Create a Windows Failover Cluster

This post describes how to create a Failover Cluster with two Windows Server 2016 virtual machines in Hyper-V (Lab environment).

Info. This post is tagged with “my notebook”. That means, that the purpose of the post is mainly for me to remember something I did. The information here might be incomplete, hard for others to read or contain faults and misconceptions. I’ve chosen to publish my notes, please help me improve them by feedback in the comments section. I hope someone will gain something from these kinds of notes.


  1. Go through the prerequisites /checklist for Failover Cluster.
  2. Install Failover Cluster Feature on all servers that will be clustered.
  3. Run Validation Configuration from Failover Cluster Manager
  4. Create Cluster
  5. Make sure all nodes and disks are online.



This post build upon several other posts. If you find things too hard or unclear here, you can read this post:

If the previous post is also too hard or unclear, follow the links in the Prerequisites heading and move your way backwards in this series of posts.

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Briefly About Failover Clusters

Failover Cluster is a feature build into the Windows Server OSs. With the right prerequisites met, you can cluster two or more Windows Servers together. With this action you are trying to achieve something called High Availability in your setup. It basically means that if one server goes down, the other server will take over and the system running on the servers will still be available. You are trying to avoid single point of failures.

When talking about servers in a cluster, the servers are referred as nodes.

Common cluster setup.

  • Active-Active cluster – That means that all nodes are running/ are online and they share the work.
  • Active-Passive cluster – If one server goes offline, another server will recognize this unwanted behavior. The second server (node) will go online and takeover the failed servers work.

The cluster nodes read and writes to the same storage, they share the same storage.

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My setup in Hyper-V

In the previous posts, I made several Virtual Machines (VMs) in Hyper-V. This post will continue from that setup.

Info. All servers have the same OS and update, Windows Server 2016. They are joined in the domain

Setup in Hyper-V
Server Name IP Address Role/Feature
my-dc01 AD, DC, DNS
my-storage01 iSCSI target, file server
my-sql01 (node1) Failover Clustering
my-sql02 (node2) Failover Clustering

During the tutorial we will assign this to the Windows Failover Cluster:

Cluster Name Cluster IP

Note! When I first wrote this post, I used ‘my-sqlclu01’ as the Windows Failover Cluster name, this became confusing once I installed the SQL-cluster. The name of the Windows Failover cLuster should be my-winclu01 or full FQDN: If you see ‘my-sqlclu01’ in this post, I simply missed to change the name.

Info. Yes, on the network the cluster will have its own name and IP address to communicate. The nodes (server) will still have their individual names and IPs.

Setup in Hyper-V:

setup Hyper-V

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Checklist before Cluster Servers

Make sure you have this before you try to cluster the servers:

  • Same OS and update on the servers.
  • If you use IPv4 with static IPs, enable NetBIOS over IPv4 and disable IPv6.
  • The servers must be joined in the same domain and Active Directory.
  • Servers must share same storage. Storage must be configured on both servers.

Info. The previous post in this series explains how to do the points above.

Network configuration (reminder):

network settings

Note. Add a gateway IP even if we don’t need one in our lab environment. The gateway IP must be there to pass the Failover Cluster Validation.

Note. All servers in this lab environment have the Windows Firewall turned off, for simplicity sake.

Info. Here is a post that describes how to add a disk to an already configured Windows Failover Cluster: [201-04-15]

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Install Failover Cluster Feature

Both servers that are going to be clustered must each have the Failover Cluster feature:

Server Manager-> Manage-> Add roles and features-> Feature-> Failover Cluster-> Install:

Add Failover Feature

I do this for both of my servers:


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Failover Cluster Validation Test

Before we cluster the two servers (nodes). We must ensure that they pass the Validation Configuration Test.

Info. The test is being done from

Server Manager-> Tools-> Failover Cluster Manager-> Validation Configuration…:

Validate Cluster

Choose servers to test for clustering:

test servers

Choose all tests:

run all tests



Test will start:

running test

If the test gives warnings, check the Report:

check warnings

The report is a set of HTML pages. Here you can see that the test reported one warning:

Click on the Network link:

Failover Validation Report

Next, click on Validate Network Communication:

validation report

Now you can see the Warnings reported:


Info. The Warnings are about that there are no multiple ways of communication between the servers. They are only connected to one private switch in Hyper-V. For my lab environment, I don’t want to add extra complexity by settings up other paths to communicate between the servers. I will simply ignore these warnings. As long as the servers are validated, the cluster can be created, even if there are these kinds of warnings.

Now when you have reviewed what the warnings are about, made your decision how to fix them or simply ignore them. Head back to the Failover Cluster Wizard:

Check Create the cluster now using the validated nodes… and click Finish:

validated - create cluster

The wizard Create Cluster Wizard will start, see next section.

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Create Failover Cluster

After the servers passed the validation test, it is time to create the cluster:

create cluster 1

Assign cluster name (NetBIOS), by tradition NetBIOS names are written with capital letters. Yes, the cluster needs its own name and IP to communicate on the network:

cluster name and IP


confirm cluster creation

Creation of cluster will begin:

creating cluster

Note! This is an older image, should be Forming cluster ‘MY-WINCLU01’.

Finish the wizard and create the cluster:

Summary cluster

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Review the Failover Cluster

Now when you have created the cluster. Go back to Failover Cluster Manager and refresh the window.

You can now see that the two servers (nodes) are in a cluster:

review nodes

Also, see that the disks are online:

disks online


  • One disk (Cluster Disk 2) is the Witness Quorum Disk, shortly this disk keeps the data for the cluster function itself.
  • Cluster Disk 1 in our case is the actual data disk. When we install SQL server, it will write to this disk.

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Failover cluster is a feature in Windows Servers. It makes it possible to achieve High Availability of certain installations, e.g. a SQL Server. If one server fails, the other one will take over.

Info. All server in a Windows Failover Cluster are active-Passive???

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Adnan Cartwright (2014), Introduction to Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2012 R2 [2019-03-25]

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