This content is part of the Essential Guide: Live Migration vs. vMotion: A guide to VM migration

Hyper-V cluster guide: How to fix common problems

This Hyper-V cluster guide provides solutions to common virtual machine cluster problems that plague complex virtual infrastructures.

Microsoft's Hyper-V Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and Live Migration are welcome virtual machine performance (VM) additions to Microsoft's virtualization platform. CSV, a Hyper-V clustering technology, boosts virtual environments' resilience and eases regular maintenance tasks for IT administrators.

With failover clustering in Hyper-V, for example, administrators can create server clusters (or groups of servers) that work together to increase the availability of applications and services. When a cluster node fails, another node takes over to provide service. As a result, end users experience minimum disruption in service.

Hyper-V's Live Migration also enhances VM performance and workload flexibility by enabling admins to move virtual machines from one physical host without shutting down applications. During a virtual machine cluster failure, the beauty of Live Migration in Hyper-V R2 becomes readily evident. In a Hyper-V cluster, Live Migration lets VMs instantaneously migrate to another functioning host -- again, without disruption in service for end users.

The benefits of CSV and Live Migration are obvious, but the technologies also add a layer of complexity to Hyper-V infrastructures. Without careful planning and proper maintenance, Hyper-V cluster mistakes can snowball into full-fledged disasters.

In this Hyper-V cluster guide, expert Rob McShinsky provides solutions to several common Hyper-V clustering problems and even mixes in some personal experiences with these issues.

Avoiding Hyper-V clustering problems with firmware updates, patches and host drivers
Reducing virtual environment instability starts with a solid game plan. Coordinating patches and updates to keep data center hardware and software running at top efficiency should be a priority for every IT department. This tip on Hyper-V virtual machine problems covers firmware, drivers, patches and configurations that may decrease virtual environment reliability.

When Hyper-V VM configuration files VM states cause virtual machine cluster issues
Two virtual machine cluster problems that can arise are unsynchronized VM states and orphaned VM files. If VM states, such as "saving" and "starting," differ between Hyper-V Manager and Failover Cluster Manager, for example, virtual machines will continually try to restart on different nodes. As for orphaned VM files, these bits of data cause annoying 4096 errors in the event log and even failures in extreme instances. Find out multiple fixes to these Hyper-V clustering problems in this expert tip.

Hyper-V cluster performance problems and how to fix them
When a Hyper-V cluster error occurs, you need to take a hard look in the mirror. IT administrative errors happen to everyone, even the most seasoned virtualization experts. In Hyper-V R1 environments, for example, a stumbling block for many virtualization administrators is setting up logical unit numbers for each Hyper-V virtual machine.

Part three of this series explores some common IT administrative errors, in addition to how to solve volume GUID changes.

Killing Hyper-V high-availability cluster services and network issues
When you work in Hyper-V virtual environments long enough, you're bound to run into some downright perplexing network issues, such as VMs pinging after shutdown or the appearance of duplicate IP addresses. In some cases, there's nothing you can do about these Hyper-V virtual machine problems other than to kill high-availability cluster services. This tip discusses how to approach these confusing Hyper-V virtual machine problems and when to use this measure of last resort.

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Hyper-V and Virtual Server