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SAN and Clustering

Posted on 2004-08-03
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I will be working with members of our team in installing a SAN.  My department will be utilizing that SAN.  I have purchased 2 servers and some HBA's to connect to the SAN for our own storage project.  I am looking for failover when I have completed the installation. I am new to SAN and clustering, so I am taking this slow.  It's my assumption I will be running the clustering service within W2003 server with my 2 new servers as nodes, correct?  Is there other options to provide failover?  

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Question by:mchristo63
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jamespung
ID: 11706938
What service are you looking to cluster or make redundant.
Microsoft Clustering is a great way to go, but the application or service needs to be cluster aware.
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Author Comment

by:mchristo63
ID: 11708078
The SAN will be used for File shares.  No plans for applications at this time, primaraly just File shares.  
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Expert Comment

by:orion411
ID: 11709411
Ok so you have two servers to put in your cluster. The cluster will serve file shares only. I'd recommend an active-active cluster for file shares only. This way you can use both servers. Just make sure one server can perform at an acceptable level in case of a server failure.

Here is a list of what you can make redundant to provide a resilent cluster.
1) Multiple HBAs (in case a switch port, HBA or cable fails)
2) Path management software (this handles HBA failover)
3) Clustered servers (you are using Win2k3 for this)
4) Two FC fabrics (in case one fabric fails you will have another)
5) RAID 5 or RAID1+0 storage
6) Redundant controllers in your SAN

What type of SAN hardware are you using? By this I mean what brands of HBA, disk array and switch are you using.
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Author Comment

by:mchristo63
ID: 11709456
IBM SAN hardware.  

When you say I can use both servers, isn't my understanding in a cluster environment (not NLB clustering) only one server is used while the other is for failover?
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Expert Comment

by:orion411
ID: 11709622
There are two types of clusters. Active-Active and Active-Passive. You can't run a virtual server on more than one cluster node. However, you can create multiple virtual servers. You'll need to split your file shares between the nodes in your cluster. I believe Win2k3 can support 4 node clusters.

For example you build two new servers Cluster_Node1 and Cluster_Node2. Then create three news Groups in cluster administrator. I like to name the groups according to the virtual server name. For example I would create ClusterA, FileSrv1 and FileSrv2. The first group is going to hold your Quorum drive. You will need at least three things: Network Name, IP Address and Physical Disk. I like to make the Quorum physical disk drive Q:. Now for the virtual file servers you add at least 4 new resources: Network Name, IP Address, Physical Disk and File Share. You can have multiple file shares and physical disks in any one Group.

In this case if the physical server FileSrv1 or FileSrv2 fails for any reason then it's owned groups will failover to the other node. This is why you want to make sure one server can handle the load of both. Of course people will always complain when things get slower. You just have to remind them that it would always be slower if it was active-passive.
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Author Comment

by:mchristo63
ID: 11709735
You mention virtual servers.  Can you define your definition of virtual server in your senerio?

What I have done so far is I opened Cluster Admin and created my new cluster, and then added my first node.  From there I am assuming I am ready to create a new group and my resource.  Your example above is great, but you threw me when you said virtual servers.

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Accepted Solution

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orion411 earned 500 total points
ID: 11709963
When you setup a new group and give it a Network Name and IP Address you now have a virtual server. When the Group is online you can ping the Network Name and the reply will be from the IP Address you gave to the Group. I don't know why they just don't rename Group to Virtual Server. I can't think of any reason to have a Group that doesn't have a Network Name and IP Address. Anyway, I call it a virtual server, because it looks like another server on your network. It has a name and an IP Address. I would recommend you read a lot of Microsoft whitepapers on clustering before you get into it.

This is a great article on Windows 2000 MSCS.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/planning/server/clustersteps.asp

Also you may want to read Q258750
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;258750&sd=tech
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Author Comment

by:mchristo63
ID: 11710112
Great. Thanks
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