Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Have you ever wanted to create a one-node standalone cluster?
I had to do this very thing recently, with the catch that there was no shared storage. But a one-node cluster isn't a cluster at all, you say? I suppose it isn't in the normal sense of the word, but it was configured using Cluster Administrator, and there is an Exchange Virtual Server object created in Exchange System Manager.
The biggest catch to configuring this was that there was no shared storage available, so everything was configured locally. Thankfully, Windows 2003 is smart enough to see when there is no shared quorum resource available, and it creates a Local quorum drive.
The problem with this approach is that in order to install Exchange on a clustered system, a Distributed Transaction Coordinator resource must exist. No problem, you say - I'll just create one. Oops - it won't start. Turns out that there is a hotfix available that allows the DTC resource to see a local quorum drive. KB 897667 details a COM+ hotfix that must be applied. The problem is detailed in KB 899426. Once you apply this hotfix, the DTC resource will successfully come online, and then you can install Exchange.
Why go to all this trouble, you ask? Clusters behave differently. In this case, I needed to bring up 3 clustered Exchange servers to reproduce a problem. Since I didn't have shared storage readily available, this was the next best option.