Home > Work related > Cluster Aware Updating really works!

Cluster Aware Updating really works!


One of the things that can set apart a business is failover technology – lets’ face it stuff happens. Hard drives develop errors, power fails and your computers just stop. As a MSP I can wait to find out about it a few minutes after it does from my clients (who are not very happy because it failed) or I can find out with extensive monitoring that is constantly checking the hardware/software environment but I can’t really do anything about it unless we configure additional hardware/software to kick in when it happens. Until now those setups were large and expensive and involved clustering file systems, multiple servers and quite frankly would require dozens of man-hours to setup and maintain. Disaster recovery involved thousands of dollars per month to have on hand just in case you needed it.

Along comes Windows 2012 Hyper-V with features that help bring the cost of having the benefits of this technology to a small business for a few thousand dollars per year!

Enter Cluster aware updating – this new feature of Hyper-V allows any small to medium enterprise (SME) to implement two Hyper-V servers with enough memory to run all of the virtual servers they need to operate their business (Exchange, SharePoint, File server, SQL, etc.) Most systems come with redundant hardware (power supplies, hard drives, etc.) so a single point of failure is all but eliminated but what about updates and maintenance? If you want to keep everything running or even just want to test your recover options in the event of failure you need to fail over your live system with as little or no downtime right?

Let’s looks at an example below


Cluster Aware Updating initiates an update. It is determined that one of our Hyper-V machines needs an update so it is downloaded. CAU migrates the VMs off to another member of the cluster.




Next is a screen of the CAU progress as it begins to apply the update




After the update is applied CAU issues a restart of that member of the cluster.




Once the restart is complete for the patched Hyper-V machine all members are scanned again for patches




Migration back to preferred machines occurs once all Hyper-V machines have been updated and restarted.



All of this can happen automatically just as you schedule Autoupdates for all of your desktops. There is no need for an administrator to manage each patch and to manually apply them. You can still have little or no downtime and have complete fault tolerance for your SQL and Exchange databases which means no interruption for your business.

Now did I mention that it’s all free! Not one maintenance fee, not one software license or add-on cost associated with this solution – all you need are a few machines to run Hyper-V and your finished. Now I would like to see VMware come up with something that tops that!

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