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Is it possible to implement a cluster with NAS technology?

We have a Netapp NAS, and would like to implement a Windows 2003 cluster. I would like to know if it's possible implement a cluster with a NAS, or this is just possible with a SAN?

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Similar to standalone Windows servers, a cluster of Windows servers can access both NAS-based storage as well as SAN-based (block) storage. Note that with SAN, all the servers can access the shared storage, however they need special software like NAS file serving to share the data. Approach the clustering of Windows servers as one component and the shared storage as another. With that being said, you could create your Windows 2003 cluster and have the various nodes share the storage as well as share the data (e.g. file/data sharing). You may chose to place certain system files on a shared SAN-based disk devices for failover purposes or to support remote SAN-based booting of your servers. So first establish your Windows 2003 cluster with minimum amount of storage to support failover and application restart. Then you can establish your shared data environment using NAS if you chose to do so.

This was first published in July 2004

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