Adding nodes to a server cluster

When you create a server cluster, the first system to be built is considered the first node in the cluster. That node needs to be initially prepared as the primary system. One the primary system has been configured, nodes can be added to the cluster.

To install the first node in the cluster:

  1. Shut down the cluster nodes as well as shared storage devices.
  2. Connect cables between the cluster nodes and shared storage devices.
  3. Connect each node's NICs to a network switch or hub using network cables.
  4. If a shared storage device is being used, power on the shared storage device and wait for the startup sequence to complete.
  5. Start the first node in the cluster. If a shared disk will be used, configure the adapter card's ID on each cluster node to a different number. For example, use ID 6 for node 1 and ID 7 for node 2.
  6. Log on with an account that has Local Administrator privileges.
  7. If the server is not a member of a domain, add the server to the correct domain and reboot as necessary.
  8. Configure each network card in the node with the correct network IP address information. Network cards that will be used only for private communication should have only an IP address and subnet mask configured. For network cards that will support public or mixed networks, configure all TCP/IP settings as they would normally be configured.
  9. If you're not already logged in, log on to the server using an account that has Local Administrator privileges.
  10. Click

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  1. Start, Administrative Tools, Cluster Administrator.
  2. When the Cluster Administrator opens, choose Create New Cluster, then click OK.
  3. Click Next on the New Server Cluster Wizard Welcome screen.
  4. Choose the correct domain from the Domain pull-down menu.
  5. Type the cluster name in the Cluster Name text box. Click Next.
  6. Type the name of the cluster node. Click Next. The wizard defaults to the local server, but clusters can be configured remotely. The cluster analyzer inspects the node for functionality and cluster requirements, then generates a log containing any errors or warnings that can stop or limit the installation of the Cluster server.
  7. Review the log and make changes as necessary. Click Re-analyze or, to continue, click Next.
  8. Enter the cluster IP address. Click Next.
  9. Enter the Cluster Service account name and password; choose the correct domain. Click Next.

    Note: The Cluster Service account needs to be only a regular domain user, but specifying this account as the Cluster Service gives this account Local Administrator privileges on the cluster node and also delegates some user rights, including the ability to act as a part of the operating system and add computers to the domain.

  10. On the Proposed Cluster Configuration page, review the configuration and choose the correct quorum type by clicking the Quorum button
  11. To create a Majority Node Set (MNS) cluster, click the Quorum button on the Proposed Cluster Configuration page and choose Majority Node Set. Click OK.

    If a SAN is connected to the cluster node, the Cluster Administrator will automatically choose the smallest basic NTFS volume on the shared storage device. Make sure the correct disk has been chosen and click OK. If you're configuring a single-node cluster with no shared storage, choose the Local Quorum resource and click OK.

  12. Click Next to complete the cluster installation.
  13. Once the cluster is created, click Next, then click Finish to close the New Server Cluster Wizard and return to the Cluster Administrator.

Adding more cluster nodes

A server cluster in Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition can support up to four nodes. Once the first server is installed, the other nodes can be added to the cluster. To add more nodes to a cluster:

  1. Log on to the desired cluster node using an account that has Local Administrator privileges.
  2. Click Start, Administrative Tools, Cluster Administrator.
  3. When the Cluster Administrator opens, choose Add Nodes to a Cluster and type the name of the cluster in the Cluster Name text box. Click OK to continue.
  4. When the Add Nodes Wizard appears, click Next to continue.
  5. Type in the server name of the next node. Click Add.
  6. Repeat the preceding steps until you've entered all the additional nodes you want in the Selected Computer text box. Click Next to continue. The cluster analyzer will then analyze the additional nodes for functionality and cluster requirements.
  7. Review the log and make changes as necessary; then click Re-analyze or click Next to continue.
  8. Enter the Cluster Service account password. Click Next to continue.
  9. Review the configuration on the Proposed Cluster Configuration page and click Next to configure the cluster.
  10. Once the cluster is configured, click Next. Then click Finish to complete adding nodes to the cluster.
  11. Select File, Close to exit the Cluster Administrator.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in April 2007

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