Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to deploy Scale-Out File Server Clusters with SCVMM 2012 R2

How to deploy Scale-Out File Server Clusters with SCVMM 2012 R2

This blog post is meant to show you how easy you can deploy scale-units with SCVMM 2012 R2.

Storage is – of course, a critical component in the cloud, no matter if it’s private, public or the service provided cloud.

SCVMM is able to cover the entire aspect of your cloud infrastructure, and storage is one of them.

New in SCVMM 2012 R2 is that we now (finally) have an end-to-end solution for deploying scale-out file server clusters, using this System Center component.

From before, you may be familiar with bare-metal deployment of Hyper-V hosts. This is a good thing where you only need to rack your servers, give them Ethernet and power and SCVMM will pick them up to deploy the operating system and enable the hypervisor, in addition to deploy logical switches if that’s is applicable.

Now, we can use the same framework to provision physical computer nodes in a scale-out file server cluster, or we can fetch our already existing Windows file servers intended for this scenario, cluster them, and use them in our cloud infrastructure.

First, here’s an overview of my environment

Storage 02 – this is my storage appliance, running Windows Server 2012 R2 with JBOD, and I am truly levering the capabilities of Storage Spaces in this scenario.

Scale1 and Scale2 is my physical servers, running Windows Server 2012 R2 and should be nodes in my scale-out file server cluster. These servers are connected to my storage through iSCSI and this is done prior to picking up SCVMM.


1)      Navigate to the Fabric, and from the ribbon menu, click ‘Create’ and ‘File Server Cluster’



2)      Assign a cluster name (scale-out file server cluster name) and a file server name (this would be the name of the file cluster, running the scale-out role). Also, the cluster need one or more IP addresses, so specify them in order to succeed.


3)      In my example, I have already my servers present in the infrastructure. Therefore, I will choose ‘Use existing servers running Windows Server 2012 R2’. The requirements is that they are in the same domain and must use the same Run As Account. Also note that they should not have the Hyper-V role installed. In an ideal world, I would have servers ready to be managed out of band. This is not the case here, and therefore I am not able to demonstrate how to provision bare-metal computers with a new operating system by using a file server profile. I select my Run As Account and also choose to skip the cluster validation, since this is a lab. Please remember to validate everything prior to putting it into production. Click next


4)      On the next page, I click add to add my file servers. I will add both ‘scale1’ and ‘scale2’.


5)      Last but not least, you will get a summary view of your configuration. Make sure everything is correct before clicking finish.

Once you hit finish, the following will happen:

SCVMM will prepare the storage node, install VMM agents on every server, install the failover cluster feature, create the cluster, the scale-out role, publish DNS records and discover storage.

Now, after the job is completed, we can see that we have a new provider in our fabric

In my next blog post, I will show how to configure storage pools from SCVMM and create and assign file shares to my production cluster.

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