define cluster resources in MS 2003 cluster

i'm sure this will be an easy question, but my senior engineer is a terrible teacher and i have noone else to ask.

i have a MS 2003 cluster that my senior engineer had me make with the intent to load exchange in our lab.  i created the cluster (i can move the resources back and forth so it should be good) and have the following:

resource name
resource IP
quorum disk
shared data disk
distributed transaction coordinator

please explain the following in laymans terms as i am new to clustering and everything online says to "do this and that" but doesn't tell me anything about what they do and why you need them.

1.  why do i need/have a resource name?  what is it's full purpose in the cluster?
2.  is the resource IP like the IP for NLB? what is it's full purpose in the cluster?
3.  i know what the quorum is for, but why do we want a shared data disk for an exch cluster?
4.  i just need the DTC on my main node, right?  what is it's full purpose?
5.  i can failover and back my group without the DTC in the group, but once i create the DTC again in the group, i can't fail it over.  any idea why?

thanks for the help explaining things.if #5 requires a lot of back and forth, i can ask my senior engineer for help with it.  i really mostly want an answer to 1 through 4, unless #5 is an easy one.

thanks.


JodyBearAsked:
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MegaNuk3Commented:
2.) yes, the nodes check to see if the cluster is online on that public IP. They see if each other is online via the heartbeat. Clients, be it outlook or FE servers will connect to the clustered exchange virtual server resource ip and name which is different from the cluster name/IP.
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
1.  Resources are used by the active node.  If one fails over, then the other node will handle the resources; clients connect to that resource, not the name of the cluster node.

2.  This might explain things a bit more.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc776332%28WS.10%29.aspx

3.  Quorum is required at the cluster level regardless if you are running Exchange, SQL or something else.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc779076%28WS.10%29.aspx

4.  DTC resource on all nodes

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301600

5.  See article with #4; may not be installed correctly.  I've had that problem before but it's been a few years and don't remember the exact cause.
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MegaNuk3Commented:
I take it that this is an Exchange 2003 cluster or does this question have nothing to do with Exchange?
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JodyBearAuthor Commented:
this cluster is to be used with exchange, and that was the reason for the shared data storage.  i forgot to mention that in my question as well:

what is the intent of the shared_data resource when it comes to an exchange cluster?
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MegaNuk3Commented:
Is it going to be an Exchange 2003 cluster or Exchange 2007 cluster?
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JodyBearAuthor Commented:
sorry, exchange 2003.  we're a contractor company for the government, and you know how they can be behind the times :-)
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MegaNuk3Commented:
In Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 Single copy Cluster there is only one copy of the database and log files and that is on storage that is shared between the cluster nodes and only the active node will be accessing those files.
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JodyBearAuthor Commented:
sorry these may seem basic questions, but there are a LOT of instructions online that say how to do stuff, but nothing really explains what these aspects of clustering are and what they actually do.

correct me if i'm wrong here:
     1. resource name - name of overall resource nodes connect to - and when failover/failback
     2. resource IP - IP that the nodes use to connect to the resource wherever it is, or is that the IP that the front end exch server connects to if exch is in a cluster with FE servers (for example)?
     3. shared_data - for exch, this would hold the mailstores, public stores, etc and the transaction logs
     4. DTC - coordinates the transfers between nodes
     
     not sure about #2, but is this correct?  this should be my last question on this subject.
     
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JodyBearAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys - for filling in the blanks since you only really get instructions on how to online, not why.
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JodyBearAuthor Commented:
for everyone's clarification that's looking at this then:
 
     1. heartbeat is for the nodes to see if eachother are online
     2. resource IP is for the nodes to see if the cluster is online
     3. outlook clients/FE servers will connect to clustered exchange virtual server IP

i hope i'm right in this.
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