Hyper-V 2012 comes with a wealth of new benefits and enhancements which together constitute a compelling reason to upgrade your existing Hyper-V 2008 failover cluster to a Hyper-V 2012 failover cluster.

This blog post covers the 4 major steps needed to successfully upgrade from Hyper-V 2008 to Hyper-V 2012.

Once you’ve made the decision to upgrade, you need to consider whether you will purchase new hardware or leverage your existing infrastructure. While the easier option is to migrate your cluster to new hardware, budget constraints might impel you to go with your existing equipment.

The high level overview of the upgrade is a 4-step process:

  1. Configure (or rebuild) OS’s on the Hyper-V hosts
  2. Create a new cluster
  3. Export existing VM’s
  4. Import VM’s into the new cluster

You have a SAN hosting a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) for your Hyper-V cluster utilizing iSCSI

Step 1 – Configure (or rebuild) OS’s on the Hyper-V hosts

If you’re using new hardware, you’ll start by installing Windows Server 2012 on each server. Make sure to load the latest drivers and firmware for NICs and other hardware. There are some key roles and features that need to be installed along with the OS:

  • Hyper-V Role
  • .NET 3.5
  • SNMP
  • MPIO

If you are running a Dell EqualLogic SAN, you will also want to install the HIT Kit on each Hyper-V host. Hopefully you have at least 6 NICs on each host. One of the great new features of Server 2012 is the ability to team NICs within the OS without additional third-party software. Accordingly, go ahead and team the NICs for your production LAN connections, heartbeat connections, and any other connections (DMZ, management, etc.) EXCEPT for your SAN connections. iSCSI doesn’t support NIC teaming and we’ll use MPIO to squeeze all the bandwidth we can out of the iSCSI connections (plus getting the added reliability of MPIO).

Next, configure your SAN NICs and make sure to enable jumbo frames. Connect each host to the SAN via iSCSI initiator and via the Dell HIT Kit (if you’re using it). Create the Hyper-V switches (VirtProd, VirtDMZ, etc.) – remember that you’ll need to create them identically on each host. It’s also recommended that you configure the vSwitches with the same names you are currently using (otherwise you’ll have to spend a lot of time reconfiguring the NICs on your VMs during the export/import process later on). After all of your vSwitches are configured, you are ready to install the failover cluster feature on each Hyper-V host.

If you are using your existing hardware, you can upgrade each host one at a time. Starting with the first host, migrate the VMs running on that host to another host, and then proceed to take the first host offline and run through the steps above. Once you have Server 2012 installed and everything is ready to go, you can continue with the next steps, just as you would if you were using new hardware.

Step 2 – Create a new cluster

At this point, you are ready to create your new cluster. Since each Hyper-V failover cluster requires its own CSV and Quorum volume, you’ll need to provision 2 new volumes on your SAN for use with the 2012 Hyper-V cluster. Once that is completed, open failover cluster manager (or PowerShell) and create the new cluster.

You will need to add your CSV and Quorum volumes via the “Add Disk” link to make them part of the cluster. Then select the disks used for CSV and click “Add to Cluster Shared Volumes” to complete the CSV setup. Once you finish configuring/rebuilding all of the Hyper-V hosts, you should run the cluster validation wizard to ensure that all your settings are correct and all components of the cluster validate successfully.

Step 3 – Export existing VM’s

Now you are ready to actually get VMs into the new Hyper-V 2012 cluster and make them highly available. The first step is to move the VM onto the new host. Before you export the VM, make sure it’s stopped and eject any DVDs/ISOs that are inserted.

In Hyper-V Manager export the VM from the 2008 Hyper-V host on which it resides. It’s usually easiest to store the export in a folder on the new CSV, but you can temporarily store it anywhere. Once it’s exported, cut and paste the entire folder into the root of the new CSV, which resides on the C: drive of each host (i.e. c:clusterstoragevolume1).

Step 4 – Import VM’s into the new cluster

Open up Hyper-V manager on the new host and import the VM from the folder you just pasted. During import make sure that you select to register and keep the existing unique ID. Start up the VM, connect to it, and install/update the Integration Services.

Once that’s completed, shut down the VM and open Failover Cluster Manager. Click “Configure Roles” and choose Virtual Machine. Select the HA checkbox for each VM and complete the wizard. Now, start up your highly available VMs on your brand new Hyper-V 2012 cluster!

Need help?

Feel free to contact FMT Consultants should you need assistance with your Hyper-V 2012 upgrade or any other IT issues.

Written by:
Zach Saltzman, Sr. Consultant
FMT Consultants

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