Building a Failover Cluster with Server Core Part 1

During the Dutch Launch event I presented about Windows Failover clustering and I also prepared some demo's. I build a failover cluster on top of a Server Core. In Part 1 I will briefly explain the sysprep process because I had to rebuild all my VM with the RTM version of Windows Server 2008.

So first I wanted to create a new set of base vhd's which I will use to install all my VM's from, this makes the install process much faster.
I started with the installation of a Windows Server 2008 EE to create my first base vhd. After the installation I added a few tools, changed some registry keys to make sure some of the tools are running when logging into the box.

Now with Windows Server 2008 the Sysprep tool is included within the System32 directory. To sysprep you're machine you need to run the sysprep tool and select the following options:


After the sysprep process is done the VM will shutdown automatically. Now keep this VHD as a base for all your new Virtual Machines.

In my case I needed to start with the installation of a DC and I've used the VHD Base, this is what you will see when you boot a sysprepped vhd file:


Select the correct regional settings.


Fill in the product key.


Fill in the server name and click start to configure the server, after a while you will need to change the password of the local Administrator account.

The server is now ready to be configured, in my case I will configure the networking and add the Active Directory Domain Services role and finalize with a dcpromo.

The next step in this little project is to install two Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Editions - Server Core. I also created a base vhd for this and used them to create SCCLU01 and SCLU02.

Once the base OS is installed I've configured the server as described in one of my previousposts , in Part 2 I will explain how to configure the iSCSI shared storage and assign it to a server core. In part 2 I will install the cluster and configure a high available file sharing infrastructure


Note: This is one way how to create your base VHD's another option is to use those base VHD files and create differencing disks pointing to the base vhd for each additional VM you need in your environment.

Technorati Tags: Windows Server 2008,Server Core,TechDays 2008,sysprep,Hyper-V