Your Cluster won’t start and you can’t get into Cluster Administrator

Don’t panic, but you do have a problem. You look under Services and the Cluster service is running on the nodes. Open Cluster Administrator from one of the nodes, but don’t use the name of the cluster, the node name or an IP address, use a period (.). This will open it using a Local Procedure Call (LPC) and not a Remote Procedure Call (RPC). See Cluster Administrator Switches for Connecting to a Cluster for complete switch details.

Now with Cluster Administrator open, expand the Cluster group and attempt to start any failed resources. Whatever keeps failing should give a clue as to what is broken, disk, IP, network name, etc.

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 – the good, the bad, and the ugly

By now you are aware that SP2 is out for Windows Server 2003 and R2. I have already seen quite a few posts in the public newsgroups where people are not aware of a few things.

The Good

It is a really good idea to backup your system before you attempt any major update or service pack. Remember your backup is only as good as your restore. Or as Geoff N. Hiten SQL MVP and SQL God says “Until you test a backup by restoring, you don’t have recovery plan, you have a recovery hope.”

Another good idea, read the readme or release notes. They can be found here Release Notes for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2.

Next and maybe most important is to check with your hardware vendor before installing. They might not support it yet. For instance Dell says they don’t have any reported issues, but EMC (A Dell partner) does not support it yet.

The Bad

You will have to take an outage to install this on your cluster. Please read How to install service packs in a cluster. Please note that this document has not been updated for SP2 yet. I won’t bring up the mess everyone had to deal with on Dell’s for SP1 (see or better yet

The Ugly

I remember growing up as a kid and going to Circus World and getting a small usually square white box with question marks all over it. They sold these for $1.49 – $2.99. The more you paid, the better the crap they put in. Installing Service Packs from just about any vendor is exactly like this. You really never know what they have changed, thrown in, made better or worse.

Always test a service pack install on a test cluster. Bad things happen when you test with production servers.


Good luck and keep me posted on your experiences.

IT Pro Townhall with Steve Ballmer

Microsoft has handpicked 50 IT Professionals from across the United States. These lucky individuals will get to sit down with Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft and his crew to talk about Microsoft. I was lucky enough to be chosen for this opportunity.


Here is what the invitation said:


Microsoft would like to cordially invite you to attend an exclusive, one-day event on Wednesday, April 18th 2007, with Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, and other Microsoft executives at the Microsoft Corporate Headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

You have been identified as one of the influential leaders in the IT Professional community, enabling IT Professionals to reach their full potential every day. And we want to hear from you!

Join us at this all day event where you will have the opportunity to engage with other community leaders, and provide your input to Microsoft senior executives through intimate panel discussions around key industry trends such as:


• Next generation of the Web and its implications on IT Professionals; both as consumers and in the enterprise


• Data Center trends such as Virtualization and Managed Services


• Evolution of the IT Professional community with new online and offline capabilities


What it really means is I will get the opportunity to sign a super Non-Disclosure Agreement and provide feedback to Microsoft about future products and concepts.  I will report back next month, and yes I am counting down the days…

What I learned at the MVP Summit last week – and I can tell you about!

The 2007 MVP Summit in Redmond/Seattle was awesome. Lots of great content. Here is what I learned:

1) SQL 2005 can cluster with Standard Edition (ok I knew that). What I learned was that you can have multiple SQL instances (that run on 2 nodes only) within any size cluster. So, if you have a 4 node cluster you can run 2-3 instances with multiple copies of SQL 2005 Standard Edition. Cool! Think of the savings.

2) Exchange 2007 Clustering is way cool and different, but in a good way.

3) Windows Server 2003 can support GPT – – and volumes larger then 2 TB in size!!! Rumor has it Longhorn will also allow this.

4) Windows Server 2003 SP2 did not add anything compelling for a cluster. Check with your hardware vendor before deploying to ensure full support.

5) Windows 2000/2003 clusters can restart resources after a set amount of time – This KB is for 2000 and 2003, I know it’s old but I just found out about this feature (I was not the only Clustering MVP that had no idea).

6) Windows Server Codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering will be very different, but again in a very good way. Come to my Tech Ed 2007 session in Orlando, Florida to learn a lot more!

My Tech Ed 2007 Session – Top 10 Microsoft Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" Failover Clustering Enhancements over Windows Server 2003 Clustering, Based on Best Practices

I was chosen again this year to speak at Tech Ed 2007 –

Here is the abstract:

Be the very first to learn about Windows Server codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering. Are you using Windows Server 2003 Clustering? Are you following best practices? In this session we explore Windows Server codename “Longhorn” Failover Clustering by comparing it to Windows Server 2003 Clustering based on current best practices. The session begins with hardware configuration issues, concerns, and best practices—then and now. Next, we explore operating system configuration issues, concerns, and best practices. Then, we move on to the cluster service, and finally applications. After this session you will look forward to deploying Windows Server codenamed “Longhorn” Failover Clustering.


I hope to see you there!

How to install Exchange Server 2007 Schema Extensions within a 32-bit Active Directory environment

As you might know Exchange 2007 only works on 64-bit for Production systems. This might require you to purchase new hardware, but what about before you deploy, like when you want to prepare Active Directory for Exchange 2007? In this post I will explain what we had to go through to get it working.


We have 64-bit machines in our environment, but none loaded for Exchange. All DC’s were 32-bit.


First download or order the eval 32-bit Exchange Server 2007 DVD –, don’t worry it’s free. Or download it directly at


Exchange Server 2007 Schema Extensions Step by Step

Verify you on working on the Schema Master for this update.

1.    Install Powershell

Powershell is a requirement to update the schema. Don’t ask me why the domain controller needs it, but it does.


Windows PowerShell 1.0 English-Language Installation Package for Windows XP (KB926139)

Windows PowerShell 1.0 English-Language Installation Package for Windows Server 2003 (KB926139)


2.    Install Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0


3.    Install .NET Framework Required Update:

DOH! Time for an update.


4.    Install Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 if you are not on Windows Server 2003 R2 already


5.    Setup /PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions

See for the details. If this is a fresh Exchange Server 2007 install, skip this step.


Login to the schema master with an account that is a member of both the Schema Administrators and Enterprise Admins.


From a command prompt, type:


6.    Setup /PrepareSchema

From a command prompt, type: /PrepareSchema

7.    Setup /PrepareAD

From a command prompt, type: /PrepareAD

8.    Setup /PrepareDomain

If you have other domain in which you would like to add Exchange 2007 servers in. Run this in each of those.


From a command prompt, type:



Following these steps you can update the Active Directory on the 32-bit Domain Controllers.

I have been tagged…

Last month Ben Curry tagged me and I thought it was a pretty cool idea, so here goes…

 5 Things you don’t know about me.

1) I have one leg longer then the other by 1/4 inch. When I was a kid the doctors told me I would never play professional sports (and they were right).

2) I play Frisbee and Hockey left handed, all others sports I play right handed (if you can call my golf game a sport).

3) I just got an Xbox 360 Live (my tag is Enduroman) and I love it. I am addicted, what a great waste of time!

4) I love the Theater. So much so that I travel to NYC 3-5 times a year to see plays. If its a popular show I have probably seen it.

5) I am huge Satellite fan. I have a GPS, Sirius satellite radios, and DirecTV. I love those toys!

 Ok, in keeping with how this works I tag Bharat Suneja, Evan Dodds, and Jim McBee.