With the upcoming release of Microsoft’s newest server operating system less than two months away, now is the time to start familiarizing yourself with some of the latest enhancements coming with it.
One such area that has been enhanced is Failover Clustering. Failover clustering has received new features each of the past few generations of the Windows Server operating system. Server 2016 will be no different, with several minor changes aimed at making the feature easier to manage and maintain. Also, sticking with Microsoft’s focus on the Public Cloud, some Azure integration has been added as well.
A few features to note include:
- The ability to increase a cluster’s functional level without bringing it out of production
- The ability to add additional cluster nodes at any time, without bringing the entire cluster down
- 2016 functional level clusters can be created with no Active Directory requirements
These three minor enhancements should make running clusters with mission critical workloads much less of a burden on IT administration for standard routine maintenance tasks such as security patching. Also, the ability to run without Active Directory will give great architecture flexibility for system engineers who may have limited resources and don’t want to have a Domain Controller built into their workload’s cluster requirements.
The Azure-based feature mentioned earlier is called the Cloud Witness quorum. This will allow organizations running smaller clusters with an even number of local quorum votes to leverage Azure for very little cost. A walk-through of setting up this feature can be found here.
Microsoft Server 2016 has a plethora of new features coming with it. These are a couple that are centered around just one of the server roles available. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to review the comprehensive list published on Technet to see what Microsoft’s newest operating system can do for your organization’s environment.