Failover Cluster Quorum Models

Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters support four different cluster quorum models. Each of these four models is best suited for specific configurations but if all the nodes and shared storage are configured, specified, and available during the installation of the failover cluster, the best-suited quorum model is automatically selected. Node Majority Quorum

The Node Majority Quorum model has been designed for failover cluster deployments that contain an odd number of cluster nodes. When determining the quorum state of the cluster, only the number of available nodes is counted. A cluster using the Node Majority Quorum is called a Node Majority cluster. A Node Majority cluster remains up and running if the number of available nodes exceeds the number of failed nodes. As an example, in a five-node cluster, three nodes must be available for the cluster to remain online. If three nodes fail in a five-node Node Majority cluster, the entire cluster is shut down. Node Majority clusters have been designed and are well suited for geographically or network dispersed cluster nodes, but for this configuration to be supported by Microsoft, it takes serious effort, quality hardware, a third-party mechanism to replicate any back-end data, and a very reliable network. Once again, this model works well for clusters with an odd number of nodes.


Node and Disk Majority Quorum
The Node and Disk Majority Quorum model determines whether a cluster can continue to function by counting the number of available nodes and the availability of the cluster witness disk. Using this model, the cluster quorum is stored on a cluster disk that is accessible and made available to all nodes in the cluster through a shared storage device using Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), Fibre Channel, or iSCSI connections. This model is the closest to the traditional single-quorum device cluster configuration model and is composed of two or more server nodes that are all connected to a shared storage device. In this model, only one copy of the quorum data is maintained on the witness disk. This model is well suited for failover clusters using shared storage, all connected on the same network with an even number of nodes. For example, on a 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, or 16-node cluster using this model, the cluster continues to function as long as half of the total nodes are available and can contact the witness disk. In the case of a witness disk failure, a majority of the nodes need to remain up and running for the cluster to continue to function. To calculate this, take half of the total nodes and add one and this gives you the lowest number of available nodes that are required to keep a cluster running when the witness disk fails or goes offline. For example, on a 6-node cluster using this model, if the witness disk fails, the cluster will remain up and running as long as 4 nodes are available, but on a 2-node cluster, if the witness disk fails, both nodes will need to remain up and running for the cluster to function.


Node and File Share Majority Quorum
The Node and File Share Majority Quorum model is very similar to the Node and Disk Majority Quorum model but instead of a witness disk, the quorum is stored on file share. The advantage of this model is that it can be deployed similarly to the Node Majority Quorum model but as long as the witness file share is available, this model can tolerate the failure of half of the total nodes. This model is well suited for clusters with an even number of nodes that do not utilize shared storage or clusters that span sites. This is the preferred and recommended quorum configuration for geographically dispersed failover clusters.


No Majority: Disk Only Quorum
The No Majority: Disk Only Quorum model is best suited for testing the process and behavior of deploying built-in or custom services and/or applications on a Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster. In this model, the cluster can sustain the failover of all nodes except one, as long as the disk containing the quorum remains available. The limitation of this model is that the disk containing the quorum becomes a single point of failure and that is why this model is not well suited for production deployments of failover clusters.

As a best practice, before deploying a failover cluster, determine if shared storage will be used, verify that each node can communicate with each LUN presented by the shared storage device, and when the cluster is created, add all nodes to the list. This ensures that the correct recommended cluster quorum model is selected for the new failover cluster. When the recommended model utilizes shared storage and a witness disk, the smallest available LUN will be selected. This can be changed, if necessary, after the cluster is created.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed (2010)

No comments:

The many complications and risks of tape

Magnetic tape technology was adopted for backup many years ago because it met most of the physical storage requirements, primarily by being ...