Windows Server 2003 server features


The server clustering feature was originally designed for the Microsoft Windows NT®; Server 4.0 operating system, a major improvement in the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition operating systems. You can connect multiple servers together with the server clustering feature to provide high availability and manageability for the data and programs running in the cluster. Server clustering offers three major clustering technology benefits:

Higher availability. Allows services and applications in a server cluster to continue to provide service without failure during hardware or software component failure or during planned maintenance.

Higher scalability. Support for adding multiple processors (up to 8 in Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, up to 32 in Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition) and extra memory (in the Enterprise Edition, random access memory [RAM] Extend the server up to 8 GB and up to 64 GB in Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition.

Higher manageability. Allows administrators to manage devices and resources across the cluster as if they were managing a single computer.

This cluster service is one of two complementary Windows clustering technologies (provided to extend the Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 base operating systems). Another clustering technology is Network Load Balancing (NLB). Complementing server clusters, the technology supports highly available and scalable clusters for front-end applications and services such as Internet or intranet sites, web-based applications, media streaming, and Microsoft Terminal Services.

The emergence and use of computer clusters has been around for more than a decade. As one of the earliest clustering technology designers, G. Pfister defined the cluster as “a parallel or distributed system consisting of a collection of fully interconnected computers that can be used as a unified computing resource”.

Combining several server computers into a single cluster, multiple servers will share the computational load without the user or administrator having to know the details. For example, if any of the resources in the server cluster fail, the cluster as a whole can continue to provide services to users, using resources on other servers in the cluster, regardless of whether the failed component is hardware or software resources.

In other words, when a resource fails, users connected to the server cluster may experience a brief performance degradation, but will not completely lose access to the service. When higher processing power is required, administrators can add new resources by rolling the upgrade process. During this process, the cluster will remain online as a whole, it will not only be available to users, but its performance will also improve after the upgrade.

The Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition operating systems are designed for the user and business requirements of clustering technology. The main goal is to develop an operating system service that meets the clustering needs of most businesses and organizations, not just small and specific market segments.

Microsoft's market research shows that as small and medium-sized businesses become more and more inseparable from databases and e-mail, their demand for high-availability systems is high, and this demand is growing. Easy to install and manage, it is considered the most critical requirement for organizations of this size. Microsoft's survey also shows that large enterprises with high performance and high availability are also increasingly interested in Windows-based servers.

The server clustering service developed as an integrated extension of the Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 base operating systems is derived from this market research. The service is aligned with its design goals, which allow multiple servers and data storage components to be connected into one easy-to-manage unit, a server cluster. For systems running Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000-based applications in large and small enterprises, the server clustering feature will give them high availability and manageability. The server clustering feature also provides the application interfaces and tools necessary to develop new, cluster-aware applications that take advantage of the high availability of server clusters.

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