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Given the following situation:

  • 2 machines (could be more, but 2 would already be great)
  • They both are configured exactly the same (same services are installed)
  • They can see each other in the network

Is there a service which I can install on both machines, and which do frequent alive checkes to the same service on the other machine? If they both see each other, the one with the highest priority wins and will enable (or keep enabled) all registered running processes. The other service will stop all registered services on their machine.

In case of failure of the high priority machine, the other system will detect this and start the services.

So in short: a failover service

I tried to find something like this on google but did not find anything.

I'm keen on finding an existing solution, otherwise I have to roll my own.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you want a proper solution, you should look at either MSCS (if you have shared storage) or NeverFail/WanSyncHA/DoubleTake (google them and check out the whitepapers) Manual scripts are OK for basic and very primitive stuff, but they might lead to serious data corruption, if they fail to mediate shared access, or fail to detect splitbrain and avoid it.

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These solutions are in a league of their own. I agree that having things like that would be sweet, but for our situation it might be a bit overkill – reinier Feb 11 '10 at 12:17
mscs does exactly what I need. And the commenters (under my own answer) are right in that it is tricky to roll your own which works as reliable and good. – reinier Sep 3 '10 at 11:50

You could definiatly roll your own, maybe a powershell script and a scheduled task.

Otherwise, you could look at using Microsoft Clustering. You might need to do some research to see if your service supports it, it provides some other features which maybe harder to build yourself. e.g. Fail-back, resource grouping (your service, storage for the service, registry keys, networking).

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I should have mentioned that the storage requires some type of shared storage setup (iSCSI,FC) – commandbreak Feb 11 '10 at 11:42
powershell doesn't seem like a bad idea actually. I've meaning to look into this and this could be a good reason ;^) Any ideas on the best/easiest dev environment (with some basic syntax highlighting, intellisense?)? – reinier Feb 11 '10 at 11:53
powergui is my fav IDE, but MS have packaged one up with powershell2 – commandbreak Feb 11 '10 at 12:08

ok... rolled my own.

Made a small .Net service app which does just what I described. With some syslog notifications and possibility to notify people via sms in case of failovers.

I'll see and try to get it on codeplex or sourceforge for others to use/build upon

When this has happened I'll post the url here in the comments

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wow. what was wrong with configuring a generic service in MSCS?? – Nick Kavadias Feb 12 '10 at 14:14
I highly disrecommend this method. There are so many things which can go wrong that you may not have thought of. – Jesse Weigert Feb 19 '10 at 4:00

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