Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster-Part 1: Requirements

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster
In this series, I will show you how to implement an easy and affordable failover Hyper-V cluster based on two Hyper-V Server 2012 nodes, one Windows Server 2012 domain controller and on DC, it’s offering shared storage and based on the iSCSI protocol.

In this articles will be covering on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster and series is divided into 4 part as below:-

1) Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster – Part 1: Requirements
2) Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster – Part 2: Hyper-V cluster nodes
3) Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster – Part 3: Shared Storage
4) Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster – Part 4: Setup

In first section I introduces the software and hardware requirements. I’ll share the specs of my Servers, so you’ll have a brief idea of what hardware you can use.


  • Design
  • Prerequisites
  • Checklist
  • Information matrix

Architecture of Hyper-V Cluster

As the introduction already gives away, I’m making some design for this series. Below is the summary of these:

I’m going with Windows 2012 for my Hyper-V failover cluster nodes.
Most of the demo shown with Hyper-V showcase the potential of full installations of Windows Server. While this is for LAN Testing, in the real world we tend to focus on cost, speed, supportability, and reliability. Full installations of Windows Server are not the best matches for Hyper-V hosts. So, allow me to introduce the ultimate Hyper-V platform: Hyper-V Server 2012—the standalone, free, and optimized version of Microsoft’s Hypervisor.

I’m implementing a two-node cluster.
I only implement a two-node cluster because doing so offers exactly what I need—reliability, flexibility, and a setup that isn’t overly complex.

Windows Server 2012–based Domain Controller.
Active Directory membership is a prerequisite for failover clustering. We could use any supported Active Directory domain controller platform (from Windows Server 2003 SP1 and above), I’m using the domain controller as the main management box throughout this series. For this reason, I’ll use Windows Server 2012. Using the built-in Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), we can easily start managing Hyper-V and failover clustering from the console of just one server.

Windows Server 2012–based Storage Box on Domain Controller.
To implement a failover Hyper-V cluster, we need to have some sort of storage that can be shared between 2 nodes. If you have budget to do so you could use a fiber channel, fully redundant Storage Area Network (SAN) unit. iSCSI SANs will also work and for most scenarios, offer plenty of storage performance. With iSCSI built into Windows Server 2012, several iSCSI optimizations in Hyper-V Server 2012 and storage innovations in Windows Server 2012, this is an ideal platform and protocol to use.

Physical System

Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2430M CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2401 MHz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
8GB of RAM
500GB hard disks

Have create this LAB on VMware Workstation with below specifications: –
3 VM’s each with the following specs:

  • 1 vCPU with 1 GB and 3 HDD (60 GB / 1 GB and 300 GB respectively)

Roles add: Domain controller / Shared Storage / Quorum Disk

  • 1 vCPU with 2 GB and 1 HDD 60 GB

Roles: Hyper-V Server 1 for Cluster

  • 1 vCPU with 2 GB and 1 HDD 60 GB

Roles: Hyper-V Server 2 for Cluster


Choosing the right hardware for your nodes.
There is a whole range of consumer products you can use as your Hyper-V nodes. When you go and look for hardware for your fast and easy Hyper-V environment, make sure it meets the following specifications:

  • x64 processor, with support for the following features:
  1. Hardware-assisted virtualization technology present and enabled in BIOS.
  2. Hardware-based Data Execution Prevention (DEP) present and enabled in BIOS
  • Several tools are available to check your hardware for compatibility with Hyper-V:
  1. SecurAble
  2. AMD-V Hyper-V Compatibility Check Utility
  3. Intel Processor Identification Utility

Further requirements for the nodes are the availability of two Network Interface Cards (NICs) to separate storage and management traffic from virtual machine traffic. Although one NIC suffices for the purpose of demoing Live Migration, additional NICs and/or Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) will make your life easier and increase the performance and reliability of the cluster, especially when you offload your storage traffic to a dedicated HBA.

Choosing the right hardware for your storage box.
Speaking of storage traffic, storage box should offer sufficient storage space to store your virtual machines. Windows Server 2012’s data deduplication could potentially be a solution here, it’s not designed for this scenario. Storage Spaces, however, are. You can use this technology to further expand on available storage when you add more spindles to your storage box.

If you want to be really savvy in terms of storage traffic, I suggest you look at 10GbE Network Interface Cards (NICs) that support Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). While a bit on the expensive side, their cost is still nowhere in the same ballpark as dedicated fiber channel HBAs.

Choosing the right hardware for your domain controller.
The domain controller for the environment should be nothing special. A 1GHz box with 1GB of RAM will suffice, since the only members of its Active Directory domain will be the 3 hosts. However, if you’re thinking about making your VMs a member of the same Active Directory domain, make sure you build a couple more virtual domain controllers.


Choosing the right software for your nodes.
While I’ve made the design to use Microsoft Server 2012 Standard, you could also use Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

The full PDF that includes Hyper-V and Storage Server editions can be downloaded from

Technically, there are no differences in the way these three flavors offer Hyper-V and failover clustering on the scale of this series. The differences between them is their licensing:

Hyper-V Server comes without any licensing for virtual machines. You will need to take care of licensing your virtual machines yourself. That’s not a problem for Linux-based VMs or the non-OEM Windows Server Standard installations you want to P2V to this platform. Also, when you want to use trial editions of Windows Server in your VMs, but you want a longer lasting Hypervisor platform, Hyper-V Server is the way to go.

Windows Server 2012 Standard comes with a built-in license to install it on a physical host, as well as on two VMs you run on the physical host.

Windows Server 2012 Datacenter comes with a built-in license to install it on a physical host with at least two processors, and then allows you to run an unlimited number of Windows Server-based VMs.

Choosing the right software for your storage box
I’ve made use Windows Server 2012 as the operating system for my storage box. As an alternative, you can also use OpenFiler which offer iSCSI.

Choosing the right software for your domain controller(s)
Windows Server 2012 makes excellent domain controllers—especially virtual ones. When you’re thinking of expanding your Active Directory domain into your virtual environment, choose Windows Server 2012 with its VM-Generation ID-powered Virtualization-Safe(r) Active Directory. The best practice is to place at least two domain controllers per Active Directory domain.


Throughout this series, you will need the following:

  1. 3 Systems, equipped with 64-bit processors (two of these need to be able to run the Hyper-V Role and be equipped with two Network Interface Connections)
  2. Switch:- One gigabit network switch with at least 5 free network ports
  3. 5 CAT5E / CAT6 network cables
  4. Windows Server 2012 installation media
  5. Windows Server 2012 (evaluation) product key, able to activate two installations

Information matrix

Before you start with the next part in this series, use the information matrix below to keep an overview of your host naming scheme and IP networking information:

Description Hostname IP Address IP Address on iSCSI Network
Domain Controller DC01.Girishtech.local
Hyper-V Cluster Node 1 Hyper-V-1.Girishtech.local
Hyper-V Cluster Node 2 Hyper-V-2.Girishtech.local
Shared Storage SharedDisk
Hyper-V Cluster Object GTCluster.Girishtech.local
Virtual Machine 1 VM1.Girishtech.local

In my next post I will discuss Hyper-V cluster nodes.



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