If you've done moves of shared storage in a cluster configuration, you may have had to use various recovery tools in versions prior to Windows Server 2008. Specifically, the resource kit tool dumpcfg.exe is used to repair drive signatures depending on certain conditions that could cause the shared storage hard drives to lose the disk signature. This can be quite a scary endeavor, and the frantic search for the resource kit tools to get the dumpcfg.exe tool from the install media only then offers little comfort on the repair of the situation. Remember that this situation is a safeguard of the clustering services, and that with the proper recovery techniques, the system can be running again quite quickly.
Windows Server 2008 offers key improvements in the clustering services functionality, and drive recovery is one of the more important features. In lieu of entering a command like this:
dumpcfg -s 0ADD5FAE 1Windows Server 2008 allows you to correct these types of issues one of two ways. One is within the cluster administrator console with a new repair functionality with the physical disk resource. The other way is within the diskpart utility. Diskpart is not new to Windows Server 2008, but the functionality is. Figure A shows a disk having its signature changed to the value in the prior example. Figure A
Note: You should only use this command where the signature has been reset for another reason, and the drive is inaccessible. Reverting it to the signature ID that the system is expecting will correct that issue.
The new functionality of the cluster resource manager and the additional diskpart commands are a welcome compliment to your arsenal of recovery. If Windows Server 2008 clusters are in your future, it is a good investment to allocate the time to set up a test cluster and go through the recovery process with shared storage using both mechanisms to access the disk signature configuration.
Get more information about Windows clustering by visiting Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 failover clustering home page.
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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.