Multi-Site Hyper-v Cluster for High Availability and Disaster Recovery

In most of the SMB customer, the nodes of the cluster that reside at their primary data center provide access to the clustered service or application, with failover occurring only between clustered nodes. However for an enterprise customer, failure of a business critical application is not an option. In this case, disaster recovery and high availability are bonded together so that when both/all nodes at the primary site are lost, the nodes at the secondary site begin providing service automatically, or with minimal intervention.

The maximum availability of any services or application depends on how you design your platform that hosts these services. It is important to follow best practices in Compute, Network and Storage infrastructure to maximize uptime and maintain SLA.

The following diagram shows a multi-site failover cluster that uses four nodes and supports a clustered service or application.




The following rack diagram shows the identical compute, storage and networking infrastructure in both site.


Physical Infrastructure

  • Primary and Secondary sites are connected via 2x10Gbps dark fibre
  • Storage vendor specific replication software such as EMC recovery point
  • Storage must have redundant storage processor
  • There must be redundant Switches for networking and storage
  • Each server must be connected to redundant switches with redundant NIC for each purpose
  • Each Hyper-v server must have minimum dual Host Bus Adapter (HBA) port connected to redundant MDS switches
  • Each network must be connected to dual NIC from server to switches
  • Only iLO/DRAC will have a single connection
  • Each site must have redundant power supply.

Storage Requirements

Since I am talking about highly available and redundant systems design, this sort of design must consist of replicated or clustered storage presented to multi-site Hyper-v cluster nodes. Replication of data between sites is very important in a multi-site cluster, and is accomplished in different ways by different hardware vendors. You will achieve high performance through hardware or block level replication instead of software. You should contact your storage vendor to come up with solutions that provide replicated or clustered storage.

Examples are:

StarWind Software

Steeleye DataKeeper

EMC Recovery Point

HP Storage

Network Requirements:

A multi-site cluster running Windows Server 2008 can contain nodes that are in different subnet however as a best practice, you must configure Hyper-v cluster in same subnet. You applications and services can reside in separate subnets. To avoid any conflict, you should use dark fibre connection or MPLS network between multi-sites that allows VLANs.

Note that you must configure Hyper-v with static IP. In a multi-site cluster, you might want to tune the “heartbeat” settings, see for details.

Network Configuration Spread Sheet



NICs and Switch Ports speed







Live Migration



Storage Migration



Virtual Machine



iSCSI Network



Heartbeat network



Storage Replication

(Separate from Hyper-v)


Dark Fibre


Note that iSCSI network is only required if you are using IP Storage instead of Fibre Channel (FC) storage.

Cluster Selection: Node and File Share Majority (For Cluster with Special Configurations)

Quorum Selection: Since you will be configuring Node and File Share Majority cluster, you will have the option to place quorum files to shared folder. Where do you place this shared folder? Since we are talking about fully redundant and highly available Hyper-v Cluster, we have several options to place quorum shared folder.

Option1: Secondary Site

Option 2: Third Site

Visit for more details on quorum.

Storage Configuration:

Visit , and for clustered storage configuration for Hyper-v.

Hyper-v Cluster Configuration:

Visit for detailed cluster configuration guide.

About Raihan Al-Beruni

My Name is Raihan Al-Beruni. I am working as an Infrastructure Architect in Data Center Technologies in Perth, Western Australia. I have been working on Microsoft technologies for more than 15 years. Other than Microsoft technologies I also work on Citrix validated solution and VMware data center virtualization technologies. I have a Masters degree in E-Commerce. I am certified in Microsoft, VMware, ITIL and EMC. My core focus is on cloud technologies. In my blog I share my knowledge and experience to enrich information technology community as a whole. I hope my contribution through this blog will help someone who wants more information on data center technologies.
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