Windows 2008 Failover Clustering: An Introductory Review of the Administrative Consoles for Windows 2008 Failover Clustering RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • The ability to Administer Windows 2008 Failover Clustering is greatly improved over Windows 2003 Failover Clustering (Single Copy Clustering for you Exchange 2007 System Engineers).  Since it is my intent to post a number of subsequent Blog entries on Windows 2008 Failover Clustering I thought I would offer an introduction to several of the Administrative Consoles for Windows 2008 Failover Clustering that could be referenced at a future time.  In this entry I will not be using Windows Powershell for Failover Cluster Administration.  It is my intent to offer insights into Powershell at a future time.

    I will outline a complete installation of a 2-Node Windows 2008 Failover Cluster with several Blog entries planned for the coming weeks as the steps are long, but not to the point of being worrisome.  I find that about 30 Screen Captures in a post is 'just right' for working IT Professionals, Consultants, System Engineers and Architects.


    Figure 1 - I am using a Windows 2008 x64 Enterprise Edition 2 Node Failover Cluster for this introduction.  Analysis of this screen captures confirms use of 2 NICs (Public and Private) on 2 separate IP Subnets.  Additionally, the User Context for this User has the ability to modify Computer Security Principals in the Organizational Unit (OU) where default Computers are placed in Windows 2008 Active Directory.  This is an important consideration as we move forward as the way the 'Computer Accounts' are created by the Cluster Service differs from Windows 2003 Active Directory.  Another useful modification is there is no more requirement for a 'Cluster Service Account' in Windows 2008 Failover Clustering!



    Figure 2 - As we 'dig in' to this configuration you should be well versed in the Network Configuration for both NICs/HBAs for Failover Clustering.  Also, IPV6 is an integral part of Windows 2008.  Notice I have 'turned off' the IPV6 functionality on these 2 NICs.



    Figure 3 - Here are the NIC details viewed through the Failover Cluster Management Console.  The Failover Cluster Management Console is the primary 'graphical' mechanism for installing, configuring and maintaining a Windows 2008 Failover Cluster.  Also observe the ease with which we can view Network Connections by Node.  I have focused this screen capture on the 'Public_Network' with the associated NICs from each individual Cluster Node (b01-node-1 and b01-node-2).



    Figure 4 - Here the focus is on the 'Private_Network' used for Cluster Node Heartbeat.  Using this interface we can define 'what traffic type' each Network (either Public or Private) carries.  Some options include 'Private Only' (for Cluster Heartbeat Traffic) and 'Public' (Client Connection Traffic and Storage Traffic) and the final option being 'Mixed' (which includes both Client Traffic and Cluster Heartbeat Traffic).



    Figure 5 - The Failover Cluster Management Console with the focus on the Cluster defined in this 2 Node Failover Configuration (Cluster Name is 'app-cluster-01.corp.itpslab.local').  I have pointed out many of the salient data points from this perspective.  A summary includes (moving left to right): 1) Cluster Node Name (app-cluster-01.corp.itpslab.local), 2) Quorum Configuration - 'Node and Disk Majority using a defined Quorum Drive', 3) Current Host Server (b01-node-1.corp.itpslab.local) and 4) Subnets defined for the configuration (all IPV4).



    Figure 6 - If we had defined 'Cluster Aware Applications' we would see detail in this Console Screen.  Those will be defined in another, future Blog entry.  Suffice it to say, 'Services and Applications' is the 'heart' of maintaining Cluster Aware Applications on a Failover Cluster.



    Figure 7 - The 'Node' leaf provides summary information about each Cluster Node in this configuration.  2 Nodes support this Failover Cluster (b01-node-1 and b01-node-2).



    Figure 8 - The 'Storage' leaf provides detailed information regarding the Storage available in this Cluster configuration.  The summary information of 'Storage', 'Total Capacity' and 'Available Capacity' provide useful, concise reporting information.



    Figure 9 - We reviewed much of the detail regarding 'Networks' in a prior Figure (Figure 2 and 3).  Again, summary detail (whether the device is 'Up' or 'Down') is useful for observing the health of the Cluster components.



    Figure 10 - When I select the Cluster Name and 'Right Mouse Click' a detailed Menu of Actions is visible. Most notably from this 'Fly Out Menu' is 'View Validation Report' and, 'Configure Cluster Quorum Settings'.




    Figure 11 - Selection of the 'Services and Applications' leaf, with the associated 'Right Mouse Click' generates the 'Fly Out Menu' with the option to 'Configure a Service or Application'.  Again, this is one way of manually adding a Service (such as Clustered DHCP) or Application.



    Figure 12 - Selection of the 'Node' leaf provides the option to 'Add Nodes' to the Cluster.



    Figure 13 - Selecting the 'Storage' leaf provides rich information specific to the Storage configuration for the Cluster.  Notice in both the 'Fly Out Menu' and the 'Action Pane' (upper right corner) we can 'Add Disk' on the fly.



    Figure 14 - Another useful Console for Administering Windows 2008 Failover Cluster Services is Server Manager.  A new Event Trace Session Application is available for logging detailed Event Data about Failover Clustering Services and Devices. 



    Figure 15 - Here I reinforce the depth of capabilities from a Command Line to Install, Configure and Administer a Windows 2008 Failover Cluster.  Simply issuing the 'cluster res' Command (Cluster Resource) provides a quick summary of the Cluster Status.



    Figure 16 - Issuing the 'cluster group /prop' Command (Cluster Group Properties) provides details about the Cluster Group.  Since no Application or Service is defined we see details of the Available Storage and State for the Cluster configuration.



    Figure 17 - Next I invoke a sequence of Command Line commands to modify the Failover Cluster Configuration.  The sequence is 1) 'cluster group' (to understand which Node controls which Group Items), 2) 'cluster group "available storage: /move' (wo move the 'Available Storage' from Node 1 to Node 3), and finally, 'cluster group' (again, to view which Node controls which Group Items). 



    Figure 18 - Moving back to the 'Failover Cluster Management Console', I would be remiss to not point out the 'Validate a Configuration' Wizard from the 'Management Section' of the Console.  Inevitably, this has to be some of the most challenging 'Software Engineering' in Windows 2008 Failover Clustering.  Not challenging for you and I, the end consumer, but challenging for the Software Developers as this Wizard queries, populates and defines 100s of data points.  All in an effort to make Windows 2008 Failover Clustering more 'straight forward' to System Engineers like you and I!



    Figure 19 - Previously, I validated both Cluster Nodes (b01-node-1 and b01-node-2).  I can review the last Validation Report from the 'Fly Out Menu' off the 'Cluster Name' in the Failover Cluster Management Console.



    Figure 20 - Here is the first Screen of the 'Failover Cluster Validation Report'.  This is an Inventory of the hardware comprising the Cluster Nodes.



    Figure 21 - Additional detail of the 'Failover Cluster Validation Report'.  These are specifics of 'Network' and 'Storage' components.



    Figure 22 - Finally, (although all the actual detail is defined in this Report also) you can see specifics of the 'System Configuration'.  There is even a comparison of Patches applied to each individual Cluster Node.



    Figure 23 - The Main 'Failover Cluster Management Console' for Windows 2008 Failover Clustering.

    Summary: In this Blog entry I review several of the primary Windows 2008 Failover Clustering Administrative Consoles.  The Consoles reviewed here include 1) using the Failover Cluster Management Console and 2) using a Command Line for Cluster Administration.  This Blog entry introduces several of the Administrative interfaces for reference in future Blog entries.

    Video Lessons on Windows 2008 SP2 Failover Cluster Nodes for Highly Available File Services-


    Lynn Lunik
    Independent Security Consultant
    Windows(R) Platform
    IT Pro Secure Corporation
    and and
    blog <at>


    Tuesday, September 1, 2009 7:09 PM

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