Whip your Hyperconverged Failover Cluster into shape automatically and with no downtime using Microsoft’s Cluster Aware Updating
Posted by Paulsen Muzari on March 14, 2018

Some admins prefer the Cluster updates to be done automatically. To do so, Microsoft designed a feature to facilitate patching of Windows Servers from 2012 to 2016 that are configured in a failover cluster. Cluster Aware Updating (CAU) does this automatically, thereby avoiding service disruption for clustered roles.

In this article, we are going to take a look into how we can achieve this assuming that Cluster is built with hyperconverged scenario and StarWind Virtual SAN used as a shared storage. Before going in the steps to set the CAU, we will investigate this scenario.

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Simplify storage management with Microsoft Systems Center VMM (SCVMM) and SMI-S
Posted by Ivan Ischenko on March 8, 2018

Manage StarWind VSAN storage from SCVMM using SMI-S - new logical volume for our StarWind device

SMI-S or ‘Storage Management Initiative – Specification’ is a standard of a storage management (surprise!) which gives you a chance to administrate the storage layer using ‘Common Information Model’ and Web-Based Enterprise Management technologies and logic. The main point of SMI-S is to provide a single standard to manage various storage systems from different vendors pretty much in the same way. In this article (?) we will show you how to manage your storage using SCVMM 2016 (Server Center Virtual Machine Manager) through SMI-S, and how this whole thing works in general. We’ll use StarWind Virtual SAN as a reference distributed storage platform, but the primary scope of this document is to cover the subject in general, so any SMI-S compatible storage will work.

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Storage Tiering – the best of both worlds
Posted by Dmytro Khomenko on February 27, 2018

breaking down mixed storage environment into multiple tiers 1-3

Before the time when SSDs took their irreplaceable place in the modern datacenter, there was a time of slow, unreliable, fragile, and vacuum filled spinning rust drives. A moment of change divided the community into two groups – the first with dreams of implementing SSDs in their environment, and the second, with SSDs already being part of their infrastructure.

The idea of having your data stored on the associated tier has never been so intriguing. The possibility of granting your mission-critical VM the performance it deserves in the moment of need has never been more appropriate.

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Don’t break your fingers with hundreds of clicks – automate Windows iSCSI connections
Posted by Boris Yurchenko on February 20, 2018

If you have a single environment with only several iSCSI targets discovered from a couple of target portals, messing with automation may not be worth it. Yet, if you have multiple environments with a bunch of portals and targets that need to be discovered and connected, and all of them are more or less similar in terms of configuration, you might find your resort in automating the whole process.

I hope to post some other automation things here, so tune in and check the StarWind blog from time to time.

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Managing StarWind Virtual SAN infrastructure in a web browser. Part 2: StarWind VSA
Posted by Kateryna Rudenko on February 6, 2018

StarWind Management Console

Currently, there are two options for managing StarWind-based infrastructure via web: StarWind Gateway VM and StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA). So today, I’m gonna describe the second option which allows easily managing your StarWind Virtual SAN infrastructure from any point of the world using any web browser.

StarWind Linux-based Virtual Storage Appliance is the best way to instantly deploy StarWind Virtual SAN to test its functions without having to change your already-existing infrastructure. StarWind VSA supports all industry-standard hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, and KVM and includes Web Management Console allowing to use any HTML5-capable web browser. StarWind VSA is really simple to deploy and manage, requiring no special skills from the on-site IT-team.

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Smashing remote IT infrastructure access barriers with StarWind Web-based management. Part 1: Gateway VM
Posted by Kateryna Rudenko on January 30, 2018

So we all want our IT infrastructure to be available at hand and manage it from any remote location. Nowadays, it’s nothing special, it’s just a “must-have”. For real, the days of managing your IT environment only from a directly connected device are long gone. IT administrators need flexibility and the ability to access their infrastructure 24/7 no matter where they are. Installing dedicated software every time you need to make some minor changes or just to monitor your environment’s stats is also a no go. Moreover, such software may not be supported on mobile devices.

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Cluster Rolling Upgrade from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016
Posted by Boris Yurchenko on January 11, 2018

During its lifetime, any system reaches a point when it needs to be upgraded, either in terms of hardware or software. Today, I will talk about such changes, in particular, about upgrading Windows Failover Cluster nodes from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 with no production interruption. Thanks to Microsoft, we do have a Cluster Rolling Upgrade procedure at our fingertips, and I am going to get through it and confirm it works for virtualized disks as cluster shared volumes in Windows Failover Cluster. This procedure assumes rebuilding nodes with clean OS deployment one by one, while the production keeps running from the other cluster node.

To begin with, I have a 2-node Windows Failover Cluster with Windows Server 2012 R2 installed on the nodes. The cluster has got 2 CSVs along with the Quorum. The whole system is configured in a hyperconverged scenario.

Joining a node to a Windows Failover Cluster

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Combining Virtual SAN (vSAN) with Microsoft Storage Spaces for greater Performance and better Resiliency
Posted by Vitalii Feshchenko on December 13, 2017

Introduction

Previously, we went through the Storage Spaces configuration journey.

The latest step was the creation of the storage pool and the virtual disk.

Today I would like to proceed from that point on and create Highly Available (HA) devices with StarWind Virtual SAN on Storage Spaces as an underlying storage. The main goal of this post is to run the performance tests of StarWind Highly Available (HA) devices located on Storage Spaces created in different ways (Simple and Mirror). StarWind HA devices will be mirrored between two hosts via a 40Gbps synchronization channel.

StarWind HA with Storage Spaces environment diagram

 

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Free SMB3 Failover File Server on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016
Posted by Ivan Ischenko on August 3, 2017

In the previous article, we have created a free SMB3 file server. I decided to proceed with the testing of Microsoft Server Hyper-V 2016 free version possibilities. In this post, I will try to create Highly Available devices with StarWind Virtual SAN and then create a Microsoft Failover Cluster to make a Highly Available File Server.

We are using 2 servers with Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 added into a domain (Hyper-V-1; Hyper-V-2). Client node with Windows Server 2016 (2016-client-test).

Microsoft Hyper-V 2016 servers added into a domain

 

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StarWind VVols for VMware vSphere Environment
Posted by Dmytro Malynka on June 16, 2017

VMDK file to LUN storage architecture has been the most usable scenario for years until VMware released Virtual Volumes in vSphere 6.0. In the case of an array with block access, own VMware file system – VMFS  – was used -, and NFS was used for file storage. The array capacity was divided into LUNs or NFS-shares and presented ESXi hosts in the datastore form. Frequently, datastore is a large capacity storage housing numerous VMs. In fact, allocating a separate datastore for each VM is quite inconvenient and time-consuming in terms of administration.

With this approach, the VM storage maintenance operations are at the datastore level, and not at the Virtual Machine level. The operations like snapshots, replication, deduplication, encryption, etc. are performed at the storage level, thus being implemented faster with no use of compute and networking resources. The traditional VM storage technology described in vSphere is still supported. At once, Virtual Volumes (VVols) is an object containing VM files virtual disks and their derivatives.

This handy and at the same time advanced technology was integrated with StarWind Products, that I am about to implement.

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