Rules to Better Hyper-V Clustering

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  1. Do you disable NetBIOS on all dedicated purpose adapters (iSCSI and Cluster Communications)?

    To improve performance, it's a good idea to disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP on your cluster NIC and iSCSI NIC. NetBIOS isn't used in Server 2008 R2 clusters.
    Disable netBIOS Figure: Good example – the NetBIOS is disabled on the dedicated NIC's (iSCSI & Cluster Communications)
  2. Do you first get your Cluster and SAN going?

    This is an advanced topic. The pre-requisites are that you already have Clustered nodes setup, and then your SAN.

    Then you enable your Hyper-V role on your cluster.

    First refer to all rules listed in "Rules to Better Hyper-V" as these are the basics for Hyper-V.

    hyper-v feature matrix
    Figure: The following rules are referring to the 2nd column on Hyper-V (this also tells you why choose Hyper-V Live Migration over VMWare VMotion)

    Let's continue with the rules specially for clustering...

  3. Do you give your Network Adapters meaningful names?

    When you configure Hyper-V Clustering, each node will have upwards of 4 network adapters, some virtual and some physical. It is important to give these adapters meaningful names so you know what network adapter does what.
    Bad naming Figure: Bad Example - It makes it hard to know what network adapter does what if you don't have meaningful names Good naming Figure: Good example - As an example naming convention for network adapters on each node Goodnaming Figure: Good Example - It is easy to tell which network adapter does what when they have meaningful names
  4. Do you have the iSCSI and Cluster networks on their own VLAN (or even better their own switch)?

    Having the network flooded with a virus is bad news – but it will be worse news if iSCSI traffic is going across the same network. This is why you should have your iSCSI or SAN traffic on a different VLAN.
    VLAN Figure: A managed switch allows VLANing

    Note: An even better and more expensive solution is purchase a separate Switch for each network (this example means 3 network adapters = 3 networks)

  5. Do you have your cluster network on a separate Active Directory domain?

    Being able to communicate with the domain is so important for Hyper-V and clustering. To protect yourself from Active Directory problems, you can completely separate your primary Active Directory domain.

    Having a separate Active Directory domain will allow your Hyper-V machines to run without problems in the case that your main Active Directory domain fails for any reason.

    When you setup a new Active Directory domain for your Hyper-V cluster, create a trust between to 2 domains.

  6. Do you know how to specify a Network for Live Migration?

    It is important have the Live Migration and Cluster traffic on a separate network interface than the iSCSI or SAN traffic. If you do not you will see a performance hit while migrating virtual machines and the process will be a lot slower.

    To specify the roles of each network adapter:

    1. Open the Failover Cluster Manager
    2. Expand the Networks section and you will see all of your network adapters listed
    3. Right click on the network that you are using for LAN and ISCSI and make sure that the following setting is selected
    Network properties window Figure: Network properties window

    This setting prevents ISCSI and LAN traffic from going over the cluster network

  7. Do you make sure all of your nodes are all domain controllers?

    When clustering it is important that the software setup of each node in a cluster is identical. It is also important to have a stable Active Directory. For this reason, each node of your cluster should be an Active Directory domain controller, and a Global Catalog server.
  8. Do you use a Microsoft supported network setup for Hyper-V Clustering?

    Microsoft lists several recommended and supported network configurations. It is very important that you configure your Hyper-V Cluster with one of the supported network types otherwise you will have performance issues once you load up the cluster.

    Hyper-v configuration page Figure: Check you have one of the supported configurations listed on the >Microsoft Hyper-V Live Migration – Network Configuration page (this example has 3 networks)

    It may work fine initially on a non-supported configuration but when you start loading more Virtual Machines on to the cluster the performance will be degrade dramatically.

  9. Do you use Group Policy to Apply Settings to all of your Cluster Nodes?

    Don't log in and make manual changes to the clustered nodes.

    When working with clustered environments it is important that settings be consistent across every node. The best way to handle this is through group policy.

    Create a policy that you would like applied to each node of the cluster using the Group Policy Management.

    Group policy bad Figure: Bad Example - Do not manually change settings on each node Group policy good Figure: Good Example - Changing settings through Group Policy keeps node settings the same
  10. Do your network cards to the latest driver?

    As Hyper-V Clustering requires some advanced networking technologies make sure you download the very latest drivers for all your network cards – don’t just rely on the out of box driver.