replication and failover in the case of a disaster. With the addition of the Hyper-V Replica capability in the new version, two SANs are not required. A single server with sufficient disk space could function as the recovery server at the remote data center. After initial seeding of data between sites, only changes in data need to be replicated across the WAN. Realistically, your business could be up and running in a few minutes, instead of days or weeks, if your primary site is lost.
Your organization may already have all of the components required in order to implement a full disaster recovery solution. Trigon can provide a brief analysis of your environment, develop a plan and implement a Hyper-V Replica solution to protect your organization from a disaster. If you are in the Philadelphia or Central PA region, contact us today to find out how we can assist you!
After having already taken a look at Windows 8 I decided it was time to take a look at the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. I did a Google search for it which led me to the download page. At the download page you are given an option of downloading the ISO image or a VHD. I chose the ISO since I could use that to burn a cd or install a virtual machine. With the ISO downloaded I installed it on a virtual machine. While going through some of the installation options I did notice that Microsoft has kept the server core option for those who don’t need the GUI. The installation was fairly quick and painless and after completion I was rather surprised at what I saw. I had heard that Windows Server 2012 was going to ship with the new Metro user interface but when I first logged into the machine I saw the traditional Windows desktop. The Metro interface is still there and can be used in all the same ways as with Windows 8 however Microsoft chose to have the traditional desktop load at startup.
At this point my experience with Windows Server 2012 has been pretty pleasant. I had read all about the new revamped server manager and how most server functions could be operated through it so I decided to give it a try. Having installed Active Directory many times before I decided that this would be the first thing I do. As usual I installed the Active Directory binaries and once completed I opened up a command prompt and typed in dcpromo. Much to my surprise I received an error message stating that Windows would no longer be using dcpromo to finalize and configure the Active Directory installation. You can now use a GUI tool or a powershell command to perform this task.
In addition to the change in installing Active Directory Microsoft is also implementing new powershell cmdlets, an updated version of Hyper-V virtualization software and many more things. If you’re interested in trying out Windows Server 2012 you can download it here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh670538.aspx. Don’t’ forget if you want to install this use your favorite virtualization software to try this out so you don’t install over your current operating system.