Migrating Cluster Settings from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

A failover cluster is a group of independent computers that work together to increase the availability of applications and services. The clustered servers (called nodes) are connected by physical cables and by software. If one of the cluster nodes fails, another node begins to provide service (a process known as failover). Users experience a minimum of disruptions in service.

This guide describes the process of creating a failover cluster and migrating settings to it by running the Migrate a Cluster wizard. With this wizard, you can migrate the settings of some types of resources from an existing server cluster running Windows Server 2003 to a failover cluster running Windows Server® 2008 Enterprise or Windows Server® 2008 Datacenter.

Beginning the planning for a migration

As you begin planning a migration from a server cluster running Windows Server 2003 to a failover cluster running Windows Server 2008, consider the following:

  • Microsoft supports a failover cluster solution only if all the hardware components are marked as "Certified for Windows Server 2008." In addition, the complete configuration (servers, network, and storage) must pass all tests in the validation wizard that is included in the failover cluster snap-in.

    Hardware requirements are especially important in situations where you plan to continue using the same servers or storage for the new cluster (running Windows Server 2008) as you used for the old cluster (running Windows Server 2003). For more information about hardware requirements, see Overview and Requirements for a Two-Node Failover Cluster.

  • You must perform the copying or moving of data or folders (including shared folder settings) during a migration. The wizard for migrating clustered resources does not copy data from one location to another. It also does not copy any mount point information used in the old cluster.

    In addition, if you will use new storage in the failover cluster and want to assign the same drive letters to disks in the new storage that are assigned to disks in the old storage, you must perform actions in the correct sequence. You must first run the Migrate a Cluster wizard and, after it completes, assign drive letters that are the same in the new storage as they were in the old storage.

    For more information, see Cluster Migrations Involving New Storage: Drive Letters and Labels, later in this guide.

  • The Migrate a Cluster Wizard in Windows Server 2008 can be used to migrate settings from a server cluster running Windows Server 2003 to a failover cluster running Windows Server 2008. It cannot be used to migrate settings from Windows 2000, or to migrate settings between two failover clusters running Windows Server 2008.

Migration scenarios in this guide

There are a variety of ways that you can use to perform the overall process of migration, and this guide describes two:

  • Create a separate failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 and then migrate settings to it from a server cluster running Windows Server 2003. In this guide, the instructions for creating the separate failover cluster tell how to create a two-node failover cluster, but additional nodes could be added to the failover cluster.

  • Perform an in-place migration involving only two servers. In this scenario, you start with a two-node server cluster that is running Windows Server 2003, remove a server from the cluster, and install Windows Server 2008 on that server. Next, you use that server to create a one-node failover cluster, and migrate the settings from the old server cluster node to that failover cluster. Finally, on the old server cluster node, you install Windows Server 2008 and the failover cluster feature, add the server to the failover cluster, run validation tests to confirm that the overall configuration works, and then bring the migrated resources online.

This guide includes all steps for the preceding scenarios, including the steps where you install the operating system and create a new failover cluster running Windows Server 2008. By following the steps in this guide, you can learn about failover clusters and familiarize yourself with the Failover Cluster Management snap-in in Windows Server 2008.

We recommend that you first use the information provided in this guide in a test lab environment. A Step-by-Step guide is not necessarily meant to be used to deploy Windows Server features without the accompanying documentation (as listed in the Additional references section), and it should be used with discretion as a stand-alone document.

For information about the improvements in failover clusters as compared to server clusters in Windows Server 2003, see "What's New in Failover Clusters" on the Microsoft Web site (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=62368).

In this guide

Overview and Requirements for a Two-Node Failover Cluster

Overview of the Process of Migrating from a Cluster Running Windows Server 2003

Cluster Migrations Involving New Storage: Drive Letters and Labels

Cluster Migrations Involving New Storage: Mount Points

Migration When Both Old and New Clusters Have Multiple Nodes When Settings are Migrated

In-Place Migration for a Two-Node Cluster

Additional References