Hardware Based Storage Features
Updated: January 1, 2003
Applies To: Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2
Hardware snapshots or business recovery volumes- Hardware snapshots are totally transparent to clustering and are supported if implemented correctly. The only requirement we have is that the snapshot copy and the original should not be exposed to the cluster at the same time.
NAS as shared storage- We fully support building clustered solutions using the Microsoft NAS offering called the Server Appliance Kit. The kit is supplied to OEMs who will ship predefined solutions, some of which may be clustered (for example, clustered file servers).
Geographical clusters (storage implications)- With geographic clusters, their storage configurations can tend to get very complicated depending upon the level of service users require. All solutions need to be in the Geographic Cluster HCT in order to be supported by Microsoft. Features like data replication, storage management, recovery procedures etc. are entirely the responsibility of the hardware vendor implementing the solution. We also have an HCT test available for free download on the web that can be used to validate production systems.
Replication (synchronous, asynchronous)- FRS, the OOB replication mechanism, is not really used at the application data replication level. Server cluster is replication agnostic and does not take the feature into consideration when it is running. If ISVs (hardware or software) choose to implement this feature, they should make sure the semantics required by Server clusters at the storage level are honored. It is their responsibility that all application requirements are met with regard to data replication and consistency.