Microsoft Cluster Server relies heavily on the underlying components

- Servers

- Local and shared storage -Multi-homed networks

-Windows 2000 Advanced Server

- Storage management software

■ Fibre Channel, SSA, or ServeRAID

• Systems management software

-Microsoft Cluster Administrator -IBM Cluster Systems Manager (ICSM)

■ Included with IBM Director

Microsoft Cluster Server relies heavily on properly configured hardware and software. It is important, therefore, that you configure and test each device and software application before attempting to install MSCS. The same is true for determining problems. MSCS is designed to interact with the hardware and software configuration.

A typical cluster configuration consists of two servers, local and shared storage, and two network adapters in each server. Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition must be installed with service pack 3. The ServeRAID Manager software is installed to administer ServeRAID disk resources. If the installation is Fibre Channel, Netfinity Storage Manager must also be installed. SSA configurations require RSM ( Remote Storage Management) or StorWatch. The customer will also want to install IBM Cluster Systems Manager (ICSM). ICSM is included as a component of the UM Services of IBM Director.

Thinking about capacity. If you configure your cluster to have two nodes, both of them must have sufficient capacity to run all the resources on the cluster. If one node were to fail, all the resources would fail over to the other node, which would then be running all the applications and services for that cluster. Therefore, each node must have the capacity to run all the resources.

Clustering Terms and Concepts Overview

Node Storage Interconnect Public Network Resource •IP Address •Network Name •Application •Physical Disk Groups

Network concerns. For example, you have to decide whether to use private or public networks. When you configure the cluster, you have to specify the role for each network in the cluster. Usually, you will configure private interconnects as private networks used only for cluster communication. Public networks connecting the cluster to the clients can be configured either as client-only networks or mixed networks.

While mixed networks can be used for public communication and private communication, Microsoft does not recommended this approach, as it is possible to spoof the public network so that clusters send what are called "poison packets" to one another when they detect inconsistencies in the cluster.

Also, Microsoft recommends having multiple private networks in your clusters to eliminate situations in which there is a single point of failures.

Windows 2000 supports only PCI network adapters. If you decide to add additional private networks to your cluster, you have to use PCI network adapters and, if possible, use the same adapters that were used in the original configuration.

Storage Subsystem - Windows 2000 depends on the SCSI reserved protocol, and while many SCSI devices work fine on a stand-alone server, they don't implement the SCSI protocol 100 percent. As a result, they fail, particularly in heterogeneous configurations.

For example, if you take two servers and put SCSI control in one node and an optical control in another, the cluster won't run. You will see strange failures because these architectures perform bus resets differently even though they both supposedly support the SCSI protocol.

Therefore, Windows 2000 Server only supports fully certified SCSI and Fibre Channel configurations, and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports only Fibre Channel. All the information you need on building a test configuration and getting it certified and added to the HCL is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hwtest/default.asp.

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