Win2000 Clusters and Disk Configurations

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jan 20, 2001


by Marcin Policht

There are numerous significant changes which took place in area of clustering between Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition and Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Here are some of them, relating to the disk configuration and file system.

There are numerous significant changes which took place in area of clustering between Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition and Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Here are some of them, relating to the disk configuration and file system.

Disk Signatures

Cluster recovery became much more complex with Windows 2000 because of their dependency on disk signatures. Make sure you have solid backup and all the information about existing disk signatures properly inventoried. Place your quorum on a separate mirrored disks. Step by step description of two variations of restore procedures takes 8 pages of KB article Q224075. They both involve writing signatures of the old disk to the new one with dumpcfg.exe tool. 

Private Properties and Chkdsk

Windows 2000 clusters introduce additional set of private properties of the disk resource which can be used to control the chkdsk process activated automatically in Windows NT 4.0 clusters if a dirty bit was detected. By manipulating SkipChkdsk and ConditionalMount parameters, you can prevent chkdsk from running, if desired. Refer to KB Q223023 for details.

Reparse Points

Support for reparse points is limited. Directory junctions need to be located at least within the same resource group. Volume mount points are not supported, neither are technologies using reparse points, such as Removable Storage Services and Remote Installation Services.

Quotas

Disk Quotas can be implemented on the shared disks in Windows 2000 clusters. In addition to the usual limitations of disk quotas in non-clustered disk configurations (refer to my article - Windows 2000 Disk Quotas ), there are a couple of more issues which you need to watch for. 

If you decided to implement disk quotas via Group Policies, there is a good chance your policy will not be applied to shared cluster disks. This happens if during the system boot, the policies get processed before the shared disk resource becomes available. In order to circumvent this problem, you should make modifications to the Group Policy settings via (what else?) Group Policy. This is controlled via System Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy\Disk Quota policy processing settings. 
There are there entries which affect the way client side extensions for disk quotas function:
- Allow processing across a slow network connection - should be cleared
- Do not apply during periodic background processing - should be cleared
- Process Even If The Group Policy Objects Have Not Changed - should be checked - this way, the policy, by default is applied every 90 minutes. You can also force the changes (without waiting for another 90 minute cycle) by either rebooting the sever or running:
secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy

You should also remember to use only domain accounts when customizing quota settings on the user by user basis. Local server accounts should not be used with shared cluster disks since this would prevent access to them after the failover to the other servers.

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