Configure IT Quick: Configure the Windows 2000 Cluster Service

Learn the right way to configure Windows 2000 clustering

As I pointed out in my last article, the Windows 2000 Cluster Service has some lesser-known benefits that provide value to a Windows network. Now, I'll show you how to use the Cluster Service Configuration Wizard to get a basic cluster up and running for evaluation purposes so that you can see how this service works and have a look at its configuration options.

First, you need to take care of a few preliminary configuration activities. Make sure that the Windows 2000 Advanced Server (or Datacenter Server) on which you are going to run the Cluster Service is part of a domain, either Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 Active Directory. You can install Cluster Service on a member server or a domain controller but not on a server in a workgroup. You should also have two PCI network adapters, and I recommend that you rename them “Private” and “Public,” for reasons we’ll see later.

Cluster Service Configuration Wizard
Now we're ready to get started.
  1. Load the Cluster Service Configuration Wizard with the command %windir%\cluster\cluscfg.exe –L.
  2. Click Next on the opening screen and click the I Understand button when prompted about supported hardware.
  3. Click Next to advance to the Create Or Join A Cluster screen. Accept the default to create a new cluster.
  4. Click Next. Because you used the command for the local Quorum (see my previous article for more details on this), you should see the Cluster Name screen.
  5. Type a name for the cluster, such as CLUSTER1.
  6. Click Next to advance to the Select An Account screen, which prompts you to enter a domain username and password. (This is why your server must be in a domain and not a workgroup.) The Cluster Service runs under a special account (similar to the way Exchange Server works), and the special security privileges it requires are automatically assigned here. This account must be created in advance, so specify a domain administrator account or supply an alternative. If the account is successfully authenticated, click on Next.
  7. You’ll now see the Configure Cluster Networks screen, where you can read more information on why two network adapters are preferred. One is Public, for general use on your local network to communicate with domain controllers, client, and other devices. The other is Private, to communicate only with other cluster servers. Having two adapters eliminates a single point of failure. Renaming your adapters with their cluster roles makes identification much easier.
  8. Next comes the first of two Network Connections screens, where each adapter is selected for configuration. Now you’ll see the benefit of renaming the adapters, with Public selected first (as the Network Name) along with its device details and IP address. Accept the default of All Communications (Mixed Network) and keep the check box set to Enable This Network For Cluster Use. The mixed network role means that, should the private adapter fail, this adapter can also be used for intracluster traffic (eliminating a single point of failure). Click on Next and you'll see the Private adapter selected. Change the option to Internal Cluster Communication Only (Private Network).
  9. Click Next to bring up the Internal Cluster Communication screen, where you can make sure that your Private adapter is listed before the Public adapter.
  10. Click on Next, and you'll see the Cluster IP Address screen. Here, you’re prompted to enter an address (make sure that it's unique) that will be used for administering the cluster. Your Public adapter should be selected. Click Next and then click Finish.
  11. After a delay while the registry updates and the service starts, you should see a message that the Cluster Service has started successfully and you can now manage the cluster through Cluster Administrator. No reboot is required.

Cluster Administrator
Load Cluster Administrator from Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Cluster Administrator. Expand some of the nodes and view their associated properties and options. Doing that and looking at the online help should help you get a firm grasp on how to run the Cluster Service.

As far as external storage goes, you should see a Disk Group for each external disk when you configure your clustered services. Figure A shows Cluster Administrator with the Resources node selected, clearly showing that the Quorum resource on this cluster is set up as a Local Quorum for testing purposes.

Figure A

Now that you've walked through the Cluster Service Configuration Wizard, you'll be able to get a test cluster up and running so that you can evaluate the Win2K Cluster Service. Of course, you can also follow these steps when you're ready to implement the Cluster Service on your production network. The only difference will be the storage settings.

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