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Overview of Failover Clusters

Updated: September 7, 2007

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

A cluster is a set of independent computers that work together to increase the availability of services and applications. The clustered servers (called nodes) are connected by physical cables and by software. If one of the nodes fails, another node begins to provide service through a process known as failover.

You can use the Microsoft® Management Console (MMC) snap-in, Failover Cluster Management, to validate failover cluster configurations, create and manage failover clusters, and migrate certain settings from a cluster running Windows Server® 2003 to a cluster running the Windows Server® 2008 operating system.

In Windows Server 2008, the improvements to failover clusters (formerly known as server clusters) are aimed at simplifying clusters, making them more secure, and enhancing cluster stability. Cluster setup and management are easier. Security and networking in clusters have been improved, as has the way a failover cluster communicates with storage.

Note that the Failover Clustering feature is included in Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. It is not included in Windows Server 2008 Standard or Windows Web Server 2008.

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