Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SharePoint Server Mixed Workload on Hyper-V and NetApp Fabric MetroCluster

As customers transform or consolidate their data centers, virtualization is a key element of cost effectiveness. But it doesn’t end there. Availability, scalability, and recoverability of the virtual infrastructure also are critically important. This document showcases the simplicity of architecting a robust infrastructure with Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ in a virtual environment with NetApp® storage, to provide the ability to maintain HA for both the computing and storage resources between the primary and secondary sites and complete disaster recovery in the event of the loss of a whole site. This infrastructure also offers the ability to dynamically move an environment’s complete operation between the primary and secondary sites to minimize disruption during scheduled maintenance events.

This document also describes various failure scenarios showcasing the value of deploying Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V live migration, and NetApp MetroCluster to recover from these failures. Each failure scenario simulates real-world operational failures and real disasters. The expected outcome and actual results are described in terms of MetroCluster product operation and the resulting behavior of Hyper-V servers and virtual machines (VMs).

Many businesses are interested in virtualization technology, and many often look for cost-effective ways to add newer and richer applications to meet their ever-growing business needs. Server virtualization addresses many issues associated with managing IT resources and provides the platforms required for these richer applications. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, the next-generation hypervisor-based virtualization technology, enables businesses to make efficient use of server hardware investments by consolidating multiple server roles as independent virtual machines running on a single physical machine, thus fully leveraging the power of x64 computing.
Today, IT organizations’ major challenges can be summarized in three major areas of business:

  1. server consolidation,
  2. business continuity and disaster recovery, and
  3. testing and development.

Typically, all three areas revolve around one primary business case and its efficiency. Achieving efficiency in asset management and resource utilization is one of the major reasons why IT organizations look into virtualization. This design guide discusses the three major business areas in a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V on NetApp MetroCluster environment and provides a view of Microsoft and Hyper-V components to construct such a system.

Some key benefits of the overall solution are:

  • Reduced capital expenditure, complexity, and risk and increased utilization
    Implementing and maintaining an application service platform can mean investing in infrastructure in server hardware, storage, network, and so on. Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization can unlock the full power of server virtualization by running multiple platforms on a single physical server. This can provide a cost-effective solution and quicker ROI compared to deployments without virtualization.
  • Advanced NetApp unified, efficient storage solutions
    Shared storage systems are needed to implement and maintain virtualization systems hosting multiple applications and services. NetApp’s unified storage architecture can provide a single, less complex, and efficient storage solution to deploy Microsoft Hyper-V using both FC and iSCSI, hence providing a cost-effective storage solution. Also, by leveraging NetApp storage efficiency and intelligent caching capabilities, customers can save significantly on their storage investment without negative trade-offs.
  • High availability
    Microsoft Hyper-V on a Windows Failover Cluster (WFC) can provide high availability (HA) for Microsoft applications without needing clustering at the virtual machine level. With Microsoft live migration, the VMs are no longer tied to the underlying server hardware and can be moved across nodes at any time. Microsoft WFC can provide server hardware fault tolerance for every VM and offers a high level of availability. NetApp MetroCluster further enhances the solution by providing multisite HA and DR (disaster recovery) capabilities with built-in controls to mitigate availability threats caused by component failures, resulting in a resilient and highly available storage infrastructure.
  • Advanced data protection solutions
    NetApp SnapDrive® for Windows and the NetApp SnapManager® suite for Microsoft applications provide application-consistent data backup and recovery capabilities in addition to tight integration with NetApp SnapMirror® to replicate snapshot data to the DR site.
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