Play by Play: Windows Clusters for Beginners

In this Play by Play, Mark Minasi delivers an adapted version of his highly-rated presentation on Windows Clustering. Like most IT Pros, Mark was skeptical of Windows Clustering for a long time, and avoided it like the plague, but enhancements to Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V have converted him to singing its praises. Mark's on a mission to make Windows Clustering easy to understand, and this course will do just that. Learn why you should care about Windows Clustering, why now is the time to care, and how to get started implementing clusters.
Course info
Rating
(155)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 7, 2015
Duration
1h 51m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(155)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 7, 2015
Duration
1h 51m
Description

In this Play by Play, Mark Minasi delivers an adapted version of his highly-rated presentation on Windows Clustering. Like most IT Pros, Mark was skeptical of Windows Clustering for a long time, and avoided it like the plague, but enhancements to Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V have converted him to singing its praises. Mark's on a mission to make Windows Clustering easy to understand, and this course will do just that. Learn why you should care about Windows Clustering, why now is the time to care, and how to get started implementing clusters.

About the author
About the author

Gary Eimerman is VP of IT Pro Content at Pluralsight. He brought his expertise over from TrainSignal, where he spent eight years helping to grow the company into the leader in online IT training.

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About the author

Mark Minasi is a best-selling author, popular technology columnist, commentator, keynote speaker, and IT consultant.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Course Overview
Well Mark, thanks for joining us today, excited to have you here. I mean, this is a huge honor for me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Microsoft MVP, 43 books now. Today we're going to sit down and talk about Windows clustering. And so, you know what, this is something that IT pros have been hearing about for decades at this point in time. And avoiding assiduously for nearly 20 years. Yeah, I'd say so. So, you're telling me that you're going to simplify this for us now in the next hour or two, right? Here's really where it comes from, is that it first comes out, I'll be talking about this in the talk, but really, it originated in something called Wolfpack. When a beta name is more interesting than the product, that's never a good sign. This is back in '98. Digital is working with Microsoft, and Digital is famous for their clusters, they've got these VMS minicomputers, well VAX minicomputers, running, was it VMS, and they had some kind of cluster system that was reasonably- priced, very, very reliable, Ticketron, to this day I'm told, is using these things. You can't buy the boards anymore, they've got bailing wire and spit to put these things together. And Digital was in a partnership with Microsoft and gave them a bunch of this. Because back in '98, they were involved with Digital because Digital were the guys who knew how to sell to enterprises. Microsoft didn't know how to do that. Now things have changed. So, they give them a lot of the technology, and Microsoft adapted it to NT 4 Enterprise edition. And so, it was known as Wolfpack. And I got a chance to play with it, I was lucky enough to get a chance to play with it back in '98, and I walked away saying, this is really hard to set up, it's not that terribly useful, the products you need to support it are horrendously expensive, I hope it works out for them. And, really, in 2003, much of the same story, 2004. But something happened. 2008 Server really turned things around and made it more reasonable. 2008 R2, bam, spike between the eyes. Something very, very important is it enabled Hyper-V to be as good as VMware when it came to clustering. 2012, another hit to the jaw. It makes everything dirt cheap. All my complaints about it. But the problem is, I've been writing Windows Server books since the late Stone Age, and I've never covered clusters, no one's ever complained because, when I'm a tech head and I'm talking to 1000 people, I say, how many of you are running Windows failover clusters? And, is that crickets? I mean, maybe I'll get 15 people who've set one up. But 2012 changed all that. And problem is that all of readers, and me, were standing around with our pants around our ankles saying hmm, we've got to know this cluster stuff. I had to learn it, I had been doing it on and off, but I had to learn it when '08 R2 came out because it was a cool Hyper-V feature, and when 2012 made it cheap, there was no question about it. So, this is like a mission, I get a mission now and then, my latest mission is I want clusters to be super easy. I've done this talk around the world, it's often extremely highly rated. By the way, the one I do around the world, that's the short-playing AM version, we're going to do the long-playing FM version, and it's going to be fun because not only are we going to do the basic concepts, we're going to have time for these brief deep dives, just brief ones, we can snorkel, we don't need scuba for them, and everybody at the end of this, if you've got two machines lying around, I had a ThinkPad T61p and an old Compaq DL -4 or something server, I set this up the first time, and I got it working just like that. So I'm hoping everybody who's watching this will take this time, add this to your skillset, add this to the things that you know about. Awesome. So, let's start off with, in its simplest form, what is a Windows cluster and why would we want to use it? I'm glad you asked that question. Let's look at these. So our topics today are going to be, why indeed cluster? You've asked exactly the right question at the right time, as is always the case. And then, we'll find out that there's a basic problem with clustering, is that, on the one hand, the stuff we want to do is almost impossible, so there's some little compromises and some extra checks we have to do. Then, we're going to make sure, so that this isn't horribly just a lot of concepts thrown at you, we're going to jump right in and start building a cluster, and that'll give me a chance to stop and then fill in with concepts along the way. And the first thing we're going to do, we're going to set up the nodes, those are the servers, we'll have pictures. After that, shared storage is a really, really important concept. By the way, on this page, I'm using lots of phrases here that don't make any sense yet, so trust me, we'll define them all. Then it's assembly time. Once we've got the shared storage and the nodes, which are the servers, then we can run a little wizard, if we're that kind of people, or one line of PowerShell, if we're those kinds of people, and we'll get that cluster built. We still can't do anything, but the superstructure is in place at this point. After that, we have to go back to the prime directive, we have to fight corruption. It must be rooted out. Well you're from Chicago, so I don't if it's as big a deal for you, but we have to fight corruption, and we do that with something called a quorum, a heartbeat, and the witness. Unless, of course, we get rid of the witnesses, in which case there is no problem with anything. And then, we're going to see how they challenge VMware, that was the big thing that occurred in '08 R2, and, of course, when the cheaper stuff came out a little later. And then finally, we'll be ready to drop some things on it.