SMS: Microsoft Systems Management Server and Clustered Server Environments


This articles provides information on Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) and Clustered Server Environments.

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The SMS initial design did not include support for any form of clustered server; therefore services such as the SMS_Executive service were not written to handle the failure of a clustered system. For this reason, Microsoft does not support any version of SMS in a cluster server environment.

In SMS versions 1.x, clustered drives caused problems to several services on a site server, many of which were sub-threads of the SMS_Executive service. For this reason, SMS version 1.x was not supported on clustered servers. SMS version 1.x was designed to be able to recover on its own from certain failures. Among these are failures in communication with logon servers, clients, Intra-site, and so forth. Because SMS is also capable of using multiple Domain Controllers in a domain, logon server justification for clustering is not a valid option. SMS version 1.2 has many other redundancies built into the system that negate the use of a cluster system.

If SMS is using a Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition server as a Logon Point, you may see failures to the Vsrvsvc.exe. If you are using SMS version 1.x, open the Administrator Console and confirm that Automatically Detect All Logon Servers is not selected. Maintenance Manager installs logon server components on the drive with the largest amount of free space, usually the clustered drive.

In SMS version 2.0, site system components such as site servers, Database, Distribution Points, Logon Points, and so forth, may not install successfully due to the presence of cluster server components on the system. If cluster server components are detected on the system, installation of these site systems will likely fail. The cluster server components merely need to be present and do not have to be implemented or operational in order for this to be true.

Chapter six of the SMS Administrator's Guide for version 2.0, titled "Installing Systems Management Server 2.0 Sites," only references Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0. If a cluster server component is detected during an installation, the installation will likely fail. If the installation is successful, site stability problems may begin to occur at any point.

There are problems between the cluster server services and the SMS services beyond the support of the Microsoft Product Support Services group. If two domain controllers are part of a server cluster, enabling either Windows Networking Logon Discovery or Windows Networking Logon Client Installation, this results in a system error on the site server. Because SMS detects the NTFS drive with the most free space, and this is likely to be the clustered drive, creation of the SMSLOGON share structure will likely fail. This could potentially cause site-wide problems.

The database for an SMS version 2.0 site, cannot be installed on a Microsoft SQL Server that is running either Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Edition or Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition with the cluster services enabled. Also, the SQL_Monitor_Agent will likely not install to a functional state if the cluster services are installed or enabled.

Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft SQL Server 6.5, and Enterprise Editions 7.0 are not supported if the Cluster Services are installed or enabled. Microsoft SMS can install and configure these systems as client, distribution points, CAPs, site servers etc., if the cluster components have not been installed on the machine.

The SMS client components may be installed on one node of a cluster, as long as there is no attempt to utilize the shared drive space. If during troubleshooting of a client issue it is determined that the clustering services are causing or contributing to the failure, it will be recommended that the SMS client be removed from the system.

Some client installations fail on cluster nodes with the installation of the Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) components. This is also because the WBEM components included in this version of SMS were not written to be cluster aware, and fail when they encounter the services.

Until the SMS components become cluster aware, support for this will begin with the elimination of the clustering services. This is an undesirable state that renders the cluster inoperable, therefore the SMS components are removed from the systems in the cluster.

See also the SMS version 2.0 Administrator's Guide, Appendix A, page 672.


For additional information about implementing SMS in a Microsoft Windows 2000-based clustered server environment, see the "Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Clustering Interoperability with SMS" white paper. To see this white paper, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Article ID: 237366 - Last Review: Dec 3, 2008 - Revision: 1