Category Archives: Server 2008 R2

W2K8 R2 – Network Optimisations For VMware Guests

W2K8 R2 – Network Optimisations For VMware Guests

This article provides several networking optimisations for a Windows 2008 R2 Virtual Machine.

The following sections provide details on different settings which can be modified for both the Operating System and the VMXNET 3 network driver.

Disabling IPv6

If you have no need for IPv6 on your network then disabling it will cut down on unnecessary network traffic.  IPv6 can be disabled either through the registry as shown below or through the Network Card Properties :-

reg add hklm\system\currentcontrolset\services\tcpip6\parameters /v DisabledComponents /t REG_DWORD /d 255

Adding the registry key above disables IPv6 for all adapters on the server.  If you only want to disable it for certain adapters you will need to disable it through the Network Card Properties as shown below :-

  • Go to the Network and Sharing Centre either through the Control Panel or by Right Clicking the Network icon in the Systray
  • Select Change Adapter Settings in the Top Left of the screen
  • Right Click on the Adapter you wish to disable IPv6 on and selectProperties.
  • Untick the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).
  • Click on OK to save the setting

Disable TCP Chimneying

TCP Chimneying or TCP Offload is designed to transfer the network load  from the CPU’s to the network adapter.  There have been various reports of slow networking on Windows 2008 R2 virtual machines and long transfer times of files across the network and many people disable this technology.  To disable TCP Chimneying on a server perform the following steps :-

  • Right Click on the Command Prompt icon in the Start Menu and selectRun as Administrator and if necessary authenticate when prompted.
  • In the Command Prompt execute the following :-

netsh int tcp set global chimney = disabled

  • The command will return Ok. when executed

A reboot is required in order to implement the change.

Disable TCP Autotuning

There have been various reports of slow networking on Windows 2008 R2 virtual machines and long transfer times of files across the network and many people disable this technology.  To disable TCP Autotuning on a server perform the following steps :-

  • Right Click on the Command Prompt icon in the Start Menu and selectRun as Administrator and if necessary authenticate when prompted.
  • In the Command Prompt execute the following :-

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel = disabled

  • The command will return Ok. when executed

A reboot is required in order to implement the change.

W2K8 R2 Clustering 3 – Creating A Cluster

W2K8 R2 Clustering 3 – Creating A Cluster

The last step in creating a Failover Cluster on Windows 2008 R2 is to run the Create A Cluster wizard.  To run the Create A Cluster wizard perform the following steps :-

  • In Server Manager expand Features
  • Click on Failover Cluster Manager
  • Under Management click on Create a Cluster
  • At the Before You Begin screen click on Next to continue
  • At the Select Servers or a Cluster screen either enter the names of the cluster nodes or browse AD and select them
  • When prompted enter in the Name you want to give the cluster
  • Click on the Address section and allocate the IP Address you want to use for the cluster
  • Click on Next to continue
  • At the Confirmation screen confirm the settings you have configured and then click on Next to continue
  • The cluster will now be created
  • At the Summary screen click on Finish

W2K8 R2 Clustering 2 – Running The Cluster Validation Tool

W2K8 R2 Clustering 2 – Running The Cluster Validation Tool

The next step in creating a Failover Cluster is to run the Cluster Validation Tool on the first node.  To run the Cluster Validation Tool perform the following steps :-

  • In Server Manager expand Features
  • Click on Failover Cluster Manager
  • Under Management click on Validate a Configuration
  • At the Before You Begin screen click on Next to continue
  • At the Select Servers or a Cluster screen either enter the names of the cluster nodes or browse AD and select them in turn
  • At the Testing Options screen select Run all tests and then click onNext to continue
  • At the Confirmation screen confirm the tests to run and then click onNext to continue
  • The tests will now run on the nodes
  • At the Summary screen confirm that it says that the configuration appears to be suitable for clustering

W2K8 R2 Clustering 1 – Installing The Failover Clustering Feature

W2K8 R2 Clustering 1 – Installing The Failover Clustering Feature

The first step in the creation of a Windows 2008 Failover Cluster is to install the Failover Clustering feature.  In order to install the Failover Clustering feature perform the following steps :-

  • In Server Manager click on Features
  • Click on Add Features
  • When prompted select Failover Clustering and then click on Install

Repeat the steps above on all of the servers which are to be added to the cluster.

W2K8 R2 Clustering – Introduction And Pre-Requisites

W2K8 R2 Clustering – Introduction And Pre-Requisites

Server Clustering has been redesigned in Windows 2008 as the Failover Clustering feature with the aim of simplyfing their deployment, enhancing their security, and increasing stability.

The aim of the following articles in this series are to provide a step by step guide to installing a new Failover Cluster which can be split in to the following parts :-

  1. Adding the Failover Cluster feature
  2. Running the Cluster Validation Tool
  3. Creating the Cluster

Pre-Requisites

In order to create a simple two node failover cluster in Windows 2008 R2 the following pre-requisites must be met :-

  • Two servers (Preferably of the same hardware specification)
  • Either Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise or Datacentre Edition installed on both servers
  • iSCSI or SAN attached disks

In Failover Clustering on Windows 2008 R2 shared data disks has now been dropped and any storage to be used by the cluster must support SCSI-3.

Optional Cluster Heartbeat Card

There is some discussion on the web regarding whether or not a seperate network card is needed for Cluster Heartbeat in Windows 2008 Failover Clustering.

For the environment used for these articles I added an additional network card with no adverse effects.

W2K8 R2 – Configuring Network Load Balancing

W2K8 R2 – Configuring Network Load Balancing

Introduction

This article provides the steps required to install and configure Microsoft Network Load Balancing on a pair of Windows 2008 R2 servers with Service Pack 1 installed.

Microsoft Network Load Balancing is most commonly used to load balance web servers and this article will use two Windows 2008 R2 servers with Internet Information Services installed for testing.

Prerequisites

In order to install and configure Microsoft Network Load Balancing the following prerequisites must be met :-

  • At least two Windows 2008 R2 servers
  • At least one network card dedicated for Load Balancing on each server
  • Five available IP addresses
  • All servers participating in the NLB Cluster must reside on the same subnet

Microsoft best practices for installing Microsoft Network Load Balancing require at least one dedicated network card for Load Balancing on each server in the cluster meaning that each server requires two IP addresses assigning.
A fifth IP address is also required for the NLB cluster VIP which is used for connection to the NLB clustered services.

Configuring The Load Balancing Network Cards

The first step is to configure the dedicated load balancing Network Card on each of the servers.

Microsoft best practices are to only use TCP/IP on the load balancing Network Card and as an additional modification I disable any unecessary items on the Network Card like Client for Microsoft networks, IPv6 if not in use, and the Link-Layer Topology drivers.  Alongside these modifications I also disable DNS registration for the load balancing Network Card.

To perform these modifications perform the following steps :-

  • Open the Properties for the load balancing Network Card
  • Under the Connection uses the following items section disable the following items :-

Client for Microsoft Networks
Qos Packet Scheduler
File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks
Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)
Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver
Link-Layer Topology Discovery Responder

  • Edit the Properties for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
  • Configure the IP Address and Subnet for the Network Card as normal but Do Not configure the Default Gateway or DNS Servers.
  • Click on the Advanced button
  • Click on the DNS tab and disable the Register this connection’s addresses in DNS option and then click on OK
  • Click on OK to apply the settings and then OK again to close the Network Card properties

Installing The Network Load Balancing Feature

The next step is to install the Network Load Balancing Feature on the servers.  To install the Network Load Balancing Feature on the servers perform the following steps :-

  • Open the Server Manager and click on Features in the Left Hand pane
  • Click on the Add Features link
  • Select the Network Load Balancing feature from the list and then click on Next to continue
  • At the Confirmation screen click on Install
  • At the Results screen click on Close to complete the installation

Creating The Network Load Balancing Cluster

The next step is to configure the Network Load Balancing Feature on the servers.  To configure the Network Load Balancing Feature on the servers perform the following steps :-

  • Open the Network Load Balancing Manager console on the first server
  • Click on Cluster and then select New
  • In the Host box enter the name of the First Server and click onConnect
  • From the Interfaces Avaliable for configuring a new cluster section select the Load Balancing Network Card on the server
  • Click on Next to continue
  • On the New Cluster: Host Parameters screen click on Next to continue
  • On the New Cluster: Cluster IP Addresses screen click on Add
  • When prompted enter the IP Address and Subnet for the Cluster VIPand then click on OK
  • On the New Cluster: Cluster Parameters screen enter the Full Internet Name for the cluster
  • Ensure the Cluster Operation Mode is set to Unicast and then click on Next to continue
  • On the New Cluster: Port Rules screen click on Finish to continue

Joining The Second Server To The Cluster

The final step is to join the second server to the Network Load Balancing Cluster.  To join the second server to the Network Load Balancing Cluster perform the following steps :-

  • Open the Network Load Balancing Manager console on the second server
  • Click on Cluster and then select Connect To Existing
  • In the Host box enter the name of the First Server and click on Connect
  • Ensure that the Cluster set up in the previous section is displayed in the Clusters screen and then click on Finish
  • Right Click on the Cluster Name in the Left Hand pane and select Add Host to Cluster
  • In the Host box enter the name of the Second Server and click on Connect
  • From the Interfaces Avaliable for configuring a new cluster section select the Load Balancing Network Card on the server
  • Click on Next to continue
  • On the New Cluster: Host Parameters screen click on Next to continue
  • On the New Cluster: Port Rules screen click on Finish to continue

W2K8 IIS 5 – Creating The IIS Generic Script Application

W2K8 IIS 5 – Creating The IIS Generic Script Application

The final step in configuring IIS on a Windows 2008 R2 Failover Cluster is to createthe Generic Script Application Cluster Service.

To create the Generic Script Application Cluster Service perform the following steps :-

On The Primary Node
  • Open the Failover Cluster Manager console
  • Expand or connect to the Cluster being configured
  • Ensure that the Primary Node has control of the Free Disks underStorage
  • Click on Services and Applications and click on Configure a Service or Application
  • When prompted select Generic Script and click on Next to continue
  • When prompted enter the path to the clusweb-7.vbs script as shown below :-

C:\Windows\System32\Inetsrv\clusweb-7.vbs

  • Click on Next to continue
  • Set the Name to the Name users will use to access the web-site
  • Specify the IP Address you wish to assign to the web-site and then click on Next to continue
  • When prompted select the Free Disk Resource you wish to use for theWeb Site Service and click on Next to continue
  • When prompted to confirm the cofiguration click on Next to continue
  • Once installed click on Finish on the Summary screen

W2K8 IIS 4 – Creating The IIS Cluster Script

W2K8 IIS 4 – Creating The IIS Cluster Script

The next step in configuring IIS 7.0 on a Windows 2008 R2 Failover Cluster is to create the IIS Cluster Script.

The IIS Cluster Script being used for these articles was taken from the Microsoft Knowledge Base article HERE and is attached to the bottom of this page.

To create the IIS Cluster Script perform the following steps :-

On Both Nodes Of The Cluster
  • Navigate to the folder C:\Windows\System32\Inetsrv
  • Copy the attached script to the folder

The attached script will only work with the Default Web Site and theDefault Application Pool.  To configure other Web Sites and Application Pools on the server modify the script as explained in it.

W2K8 IIS 3 – Configuring The Web Site Location

W2K8 IIS 3 – Configuring The Web Site Location

The next step once the IIS 7.0 Shared Configuration and Offline Files have been configured is to Configure the Web Site Location to the Cluster Disk.

To configure the Web Site Location to the Cluster Disk perform the following steps :-

On The Primary Cluster Node
  • Open the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console
  • Click on the Server Name and then expand the Sites branch
  • Right Click on the Default Web Site and the select Manage Web Site \ Advanced Settings
  • In the General Section change the Pysical Path to the Cluster Disk Drive Letter
  • Click on OK to continue