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Windows Server cluster sets add more protection to workloads

Microsoft stepped up its high availability game with its cluster sets technology in Windows Server 2019 to give on-premises workloads more cloudlike resiliency.

Microsoft upped the ante with its failover clustering technology in the latest Windows Server 2019 release to give organizations the scale-out abilities that had only been available from a cloud provider until now.

Windows Server cluster sets give enterprises more flexibility by connecting multiple clusters to aid certain procedures, such as increased VM mobility. The Windows Server cluster sets feature removes the need to build one extremely large cluster and spreads the workload across many connected clusters.

Windows Server cluster sets give added elasticity

The care and feeding of critical workloads can still take up a good portion of an administrator's day. One way to prevent an outage is to deploy a failover cluster to reduce the risk of downtime.

Companies that invest in Windows Server 2019 have a new option for added high availability with the cluster sets feature. This technology joins multiple clusters that might not even reside in the same data center and eases traditional administrative headaches, such as decommissioning an older cluster.

Multiple elements make up a Windows Server cluster set

Building a cloudlike feature like a cluster set requires a number of underlying technologies working in sync to keep VMs moving across the network to avoid disruption. Once deployed, a Windows Server cluster set makes adjustments automatically, but administrators should have an understanding of how the different components interact.

Each cluster set has a cluster set master and a cluster set worker. The former ensures each cluster can talk to each other in the event the management cluster fails. A cluster set worker resides in each cluster to help the cluster set master with certain operations, such as the positioning of VMs in a cluster.
Some assembly required with Windows Server cluster sets.

It won't come as a surprise to many administrators, especially those who like to live on the cutting edge of Microsoft technology, that the deployment and management of a cluster set will require some help from PowerShell.

Microsoft provides new cmdlets to uncork the scale-out clustering technology and assist with its maintenance. These PowerShell commands perform different tasks, such as building the cluster set master that facilitates communication between the clusters and collecting logs for the IT staff to review.

Cluster sets will require some manual effort

Windows Server cluster sets offer a lot of promise to overworked administrators who flinch every time a help desk ticket hits their desk. But, despite all the potential to ease some of the operational burden, this functionality has some limits.

For example, clusters built on Windows Server versions older than 2019 cannot join a cluster set. But there are ways to get around this limitation by using the rolling upgrade function to make the cluster compatible with the cluster set requirement.

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