Skip to main content

The Cluster in a Box Validation Kit for Windows Server

Previously, the stand-alone Cluster in a Box Validation Kit for Windows Server helped to confirm that continuous availability (CA) storage controller and drivers met all applicable requirements for the Windows CA Hardware Platform Validation Program. Now, the Validation Kit has been replaced by new tests included in the Windows 8.1 Windows Hardware Certification Kit. These tests conduct various end-to-end test scenarios by running IO workloads and data integrity tests against the cluster during a planned or unplanned failover.

Overview

A Windows continuously available file server provides critical storage availability without failover disruption. This solution includes at least two Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 nodes enjoined by Microsoft Failover Clustering Service and CA storage controllers managing the shared storage. A continuously available file server is able to shield client computers from failover activities and helps ensure that failover is transparent from the perspective of client computers or applications storing data on the file server.

Use the following control to expand and collapse all questions and answers on this page.

Frequently asked questions


What are the goals of the Validation Tests?
  • Define requirements to enable partners to build compliant clustered RAID controllers and systems that use them for clustered storage.
  • Provide tests and supporting documentation to enable partners to validate that these products meet the continuous availability requirements.
  • Enable partners building clustered systems for Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 to include testing for continuous availability in their qualification process.
Who are the Validation Tests for?
  • Partners designing clustered RAID controllers.
  • Partners building systems using clustered RAID controllers.
  • Partners building clustered systems designed to support continuous availability applications with Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012.
Why should I run the Validation Tests?
  • The Validation Tests help to confirm that CA storage controller and drivers meet all applicable requirements for the Windows CA Hardware Platform Validation Program.
  • The Validation Tests conduct various end-to-end test scenarios by running IO workloads and data integrity tests against the cluster during a planned or unplanned failover.
  • Successful validation is a requirement for partners shipping clustered RAID controllers or systems using those controllers in a Windows Failover Cluster configuration.


Resources


Continuous Availability Requirements

The detailed requirements are outlined in the Windows 8.1 Preview WDK documentation. For more details about obtaining the kit, see "Related sites" on the right side of this webpage.

  • The CA Validation Tests for Windows Server validate solutions against the CA requirements by performing end-to-end CA scenarios that comprise data integrity tests, planned and unplanned faults, and LUN downtime measurements.
  • Each CA test workflow will have workload tests running during a planned or unplanned failover, and various success criteria are measured before reporting success for the solution under test against the set of CA hardware requirements.
  • The CA hardware solution is considered validated when all CA Test Workflows pass, thereby meeting all CA Hardware Requirements.


Cluster in a Box in 2013: How Real Customers Are Making Their Businesses Highly Available with Windows Server 2012



With the release of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft hardware partners announced their plans for shipping Cluster in a Box systems. These systems combine server blades, shared storage, internal cabling, and redundant power supplies into a single chassis targeted at the volume server market. In this session, we show actual, shipping hardware and present detailed case studies about how real customers are using these new systems to solve their business needs. We show you detailed system configurations and in-depth workload and performance analysis so that you can understand exactly how these experiences relate to your own requirements.