Creating a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster

Creating a cluster on Windows Server 2012 is easy experience!

After installing the Failover Clustering feature, and validating a configuration, the next step is to create a new cluster. There are some minor changes in the create cluster experience in Windows Server 2012, but it is very similar to creating a cluster in Windows Server 2008 R2.

For details on installing the Failover Clustering feature, see this blog posting: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/clustering/archive/2012/04/06/10291601.aspx

To learn more about validation, see this TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731844(v=ws.10).aspx

You can create a cluster using the Failover Cluster Manager UI, or using PowerShell.  Both of these can be installed on Windows Server 2012 or Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows Server 2012.

Creating a Failover Cluster using Failover Cluster Manager

1. Open Failover Cluster Manager – it can be opened from Server Manager using the Tools menu:

2. In the Failover Cluster Manager, choose the “Create Cluster…” action, which can be found in 3 places:

3. The Create Cluster Wizard initializes. Review the information on the Before You Begin screen. Click Next

4. Enter the names of all the servers that will be part of the cluster. Note: More than one node can be specified at a time, using comma separation.

Example: MyServer1, MyServer2, MyServer3

5. If the nodes specified have not been validated, the following page in the wizard will be shown.  It’s highly recommended to validate the configuration before you create the cluster.  This will help ensure that the servers are connected and configured correctly and that it can be supported by Microsoft:

6. In the “Cluster Name” field, provide a NetBIOS name to be used as the cluster name. This cluster name is also the name that can be used to connect to the cluster to manage it.  During cluster creation, a computer object will also be created in the Active Directory domain and Organizational Unit where the cluster nodes computer objects are located. If the servers have no NICs configured for DHCP, then this page will also prompt for a static IP address.  If any of the networks are configured for DHCP, then this will not be shown and an IPv4 DHCP assigned address will be used.   Click Next:

Note:  If you do not want the Active Directory object for the cluster to be placed in the same Organizational Unit (OU) as the servers, the specific OU can be designated by specifying the full distinguished name like screen shot below:

For additional details on using a full distinguished name, please see “How to Create a Cluster in a Restrictive Active Directory Environment” (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/clustering/archive/2012/03/30/10289577.aspx)

Review the Confirmation screen. If all eligible storage will be added to the cluster, check the box Add all eligible storage to the cluster.  Click Next

Note: This ability to choose whether all eligible storage will be added to the cluster or not is new for Windows Server 2012.  In previous versions all storage would always be added to the cluster.  If you choose not to add all eligible storage to the cluster, you can add specific disks after the cluster is created:

7. The cluster should be successfully created. Review the Summary report if desired. Click Finish

8. A Failover Cluster Manager will automatically connect to the cluster when the wizard finishes:

Creating a Failover Cluster using PowerShell

An alternate way to create a Failover Cluster is to use PowerShell.  This can be accomplished with the New-Cluster PowerShell cmdlet.  The following command creates 2-Node cluster (Contoso-FC1) and it assumes that a DHCP assigned address can be assigned and all eligible storage is added.

 PowerShell:

 New-Cluster -Name Contoso-FC1 -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2

The following command is an example of specifying a static IP address for cluster to use for its management connection, and if you don’t want any storage to be automatically added to the cluster.

 PowerShell:

 New-Cluster -Name Contoso-FC1 -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2 –StaticAddress 10.0.0.14  -NoStorage

 

The following command is an example that would put the cluster account put into an existing Active Directory OU called “Clusters” that is in the Contoso.local domain.

 PowerShell:

 New-Cluster -Name CN=Contoso-FC1,OU=Clusters,DC=Contoso,DC=local -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2