Last month I presented a session during the “Windows Server webinar miniseries - Month of Cloud Essentials”. The session was on how to create highly available apps with Azure VMs. Following the session I was asked about setting up traditional Windows Server Clusters.
During that conversation I stated my belief that if you are building modern apps that can run in an active-active model, a traditional cluster might not be needed.
You can achieve the same results with Azure Availability Set/Zones, Azure Load Balancers and virtual machine. However, if your migrating or deploying an app that requires the traditional Windows cluster, or shared storage. Our story was not the best. Up to now, you had to deploy an additional VM that would "host" the Cluster Shared Volumes.
That changed last week with 2 announcements...
The first announcement was about Announcing the general availability of Azure shared disks and new Azure Disk Storage enhancements. The general availability of shared disks on Azure Disk Storage will now enable enterprises to easily migrate your existing on-premises Windows and Linux-based clustered environments to Azure. This is a new feature for Azure managed disks that allows you to attach a managed disk to multiple virtual machines (VMs) simultaneously. Therefore, allowing you to either deploy new or migrate existing clustered applications to Azure.
VMs in the cluster can read or write to their attached disk based on the reservation chosen by the clustered application using SCSI Persistent Reservations (SCSI PR). The shared disks are exposed as logical unit numbers (LUNs) and look like direct-attached-storage (DAS) to your VM.
The second interesting announcement is Windows Admin Center version 2007 is now generally available!. The new version comes with multiple new improvements but one in particular caught my attention. New Cluster deployment experience and capabilities.
Windows Admin Center now provides a graphical cluster deployment workflow. It allows you to deploy multiple cluster types based on the operating system that runs on their choice of servers.
Together these two announcements are enabling the deployment of traditional Windows or Linux Clusters without the need for an additional VM to host the CSV. Therefore, simplifying your deployments and making them more cost efficient since you save the cost of the additional VM.
Our Story is getting better all the time and Hybrid is built into it.
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