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Specifying the Cluster Parameters

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Cluster parameters are the configuration settings that define the cluster and the configuration settings common to all cluster hosts within the cluster. The cluster parameters must be unique within your organization’s network.

Specify the cluster parameters by completing the following steps:

  1. Specify the cluster IP address.

  2. Specify the cluster fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

  3. Specify the cluster operation mode.

  4. Specify the remote control settings.


  • When you configure cluster parameters by using Network Load Balancing Manager, enter the cluster parameters once during the creation of the cluster. As cluster hosts are added to the cluster, Network Load Balancing Manager automatically configures the cluster parameters for the new cluster hosts. When you configure them by using other methods, configure the cluster parameters identically for all cluster hosts within the same cluster. For more information about configuring the cluster parameters, see "Network Load Balancing parameters" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003.

Specifying the Cluster IP Address

The cluster IP address is the virtual IP address that is assigned to the cluster. Client requests are sent to the cluster IP address. The cluster IP address has a corresponding subnet mask that is part of the cluster IP address specifications. The criteria for specifying the cluster IP address and subnet mask are the same as for all other IP addresses. When you configure the cluster manually, you must configure the cluster IP address and subnet mask identically on all cluster hosts within the cluster.


  • The cluster IP address must appear in the list of IP addresses in the TCP/IP properties. Network Load Balancing Manager automatically configures the TCP/IP properties so that the cluster IP address is in the list. When you configure the TCP/IP properties by other methods, you must ensure that the cluster IP address is in the list of IP addresses in the TCP/IP properties.

Specifying the Cluster FQDN

For each cluster, you must designate the FQDN to be assigned to the cluster. The FQDN is registered in DNS later in the deployment process, when the cluster is deployed and ready to service client requests. The cluster FQDN refers to the cluster as a whole.


  • You can enter the cluster FQDN in the full Internet name setting. The full Internet name is not automatically registered in DNS or used by other Windows components. As a result, treat the full Internet name setting as a comment that allows administrators to easily identify the cluster’s FQDN. If you elect to leave the full Internet name setting blank, the operation of any Windows component, including Network Load Balancing, is not affected.

In addition to the cluster FQDN, designate a FQDN for each application and service running on the cluster. Ultimately these FQDNs become DNS entries as you deploy the corresponding application or service.

Specify the Cluster Operation Mode

The cluster operation mode determines the method, unicast or multicast, that is used to propagate incoming client requests to all the cluster hosts. For more information about determining which method to select for the cluster, see "Selecting the Unicast or Multicast Method of Distributing Incoming Requests" later in this chapter.

Specify the Remote Control Settings

The remote control settings provide the ability to perform certain remote administration tasks, such as starting and stopping a cluster host, from the command line utility Nlb.exe. Because of security-related concerns, avoid enabling the remote control settings. Nlb.exe can only perform limited administrative tasks. Network Load Balancing Manager can perform all administrative tasks, and is the preferred method for administering clusters. Remotely administering a cluster by using Network Load Balancing Manager is not affected by the remote control settings. For more information about specifying the remote control settings, see "Securing NLB Solutions" later in this chapter.

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