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Requirements for HPC Pack in Failover Clusters

Updated: August 6, 2013

Applies To: Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2, Microsoft HPC Pack 2012, Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 R2, Windows HPC Server 2008 R2

This topic provides information about the requirements for deploying HPC Pack in one or more failover clusters where the servers are running a supported version of Windows Server. This topic discusses requirements for the following configurations:

The system requirements for the configurations in this guide are based on the requirements for the components in the following table, which also depend on the version of HPC Pack you are installing.

 

  HPC Pack 2012 R2 HPC Pack 2012 HPC Pack 2008 R2

Windows Server Failover Clustering feature

Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter (64-bit only)

ImportantImportant
You cannot use Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC Edition as the operating system for a server that will be in a failover cluster.

SQL Server

SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008 with at least Service Pack 1 (SP1)

The following sections provide more detail about these requirements:

You need the following hardware for a failover cluster running HPC Pack:

  • Servers that are compatible with Windows Server Failover Clustering: For a failover cluster to be supported by Microsoft, all hardware must be certified for the version of Windows Server that you are running, and the complete failover cluster solution must pass all tests in the Validate a Configuration Wizard in Failover Cluster Manager.

    The following table lists the number of nodes that are supported in a failover cluster that runs the HPC Pack head node or WCF broker nodes. We recommend that for each failover cluster, you use a set of matching computers that contain the same or similar components.

     

    Failover cluster size for HPC Pack 2012 R2 HPC Pack 2012 HPC Pack 2008 R2

    Head node

    2 – 64 nodes

    2 – 64 nodes

    2 nodes

    WCF broker nodes

    2 - 64 nodes (maximum of 8 broker node failover clusters per HPC cluster)

    2 - 64 nodes (maximum of 8 broker node failover clusters per HPC cluster)

    2 – 16 nodes (maximum of 8 broker node failover clusters per HPC cluster)



    ImportantImportant
    Ensure that you choose server hardware that is sized appropriately for both the HPC Pack workload and the requirements of the failover cluster. This is especially important if you are considering deploying clustered head node services and clustered SQL Server on the same failover cluster nodes.

    For additional information about server hardware requirements for HPC Pack failover clusters, see for example:

  • Servers for installation of SQL Server: If you plan to install SQL Server on a remote server or in a separate failover cluster, you will need one or more servers for the SQL Server installation. For information about SQL Server installation requirements and options, see for example:

  • Network adapters and cables (for failover network communication): The network hardware, like other components in the failover cluster solution, must be compatible with failover cluster solutions in the version of Windows Server you are using. For Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012, see Failover Clustering Hardware Requirements and Storage Options.

    ImportantImportant
    In the network infrastructure that connects the failover cluster servers, to avoid having single points of failure for the configuration that is described in this guide, you must use multiple, distinct networks. This is important because the load on the network that connects a head node to compute nodes can be high when the compute nodes are being deployed or when the application load is high.

    For HPC Pack, a public-only topology, also called Topology 5 (Public Only) is generally not recommended for the scenario described in this guide, because a single network is a single point of failure. An exception is to use Topology 5 when creating a “stretched” V-LAN to connect failover clusters in two geographic sties, which is supported starting in HPC Pack 2012 (not shown in this guide).

    noteNote
    If you connect the failover cluster servers by using a single network, the network will pass the redundancy requirement in the Validate a Configuration Wizard. However, when you create the failover cluster, you might see a warning that the network should not have single points of failure.

  • Device controllers or appropriate adapters for the storage:

    For requirements and more information, see the Failover Clustering documentation for the version of Windows Server you are using. For Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012, see Failover Clustering Hardware Requirements and Storage Options.

  • Storage: You must use shared storage that is compatible with the version of Windows Server you are using. For Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012, see Failover Clustering Hardware Requirements and Storage Options. Additional storage requirements include the following:

    • For a failover cluster that runs the head node, at least two disks are needed.

      If you have a failover cluster that runs one or more WCF broker nodes, you must allow one disk per active cluster node (to support the instance of Message Queuing running on that active node). Also, if that failover cluster has an even number of nodes, an additional disk is generally needed for a disk witness. For information about how these disks are used, see Overview of Microsoft HPC Pack and SOA in Failover Clusters.

    • The disk where SQL Server will be installed must be uncompressed.

You need to use the following software for a failover cluster running HPC Pack:

  • If you are setting up an HPC Pack 2008 R2 head node (or WCF broker nodes, if you have them) in a failover cluster, you must use the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating systems. In addition, Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 only supports x64, so all the servers must run the same x64 hardware version of the operating system. All servers should also have the same security updates and service packs.

    ImportantImportant
    You cannot use Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC Edition as the operating system for a server that will be in a failover cluster.

  • If you plan to run service-oriented architecture (SOA) jobs in an HPC Pack 2008 R2 cluster, you must apply a hotfix rollup for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to each server that you want to include in the failover cluster that will run head node services. WCF is part of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 in Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information, see:

    A hotfix rollup is available for Windows Communication Foundation in the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

  • For best results and as a best practice, the servers that you configure as a head node in a failover cluster should not also be domain controllers.

  • In the HPC cluster, the head node cannot serve as a compute node or WCF broker node, and a WCF broker node cannot serve as a head node or compute node.

You need the following domain attributes:

  • Domain role: No server running SQL Server should be a domain controller (to maintain security levels for SQL Server). If you create a SQL Server failover cluster, all servers in the failover cluster must be in the same Active Directory domain.

  • Account or accounts for configuring failover clusters: When you first create a failover cluster, you must be logged on to the domain with an account that has administrator rights and permissions on the servers in the failover cluster. The account does not need to be a Domain Admins account; it can be a Domain Users account that is in the Administrators group on the servers. In addition, if the account is not a Domain Admins account, the account (or the group that the account is a member of) must have the Create Computer Objects and Read All Properties permissions in the domain.

  • Accounts in Active Directory for the HPC cluster: In Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), make sure that you have at a minimum the following accounts for the HPC cluster:

    • Designated user account for adding nodes to the HPC cluster: We recommend that you create a specific user account that is designated as “installation credentials” for adding nodes (such as compute nodes) to the HPC cluster. For information about the permissions for this account, see the HPC Pack Getting Started Guide, especially Step 3: Configure the Head Node. Within the HPC cluster, this account will become a permanent member in the HPC cluster User role, which is why we recommend creating a designated account for this purpose.

    • Group accounts for HPC administrators and HPC users: Create designated domain security groups for HPC users and for HPC administrators. (Starting in HPC Pack 2012 with Service Pack 1, the HPC job administrator and HPC job operator role are also available, and you should also create separate domain security groups for them.). In HPC Cluster Manager, you should only add these domain security group accounts to the corresponding HPC cluster roles—User and Administrator. (The designated user account for “installation credentials” described in the previous item in this list is the only exception—when you specify that account, it is added to the HPC cluster User role.) For more information, see Step 6: Install HPC Pack on a Server that Will Run Head Node Services.

  • Service account for SQL Server Services: You must assign a domain user account to each SQL Server service. You can use one domain account for all of the services. For more information, see Service Account.

If you are using remote SQL Server, you also need the following attributes for your SQL Server instance:

  • Login on the SQL Server instance: On the SQL Server instance, you need to create a login for the domain security group account (in AD DS) that is used for HPC administrators. (This group account should contain thedomain account or accounts that are designated to install, reinstall, update, or upgrade HPC Pack.)

  • Sysadmin role in SQL Server: You must be able to assign all SQL Server logins that are created for the HPC cluster as follows:

    • For HPC Pack 2012 and later: the db_datareader, db_datawriter, and db_ddladmin database-level roles.

    • For HPC Pack 2008 R2: the sysadmin server-level role.

Failover clusters have the following requirements for network infrastructure (in addition to the requirements listed in Hardware requirements for a failover cluster running HPC Pack, earlier in this topic):

  • Domain: All of the servers in the failover cluster or clusters must be in the same domain.

  • Network settings: In failover clusters, when you use identical network adapters for a network, also use identical communication settings on those adapters (for example, Speed, Duplex Mode, Flow Control, and Media Type). Also, compare settings between the network adapter and the switch it connects to and make sure that no settings are in conflict.

  • DNS: The servers in failover clusters require Domain Name System (DNS) for name resolution. The DNS dynamic update protocol can be used.

If you set up a remote SQL Server instance for your HPC cluster, you need the following network access for that SQL Server instance:

  • Remote access for SQL Server instance: If you set up your SQL Server instance as a remote instance, it must be configured for remote access.

  • Firewall exceptions for SQL Server instance: For remote access to the SQL Server databases, firewall exceptions must be configured. For more information, see How to: Configure a Windows Firewall for Database Engine Access.

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