Limitations of server clusters

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Limitations of server clusters

This topic covers important limitations of server clusters.

  • Disk configuration

    You cannot configure cluster storage devices as dynamic disks or spanned volumes (volume sets) if they will be used as cluster resources.

    Disks to be used for cluster storage must be configured as basic disks and must be formatted using the NTFS file system. Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition do not support the use of dynamic disks or the features of dynamic disks, such as spanned volumes (volume sets), for cluster storage. You cannot change an existing cluster disk, such as the quorum disk, to a dynamic disk. You can, however, use the DiskPart.exe utility to extend the volume of a basic cluster disk. for more information, see DiskPart.


    • Various third party products allow for dynamic disks in a cluster. For more information, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base using the keywords server cluster dynamic disks.

    You cannot use Remote Storage on the cluster storage device. You cannot enable Shadow Copies of Shared Folders for the quorum resource, although you can enable Shadow Copies of Shared Folders for a File Share resource.

    You can enable write caching on disks on any of the products in the Windows Server 2003 family. It is highly recommended that you do not enable this feature on cluster disks; otherwise, cached data will be lost during failover.

    Disable write back cache (write through only) on an internal redundant array of independent disks (RAID) controller because the data in the cache will be lost during failover. An example of an internal controller is a Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) card inside the node. Enable write cache on an external RAID controller. An external RAID controller is usually inside the disk cabinet and the data in the cache will fail over.

    You cannot use software RAID. You can use hardware RAID to protect the data on your cluster disk.

    You must partition cluster disks on the cluster storage device as master boot record (MBR) and not as GUID partition table (GPT) disks.

  • Network configuration

    The Cluster service functions only with IP-based protocols.

    The private and public networks must be on the same subnet.