Migrating Clustered Services and Applications to Windows Server 2008 R2 Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: January 7, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

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 migrating clustered services and applications (formerly called resource groups) to a failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2.


When migrating some clustered services and applications, you use the Migrate a Cluster Wizard. Other clustered services and applications require other methods for migration. To decide which method to use for your cluster, see Migration Paths for Migrating to a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2 in this guide.

If the migration method that you will use is the Migrate a Cluster Wizard, note that the wizard supports migration to a cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2 from a cluster running any of the following operating systems (with or without a service pack):

  • Windows Server 2003

  • Windows Server 2008

  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Migrations from Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, or Windows 2000 Datacenter Server are not supported. Instead, we recommend that you first upgrade to Windows Server 2003, then migrate the resources to Windows Server 2008 R2 using the steps in this guide. For more information, see How to upgrade cluster nodes (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=180402).

For brief instructions about running the Migrate a Cluster Wizard, see Migrate Resource Groups to a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2 (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=161335).

Beginning the planning for a migration

As you plan a migration to a failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2, consider the following:

  • Microsoft® supports a failover cluster solution for Windows Server 2008 R2 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. For more information, see Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Validating Hardware for a Failover Cluster (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=119949).

  • Hardware requirements are especially important in situations where you plan to continue using the same servers or storage for the new cluster as you used for the old cluster. For more information about hardware requirements, see Overview and Requirements for a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • 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 shared storage location to another. It also does not copy any mount point information used in the old cluster.

Migration scenarios that use the Migrate a Cluster Wizard

If you will be using the Migrate a Cluster Wizard for your migration, there are a variety of methods that you can use to perform the overall process of migration. This guide describes the following two methods for using the Migrate a Cluster Wizard:

  • Create a separate failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2 and then migrate to that cluster. In this scenario, you migrate from a multi-node cluster running Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information, see Migration Between Two Multi-Node Clusters.

  • Perform an in-place migration involving only two servers. In this scenario, you start with a two-node cluster that is running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, remove a server from the cluster, and perform a clean installation (not an upgrade) of Windows Server 2008 R2 on that server. Next, you use that server to create a one-node failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2, migrate the clustered services and applications from the old cluster node to that failover cluster, and then bring the migrated services and applications online. Finally, on the old cluster node, you perform a clean installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 and the failover cluster feature, add the server to the failover cluster, and run validation tests to confirm that the overall configuration works correctly. For more information, see In-Place Migration for a Two-Node Cluster.

This guide includes all the steps for the preceding scenarios, including the steps for installing the operating system and creating a new failover cluster running Windows Server 2008 R2. By following the steps in this guide, you can learn about failover clusters and familiarize yourself with the Failover Cluster Manager snap-in in Windows Server 2008 R2.

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 in Windows Server 2008 R2, see What's New in Failover Clusters in Windows Server 2008 R2 (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=147426).

In this guide

Migration Paths for Migrating to a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2

Overview and Requirements for a Failover Cluster Running Windows Server 2008 R2

Migration Between Two Multi-Node Clusters

In-Place Migration for a Two-Node Cluster

Cluster Migrations Involving New Storage: Mount Points

Additional References