Many organizations run Microsoft Hyper-V as a highly available role in Windows Server Failover Clusters (WSFC). Hyper-V clusters allow you to scale out easily by simply adding another Hyper-V host to the cluster. Let's see if we can accomplish this using Windows Admin Center.

Most businesses initially size their Hyper-V cluster based on the number of virtual machines they need to run, storage requirements, and compute/memory resources that fit their needs. However, resource needs can change for many reasons. This might require additional compute power.

Hyper-V cluster architecture ^

Running a Hyper-V cluster on-premises involves creating a Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) of Windows Server hosts containing the Hyper-V role. Virtual machines running on each Hyper-V host can be made highly available using this approach and the built-in WSFC functionality.

Therefore, if a Hyper-V host in the failover cluster fails, it will be restarted on a healthy Hyper-V host. This also means that Hyper-V hosts can easily be added to the failover cluster to scale out the solution. For example, if more computing, memory, and storage (in the case of Storage Spaces Direct) are needed, adding a host adds its contributing resources to the cluster.

Tools to add Hyper-V hosts to a failover cluster ^

Hyper-V administrators need to use a wide range of legacy tools to manage Hyper-V and accomplish all management tasks. These tools include Failover Cluster Manager, Hyper-V Manager, and PowerShell. Microsoft has long seen the need to provide an all-inclusive tool to give administrators the capabilities they need in one tool.

Failover Cluster Manager for managing Windows Server Failover Clusters

Failover Cluster Manager for managing Windows Server Failover Clusters

Windows Admin Center is the relatively new management tool Microsoft is developing to replace many of the legacy tools found in Windows Server. It provides a web interface that can be accessed anywhere and is much more aligned with UX designs found in modern apps.

Windows Admin Center connected to a Hyper V cluster

Windows Admin Center connected to a Hyper V cluster

How to add a node to an existing Hyper-V cluster ^

We can easily add a node to an existing Hyper-V cluster using Windows Admin Center. But, first, we need to add the Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) to Windows Admin Center. This process is straightforward. Select Add from the All connections option in the dropdown menu in Windows Admin Center.

Once you select Add, you will see the various options listed for adding or creating resources in Windows Admin Center. The option we are interested in is Server clusters. Click the Add button to Add or create clusters running Windows Server or Azure Stack HCI.

Beginning the process of adding a Hyper V cluster to Windows Admin Center

Beginning the process of adding a Hyper V cluster to Windows Admin Center

Populate the Add cluster field with the Windows Server failover cluster name. The process will validate the cluster name, and you will see the green checkmark when the validation is successful.

Adding Hyper V using the failover cluster name

Adding Hyper V using the failover cluster name

Once the Hyper-V cluster is added to Windows Admin Center, you will see the +Add button under the Nodes menu. It allows adding nodes to the Hyper-V cluster.

Beginning the process of adding a new Hyper V node to the Hyper V cluster using Windows Admin Center

Beginning the process of adding a new Hyper V node to the Hyper V cluster using Windows Admin Center

When you click the +Add button, the Add servers to the cluster blade pops out from the edge of WAC. Here, you enter the hostname of the additional Hyper-V node. Then, click Add.

Adding the new node by the Windows hostname

Adding the new node by the Windows hostname

When you initially click Add, it places the server in a staging position, ready to be added. You then need to click the Add button at the bottom of the blade.

New Hyper V node ready to add to the cluster

New Hyper V node ready to add to the cluster

Once you click the Add button, you will see the process of adding the node to the cluster begin under the notifications window.

The process of adding the node to the Hyper V cluster begins

The process of adding the node to the Hyper V cluster begins

When adding a new Hyper-V node to the cluster, I received the following error during the process: There were errors adding nodes to cluster Add Nodes Action. Error: RemoteException: The server ‘hvhost03.cloud.local’ does not have the Failover Clustering feature installed. Use Server Manager to install the feature on this server.

The server does not have the Failover Clustering feature installed

The server does not have the Failover Clustering feature installed

Unfortunately, it seems that more proactive capabilities from Windows Admin Center are not in place at this time, similar to the checks that take place when you create a failover cluster. The screenshot below shows WAC performing proactive checks of the roles and features installed when creating a cluster. During this process, it will install the missing roles and features needed.

Proactive checks during the cluster creation process in Windows Admin Center

Proactive checks during the cluster creation process in Windows Admin Center

However, when you add a node to an existing Hyper-V cluster, you must install any missing features, such as Failover Clustering, manually. I suppose it has to do with the difference between a cluster WAC creates and manages from start to finish versus an imported cluster.

Installing missing features to add a Hyper V node to a cluster using Windows Admin Center

Installing missing features to add a Hyper V node to a cluster using Windows Admin Center

Once the missing features are added, the additional Hyper-V node is successfully added to the Hyper-V cluster using Windows Admin Center.

After adding missing features the Hyper V node is successfully adding to the existing Hyper V cluster

After adding missing features the Hyper V node is successfully adding to the existing Hyper V cluster

Final notes ^

As with other features and capabilities, Windows Admin Center is still rough around the edges in a few areas. Undoubtedly, we will continue to see missing features and capabilities added to WAC as time goes on.

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However, it has come a long way since its introduction, especially in cluster management, specifically Hyper-V hosts. As shown, you can add a node to an existing Hyper-V cluster using Windows Admin Center as long as you have the required roles and features preinstalled on the node.

1 Comment
  1. Barry 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this nice, concise article. As someone who has been managing with vSphere/ESXi for ten years, it is interesting to see a bit about managing HyperV clusters and the possibilities of WAC, which I have not used much yet.

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