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Windows 2003 cluster quorum/shared disk configuration RRS feed

  • Question

  • Greetings,
    I'm trying to understand how to properly configure the "quorum" disk and the "shared" disk in a Windows Server 2003 Enterprise R2 cluster with 2 nodes.  I've read many docs about this and I am uncertain how I should best configure a the drives for the cluster environment.  Here's what I have:

    A. Server A with a single built-in drive with Windows Server 2003 Enterprise R2 with RAID card (matching server B) with two external SCSI connections.
    B. Server B with a three built-in drives in RAID 5 configuration with Windows Server 2003 Enterprise R2 with RAID card (matching server A) with two external SCSI connections.
    C. SCSI Drive Array A with multiple 73 GB drives
    D. SCSI Drive Array B with multiple 146 GB drives

    My Goal:
    1. Take as much advantage as possible of the hardware and software as possible to create primarily a clustered file server (eventually also with clustered print services)
    2. Follow best practices for high availability and recovery in case of failure of a node *or* drive array

    My primary questions are:
    1. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a common resource between the two nodes in the cluster?
    2. If it is not supposed to be a shared resource, can it be a separate partition on the OS drive?
    3. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a "physical" disk separate from the OS boot drive?  It only need 500 MB, so it doesn't make sense to setup one of today's large multi-gig drives to be dedicated for only 500 MB of use.
    4. Can the quorum disk be a logical drive on one of the shared drive arrays?

    Separate and secondary questions:
    1. Is it feasible to setup both drive arrays to be connected to the second SCSI connection on each node and configure DFS to replicate between the two drive arrays so there is redundancy of the shared data?
    2. I'm open to any and all suggestions, including upgrades that offer significant benefits.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.
    Ken
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:09 PM

Answers

  • Hi Ken,

    Answers to your questions:

    My primary questions are:
    1. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a common resource between the two nodes in the cluster?
    Quorum is the place where database of the cluster configuration resides. Its kept on a shared disk using Fiber or ISCSI(SCSI over TCP\IP). The disk is locked by the node owning the "Cluster Group".

    2. If it is not supposed to be a shared resource, can it be a separate partition on the OS drive?
    It is not recommended to keep the Quorum on the OS partition. Instead create a sperate 1024 MB LUN and present it to both the cluster nodes.

    3. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a "physical" disk separate from the OS boot drive?  It only need 500 MB, so it doesn't make sense to setup one of today's large multi-gig drives to be dedicated for only 500 MB of use.
    Yes put the quorum on a sperate 1 GB LUN. There should be no data except for the cluster information in that disk..

    4. Can the quorum disk be a logical drive on one of the shared drive arrays?
    Yes, typicall thats what a high availablity solution is. Configuring a LUN with RAID 5 or RAID 1

    Regards,
    Aresh
    • Marked as answer by KBirecki Wednesday, August 12, 2009 8:51 PM
    Monday, July 13, 2009 9:24 AM

All replies

  • Hi Ken,

    Answers to your questions:

    My primary questions are:
    1. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a common resource between the two nodes in the cluster?
    Quorum is the place where database of the cluster configuration resides. Its kept on a shared disk using Fiber or ISCSI(SCSI over TCP\IP). The disk is locked by the node owning the "Cluster Group".

    2. If it is not supposed to be a shared resource, can it be a separate partition on the OS drive?
    It is not recommended to keep the Quorum on the OS partition. Instead create a sperate 1024 MB LUN and present it to both the cluster nodes.

    3. Is the quorum disk supposed to be a "physical" disk separate from the OS boot drive?  It only need 500 MB, so it doesn't make sense to setup one of today's large multi-gig drives to be dedicated for only 500 MB of use.
    Yes put the quorum on a sperate 1 GB LUN. There should be no data except for the cluster information in that disk..

    4. Can the quorum disk be a logical drive on one of the shared drive arrays?
    Yes, typicall thats what a high availablity solution is. Configuring a LUN with RAID 5 or RAID 1

    Regards,
    Aresh
    • Marked as answer by KBirecki Wednesday, August 12, 2009 8:51 PM
    Monday, July 13, 2009 9:24 AM
  • Thanks Aresh, for the answers.  I have a follow-up question, open of course to anyone that can help.

    I've been working on my cluster environment, building and re-building it, to get an understading of how it works, what I can and can't do.  One idea I'm trying to work out is how to deal with shared drive failure.  The cluster concept works great if you have server/node failure, but what if the shared disk array fails?  I'm trying to gather information to see if I could get two nodes (both running Windows Server Enterprise 2003) in a cluster configuration, each with two drive arrays attached via SCSI (one would be designated as primary and one as secondary).

    I'm thinking I could possibly use DFS-R to replicate data from the primary array to the secondary array, but I have only found docs on DFS-R replicating to a separate server, as I understand it, outside the cluster.  Maybe there is a better way, but I see the drive array as a potential single point of failure.  (There's always other potential single points of failure, I'm just dealing with them one at a time.)

    Are there suggestions on how to handle this situation?
    Thanks,
    Ken
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:01 PM