The Microsoft Support Policy for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clusters

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes the Microsoft Support Policy for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Cluster implementations. For the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering solution to be considered an officially supported solution by Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS), the solution must meet the following criteria:
  • All hardware and software components must meet the qualifications to receive a “Certified for Windows Server 2008” logo.
  • The fully configured solution must pass the Validate test in the Failover Clusters Management snap-in.

Changes for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Make sure that you run the cluster validation process on fully configured hardware that is running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 before you configure the cluster software. The cluster validation process identifies potential hardware, software, or other configuration issues before you implement a cluster and put it in production. The cluster validation process must be used with hardware and software that is certified under the Windows Server Logo Program for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.  

In Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, the proposed solution must pass the full Validate test. Validate runs a focused set of tests on a collection of servers that are intended to be used as a cluster. These tests perform the following functions:
  • Hardware and software inventory
  • Network analysis
  • Storage tests
  • System configuration
For a more detailed discussion of each test, please refer to the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Cluster Validation online Help.

Note All reports that are generated by a wizard-like process inside the Failover Clusters Management snap-in are stored in the %systemroot%\cluster\Reports directory.

In a typical scenario, you must run the Validate test on fully configured solutions before you install the Failover Cluster feature to verify the proposed solution. All tests must pass with either of the following indicators:
  • A green check mark (passed)
  • A yellow yield sign (warning)

    Note The yellow yield sign indicates that this particular aspect of the proposed solution is not in alignment with Microsoft best practices. However, this aspect will still work and will be considered a supported configuration.
If any of the individual tests are marked with a red "X" (fail), that part of the solution will not work for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Cluster. In that case, all other tests will not run, and the problem must be resolved before you install the cluster.

The Validate test should also be run whenever a major component of the cluster is changed or updated. The following are examples (This is not a complete list.) of configuration changes that require that you run the Validate test again before the cluster configuration can be supported:
  • Adding a node to the cluster
  • Upgrading or replacing the storage hardware
  • Upgrading the firmware or the driver for host bus adapters (HBAs)
  • Updating the multipathing software or the DSM
  • Changing or updating any network adapter
Microsoft Support may also request that you run the Validate test against a production cluster as part of typical troubleshooting procedures. In this scenario, Validate will perform a hardware and a software inventory, perform network testing, and validate the system configuration. There may be certain scenarios in which only a subset of the full tests are run. For example, when troubleshooting a problem with networking, Microsoft Support may request that you run only the hardware and the software inventory, and the networking test against the production cluster.

Another scenario in which Microsoft Support may request that you run the Validate test on production clusters is when there is a cluster storage failure that some underlying storage configuration change or failure could have caused. Be aware that the disk resources and the resources on which these disks depend will be taken offline during the test. However, this storage test can help isolate the cause of the failure. Therefore, this storage test should be run when the production environment can accommodate the downtime.

Geographically dispersed clusters

Failover Cluster solutions that do not have a common shared disk and instead use data replication between nodes may not pass the Cluster Validation storage tests. This is a common configuration in cluster solutions where nodes are stretched across geographic regions. Cluster solutions that do not require external shared storage failover from one node to another are not required to pass the Storage tests in order to be a fully supported solution. Please contact the data replication vendor for any issues related to accessing data on failover.

MORE INFORMATION

For Microsoft to officially support a cluster solution in earlier versions of Windows Server releases, the end-to-end solution must be listed on the Windows Server Catalog under Cluster Solutions. This is true for the following operating systems:
  • Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Server
  • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Windows Server 2003 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
For more information about the Windows Server Catalog, visit the following Web site:
http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/
For more information about failover clustering, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=119949
For Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 Clusters, CSS fully supports only clusters that are complete solutions that are listed in the Cluster category on the Windows Server Catalog.

For more information about the Microsoft support policy for earlier operating systems, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309395 The Microsoft support policy for server clusters, the Hardware Compatibility List, and the Windows Server Catalog

Properties

Article ID: 943984 - Last Review: September 9, 2011 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems
Keywords: 
kbclustering kbexpertiseadvanced kbinfo KB943984

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