Checklist: Configure Virtual Machines for High Availability

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

This checklist shows the tasks that are required to configure virtual machines for high availability. For information about the tools you use to configure high availability, see the Failover Clusters Help. You can view local Help content by typing the following command at a command prompt: hh cluadmin.chm. Or, you can see Failover Clusters Help in the Windows Server 2008 Technical Library (


Live migration is a new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 that makes it possible to move a highly available virtual machine from one node to another node while it is running, without downtime. For more information about live migration, see and

Task References

Review concepts related to Hyper-V and virtual machines in the context of a cluster.

If you want to use Cluster Shared Volumes for your virtual machines, review concepts related to Cluster Shared Volumes.

See “Understanding Hyper-V and Virtual Machines in the Context of a Cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

See “Understanding Cluster Shared Volumes in a Failover Cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

Install Failover Clustering and the Hyper-V role on each physical server. You can use Server Manager to install both of these technologies.

For instructions about installing Failover Clustering, see "Install Failover Clustering" in Failover Clusters Help.

For instructions about installing Hyper-V, see the Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide (

Connect the networks and storage that the cluster will use.

In Hyper-V Manager, create virtual networks that will be available for virtual machines to use.

Use the same names for the virtual networks when you create them on the different nodes. When a virtual machine fails over from one node to another, the name of the virtual network that the virtual machine is configured to use must be the same.

See “Prepare Hardware Before Validating a Failover Cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

Manage Virtual Networks

Run the Validate a Configuration Wizard on all the servers that you want to cluster to confirm that the hardware and hardware settings of the servers, network, and storage are compatible with failover clustering. If necessary, adjust hardware or hardware settings and rerun the wizard until all tests pass (required for support).


Validation does not check that the virtualization features of the processors on each server are compatible.

See “Validate a new or existing failover cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

Use the Create Cluster Wizard to create the failover cluster.

See "Checklist: Create a Failover Cluster" in Failover Clusters Help.

If the clustered servers are connected to a network that is not to be used for network communication in the cluster (for example, a network intended only for iSCSI or only for backup), then configure that network so that it does not allow cluster communication.

See “Modify Network Settings for a Failover Cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

If you want to use Cluster Shared Volumes and you have not already enabled this feature, enable Cluster Shared Volumes.

See “Enable Cluster Shared Volumes in a Failover Cluster” in Failover Clusters Help.

Use the New Virtual Machine Wizard to create the virtual machines.


Make sure that you create the virtual machine in a new folder and choose a storage location that will be accessible to all the servers in the cluster.

For general instructions, see Create Virtual Machines. For more information about configuring highly available virtual machines, see Configure a Virtual Machine for High Availability. For step-by-step instructions, see Hyper-V Step-by-Step Guide: Hyper-V and Failover Clustering (

Use the High Availability Wizard to make each virtual machine highly available.

See "Configure a Service or Application for High Availability" in Failover Clusters Help.

Reconfigure the automatic start action for the virtual machine so that it does nothing when the physical computer starts.

Configure virtual machines (

Test the failover of the clustered virtual machine.

See “Test the Failover of a Clustered Virtual Machine” in Failover Clusters Help.