Get the right hardware if you want to virtualise a Windows 2008 Server cluster

Today has been an expensive lesson in the need to keep your hardware up to date - chucking in extra RAM and bigger drives is NOT always enough.

The plan was to create a virtualised Windows 2008 Server cluster. I had experience on clustering Windows Server 2003 with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 so assumed it would be a case of getting to know the new user interface.

  • Ensured I had the latest version of Virtual Server 2005 (R2 service pack 1)

  • Checked the product keys I had matched the install media I was going to use

  • Created two virtual Windows 2008 Server machines

  • Configured all the extra network interfaces, SCSI adapters and drives

  • Installed and ran the Failover Cluster Management snapin

No joy - "Disk bus type does not support clustering". After browsing the Internet I discovered that:

  1. Clustering in Windows Server 2008 only supports iSCSI instead of plain old SCSI -

  2. Virtual Server 2005 does not support iSCSI

But what about Hyper-V? Maybe I could install Windows Server 2008 as the host operating system and the virtual machines could be guests?

Sadly, Hyper-V has hardware requirements:

Virtualization with Hyper-V: FAQ

Q.  What are the prerequisites to install and use Hyper-V?

A.  In addition to the system requirements for Windows Server 2008 as described in the release notes, a 64-bit system with hardware-assisted virtualization enabled and data execution prevention (DEP) is required.

Hardware-assisted virtualization became available on x86 platforms in 2007 and, unsurprisingly, my 4 year old Dell Precision 670 hasn't a clue what I'm asking it to do.


Windows Virtualization Team Blog

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