Implement High Availability in Windows Server 2016

This IT Pro Challenge teaches advanced learners how to ensure high server availability using Microsoft Hyper-V, iSCSI Initiator, Disk Management, Server Manager, and Failover Clustering Manager. Lab participants learn about making virtual and networked data available, critical skills for those on Network Administrators career paths.

1 hour
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This challenge will teach advanced learners how to ensure virtual machines (VMs), and servers keep running in case a physical machine’s hardware or its network connectivity fails. Participants will set-up and replicate a Windows 2016 standard server VM through Hyper-V and implement failover clustering for Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) shared storage. As part of the set-up, users will install the Hyper-V server tools and configure an iSCSI virtual disk.

If you know how to use and are comfortable with Windows Server tools, Windows PowerShell cmdlets, and have provisioned a virtual machine or disk, then you will be ready to do the lab’s exercises. It would be best to plan on a full hour to complete the lab in one sitting. You can also take the lab more than once. You will have access to a domain controller, and four other servers, two Hyper-V servers, and two configured for the failover cluster.

If you are on the network and system administrator career path, you will become more confident about ensuring that virtual resources, under your charge, remain available. If a machine fails, due to a hardware problem or a network outage, you will need to shift workloads to other resources, so that users experience a minimal interruption in getting or using their data, whether on a VM or through network shared storage. This lab will give you and reinforce the skills to make sure you can achieve this goal.

Understanding the Scenario:

You are a network administrator. You need to configure Hyper-V® Replica and failover clustering. First, you install Hyper-V on two servers that represent Hyper-V servers in two different data centers. Then you verify failover after replicating a virtual machine between the two Hyper-V servers. Next, you install failover clustering and file services on two servers by using an iSCSI SAN for shared storage, and then you create a cluster by using the two servers. Finally, you verify high availability after simulating a server failure.

Install the Hyper-V role:

In this lab exercise, you log into two different machines and install the Hyper-V role on both. You can run the installation much quicker using the ‘Install-WindowsFeature’ Windows PowerShell cmdlet. The tool takes several minutes to install, and you restart the machine. So, after starting to install Hyper-V on the first machine, you move to the second machine and start Hyper-V deployment.

Replicate a Virtual Machine By Using Hyper-V Replica:

This hands-on exercise has you create a virtual machine through one server and enable replication on the second server, all through Hyper-V. As part of this module, you do a custom Windows Server 2016 operating system (OS) installation on the Virtual Machine. After this OS install starts, you go onto other steps in the lab. Many of the lab activities, in this module, can be done in parallel.

Finally, you verify replica success using Hyper-V. In Hyper-V, you choose the replicated machine, View, and then replica health on the second machine. The status column shows the replication process in the first machine.

Configure iSCSI Shared Storage:

In this section, you create two iSCSI virtual disks. Then, you create an ISCSi initiator, one on each of two servers, to connect with the virtual shared storage. The instructions specify internet protocol and another machine for each initiator. You then format the disks on each server by initializing them, bringing offline disks online, creating new volumes, and formatting them. At the end of the exercise, you verify iSCSI initiator connections.

Implement Failover Clustering:

This portion of the lab has you install the Failover Cluster Manager on each of the two servers. Then you deploy the clustered file server. A failover cluster describes at least two servers or nodes that share a connection to a storage unit. Should one physical server go offline, the other server machine takes its place. This redundancy makes the stored data highly available.


After finishing this virtual lab, you will become an expert on making your virtual resources highly available with minimal downtime. You will:

  • Create a virtual machine for use as a Hyper-V Replica.
  • Configure and test a replication on a virtual machine.
  • Configure an iSCSI shared storage.
  • Create a highly available file server cluster.

Through ensuring one server always remains available, should another fail, you instill user confidence that their data, whether on a virtual machine or shared storage, will be accessible.