Migration of Roles (VMs, File Server Roles and CSV Volumes) from Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster to Windows Server 2012 R2 Failover Cluster with minimum downtime (approx. 2 to 5 mins)

Hello Everyone,

This post is about new feature of Windows Server 2012 R2 fail-over cluster, known as Copy Cluster Feature.

Many organisations are using Windows Server 2012 environment and they want to upgrade their set-up to Windows Server 2012 R2 environment with no or very less downtime. 

So, this is possible now with Copy Cluster feature of Windows Server 2012 R2 Fail-over Cluster.

Copy cluster helps in copying all roles including CSV volumes except quorum disk to new cluster with no manual efforts. During this process, Your all VMs are up and running on old cluster. 

After migration process, You have to perform post-configuration steps to online all roles on new cluster and clean old cluster to prepare the nodes for fresh installation of windows server 2012 R2.

Below I will explain all prerequisites and steps to perform this Migration.


  • New Cluster Name and IP address will be required.
  • New Quorum disk will be required.
  • Network configuration on both Old Cluster and New Cluster must be same. Ex: If You have created a switch with Name say "VMSwitch" on old cluster then same name switch will be created on new Cluster.
  • Disks is already shared on all nodes of both old and new cluster. Only thing needs to check is disk must be equal in number. If needs to add in MPIO on new cluster nodes then add them and take reboot before performing task.
  • If any snapshot of VM is present then it is recommended to delete it before migration.


  • Let's assume, You have 4 nodes Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster in Your Environment with multiple VM's and CSV volumes.
  • Now, You have to migrate all roles to any 2 nodes and evict the other 2 nodes from the cluster. 
  • Format and reinstall windows server 2012 R2 on both nodes. 
  • Install and configure new cluster from above nodes with new quorum disk.
  • Compare all configurations for both Old and New Cluster like network configurations, firewall settings, shared disks must be same and equal in number (If not then add MPIO and take reboot on new cluster servers) and add all required accounts in local administrator group of both new cluster servers.
  • After that use copy cluster feature to migrate roles.

Migration Process:

Open Fail-over Cluster console from any of the node with Windows Server 2012 R2, Right Click on Cluster name, Click on More Actions and then Click on Copy Cluster Roles:

Click Next:

Give Your old cluster name (Windows Server 2012 failover cluster name) and click Next:

Now, Select all roles and click Next:

Here, You will see network switches for both Old and New Clusters automatically, so Click Next:

NOTE: You can define new switch name in new cluster but if You do so then your headache will be increased to change Virtual Switch on all VMs manually. This is the reason, I had mentioned in prerequisites to have same virtual switch name in new cluster so that there is no manual efforts required.

Click Next:

All roles are successfully copied with no error. Click Close:

Here, Migration Process is completed.

Post-Configuration after Migration Process:

After migration process, If you click on Roles in new cluster, All roles will be in offline status:

Disks (CSV Volume is also Offline) in new cluster:

Till here all Your setup is Up and Running (All VMs and CSV Volumes) on old cluster nodes.

Now, Downtime of approximately 2 to 3 mins will be taken to just offline all roles from old cluster and Online all roles in New cluster. 

Process Will be like:

  • Offline all VM Roles from Old Cluster.
  • Offline all CSV volumes from Old Cluster.
  • Online all CSV volumes in New Cluster.
  • Online all VM Roles in New Cluster in sequences as per Your environment for proper synchronizations.

NOTE: When You online roles on New cluster then online Your roles in sequences with critical VMs like AD/ ADC, SQL, File Server and so on.

After You perform this activity, All resource will be up and running from New Cluster:

Disk Status: Online

VM Status: online:

After this all steps completed, Delete old cluster, format all nodes and reinstall windows server 2012 R2, configure all settings like network configurations, firewall settings, addition of account to local administrator group, MPIO, etc, Install failover Cluster feature and Add both nodes to new cluster.

This is all done... Enjoy Reading!!!

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