Friday, May 16, 2008

Comparing MSCS/VMware/DFS File & Print

The following table shows information I was using to compare various Windows HA file and print solutions, including MSCS, VMware, VMware+MSCS, DFS, VMware+DFS and stand-alone servers. There are no recommendations, and most need to be adjusted or at least considered for your environment, but it might help crystalise your thoughts as it did mine.

Comparison Microsoft server ClusteringVMware HAMicrosoft Clustering on VMware HADFSStand-alone server(s)VMware HA with DFS for file shares
Highly AvailableYYYNNY
Satisfies SLAs??????
Maximum nodes8Limited by host hardware2N/AN/ALimited by host
Failover time<2 minutesVMotion or server startup time<2 minutesSPFSPFVMotion or server startup time
Single server Disaster Recovery – Software Failure<2 minutesSnapshot, server rebuild or manual recovery procedure<2 minutesSPFSPFpshot, server rebuild or manual recovery procedure
Single server Disaster Recovery – Hardware Failure<2 minutes< 30 seconds< 30 secondsSPFSPF< 30 seconds
Licensing2003 Enterprise per nodeDataCentre + CALs (depending on VM design)DataCentre + CALs (depending on VM design)2003 Standard2003 Standard2003 Standard
Hardware Failure – Data CommunicationsSingle/teamed NIC for prod interfaceNIC redundancy depending on virtual solution NIC redundancy depending on virtual solution + cluster-specific requirementsTeamed NICTeamed NICNIC redundancy depending on virtual solution
Hardware Failure – HBASingle HBA per nodeHBA redundancy depending on virtual solutionHBA redundancy depending on virtual solutionSingle HBASingle HBAHBA redundancy depending on virtual solution
OS Disk ConfigurationBasic DynamicBasicDynamicDynamicDynamic
Hardware utilisationPhysical serversVirtual serversVirtual serversPhysical serversPhysical serversVirtual servers
Cost allocationCost model requiredCost model requiredCost model requiredPer server/LUNPer server/LUNCost model required
Scalability/Flexibility – adding new nodes/LUNsYYYNNY, DFS for file
ManageabilityMSCS skills requiredVMware skills requiredComplex combination of both technologiesDFS skills requiredExisting skills, but increased per serverDFS and VMware skills required
User access to shares via UNCSingle nameMultiple namesSingle nameSingle nameMultiple namesDFS namespace
Future proofing – migration to new hardware/OSModerately complicated migrationRelatively simple upgrade path, reattaching LUNs or adding another VMModerately complicated migrationRelatively simpleRelatively simpleRelatively simple
Hardware on Vendor HCL??????
Backup/restore?Standard file backupVCB or ?Standard file backupStandard file backupVCB or ?
Printer administrationSimplified with Cluster 2003Duplicated effort on each print serverSimplified with Cluster 2003N/ADuplicated effort on each print serverDuplicated effort on each print server
Service and Event MonitoringCluster monitoring requiredStandard monitoring for virtual servers, host monitoring requiredCluster monitoring for virtual servers, VMware host monitoring requiredStandard monitoringStandard monitoringStandard monitoring for virtual servers, host monitoring required

1. Basic disks on a Microsoft server cluster can be extended if new space is visible on the LUN. The disks cannot be dynamic in MSCS.

Wayne's World of IT (WWoIT), Copyright 2008 Wayne Martin.


Anonymous said...

Hey Wayne, nice table. One consideration. The DFS column could change quite a bit if you consider it from a domain based root rather than a stand-alone root. With domain based roots, you have built in high availablity and because the DFS structure is stored as a blob in AD and replicated to all DCs. This will change the viewpoint on things like scalablity and backup. Again good work on the comparison.


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Unknown said...

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All Posts

printQueue AD objects for 2003 ClusterVirtualCenter Physical to VirtualVirtual 2003 MSCS Cluster in ESX VI3
Finding duplicate DNS recordsCommand-line automation – Echo and macrosCommand-line automation – set
Command-line automation - errorlevels and ifCommand-line automation - find and findstrBuilding blocks of command-line automation - FOR
Useful PowerShell command-line operationsMSCS 2003 Cluster Virtual Server ComponentsServer-side process for simple file access
OpsMgr 2007 performance script - VMware datastores...Enumerating URLs in Internet ExplorerNTLM Trusts between 2003 and NT4
2003 Servers with Hibernation enabledReading Shortcuts with PowerShell and VBSModifying DLL Resources
Automatically mapping printersSimple string encryption with PowerShellUseful NTFS and security command-line operations
Useful Windows Printer command-line operationsUseful Windows MSCS Cluster command-line operation...Useful VMware ESX and VC command-line operations
Useful general command-line operationsUseful DNS, DHCP and WINS command-line operationsUseful Active Directory command-line operations
Useful command-linesCreating secedit templates with PowerShellFixing Permissions with NTFS intra-volume moves
Converting filetime with vbs and PowerShellDifference between bat and cmdReplica Domain for Authentication
Troubleshooting Windows PrintingRenaming a user account in ADOpsMgr 2007 Reports - Sorting, Filtering, Charting...
WMIC XSL CSV output formattingEnumerating File Server ResourcesWMIC Custom Alias and Format
AD site discoveryPassing Parameters between OpsMgr and SSRSAnalyzing Windows Kernel Dumps
Process list with command-line argumentsOpsMgr 2007 Customized Reporting - SQL QueriesPreventing accidental NTFS data moves
FSRM and NTFS Quotas in 2003 R2PowerShell Deleting NTFS Alternate Data StreamsNTFS links - reparse, symbolic, hard, junction
IE Warnings when files are executedPowerShell Low-level keyboard hookCross-forest authentication and GP processing
Deleting Invalid SMS 2003 Distribution PointsCross-forest authentication and site synchronizati...Determining AD attribute replication
AD Security vs Distribution GroupsTroubleshooting cross-forest trust secure channels...RIS cross-domain access
Large SMS Web Reports return Error 500Troubleshooting SMS 2003 MP and SLPRemotely determine physical memory
VMware SDK with PowershellSpinning Excel Pie ChartPoke-Info PowerShell script
Reading web content with PowerShellAutomated Cluster File Security and PurgingManaging printers at the command-line
File System Filters and minifiltersOpsMgr 2007 SSRS Reports using SQL 2005 XMLAccess Based Enumeration in 2003 and MSCS
Find VM snapshots in ESX/VCComparing MSCS/VMware/DFS File & PrintModifying Exchange mailbox permissions
Nested 'for /f' catch-allPowerShell FindFirstFileW bypassing MAX_PATHRunning PowerSell Scripts from ASP.Net
Binary <-> Hex String files with PowershellOpsMgr 2007 Current Performance InstancesImpersonating a user without passwords
Running a process in the secure winlogon desktopShadow an XP Terminal Services sessionFind where a user is logged on from
Active Directory _msdcs DNS zonesUnlocking XP/2003 without passwords2003 Cluster-enabled scheduled tasks
Purging aged files from the filesystemFinding customised ADM templates in ADDomain local security groups for cross-forest secu...
Account Management eventlog auditingVMware cluster/Virtual Center StatisticsRunning scheduled tasks as a non-administrator
Audit Windows 2003 print server usageActive Directory DiagnosticsViewing NTFS information with nfi and diskedit
Performance Tuning for 2003 File ServersChecking ESX/VC VMs for snapshotsShowing non-persistent devices in device manager
Implementing an MSCS 2003 server clusterFinding users on a subnetWMI filter for subnet filtered Group Policy
Testing DNS records for scavengingRefreshing Computer Account AD Group MembershipTesting Network Ports from Windows
Using Recovery Console with RISPAE Boot.ini Switch for DEP or 4GB+ memoryUsing 32-bit COM objects on x64 platforms
Active Directory Organizational Unit (OU) DesignTroubleshooting computer accounts in an Active Dir...260+ character MAX_PATH limitations in filenames
Create or modify a security template for NTFS perm...Find where a user is connecting from through WMISDDL syntax in secedit security templates

About Me

I’ve worked in IT for over 20 years, and I know just about enough to realise that I don’t know very much.