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Checklists for Server Cluster Configuration

Updated: November 11, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 with SP1

This checklist helps you prepare for installation. Step-by-step instructions begin after the checklist.

Software Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition installed on all computers in the cluster.

  • A name resolution method such as Domain Name System (DNS), DNS dynamic update protocol, Windows Internet Name Service (WINS), HOSTS, and so on.

  • An existing domain model.

  • All nodes must be members of the same domain.

  • A domain-level account that is a member of the local administrators group on each node. A dedicated account is recommended.

Hardware Requirements

  • Clustering hardware must be on the cluster service Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). To find the latest version of the cluster service HCL, go to the Windows Hardware Compatibility List at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/hcl/default.mspx, and then search for cluster. The entire solution must be certified on the HCL, not just the individual components. For additional information, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    309395 The Microsoft Support Policy for Server Clusters and the Hardware

    If you are installing this cluster on a storage area network (SAN) and plan to have multiple devices and clusters sharing the SAN with a cluster, the solution must also be on the “Cluster/Multi-Cluster Device” Hardware Compatibility List. For additional information, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 304415 Support for Multiple Clusters Attached to the Same SAN Device

  • Two mass storage device controllers—Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) or Fibre Channel. A local system disk for the operating system (OS) to be installed on one controller. A separate peripheral component interconnect (PCI) storage controller for the shared disks.

  • Two PCI network adapters on each node in the cluster.

  • Storage cables to attach the shared storage device to all computers. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for configuring storage devices. See the appendix that accompanies this article for additional information about specific configuration needs when using SCSI or Fibre Channel.

  • All hardware should be identical, slot for slot, card for card, BIOS, firmware revisions, and so on, for all nodes. This makes configuration easier and eliminates compatibility problems.

Network Requirements

  • A unique NetBIOS name.

  • Static IP addresses for all network interfaces on each node.

    Server Clustering does not support the use of IP addresses assigned from Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers.

  • Access to a domain controller. If the cluster service is unable to authenticate the user account used to start the service, it could cause the cluster to fail. It is recommended that you have a domain controller on the same local area network (LAN) as the cluster is on to ensure availability.

  • Each node must have at least two network adapters—one for connection to the client public network and the other for the node-to-node private cluster network. A dedicated private network adapter is required for HCL certification.

  • All nodes must have two physically independent LANs or virtual LANs for public and private communication.

  • If you are using fault-tolerant network cards or network adapter teaming, verify that you are using the most recent firmware and drivers. Check with your network adapter manufacturer for cluster compatibility.

Shared Disk Requirements:

  • An HCL-approved external disk storage unit connected to all computers. This will be used as the clustered shared disk. Some type of a hardware redundant array of independent disks (RAID) is recommended.

  • All shared disks, including the quorum disk, must be physically attached to a shared bus.

    The requirement above does not hold true for Majority Node Set (MNS) clusters, which are not covered in this guide.

  • Shared disks must be on a different controller then the one used by the system drive.

  • Creating multiple logical drives at the hardware level in the RAID configuration is recommended rather than using a single logical disk that is then divided into multiple partitions at the operating system level. This is different from the configuration commonly used for stand-alone servers. However, it enables you to have multiple disk resources and to do Active/Active configurations and manual load balancing across the nodes in the cluster.

  • A dedicated disk with a minimum size of 50 megabytes (MB) to use as the quorum device. A partition of at least 500 MB is recommended for optimal NTFS file system performance.

  • Verify that disks attached to the shared bus can be seen from all nodes. This can be checked at the host adapter setup level. Refer to the manufacturer’s documentation for adapter-specific instructions.

  • SCSI devices must be assigned unique SCSI identification numbers and properly terminated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. See the appendix with this article for information about installing and terminating SCSI devices.

  • All shared disks must be configured as basic disks. For additional information, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    237853 Dynamic Disk Configuration Unavailable for Server Cluster Disk Resources

  • Software fault tolerance is not natively supported on cluster shared disks.

  • All shared disks must be configured as master boot record (MBR) disks on systems running the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.

  • All partitions on the clustered disks must be formatted as NTFS.

  • Hardware fault-tolerant RAID configurations are recommended for all disks.

  • A minimum of two logical shared drives is recommended.

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