Microsoft Cluster Server
|License||Same as Windows Server|
Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) is a computer program that allows server computers to work together as a computer cluster, to provide failover and increased availability of applications, or parallel calculating power in case of high-performance computing (HPC) clusters (as in supercomputing).
Microsoft has three technologies for clustering: Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS, a HA clustering service), Component Load Balancing (CLB) (part of Application Center 2000), and Network Load Balancing Services (NLB). In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 the MSCS service has been renamed to Windows Server Failover Clustering and the Component Load Balancing (CLB) feature has been deprecated.
Mainly a few enterprise software applications are compatible and can take advantage of Windows Server Failover Clustering. Other applications however, can still be installed on nodes of the cluster but will not be aware of the clustering services nor will they get any benefits from it.
Prior to Windows 2008, clustering required (per Microsoft KBs) that all nodes in the clusters to be as identical as possible from hardware, drivers, firmware, all the way to software. After windows 2008 however, Microsoft made a breakthrough in those requirements where they stated only the operating system needs to be of the same level (such as patch level). With that said, it is not uncommon to see windows failover clusters composed of a physical node and a virtual node.
Cluster Server was codenamed "Wolfpack" during its development. Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition was the first version of Windows to include the MSCS software. The software has since been updated with each new server release. The cluster software evaluates the resources of servers in the cluster and chooses which are used based on criteria set in the administration module. In June 2006, Microsoft released Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, the first high-performance computing (HPC) cluster technology offering from Microsoft.
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