Understanding How Server for NFS Works with Server Clusters

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

A server cluster is a group of independent computer systems (known as nodes) that work together as a single system to ensure that mission-critical applications and resources remain available to clients. Every node is attached to one or more cluster storage devices. Clustering allows users and administrators to access and manage the nodes as a single system rather than as separate computers.

Server for NFS is specifically designed to make use of server clusters. Because of this, when Server for NFS is installed on a server cluster, you can share a directory as a cluster resource. This ensures that if the node sharing the directory fails, another node in the cluster will resume sharing the directory until the failed node is restored. Running Server for NFS on a server cluster also enables you to provide static load balancing by distributing file shares among two or more nodes in the cluster.

Using Server for NFS on a server cluster

Because Server for NFS is specifically designed to make use of server clusters, you can use Cluster Administrator to configure Network File System (NFS) shared directories as cluster resources. This provides for high availability of those shared directories. This ensures that if the cluster node sharing the directory should be shut down or fail, another node in the cluster will assume sharing the NFS shared directory until the first node restarts. In addition to enhancing availability, distributing NFS shared resources among nodes in the cluster can provide for static load balancing among several servers.

Because the NFS shared directory is the cluster resource (instead of the Server for NFS service itself), ownership of individual NFS shared resources can move easily from one node to the other, as circumstances require. However, configuration changes to Server for NFS (such as the name of the User Name Mapping server) on one node are automatically replicated to instances of Server for NFS running on other cluster nodes. This simplifies administration of multiple servers because you only have to configure Server for NFS on one computer.

To ensure proper operation of Server for NFS in a server cluster, when stopping the server cluster, first stop Server for NFS, then stop the server cluster.

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