Share via

Prepare Hardware Before Validating a Failover Cluster

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

Before running the Validate a Configuration Wizard for a failover cluster, you should make preparations such as connecting the networks and storage needed by the cluster. This topic briefly describes these preparations. For a full list of the requirements for a failover cluster, see Understanding Requirements for Failover Clusters.

In most cases, membership in the local Administrators group on each server, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. This is because the procedure includes steps for configuring networks and storage. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at

To prepare hardware before validating a failover cluster

  1. Confirm that your entire cluster solution, including drivers, is compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2 by checking the hardware compatibility information on the Microsoft Web site (


Microsoft supports a failover cluster solution only if all the hardware components are marked as "Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2." In addition, the complete configuration (servers, network, and storage) must pass all tests in the Validate a Configuration Wizard, which is included in the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in.

We recommend that you use a set of matching computers that contain the same or similar components.
  1. For the cluster networks:

    1. Review the details about networks in Understanding Requirements for Failover Clusters.

    2. Connect and configure the networks that the servers in the cluster will use.


One option for configuring cluster networks is to create a preliminary network configuration, then run the Validate a Configuration Wizard with only the Network tests selected (avoid selecting Storage tests). When only the Network tests are run, the process does not take a long time. Using the validation report, you can make any corrections still needed in the network configuration. (Later, after the storage is configured, you should run the wizard with all tests.)

  1. For the storage:

    1. Review the details about storage in Understanding Requirements for Failover Clusters.

    2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for physically connecting the servers to the storage.

  2. Ensure that the disks (LUNs) that you want to use in the cluster are exposed to the servers you will cluster (and only those servers). You can use any of the following interfaces to expose disks or LUNs:

    • Microsoft Storage Manager for SANs (part of the operating system in Windows Server 2008 R2). To use this interface, you need to contact the manufacturer of your storage for a Virtual Disk Service (VDS) provider package that is designed for your storage.

    • If you are using iSCSI, an appropriate iSCSI interface.

    • The interface provided by the manufacturer of the storage.

  3. If you have purchased software that controls the format or function of the disk, obtain instructions from the vendor about how to use that software with Windows Server 2008 R2.

  4. On one of the servers that you want to cluster, click Start, click Administrative Tools, click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management. (If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Yes.) In Disk Management, confirm that the cluster disks are visible.

  5. If you want to have a storage volume larger than 2 terabytes, and you are using the Windows interface to control the format of the disk, convert that disk now to the partition style called GUID partition table (GPT). To do this, back up any data on the disk, delete all volumes on the disk and then, in Disk Management, right-click the disk (not a partition) and click Convert to GPT Disk.

    For volumes smaller than 2 terabytes, instead of using GPT, you can use the partition style called master boot record (MBR).


You can use either MBR or GPT for a disk used by a failover cluster, but you cannot use a disk that you converted to dynamic by using Disk Management.

  1. Check the format of any exposed volume or LUN. We recommend NTFS for the format (for the disk witness or for Cluster Shared Volumes, you must use NTFS).

  2. As appropriate, make sure that there is connectivity from the servers to be clustered to any nonclustered domain controllers. (Connectivity to clients is not necessary for validation, and it can be established later.)

Additional references