Guidelines for Backing Up the Head Node in Windows HPC Server 2008

Applies To: Windows HPC Server 2008

The head node of a Windows® HPC Server 2008 cluster maintains all the configuration information of the cluster, from the low level network information in Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS) to the information about what jobs are running on the cluster. The databases are much more dynamic than the other HPC data stored on the head node. The databases are changing continuously while jobs are submitted and run on the cluster.

The following files and databases maintain most of the cluster configuration:

  • HPC databases (for example, job queue, job templates, node properties, node templates, cluster users)

  • Registry keys (for example, settings for system and services)

  • HPC Pack Installed files (for example, configuration files)

  • Submission and Activation filters (if installed by the cluster administrator)

  • Host file (c:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts)

In Windows HPC Server 2008, the databases are installed by default on the head node in the %PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft HPC Pack 2008\SQLDB folder. There are two HPC databases:

  • Cluster database

  • Reporting database

To help to recover your system if the head node fails or if the HPC databases fail, you should back up the full system and the HPC databases regularly.

Backup type Description Recommended frequency of backups

Full server

A backup of all volumes so that you can recover the full server – all the files, data, applications, and the system state. The system state includes the boot file, the COM+ class registration database, and the registry.

Make a full server backup at regular intervals, and before and after you make major configuration changes.

In a stable cluster, you can schedule full server backups once a week or even less frequently.


A full backup of the whole database. Database backups represent the whole database at the time the backup finished.

The HPC databases should be backed up much more often than the full system state backup.

You must back up all databases at the same time.

Depending on the activity level in your cluster, you might want to back up the databases daily, multiple times per day, or even use a continual backup method.

To ensure consistency between the databases, back up all of the databases after making configuration changes such as adding or deleting nodes.

If you need to provide high-availability for your job scheduler service, you can configure a second head node for failover clustering. For more information, see Configuring Failover Clustering in Windows HPC Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide.

Backup methods

To create a backup of your head node and of the HPC databases, you can choose among several standard backup methods, including third party backup and restore solutions.


Regardless of which method that you choose for backup and restore, to bring the cluster to a consistent state, you will need to perform a few additional steps when restoring the HPC databases (which are also restored during a full system restore). For more information, see Steps to Perform Before and After Restoring the HPC Databases from a Backup.

Additional references