Choosing a Cluster Model

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Choosing a cluster model

Clusters can be categorized in three configuration models in order of increasing complexity. Each cluster model uses a different quorum resource type. This section describes each model and gives examples of the types of applications that are suited to each. The three models are:

Cluster Model Typical Deployments Where is the Cluster Configuration Data Maintained?

Single node cluster

Development and testing platforms.

The quorum resource maintains the definitive copy of the cluster configuration data either on a cluster storage device or locally on the single node. Uses a Local Quorum resource type.

Single quorum device cluster

Highly available applications on a cluster storage device.

The quorum resource maintains the definitive copy of the cluster configuration data on the single cluster storage device connected to all nodes. Uses a Physical Disk resource type (or other storage class resource type).

Majority node set cluster

Geographically dispersed server clusters.

Each node maintains its own copy of the cluster configuration data. The quorum resource ensures that the cluster configuration data is kept consistent across the nodes. Uses a Majority Node Set resource type.


  • A majority node set cluster is best used in controlled, targeted scenarios, as part of a cluster solution offered by your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Independent Software Vendor (ISV), or Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV). The single quorum device server cluster, the standard cluster model available in Windows NT and Windows 2000, will still cover the vast majority of your cluster deployment needs.

For information on cluster deployment options, see Cluster deployment and operation options.