Built-in Cluster Validation Tool
A built-in validation process is included in failover clustering to make it easier for customers to know that their cluster configuration will be supported. Customers can select their hardware and then run the Validate a Configuration Wizard (also known as Validate). If the clustered hardware components have the Windows Server 2008 logo and the entire configuration passes all of the validation tests, the cluster configuration is fully supported. There is no longer a separate, specific hardware compatibility list for clustering.
This validation process consists of a series of tests that are grouped into four main categories: inventory, network, storage, and system configuration. Figure below shows the expanded network category.
The validation results are HTML based for easy collection and remote analysis. The wizard takes just a few minutes to run, although this is a function of how many nodes are in the failover cluster and how many logical unit numbers (LUNs) are exposed to the servers. Once you create the failover cluster, you can use the Validate a Configuration Wizard as a powerful diagnostic tool to maintain the failover cluster and to identify potential problems.
Note that when you run the Validate a Configuration Wizard, some tests may not pass, but clustering may still be installed and function. For example, not conforming to a cluster configuration best practice, such as having only one network interface card (NIC) in each node, will raise a warning rather than an error. But, the failover cluster will function. However, passing the Validate a Configuration Wizard is the standard for support for failover clusters in Windows Server 2008: If a failover cluster does not pass the wizard, it is not supported by Microsoft. In addition, running the Validate a Configuration Wizard does not release the customer from the responsibility of using only hardware and software that are certified under the Windows Server Logo Program for Windows Server 2008.
You can also use the Validate a Configuration Wizard to troubleshoot in-production failover clusters. If you were to experience a problem with your failover cluster, this wizard is the first thing you would want to run to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. This may help reduce your organization’s support costs. You can also avoid running the storage tests against an in-production failover cluster to keep your resources online.
While many customers believe the added flexibility of a support policy based on logo’d hardware and the validate tool is helpful, some customers want an additional level of confidence that what they buy will be supported – before they buy it. For customers who want that assurance that their cluster configuration will be supported before purchasing, Microsoft has created the Failover Cluster Configuration Program (FCCP). Server vendors who are members of the FCCP list pre-configured, tested and validated hardware configurations on their websites.