Cluster failure -- and the Wiz and nodes are to blame

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2003 supports adding more nodes to existing server clusters for added capacity, redundancy and load balancing. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the process doesn't go so smoothly under some complex storage-area network (SAN) configurations. What can happen during the analyze phase is that the Setup Wizard stops working and gives you the error message: "Quorum disk could not be located by the Cluster service."

While it's possible the Cluster service cannot, in fact, find the quorum disk, the problem may also be a bug in the Setup Wizard. As part of setup, the wizard attempts to verify that all cluster nodes recognize disks with the same target ID (TID) and logical unit number (LUN).

The problem is that in some complex SAN configurations the same set of disks may be detected with different LUNs and different TIDs. The wizard reports this as an error and stops the installation, even though nothing is wrong.

You should make a special note that this error only occurs when you add nodes to an existing cluster.

The fix, according to Microsoft, is to use the wizard's advanced option setting and select advanced minimum configuration. This disables the detection feature and the installation will proceed normally.

There is a downside to this workaround: If there is a problem with the installation, the wizard won't detect it, and there may be problems with bringing the disks online.

To find out if there really is a problem with the disk enumeration, you can use the Cluster service setup log, ClCfgSrv.log, which records information on how nodes enumerate the disks. Alternatively, you can use Device Manager. To get the information from Device Manager, go to Diskspropertiesgeneral and finally location. This shows the LUN and TID for the disk.

Microsoft discusses this in article 331801 in the support database at www.support.microsoft.com.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in March 2005

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