StarWind Virtual SAN® is a native Windows hypervisor-centric hardware-less VM storage solution. It creates a fully fault-tolerant and high performing storage pool built for the virtualization workloads by mirroring existing server’s storage and RAM between the participating storage cluster nodes. The mirrored storage resource is then connected to all the cluster nodes and treated just as local storage by all hypervisors and clustered applications. High Availability is achieved by providing the multipath access to all storage nodes. StarWind Virtual SAN delivers supreme performance compared to any dedicated SAN solution since it runs locally on the hypervisor and all I/O is processed by local RAM, SSD cache, and disks. This way it never gets bottlenecked by storage fabric.
This guide is intended for experienced Windows Server users or system administrators. It provides the detailed instructions on how to setup a 2-node Hyperconverged Hyper-V 2016 Cluster with StarWind Virtual SAN as a storage provider.
The diagram bellow illustrates the network and storage configuration of the resulting solution described in this guide.
Pre-Configuring the Servers
1. Enable Remote Desktop to the servers.
2. Join the servers to the domain.
Rename and adjust static IPs for all NICs. To do so, perform the steps 3-6 below:
3. Run powershell.exe in the Command Prompt to check the network adapters availability in the system:
4. To change the name and set the static IP for Heartbeat/Sync channel, type the next command in the PowerShell console:
5. Alternatively, the network settings can be changed through the sconfig.cmd window. In Network Settings (option 8), select the Index of the NIC, which should serve as a synchronization link:
The following actions are possible:
- Set Network Adapter Address – selection between DHCP or Static IP
- Set DNS Servers – providing DNS settings
- Clear DNS Server Settings
- Return to Main Menu
6. Disable Firewall on each server via PowerShell:
7. It is highly recommended to enable Jumbo packets (9014) on the Sync and iSCSI networks. This can be done via PowerShell in two ways.
Directly on the Sync/iSCSI NIC:
For all NICsavailable in the system:
8. Ping each node with Jumbo packets (change the asterisk to the partner node’s IP address):
ping 172.16.20.* -f –l 8900 for Sync ping 172.16.10.* -f –l 8900 for iSCSI
9. Install Failover Clustering and Multipath I/O features on both servers using PowerShell:
Install-WindowsFeature Failover-Clustering –IncludeAllSubFeature –Restart Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –Online –FeatureName MultiPathIO Enable-MSDSMAutomaticClaim –BusType iSCSI
10. Create a Virtual Switch via PowerShell:
New-VMSwitch –Name “vSwitch” –NetAdapterName “management”
NOTE: The Virtual Switch name must be the same on both nodes.
11. Create Local Partition for the Storage drive. In the CMD window, run the following:
Any of the arrays to be used by StarWind Virtual SAN for storing virtual disk images should meet the following requirements:
- Initialized as GPT
- Have a single NTFS-formatted partition
- Have a drive letter assigned
Downloading, Installing, and Registering the Software
12. Download the StarWind VSAN software by following the link:
13. Copy the StarWind VSAN installer to both Hyper-V Server instances. Launch the downloaded installer on the server where StarWind Virtual SAN or one of its components needs to be installed. The Setup Wizard will appear. Click Next to continue.
14. Read and accept the License Agreement. Click Next to continue.
15. Carefully read the information about new features and improvements. Red text indicates warnings for users who are updating existing software installations. Click Next to continue.
16. Click Browse to modify the installation path if necessary. Click Next to continue.
17. Select the required deployment scenario for StarWind VSAN.
This installation type is designed for GUI-less OS editions. The StarWind service is the “core” of the software. It can create iSCSI targets as well as share virtual and physical devices. The service can be managed by StarWind Management Console from any Windows computer on the network that has StarWind Management Console installed (GUI required). Click Next to continue.
18. Specify the Start Menu Folder. Click Next to continue.
19. When the license prompt appears, request a time-limited fully functional evaluation key, or a FREE version key, or use the commercial license key obtained with the purchase of StarWind Virtual SAN by selecting the corresponding option. Click Next to continue.
20. Click on the Browse button to locate the license file. Clink Next to continue.
21. Review the licensing information. Click Next to continue.
22. Verify the installation settings. Click Back to make any changes. Click Install to continue.
23. Click Finish to close the wizard.
Repeat the steps 13-24 on the partner node.
To manage StarWind Virtual SAN deployed on the OS edition with no GUI enabled, StarWind Management Console should be installed on a computer that runs the GUI-enabled Windows edition.
Configuring Shared Storage
24. Run StarWind Management Console from the GUI-enabled Windows OS. Press Add Server.
25. Type the management IP for your Hyper-V Server 2016. Add both StarWind servers. Otherwise, type in the StarWind servers’domain names. Click OK to continue.
26. Connect to your servers and specify the path for the storage pool.
Press Yes to configure the storage pool. If the storage pool destination needs to be changed, press Choose path… and point the file browser to the necessary disk.
NOTE: StarWind Management Console will request the default storage pool location on the server that is connected for the first time. Configure the default storage pool to use one of the volumes prepared earlier. All the devices created through the Add Device wizard will be stored there. If an alternative storage path for StarWind virtual disks is needed, the Add Device (advanced) menu item can be used.
27. Select the StarWind server where the device should be created. Press the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar or right-click on the StarWind server.
28. In Add Device Wizard, select Hard Disk Device and click Next to continue.
29. Select Virtual Disk and click Next.
30. Specify the name for the StarWind device, its location and size. Click Next.
NOTE: It is recommended to create a 1 GB device to avoid long synchronization process. This device can be extended after the creation.
31. Specify the vitual disk options. Choose 4096 bytes sector size for Microsoft Windows.
32. Define the caching policy and specify the RAM cache size (in MB). Click Next to continue.
33. Define the Flash (L2, SSD) cache parameters and size if necessary. Choose the SSD drive path using the wizard.
NOTE: It is recommended to put the 1 GB of L1 cache in write-back mode per 1 TB storage capacity. The recommended size of L2 cache is 10% of the initial StarWind device size.
34. Specify the target parameters. Enable the Target Name checkbox to customize the target name. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically based on the target alias. Click Next to continue.
35. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target. Then click Close to finish working with the wizard.
36. Right-click on the device that has just been created and select Replication Manager.
37. The Replication Manager window will appear. Press the Add Replica button.
38. Select Synchronous two-way replication. Click Next to proceed.
39. The default StarWind management port is 3261. If a different port needs to be configured, please type it in the Port number field.
40. Choose Heartbeat Failover Strategy.
41. Choose Create new Partner Device and click Next.
42. Specify the partner device location if necessary. Modify the target name of the device if required.
43. Select the Synchronization and Heartbeat networks for the HA device. Modify the ALUA settings if required.
44. Click Change network settings and specify the interfaces for Synchronization and Heartbeat. Click OK and Next.
45. Select Synchronize from existing Device for the partner device initialization mode. Click Next.
46. Press the Create Replica button. Then click Close to exit the wizard.
47. The added devices will appear in the StarWind Management Console.
48. Repeat steps 28-47 for the remaining virtual disks that will be used as Cluster Shared Volumes. Once all devices are created, the Management console should look as demonstrated in the screenshot below:
Extending StarWind Device
49. Right-click the StarWind device and choose Extend Size of HA.
50. Specify the Amount of Space to Extend for this device and press Extend to continue.
51. After extension is over, the new size of the StarWind HA device will appear in StarWind Management Console.
Discovering Target Portals
This part describes how to connect the previously created disks, which need to be further added to the cluster servers.
51. In the CMD window, run the following command to start configuring the Microsoft iSCSI initiator:
If the dialog below appears, press Yes.
52. In the iSCSI Initiator Properties window, click the Discovery tab:
53. Click on the Discover Portal button. In the Discover Target Portal dialog, type in 127.0.0.1 for the portal IP address:
54. Click on the Advanced button. Select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator as the Local Adapter and select the Initiator IP (keep it default for 127.0.0.1). Confirm your actions to complete the Target Portal discovery.
55. Click on the Discovery Portal button once again and specify the IP address of the partner’s iSCSI link.
56. In Advanced settings, select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator as the Local Adapter. Select the Initiator IP in the same subnet as the IP address of the partner server from the step 55. Confirm your actions to complete the Target Portal discovery.
57. The resulting Discovery tab will look as demonstrated in the screenshot below:
58. Complete the steps 52-57 for the other node.
59. Select the Targets tab. Choose the target of the Cluster Shared Volume available from the local server and click Connect.
60. Enable the checkboxes as in the image below.
61. Select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in the Local adapter dropdown menu. Select 127.0.0.1 for the Target portal IP. Confirm your actions.
62. From the Targets tab, select the Witness target available from the local server and click Connect. Enable the checkboxes as in the image below:
63. In Advanced settings, select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in the Local adapter dropdown menu. Set 127.0.0.1 for the Target portal IP. Confirm your actions.
NOTE: Do not connect the partner target for the Witness device available from the other StarWind node.
64. From the Targets tab, select the partner target from the other StarWind node and click Connect. Enable checkboxes as in the image below.
65. In Advanced settings, select Microsoft iSCSI Initiator in the Local Adapter dropdown menu. In the Initiator IP dropdown, select the IP address of the host’s iSCSI link. In Target portal IP, select the corresponding partner’s IP address from the same subnet. Confirm your actions.
66. The resulting Targets tab will look as demonstrated on the screenshot below:
67. Initialize the disks and create the partitions on them using DISKPART. To create a cluster, the disk devices are required to be visible on both nodes.
Run diskpart in the CMD window:
Do not assign any letter for the cluster disks.
NOTE: It is recommended to initialize the disks as GPT.
68. Perform the steps 59-67 for the other node.
Configure the MPIO policy for each device, specifying localhost (127.0.0.1) as the active path. To achieve this, perform the following steps.
69. Select a target located on the local server and click Devices.
70. In the Devices dialog, press MPIO.
71. Select Least Queue Depth in the Load balance policy dropdown menu.
72. Repeat the steps 69-71 for each device on the current and the second node.
Creating a Cluster
73. Open the Failover Cluster Manager using the desktop version of Windows or a different GUI-based Windows Server and click on the Create Cluster link in the Actions section of Failover Cluster Manger.
74. Specify the servers to be added to the cluster. Click Next to continue.
75. Validate the configuration by passing the cluster validation tests: select Yes and Run all tests. Click Next to continue.
76. Specify the cluster name.
NOTE: If the cluster servers get IP addresses over DHCP, the cluster also gets its IP address over DHCP. If the IP addresses are set statically, you need to set the cluster IP address manually. Click Next to continue.
77. Make sure that all settings are correct. Use the Previous button to make any changes.
NOTE: If the Add all eligible storage to the cluster checkbox is enabled, the wizard will try to add all disks to the cluster automatically. The smallest device will be assigned as the Witness. It is recommended to disable this option before you click Next and add Witness manually.
Click Finish to close the wizard.
Windows Failover Cluster on top of Hyper-V Server 2016 is successfully created. This cluster will increase the availability of the services or applications on it, as well as exclude the downtime during the maintenance.
Please note that StarWind does not recommend repeating the steps above as this process violates the Microsoft license agreement.
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