Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Microsoft Servers

This chapter is from the book


A number of steps must be completed before a cluster with multiple nodes is complete. Figure 6.6 provides a flow-chart of the steps to peform.

Figure 6.6Figure 6.6 Cluster creation flow-chart.

Create Shared Disk Resources

The first step in creating the cluster is the configuration of the disk drives. Obviously, the cluster creation fails if it does not find or recognize drives. If you are going to cluster on a SAN or a SCSI-shared storage array, then you first need to install your host bus adapters (HBAs) in the servers and configure them. This step might entail installing special drivers for the cards, management software, and any patches that may be necessary to get them working in Windows Server 2003.

After the adapters are installed and the interface management software sees the controllers working, you'll connect them to the SCSI array or to the switches of the SAN fabric. By now, your disk arrays are installed and ready to go.

This looks like a small step from the flow-chart in Figure 6.6, but it's not. It can take a lot of time and effort to set up the SAN devices, and the effort can vary greatly between different SANs SCSI arrays or disk replication solutions, such as the one provided by NSI-Software (see Chapters 9 and 10). The installation and configuration of the SAN, fabric, zoning, and so on, is very complex and beyond the scope of this book.

Make sure your servers see the external or replicated drives. If everything is configured properly, your Windows servers see the drives as if they are installed on the same server. You are able to manage the new drives the system sees from the SAN management software and various server utilities, including the Computer Management utility. This is demonstrated in Figure 6.7.

Figure 6.7Figure 6.7 Computer Management recognizing the shared disk drives.

In Figure 6.7, notice the presence of the P and Q drives. In this case, we have configured the P drive for the application and the Q drive is the drive that holds the quorum resource. The "Quorum" drive is essential for the cluster and accommodates the so-called Quorum resource.

Prepare the Cluster Network

The next step is to prepare the cluster network or interconnect between the nodes in the cluster. If you are installing a 2-node (active-passive) cluster, it is possible to install an interconnect network between the nodes using a single network cable attached NIC to NIC. The network link needs to be crossed over, but you may not need a cross-over cable because most modern servers employ NICs that recognize the need to cross over the datapaths.

Your interconnect IP configuration must be different to the LAN NICs. In other words, you should set up a private subnet between the servers (unless you are setting up geo-clusters and don't have enough cable to stretch your cluster from NY to LA). For example, if your LAN is on a subnet configured as, then put the interconnect on a subnet. The IP on a one-node is, thus,, and the NIC on the other node is Leave the gateway addresses on both NICs vacant. As long as the .1 can ping .2, your interconnect is ready.

If you are going to install an N+1 node or any configuration comprising of more than two nodes, then you need to use a hub for your interconnect network. This issue was discussed in Chapter 4. Remember, you don't need a switch.

One last word: Make sure your interconnect NIC's IP addresses do not end up in the DNS configuration as belonging to your virtual server (the cluster name) because that can result in problems for clients connecting to the name resource. In other words, they can look up the resource IP address, but they are unable to connect to it.

Start Server Cluster Wizard

You can install a cluster interactively using the GUI of the Server Cluster Wizard, or from the command line with command-line parameters passed to the "cluster" executable (cluster/create). We recommend that until you know enough about what makes the cluster service tick, you should work with the wizard. The remainder of this chapter discusses installing a cluster using the wizard.

At this point in the cluster configuration and installation, shut down all potential cluster nodes except the first node. It is important you install the first node without the possibility that other nodes might interfere with the installation process. The cluster is created on the first node because it is allowed to gain exclusive use of the shared resources. It installs a cluster only if it discovers that it is the first node in the cluster. After the cluster has been created, the next node is added to the cluster, and the procedure is different.

Also, when you power on and start the operating system, make sure it is only the first node that has access to the cluster disk. If another server can see and access the disks, the data on them can be easily destroyed and would have to be reformatted. To prevent the corruption of the cluster disks, you should shut down all but the cluster node you are going to make the first node in the cluster. You can use other techniques (such as, Logical Unit Number or LUN masking, selective presentation, or zoning) to protect the cluster disks before creating the cluster, but we have learned that it's safer to simply power down all the other nodes until you have a cluster. After the Cluster service is running properly on one node, the other nodes can be powered up and then added to the cluster as needed.

When you create a cluster, the physical disk resources are automatically created for cluster disks that use drive letters. As mentioned earlier, follow a sound naming convention for all your resources and keep the names consistent. This is critical to do as you will see in the final chapter in this book when we configure and use Microsft Operations Manager. The alerts and logs are not much help if you can't identify the devices and the servers they are on in your MOM data.

To get started, open Cluster Administrator from Adminstrative Tools. Select File, Open Connection, and then select Create New Cluster from the Action list in the dialog box that appears. This is demonstrated in Figure 6.8. Click OK to launch the Server Cluster Wizard.

Figure 6.8Figure 6.8 The Create New Cluster option in Cluster Administrator.

The first request the wizard makes is for the domain name of the cluster and the cluster name. For the deployment shown in this chapter, we make sure that we have the correct domain name and that the name you use for the virtual server is the cluster name. This is demonstrated in Figure 6.9. You can set up additional network names for the actual application resoureces (such as SQL Server) as we show in Part II of this book.

Figure 6.9Figure 6.9 Cluster domain and cluster name.

Enter the domain name and cluster name and then click Next. The Select Computer Name dialog box appears. Enter the name of the node you are installing (typically the server on which you started the Cluster Administrator), and then click Next. The wizard now analyzes the configuration to check if it has everything it needs to create a cluster. This is demonstrated in Figure 6.10, which shows the cluster has failed due to a variety of reasons. When you see a lot of red and yellow in the dialog box, it's a sign you have work to do before you can move forward.

If the analaysis fails, you can simply go back or cancel out of the wizard and proceed to fix the problems that were discovered in the configuration analysis stage. The wizard then can be restarted at any time. Figure 6.11 shows that now the configuration analysis has succeeded. You are looking for check marks in all areas and a solid green line on the progress bar. When you have a clean analayis, click Next to continue installing the cluster.

Figure 6.10Figure 6.10 Cluster configuration analysis has failed.

Figure 6.11Figure 6.11 Cluster configuration analysis has succeeded.

The next dialog box prompts you for an IP address that Cluster Administrator can connect to. This is shown in Figure 6.12. Enter the IP address and click Next.

Figure 6.12Figure 6.12 Cluster configuration IP address requirement.

The Cluster Service Account dialog box now appears. This is shown in Figure 6.12. You need to enter an account name, its password, and domain before continuing. Create an account specially for the cluster services account (create a separate account for each cluster). See Figure 6.13 for creating a cluster service account.

Figure 6.13Figure 6.13 Cluster service account configuration requirement.

In the example shown, it is clear from the account name that the cluster service account is intended for the first SQL Server cluster. Under no circumstance make the account a member of Domain Admins. Making the cluster service account a member of Domain Admins was a common practice with earlier version of Windows. With Windows Server 2003, the account only needs to have administrative rights on each knot of the cluster. Upon entering the account data, click Next. The proposed cluster configuration is presented in the next dialog box. You can confirm the configuration and then go back to make a change if needed. If everything checks out, then click Next to begin the installation. Upon successful creation of the cluster, the dialog box shown in Figure 6.14appears. When you again have a solid green line in the progress bar, you have yourself a cluster. The next dialog box gives you an opportunity to examine the cluster installation log.

Figure 6.14Figure 6.14 The cluster has been successfully created.

Now you can close Cluster Administrator and then reopen it to attach to the local node where you now have a single node cluster running. You attach Cluster Administrator to the name of the cluster or you can use the . (dot) notation, which is the symbol for local. If the Administrator attaches to the node successfully, the cluster can be accessed and your configuration can continue. This is demonstrated in Figure 6.15.

Figure 6.15Figure 6.15 Attaching to the cluster.

You can now continue to build the cluster by adding additional nodes to it. In Cluster Administrator, click File, select New, and then select Node from the child menu. This is shown in Figure 6.16.

Figure 6.16Figure 6.16 Adding nodes to the cluster.

Upon selecting New, the Add Nodes Wizard appears and prompts you to enter the name of the server that will be added as a new node to the cluster. This dialog box is shown in Figure 6.17.

Figure 6.17Figure 6.17 The Add Nodes Wizard.

Add the computer details and click Next. From now until the end, the process is the same as before for the first node. You are asked again for cluster service account information, and you have to provide the same service account used for the first node in the cluster. The Add Nodes Wizard again performs Configuration Analysis. When you see a green progress bar, you have a two-node cluster and you are ready to begin configuring resources for the cluster.

Cluster Administrator can tell you whether the cluster is operating properly. Open a command prompt and enter the command cluster.resource. This action lists the status for the available resources of the cluster. (You can issue this command even before you have added the second node to the cluster.) This is illustrated in Figure 6.18.

Figure 6.18Figure 6.18 Checking cluster resource status.

It is also important to check whether the cluster has been registered in DNS and can be accessed from the network. You can do this by simply pinging the cluster name from the command line as demonstrated in Figure 6.19.

Figure 6.19Figure 6.19 Ping the virtual server or cluster name on the network.

During the cluster creation process (using the Quorum button on the Proposed Cluster Configuration page), you are able to select a quorum resource type (that is, a Local Quorum resource, Physical Disk, or other storage class device resource, or Majority Node Set resource).


If things go bad and the cluster fails, you can simply back out of the clustering process, fix the errors, and restart the process. Usually the clustering process simply starts again with no issues. It is possible to corrupt the cluster database or contaminate it with invalid data. You may have to back out a node from the cluster, and it may not be possible to do this cleanly.

If you need to evict a node from the cluster, you can do this from the Cluster Administrator. Figure 6.20 shows the process of evicting a node that has for some reason become inoperable.

Figure 6.20Figure 6.20 Evicting a node from the cluster.

Now, if the database is corrupt, it might not be possible to evict the node, and you may have to destroy the cluster and start all over again. When you shut down a cluster, you do not remove the cluster database (it's like the WINS or DHCP database; it's always there). It remains on the disk and it can remain in corrupt state. You are unable to re-create a cluster until the database is clean again. If you have cause to blow away the cluster and start all over again with a clean database, then perform the following steps.

Open up the command window on each node and change the directory to the Cluster folder in the system root (such as C:\Windows\Cluster). Then run the /forcecleanup command. The exact command you use is very important and not easily remembered. See Figure 6.21, which demonstrates this.

Figure 6.21Figure 6.21 Cleaning up the cluster database on a node.

Now you have seen the Cluster command used for more than one reason. It is obviously clear you can call the Cluster executable from a script and configure a cluster after an unattended setup. As soon as the operating system is online, you can run a script to invoke the cluster /create command and supply it the the necessary configuration parameters at command line. Imagine that you drop a CD into a blank server and go have a cup of coffee. When you return, you have a cluster running and serving tens of thousands of users.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020