How to set up Hyper-V Replica for WorkGroup or Non-Domain SMB!

OK folks here’s the scenario:  Got two Hyper-V boxes (either running the stand alone hypervisor, or within the Server 2012 platform) and you want to set up a Disaster Recovery (DR) site.   Maybe if you were like me, and had a few small / medium businesses who’s boxes you were hosting out of your home office, or a business location that is not set up like a Tier 3 data center and wanted to do the following:

  1. Reduce the number of physical boxes by converting them to virtual (let heat, and more free space).
  2. Provide both hardware and software redundancy (remove single points of failure).
  3. Provide true Disaster Recovery (DR) in the event of a major power outage, or weather conditions (like a flood, hurricane, etc. etc.)
  4. Tired of paying crappy hosting companies (I’m lookin’ at you 1and1) for server rental on cheap hardware that breaks every year, and terrible service that has your customers screaming and pulling their hair out.

Then the new Hyper-v Replication features in Hyper-V 2012 are just the thing for you.

There already are a bunch of great articles out there with really nice graphics so I’m going to link you to them shortly, but there are A LOT of missing pieces of the puzzle when you actually want to make this happen.  THIS ARTICLE is going to fill in the gaps and provide you with a TRUE start to finish guide.

Start with THIS ARTICLE, then come back here before you continue on to PURCHASE AND INSTALL THE SSL CERTTIFICATES.

STEP 1:  Get TWO certificates.  I recommend using the 30 FREE RAPID SSL certs from TRUSTICO to get started since they are free, and if they don’t work for your scenario, you can just let them expire and it has cost you nothing but time.  That said you should know that they will only provide you ONE FREE RAPID SSL per DOMAIN, and YES you have to have an ACTUAL DOMAIN (two different domains, one for each cert) to certify and validate the certificates.  NOTE:  During the process of signing up for your free certificates, which you MUST certify/validate with an email registered to the root of the domain.  This email is NOT one of your choosing, but one that is part of the ICANN registration process when you first registered your domain name.   But hey, if you’re like me you should have 10-15 domain names laying around, so using one of these should be rather easy.  I used the following format:  So as an example if one of my servers was named hypervhost1 then the FQDN (and certificate) I would register would be for example.

STEP 2:  Convert the cert to the correct format (PFX)using this tool.  NOTE:  The certificate code is sent to in a DIFFERENT ORDER than what is presented in the conversion tool, so be sure to READ what CODE it wants in what box.  I also recommend highlighting the code from the bottom up, then copy (Control C) and paste (Control V) without any additional spaces.  Other wise the tool won’t work.  Also don’t forget to add a password that you will not forget.  If all else fails Trustico has chat representative available in the morning hours that will convert it for you if you ask nice enough!

STEP 3:  This article will show you how to add the snap in and import the certificates.  You will need to do this with BOTH machines.

Now head back over to the original article and continue noting that you have to do everything to BOTH machines (It doesn’t do any good to have a FAIL OVER, if you don’t have a FAIL BACK!)

Lastly:  You will need to use some HOST FILES in order to get these boxes talking locally. (I recommend setting them up locally first, before breaking up your set and shipping one off to another location.)  Add an entry with your created FQDN and the IP of the NIC or NIC Team for your HOST box.  Don’t forget to do this on BOTH machines.

How to Get to and Edit the Hosts File:

If you want to edit the hosts file, you first need to locate and open it – on Vista and newer with UAC enabled from an elevated process (with admin rights). The procedure is a little tedious. Here is how to do it with 64-bit Notepad:

Click on the Start button, type “notepad” and press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. Acknowledge the UAC dialog.Type CTRL+O. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Select “All Files” in the bottom right corner.

Now you see the hosts file. Select and open it. Make your changes and save it.

Finally, when you are ready to break apart the pair and set them up you can use Static IP’s or redirects from NO-IP.  Make sure you don’t forget to port forward in your firewall!  🙂



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