You Will Need: Edit

  • At least two NICs
  • Windows Server Enterprise Ed.
  • Cross over cable

Preparing The Installation: Edit

  • Name the NICs as "heartbeat" and "public".
  • For the heartbeat NIC:
  1. Use 10 Mbps with half duplex(in the Advanced tab of NIC properties).
  2. Disable the "file and print sharing", "Client for Microsoft networks"(and for Windows 2000 cluster nodes, disable DHCP media sense)
  3. Ensure the 'IP address' and 'subnet mask' are set, but that the 'default gateway' and 'DNS' are not configured.
  4. Disable "Register this connection's addresses in DNS" ("Advanced..." button --> "DNS" tab).
  5. "Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP" (WINS tab --> NetBIOS setting).
  6. Configure the adapter bind order so that the public NIC has a higher priority than the heartbeat NIC(Network Connections --> Advanced menu --> "Advanced Settings" --> "Adapters and Bindings"), (If you have additional remote access connections these should be below the heartbeat NIC).
  7. Microsoft does not recommend the use of any type of fault-tolerant adapter or "Teaming" for the heartbeat.

  • Create a cluster Administrator account in the Active Directory, and make it administrator on the 2 cluster nodes.
  • Double check to ensure that all the nodes are working properly and are configured identically (hardware, software, drivers, etc.)
  • Check to see that each node can see the data and Quorum drives on the shared array or SAN. Remember, only one node can be on at a time until Windows 2003 clustering is installed.
  • Verify that none of the nodes has been configured as a Domain Controller.
  • Check to verify that all drives are NTFS and are not compressed.
  • Ping each node in the public and private networks to ensure that you have good network connections. Also ping the Domain Controller and DNS server.
  • Verify that you have disabled NetBIOS for all private network cards.
  • Verify that there are no network shares on any of the shared drives.
  • If you intend to use SQL Server encryption, install the server certificate with the fully qualified DNS name of the virtual server on all nodes in the cluster.
  • Check all of the error logs to ensure there are no nasty surprises. If there are, resolve them before proceeding with the cluster installation.
  • Add the SQL Server and Clustering service accounts to the Local Administrators group of all the nodes in the cluster.
  • Check to verify that no antivirus software has been installed on the nodes -configure Recommended exclusions in the Antivirus-.
  • Check to verify that the Windows Cryptographic Service Provider is enabled on each of the nodes.
  • Check to verify that the Windows Task Scheduler service is running on each of the nodes.
  • If you intend to run SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, you must then install IIS 6.0 and ASP .NET 2.0 on each node of the cluster.

For more information on heartbeat card configuration, please see Recommended private "Heartbeat" configuration on a cluster server.

Post Installation Steps: Edit


  • Configure Heartbeat NIC for Private Network: Start Cluster Administrator --> Expand Cluster Configuration and select Networks -->

Right-click the NIC that will be used for internal communications and select Properties --> On the General tab, select the "Internal cluster communications only (private network)"

  • Repeat the process for the NIC that will be used for public communications; select the "All communications (mixed network)" option,

  • If you have additional NICs installed in cluster nodes that you don't want to use for clustering, clear the "Enable this network for cluster use" check box in the properties of each NIC that you don't want to use.
  • Ensure that the internal NIC has a higher priority than the public NIC:

Right-click the cluster name (the top or root object in the left pane of the Cluster Administrator console), then select Properties from the displayed context menu. Select the Network Priority tab. At the page that the Figure shows, make sure that the private, or heartbeat, NIC is at the top of the list box. Click OK.