Backing up and restoring server cluster nodes

To back up and restore an entire server cluster or just a single cluster node, an administrator must first understand how to troubleshoot, back up and restore a stand-alone server running Windows Server 2003. The process of backing up cluster nodes is basically the same as for a standalone server, although restoring a cluster may require additional steps or configurations.

To back up and restore an entire server cluster or just a single cluster node, an administrator must first understand how to troubleshoot, back up and restore a standalone server running Windows Server 2003.

The process of backing up cluster nodes is basically the same as for a standalone server, although restoring a cluster may require additional steps or configurations. This tip focuses mainly on backing up and restoring cluster nodes.

To recover all cluster nodes (single nodes, Majority Node Set (MNS) and single-quorum nodes), do the following:

  • Back up each cluster node's local disks.
  • Back up each cluster node's system state.
  • Back up the cluster quorum from any node running in the cluster.
  • Back up each cluster node's disk signatures and volume information.

For clusters with shared storage devices, do the above four steps, then add the following:

  • On the individual cluster nodes, document the storage adapter settings, including manufacturer name, model number and configurations such as SCSI ID and IRQ when applicable. In addition, note which motherboard slot the nodes are located in.
  • On shared storage devices with built-in RAID controllers, record the disk array configurations, including array type, array members, hot spares, volume definition, disk IDs and LUNs.
  • Back up the shared cluster disks.

To back up cluster nodes and the data on their storage devices, use the Windows Server 2003 backup utility ntbackup.exe.

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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