How Clustering Works
To understand cluster resources, it is first necessary to understand how the cluster actually works. Windows uses Active-Passive clustering, meaning that a cluster resource is owned by only one cluster node at any one time. The resource can be moved back and forth between cluster nodes as required, or automatically upon failure. As a simplified example, imagine server A and server B are clustered, using a quorum disk and a shared disk N. At any one time, either server A or server B can own and have access to the N drive. If server A owns the N drive, it is possible to browse that drive and to use it as a normal drive via Windows explorer on server A. At the same time, looking in My Computer on server B shows the N drive but attempting to access it produces an error message stating that the drive is inaccessible. If we then shut down server A, the N disk cluster resource is automatically failed over to server B and the above example is reversed.
Cluster resources are objects that represent resources and services the cluster is providing. The cluster resources themselves are nothing more than representations of the actual resources and services the cluster is providing. For example, it is possible to add an IIS web site as a cluster resource. The web site itself is contained within IIS on the cluster nodes, and the cluster resource representing it is contained only within the cluster manager. It is possible to configure NetBIOS names, IP addresses, file shares and much more as cluster resources.
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