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Has Cluster Shared Volume support changed in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Has anything changed with regard to support for the Cluster Shared Volume feature in Windows Server 2012 R2?

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Microsoft has made a number of improvements to the Cluster Shared Volume feature in Windows Server 2012 R2. One of the most beneficial changes Microsoft has made is to improve Cluster Shared Volume resiliency by creating multiple instances of the Server Service.

By default, Windows Server 2012 R2 uses one Server Service instance to handle client/server Server Message Block, or SMB, traffic. A second instance is used solely for inner-node Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) access. This helps to improve resiliency because if Windows has a problem with a default Server Service instance, there are other instances that may still be functional.

Microsoft has also added health monitoring for the CSV. In any Windows-based failover cluster, there is a node that is known as the coordinator node. The coordinator node effectively owns the Cluster Shared Volume and handles I/O requests from other cluster nodes.

In Windows Server 2012 R2, there's a health monitoring process that watches over the coordinator node. If the coordinator node falls into an unhealthy state in which Cluster Shared Volume communications are impacted, the node will automatically give up its hold on the CSV, and ownership of the volume will be transferred to another node.

Another tremendously beneficial change that Microsoft made to Cluster Shared Volumes is added support for storage features that were introduced in Windows Server 2012. In Windows Server 2012, there were a lot of new storage features that, for whatever reason, were not supported for use with CSVs. Microsoft now supports the Resilient File System feature, deduplication, parity storage spaces, tiered storage spaces and storage spaces write-back caching for use with CSVs.

About the expert: Brien Posey is a Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien worked as a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.

This was first published in April 2014

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