Server Cluster Active / Passive How to Set Up in Windows Server

Posted on 2009-04-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-06

I run a diesel repair facility. We have 23 employees about half of which are working on computers all day, the rest access the server several times a day. We have three servers. One is a mail server. One is used for our business management software. The third server was, until last week, used for data storage. Two of the hard drives in a raid 5 died at the same time, leaving us with some nice paperweights. The dataserver and the server used for business software are 4 years old. We have good backups, so the data is safe, but I do not want to repair the dataserver. Instead, I purchased a NAS. With that, I am starting with 4 of a possible 8 drives. I chose 2TB drives. Two of the drives will be in a raid 1, the other 2 will be used for on-site backup. Full backup of each month, weeks 1-4 and daily,will be kept in rotation. In addition, removable hard drives will be used for off-site backup. This will replace the functionality of the dataserver. Since the server with the business software has reached end of life, evidenced by failure of it's brother, we feel it is time to replace it.

I would like to have hot failover with our new server. If funds permit, I want two servers in an active/passive cluster. These would be used for our business management software package. These would be purchased or built by me of all new parts. A third server would by used as an administrative server and would be  for any software other than business management software that must reside on a server.

The above is background for my real question, but I welcome any recommendations you might have on the NAS or backup schemes.
How do I set up a Windows active/passive cluster?
I have called Microsoft 3 times now and have received 3 different answers as to what software is needed for a cluster. If you go to
WHPC Server 2008 sounds like just the ticket. They make it sound like a stand alone software product. As if I could install it w/o Windows Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise, but for the price, that can't be right. $435 HPC Server 2008 - Server License 9WA-00173.  There are at least 9 PN. w or w/o SA, HyperV or not, + combinations.

What edition of software or multiple software applications is(are) needed (by MS part number if possible example P73-02776)? I would like Server 2008 but might need to settle for 2003$$:(
How does WS2003 Standard offer load balancing if it does not allow clusters?
I think that an active/passive setup requires software lic. for head node only. Is that correct.?
Planning on two processors in each server. Do I need one copy of Windows for each one?
I will be hosting my website in house within a year. Don't know much about virtual computing. If it is possible to purchase the correct version of MS now and host on the same servers in a virtual setup that would be ideal. This will be my chance to get all of this right. I have time to work all this out. Knock on server tower, for luck that nothing goes wrong with my four year old server, with the life blood of our business running on it until I replace it. I would like to thank those who answer this post in advance.

Dan Pardo
Southwest Diesel & Electrical Corp.

This is the short list, there are many more iterations.
Windows Server 2003
R2 Enterprise - Server License & SA P72-00321
Enterprise R2 SP2 64bit with 25 CALs P72-02431
R2 Enterprise Server License P72-01972
Compute Cluster?

Windows Server 2008
Datacenter - Processor License  P71-04180
Datacenter - Processor License w/o SA (no Hyper-V) LUA-00671
Datacenter - Processor License w/ SA (no Hyper-V) LUA-00711
Datacenter - Processor License & SA P71-01063
Enterprise Server License P72-03195
Enterprise Server License with Software Assurance  P72-00321
Enterprise Server License with Software Assurance LSA-00399

Enterprise - Server License (no Hyper-V) LSA-00397
Question by:Geek-
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    your main issue is How do I set up a Windows active/passive cluster?

    Microsoft windows 2003 / 2008 standard edition not supported cluster environment,

    you have Enterprise and datacenter edition and it will work, now you tell me which mail server application you want in cluster environment, so i will help you,


    Umang Mehta

    Assisted Solution

    for clustering windows enterprise is required,
    you have to licence each server
    exchange 2007 & 2003 enterprise edition supports clustring and seperate licences are required

    Author Comment

    Newbe Sorry but I do not know how to close my question. Went to help - Asking questions - How to close a question. But nothing comes up when I click on it.  Thanks Dan

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