Clustering is not the solution all the time – Original Posted Feb 8, 2005

Everyone repeat after me, “I will not waste money trying to cluster every freaking service offered by Microsoft servers.”

I just feel the need to scream this out loud today. That there are often simpler and easier ways to provide redundancy for some services than using Microsoft server clusters. A couple of quick examples (please write these down) include:

  • Domain Controllers (and Global Catalog servers, too) – It is simple. Install more than one. If one goes down, you still have more. Yes, users can log into a different DC. Yes, users can even log into a different DC in a different physical location. FSMO roles can be seized if the holder of the roles falls out of the server rack and catches on fire.
  • DHCP – THere are lots of great articles on how to split DHCP scopes among more than one server so if one server fails, clients can still get IP addresses.
  • WINS – Think: Primary and Secondary. If the secondary fails, nobody will care or notice (unless it is engulfed in flames). If the primary fails, systems will start using the secondary.
  • DNS – uummmm, use Active Directory integrated DNS. It doesn’t get much more HA than that.
  • Yes, the list goes on and on, but here are some common ones that I see that just make my blood boil

You don’t need multiple nodes and a SAN to provide redundancy all the time. Remember, your company has other needs than have 8 way SMP WINS clusters with 4 TB of shared storage. Please, save a little money and please use some common sense.

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