Home > Microsoft, Virtualization > Windows 2012 Hyper-V Replica : Deployment Scenarios, Functionality and Step by Step by using SSL Certificate Part I

Windows 2012 Hyper-V Replica : Deployment Scenarios, Functionality and Step by Step by using SSL Certificate Part I

With Windows 2012 around the corner ( first week of august 2012 ), you probably started planning the deployment already.

I am starting a series of blog posting with step by steps. The first one is about Hyper-V Replica, a real nice feature.

Hyper-V Replica. what is ?

Hyper-V replica is a new feature of Windows 2012 that enables you to replicate any Virtual Machine (yes, copy the entire VM: VHD/VHDX and configuration ) from one Hyper-V Server to another, without storage or any special hardware. You only need 2 servers running Windows 2012 Hyper-V.

You can replicate the content over the LAN or WAN (without compromising the link) by using HTTP or HTTPS protocols using SSL certificates inclusive.

Once you enable the Hyper-V Replica on the VM, the source host starts to maintain a HRL (Hyper-V Replica Log file) for the VHDs.  Every 1 write by the VM = 1 write to VHD and 1 write to the HRL.  Depending on bandwidth availability, the logfiles are sent to the target host every 5 minutes(setting not configurable).  On the target the Hyper-V Replica mechanism run asynchronous, processing the log file in reverse order, allowing  it only to store the latest writes. It replicates only the changes.

Note: After 5 minutes, if the replay hasn’t happened then you get an alert.  The replica log file replication will take up to 30min to complete before going into a failed state where your intervention will be required to look at the issue and fix it.

The configurations at each site do not have to be the same with respect to server or storage hardware. Hyper-V Replica provides  the option to restore virtualized workloads to a point in time depending on the Recovery History selections for the virtual machine.

Really easy to deploy and use.

Deployment Scenarios:

–         Between 2 sites (DataCenter replication to small offices)

–         Cross premises DR solution

Cluster

Hyper-V Replica works with clusters.  In fact you can do the following replications:

  • Standalone host to cluster
  • Cluster to cluster
  • Cluster to standalone host

NOTE : Hyper-V Replica is NOT an alternative to clustering. It is not intended for High Availability purposes.

Functional description

•    Replication Engine:  Manages the replication configuration details and handles initial replication, delta replication, failover, and test-failover operations. It also tracks virtual machine and storage mobility events and takes appropriate actions as needed (i.e. it pauses replication events until migration events complete and then resumes where they left off).

•    Change Tracking:  Provides a virtual machine level change tracking mechanism on the primary server by keeping track of the write-operations, which happen in the virtual machine.

•    Network Module: The Networking Module provides a secure and efficient compressed network channel to transfer virtual machine replicas between Primary and Replica site.

•    Hyper-V Replica Broker role:  The Hyper-V Replica Broker role is configured in a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster. This functionality supports seamless replication even in the event of a migration of a replica virtual machine from one cluster node to another.

•    Management Experience:   Hyper-V Manager UI; Failover Cluster Manager UI; PowerShell scripting; Hyper-V Replica APIs.

Step by Step – Part I

On the source Hyper-V Server

1. Open the Hyper-V Server Manager and click on the Hyper-V server. Then in the right pane, click on Hyper-V settings

2. On the Hyper-V settings page, click on Replication Configuration on the left pane

3. On the Replication Configuration, click on Enable this computer as a Replica Server

4.You have now the choose how the replication will occur : by using HTc.TP (port 80) or HTTPS (port 443, with encryption).

HTTPS: If you select HTTPS, I recommend you to buy an SSL Certificate from a trusted Certification Authority (CA), then :

a. Create an INF file for an Wildcard certificate request. Use the following example and replace the subject with the hyper-v servers domain name. Save the content in a text file as cert.inf for example.

  [Version]
Signature=”$Windows NT$”
[NewRequest]
Subject = “CN=*.YOURDOMAIN.local”
Exportable = TRUE                   ; Private key is exportable
KeyLength = 2048                    ; Common key sizes: 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384
KeySpec = 1                         ; AT_KEYEXCHANGE
KeyUsage = 0xA0                     ; Digital Signature, Key Encipherment
MachineKeySet = True                ; The key belongs to the local computer account
ProviderName = “Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider”
ProviderType = 12
RequestType = CMC[EnhancedKeyUsageExtension]
OID=1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.1 ;Server Authentication
OID=1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.2 ;Client Authentication

b. Create a request. Open the command prompt with Administrative rights  ( run as Administrator ) and type the following:

certreq –new CERT.inf  CERT.req

c. Create the CSR to submit the certificate request to an external CA

certutil -encode CERT.req  CERT.csr

d.Upload the ENTIRE content of the text file CERT.csr into the external CA webpage. (could be any external trusted CA)

e.After the certificate is issued and you received the email with the certificate, open the command prompt and type the following commands to import and store the certificate on all Hyper-V servers ( source and target )

certreq -accept CERT.cer

certutil –store my

HTTP: Select : Use Kerberos HTTP

5. Configure the Authorization and storage.  This includes designating a specific location to store replica virtual machine files if the default location is not to be used. Should you not desire to allow all Primary servers to be serviced, there is an option to allow only specific servers (Primary servers) to send replication requests.

If you want to allow all servers within the domain, a wildcard character can be used (e.g. *.yourdomain.local). When using a wildcard, only one storage location can be specified.  If individual server entries are used, different storage locations for replica files can be configured.  Complete all entries for the Primary Server, Storage Locations, and Security Tag information.

6.  Click Apply or OK when finished.

Next article : configuring the target server

  1. Luca
    July 23, 2012 at 23:51

    I implemented the replication capabilities built into Windows Server 2012 RC and I must say that it works great: D

  2. Tony Valenti
    September 5, 2012 at 20:44

    Can Replica be used for Host-to-Host replication (no cluster)?

    • September 5, 2012 at 21:13

      Yes, Replica can be used for Hyper-V to Hyper-V with no storage, no cluster.
      You can even have 2 machines connected by a cross over cable.

      But remember Hyper-V Replica is for DR not HA

  3. September 20, 2012 at 22:22

    Yes, you can

    • Alexander
      September 21, 2012 at 00:41

      thanx for your answer!

      And can i use Hyper-V Replica between amd and intel processor comuters ?

      • September 29, 2012 at 13:08

        The replica migrates the VM. You need to be sure the processor are compatible

  4. Vedran
    July 9, 2013 at 19:27

    Hi.

    I have a question – can Replica do replication between 2 locations in conditions, where site A has a Hyper-V 2008 version, while site B runs a Hyper-V 2012 version?

    • July 13, 2013 at 11:19

      Hi Vedran
      There is no Hyper-V replica in Windows Hyper-V 2008 version.
      You will need to upgrade it to 2012 version

  5. September 18, 2013 at 18:49

    “On the source Hyper-V Server” – you described the steps on the TARGET server, not the SOURCE one: a replica server is the server which receives copies of source VMs. At least it seems quite common to name the server FROM which an information go the SOURCE and the server TO which it goes the TARGET.

  1. July 23, 2012 at 09:42
  2. July 23, 2012 at 09:50

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