Server Clusters Technical Reference

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

Server Clusters Technical Reference

With the Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, operating systems you can use server clusters to ensure that users have constant access to important server-based resources. With clustering, you create several cluster nodes that appear to users as one server. If one of the nodes in the cluster fails, another node begins to provide service (a process known as failover). In this way, server clusters can increase the availability and scalability of critical applications and resources.

Server clusters are based on one of the two clustering technologies in Windows Server 2003. The other clustering technology is Network Load Balancing. Server clusters are designed for applications that have long-running in-memory state or frequently updated data. Typical uses for server clusters include file servers, print servers, database servers, and messaging servers. Network Load Balancing is intended for applications that do not have long-running in-memory state. Typical uses for Network Load Balancing include Web front-end servers, virtual private networks (VPNs), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers.

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