Physical with virtual machine Windows Server cluster [updated]

You probably have wondered on whether it would be possible to run a Windows Server failover cluster where 1 machine would be physical, and another virtual. It would be a kind of P2V cluster. The concerns it raises are obvious: different CPU count, model, could be different amount of memory. However you should be able to pull it off, even though I would still recommend against it due to:

  • No support from Microsoft (such configuration is not on HCL, and HCL – qualified cluster solutions are the only ones MS supports)
  • When the VM node is ‘weaker’ then it could have problems with handling the load.

In that case it might be possible to work around it this way:

  • If you have a MS support case, just remove the VM node from the cluster and run a single node physical cluster – that (provided your HW is on cluster HCL) would give you an MS supported config
  • Size and configure your VM to be able to handle the load that runs on the physical node.

VMWare has a paper that discusses this configuration: [update] http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3/vi3_35_25_u1_mscs.pdf. Remember to use RAW device mapping if you are connecting the LUN through the host or direct iSCSI to VM.

For Hyper-V the only option for shared storage is to use iSCSI storage with initiator inside the VM.

This blog post is valid for Windows Server 2003. For 2008 I guess it would be the same, but I have not tried it. Basically the prerequisite would probably throw a warning, but it should pass (I have tried doing clustering between different editions and versions (core/full) of WS2008 and it worked, I think that if NIC and SCSI tests pass, the CPU count should not be a total stopper). If you have experiences with that, please share.

Remember that CPU architectures (32 bit x86, AMD64, IA64) must be the same across all nodes.

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~ by alipka on February 16, 2009.

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