Course 543:
Deploying Microsoft Cluster Services
(Available for Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 R2)

(3 days)


Course Description

This course will examine the types and uses of Microsoft’s high-availability solutions provided in Windows Server including Network Load Balancing for Front-end and Clustering for Back-end servers in a Microsoft-based Server Farm. Through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on workshops, attendees will install, configure, and troubleshoot Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) and build a high-availability solution. Network applications such as file & print sharing, Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server, Internet Information Server (IIS), Hyper-V, Windows SharePoint Services, and Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) will be deployed during the course. This course is available in 2 versions—Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 R2.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the use of Network Storage in a Windows environment
  • Examine the use of Windows Storage solutions including Network Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Networks (SANs), and Microsoft Cluster Service (MCSC)
  • Install and configure Network Load Balancing (NLB)
  • Install and configure a Windows Server Cluster (MSCS)
  • Perform management functions on Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS)
  • Create backup and restoration plans for MSCS
  • Troubleshoot and recover from Network Storage Disasters
  • Deploy Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SQL Server into a cluster environment
  • Deploy a high-availability server farm using Windows SharePoint Services (Front-End) / SQL Server (Back-end)
  • Configure Hyper-V to operating in a high-availability solution

Who Should Attend

This course is valuable for System Administrators, Exchange or SQL Administrators, SharePoint Designers, Solution providers, and technical managers who need to evaluate, implement, install, and manage Microsoft high-availability services like clustering and network load balancing.


Attendees should have prior experience with Windows Server Operating Systems. Foundation courses in Windows 2008 R2 or 2012 R2 and TCP/IP are assumed. This is not an entry level course. This course is completed in a virtual environment, so familiarity with VMWare or Hyper-V is helpful.

Hands-On Exercises & Demonstrations


  • Windows Server 2-Node Cluster
  • Windows Server Cluster running Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server
  • Windows Server Network Load Balancing of a Web Server


  • Install and Configure an Active Directory Forest & Domain
  • Install and Configure a 2-Node Network Load Balancing (NLB) Cluster
  • Install and Configure a 2-Node Windows Server Cluster
  • Create Cluster Resources and Cluster Groups
  • Implementing Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) on a Cluster
  • Make Applications and Scripts Highly available on a Cluster
  • Change the Cluster Service Password
  • Convert a cluster to use Majority Node Set instead of Quorum
  • Backup and Restoration of Cluster Configuration
  • Installing a Hotfix into a clustered environment
  • Recovering from a failed Cluster Node
  • Replacing a failed disk in a cluster
  • Replacing a failed Exchange cluster node
  • Deploy Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SQL Server into a Clustered Environment
  • Deploy a High-Availability SharePoint Server Farm utilizing NLB front-end and MSCS back-end configuration
  • Deploy Hyper-V Virtual Machines in a High-availability configuration

Course Outline

Chapter 1: Network Storage Foundations

  • Storage Area Networks (SAN) vs. Network Attached Storage (NAS)
  • Directly Attached Storage Devices
  • TCP/IP-Based
  • iSCSI
  • Fiber Channel
  • Costs Associated with Network Storage
  • Cost of Deployment
  • Return on Investment
  • Incremented Costs
  • Adding Resources
  • Network Storage
  • Applications of Network Storage
  • Supported Configurations
  • Limitations/When NOT to Use
  • Clustering
  • The need for High Availability
  • Applications of Clustering
  • Supported Configurations
  • Limitations/When NOT to Use
  • Network Load Balancing
  • Applications of NLB
  • Supported configurations
  • Limitations/When NOT to Use

Chapter 2: Deploying Microsoft Cluster Service

  • Requirements for Microsoft Clustering
  • Capabilities of Windows Product Line
  • Active Directory Review
  • Use of Active Directory by Clustering Services
  • Active/Passive vs. Active/Active Clusters
  • Creating a Windows Cluster
  • IP address Requirements
  • Storage Allocation
  • Quorum Drives
  • Majority Node Set
  • Adding Cluster Groups and Resources
  • Creating a New Cluster Group
  • Adding Base Resources
  • Running a Generic Application on a Cluster
  • Running Batch Jobs or Scripts on a Cluster

Chapter 3: Management, Backup and Restoration of Clustered Environments

  • Management of Clusters
  • Changing the Cluster Administrator Password
  • OS and Application Patches
  • Cluster Service Monitoring
  • Active Directory Management
  • Windows Management Instrumentation and Clusters (WMI)
  • Changing the Cluster Administrator Password
  • OS and Application Patches
  • Backup and Restoration of Cluster Information
  • Network-Attached Backup Solutions
  • Using Shadow Copies of Shared Folders and Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) on a Cluster
  • What are Shadow Copies of Shared Folders
  • Understanding Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS)

Chapter 4: Troubleshooting Clusters

  • Updating Clusters
  • Hotfixes and Service Packs
  • Application Updates
  • Recovering from a Cluster Failure
  • Replacing a Failed Disk
  • Replacing a Failed Node
  • Command Line and Resource Kit Utilities
  • Cluster.exe
  • Resource Kit Tools

Chapter 5: Cluster Aware Enterprise Applications

  • Database Applications and Clustering
  • Types of Data that Can be Clustered
  • Placement of Databases and Transaction Logs
  • Active/Passive vs. Active/Active 2-node Deployment
  • Beyond 2-node Deployments
  • Clustering Microsoft Exchange
  • Software Requirements
  • Differences and Limitations of Exchange Clusters
    • Deployment of an Exchange Cluster
    • Management of an Exchange Cluster
  • Clustering SQL Server
  • Software Requirements
  • Differences and Limitations of SQL Clusters
  • Deployment of a SQL Cluster
  • Management of a SQL Cluster
  • Clustering Hyper-V
  • Alternatives to Clustering
  • Mirrored Servers
  • Replication-Base Solutions

Chapter 6: Building a Server Farm

  • What Is a Server Farm?
  • High-Availability Front-End Configurations
  • High-Availability Back-End Configurations
  • Selecting the Appropriate Technology
  • Designing Configurations
  • Network Considerations
  • Front-end and Back-End Configurations
    • Security Considerations

Please Contact Your ROI Representative to Discuss Course Tailoring!