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Cluster Creation Process

To create a cluster in Microsoft Application Center 2000 (Application Center), first you must create a cluster on one server and then, to expand the cluster, add subsequent servers individually. To create a cluster on one server, use the New Cluster Wizard. To add servers to a cluster or to join an existing cluster, use the Add Cluster Member Wizard. Before you can start either wizard, you must establish a connection with the server by using appropriate administrative credentials.

Since all cluster members are synchronized with the cluster controller, you should ensure that all content and configuration exist on the controller before adding members. Unpredictable behavior might result if content or configuration on members is different from the controller.

In clusters that are not using Network Load Balancing (NLB), where each member typically has a different IP address, you must bind the IP address from each member to the controller. With the controller containing all the Web site information for all members (including the additional IP addresses of the members, bound to the respective Web sites on the cluster controller), Application Center can synchronize members effectively. For more information see "Handling Member-specific Settings" in Using Other Load Balancers.

Configuring the Network

Before you can create a cluster, you must configure network communication so that cluster members can communicate properly. The tasks for configuring network communication for a cluster vary depending on your specific clustering environment. However, for most Application Center clusters, you must configure two types of communication—client communication and cluster communication:

  • You establish client communication so that the cluster can receive incoming client requests and send responses properly. Typically, a load balancing system is used for client communication so that incoming client requests can be distributed evenly across multiple members.

  • You establish cluster communication so that Application Center can properly send management requests between members (to synchronize members and provide cluster administration capabilities). This communication is required because it is not possible to send these requests over the load-balanced network adapter with NLB in Unicast mode.

You should configure network communication before starting the New Cluster Wizard. If the options presented in the wizard are not sufficient, you can modify them after creating the cluster. For NLB, you should configure network settings while the cluster consists of a single member, before adding any members. Configuring network communication before adding any members ensures that when you add members, they acquire the proper NLB network settings from the controller. Modifying network settings after adding members might require you to disband and recreate the cluster.

Using the New Cluster Wizard

With new or existing servers, you can create Application Center clusters by using the New Cluster Wizard. This wizard simplifies cluster creation by applying typical configuration settings for a cluster based on the options that you specify in the wizard. After the cluster has been created, you can use the cluster Properties dialog box to adjust the settings.

Essentially, the New Cluster Wizard determines the type of cluster being created. You might create stagers, or Web, COM+ application, or COM+ routing clusters. In addition, the wizard allows you to select the type of load balancing that will be used by the cluster:

  • If you select NLB, the wizard sets affinity to single and allows you to select network adapters for load balancing and cluster communication.

    If you configured NLB prior to creating a cluster in Application Center, the wizard allows you to keep your existing settings or reconfigure them.

  • If you are using Component Load Balancing (CLB), you must configure CLB on the Web or COM+ routing cluster rather than the COM+ application cluster; you cannot use the New Cluster Wizard to configure CLB. On the Web or COM+ routing cluster, you must enable dynamic load balancing support for each component and update the routing list to include each COM+ application member.

If you are creating a COM+ application cluster, the wizard allows you to select the client types for the cluster:

  • If the clients are Server applications, NLB is not used and you must configure CLB on the Web servers or COM+ routing servers.

  • If the clients are Client applications, the wizard allows you to configure NLB (assuming that the server has two network adapters with at least one static IP address on one of the network adapters.)

While creating a cluster, the New Cluster Wizard detects your network adapters. If the wizard detects:

  • One network adapter, NLB is disabled (because it requires two network adapters) as a load balancing option and you must use either Other Load Balancing or None as your load balancing implementation.

  • Two network adapters, you must select the network adapter to use for cluster communication.

  • Two network adapters with at least one static IP address on one of the network adapters, NLB is enabled and you must specify which network adapter to use for cluster communication.

  • Two network adapters with at least one static IP address on each network adapter, you must select a network adapter for load balancing and a network adapter for cluster communication.

  • More than two network adapters, you must select which network adapter to use for cluster communication.

To manually specify the network adapters for Application Center to use for cluster communication, see the Knowledge Base (KB) article 262217.

New Cluster Wizard Process

When creating a cluster with the New Cluster Wizard, the following process occurs:

  1. Application Center Setup analyzes the server for network adapters and IP addresses.

  2. You enter a name and description for the cluster.

  3. You select one of three cluster types.

  4. You select load balancing options.

    Bb687522.note(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Note   If you select No load balancing but want to add members, you must ensure that all IP addresses on all members are accessible to one another. Or, you can manually specify the network adapters that Application Center should use for cluster communication as described in KB article 262217.

  5. To receive monitoring notification, you enter an e-mail address and the name of an SMTP server to receive the notifications.

Bb687522.note(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Note   While creating a cluster and adding members, multiple events are logged about members that are being set online and offline. These events are expected under normal operation.

Bb687522.note(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Note   With NLB, Application Center enables NetBios over TCP/IP. By default, it is not disabled if you remove members or disband a cluster; you must manually disable NetBios over TCP/IP in the TCP/IP Properties dialog box for the appropriate network adapter.

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