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Configuring cluster network hardware

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Configuring cluster network hardware

Planning your cluster network hardware and network infrastructure

Before you configure your cluster network hardware, make sure that your networking hardware and domain infrastructure meets all the requirements for a server cluster. For more information, see Planning your networking hardware and Choosing a domain model.

Network Interface Controller (NIC) configuration

Follow the guidelines below to correctly configure your cluster networking hardware:


  • Your network adapters must use the same configuration settings.

  • Each network is on a single subnet.

  • At least one of the cluster networks enabled for internal communication (for example, either a private or mixed network) must be configured using static addresses.


  • If an adapter is set to use Auto Select, it may drop packets while automatically negotiating the network settings. Manually set the speed and duplex mode for multiple speed adapters to the same values and settings (set these properties on the Advanced tab of the network adapter's Property Page). If the adapters are connected to a switch, ensure that the port settings of the switch match those of the adapters. For more information, see Change network adapter settings.

  • Use static IP addresses for all adapters. Choose private IP addresses following the guidelines at Private network addressing options (that is, specify a class A, B, or C private address for each). For public networks, also use static IP addresses. It is recommended that you do not use DHCP leases for public network addresses because cluster operations might be disrupted. For more information, see The Cluster service and TCP/IP.

    The use of Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) to configure a cluster network is not supported. APIPA is not designed for use in computers that are attached to multiple networks. For more information, see TCP/IP configuration methods.

  • Do not configure a default gateway or DNS or WINS server on the private network adapters.

  • Configure WINs and/or DNS servers and a default gateway on the public network adapters. If Network Name resources are used on the public networks, set up the DNS server to support dynamic updates; otherwise the Network Name resources may not fail over correctly. For more information, see Configure TCP/IP settings.

  • Set the order of the network adapter binding as follows:

    1. External public network

    2. Internal private network (Heartbeat)

    3. [Remote Access Connections]

    For more information, see Modify the protocol bindings order.

  • Clearly identify each network by changing the default name. For example, you could change the name of the private network connection from the default Local Area Connection to Private Cluster Network.

    For more information on networks and network roles, see Server cluster networks.

Configuring logically multihomed network adapters

A logically multihomed network adapter is one that has two IP addresses assigned to it. These adapters can be used only for node-to-node cluster communication if their primary addresses are on the same IP subnet. If the primary addresses on all nodes are not on the same IP subnet, reorder the IP addresses assigned to the adapter by using the Network Connections folder.

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