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I'm trying to setup some form of a failover cluster between 2 hosts. I want to be able to have high availability on 2 of my VMs.

It seems that some form of shared storage is required for this to work properly in a windows cluster but the goal at the moment is to avoid purchasing additional hardware or software.

Here are some possibilities I have come across:

  • Using SMB 3.0 and a Windows file share cluster to host the VM files. From what I understand, this has the same requirements as VM failovers.
  • 3rd party solution like StarWind virtual SAN. While this looks like it could work, they no longer offer the hyperconverged storage feature in the free version (ie can't be installed on a host running hyper-v).
  • Replication as opposed to VM high availability. Unfortunately, VMs cannot be replicated to the same cluster.

Are there any other ways I could setup VMs for HA with this 2 server setup?

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3rd party solution like StarWind virtual SAN. While this looks like it could work, they no longer offer the hyperconverged storage feature in the free version (ie can't be installed on a host running hyper-v).

They actually do! Drop a message to their sales and mention you're not going to buy anything and need free hyper converged version for your own needs. They will issue you with a NFR key.

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    I totally confirm that. Here is the link where to get software starwindsoftware.com/starwind-virtual-san-free. – Net Runner Mar 31 '16 at 8:46
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    Thanks for the tip. It seems this is possible for consultants/students but the license expires after 1 year. @NetRunner the standard free license will not install on a host with Hyper-V enabled, only a physical machine without Hyper-V – phosplait Mar 31 '16 at 15:14
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You've pretty much listed your options there. You will need some hardware.

But there IS a relatively cheap option. Take a look at this article: http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=15243

It describes using a JBOD tray connected to your two hyper-v nodes. You use storage spaces to create cluster shared volumes on the two nodes, then store your virtual machines there. No additional servers required.

You do however need to be very careful what JBOD you select and make sure it is suitable for doing this. It needs to be designed for cluster storage, having two SAS ports on each controller. All the drives will need to be SAS drives, not SATA, because SAS drives have two onboard controller ports.

It still costs money, but a fraction of what a SAN costs.

Of course, you get what you pay for. This setup is more designed for a test lab environment. But for a small business it's probably suitable.

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