How to Cluster Windows Server 2003

Manually Failover Nodes by Breaking the Shared Array Connection

This test is always exciting as it is the test that is most apt to identify potential problems. First, from the active node, remove the shared array connection. This will cause a failover that you can watch in Cluster Administrator. Now reconnect the broken connection. Second, from the now active node, remove the shared array connection. Watch the failover in Cluster Administrator. When done, reconnect the broken connection. Check the Event Logs for possible problems. After this test, all of the resources in each group should be in the online state. If not, you have a problem that needs to be identified and corrected.

As I mentioned before, if any particular test produces unexpected problems, such as failover not working or errors are found in the Event Logs, identify and resolve them now before proceeding with the next test. Once you have resolved any problems, be sure to repeat the test that originally indicated the problem in order to verify that it has been fixed.

Now that you have completed the Windows 2003 cluster installation and have tested it, you are ready to install and configure the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator.

Configuring the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator

While not required, it is recommended that you install the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) on each of the cluster nodes before installing SQL Server 2005 clustering. This is because SQL Server 2005 requires this service in order to perform some functions, including running distributed queries, two-phase commit transactions, and some aspects of replication. MS DTC must be installed after installing Windows 2003 clustering, but before installing SQL Server 2005 clustering.

Installing MS DTC Using Cluster Administrator

While MS DTC can be set up for clustering from the command line, it is much easier to use Cluster Administrator, as described below. This is because this procedure automatically configures MS DTC on all of the cluster nodes at the same time. Take your time to ensure that you do it right the first time.

  • Start Cluster Administrator.
  • Right-click on the Cluster Group resource group, select New, then Resource. This starts the new Resource Wizard.
  • In the first screen of the Resource Wizard, enter the name of the resource you are creating, which would be “MSDTC Resource.” If you like, you can also enter an optional description of this resource. Under Resource Type, select Distributed Transaction Coordinator. Under Group, Cluster Group should already be displayed. Click Next.
  • In the Possible Owners dialog box, you will see that all of the nodes of the cluster are listed under Possible Owners. This is correct and should not be changed. Click Next.
  • In the Dependencies dialog box, press and hold the CTRL key on the Quorum disk resource and the Cluster Name, then click Add. Then click finish.

At this time, the MSDTC Resource is created.

Now that the resource has been created, it must be brought online. Here’s how.

  • From Cluster Administrator, right-click on the MSDTC Resource (it will have a red dot next to it) and select Bring Online.

The red dot next to the resource name goes away, and the MSDTC Resource is now online and ready for use. If the new resource won’t come online, delete it and try again.

Ready to Install SQL Server 2005

Finally, you are ready to install SQL Server 2005 clustering. This topic will be covered in my next article.

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