Rolling Upgrades

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

Rolling upgrades allow you to upgrade your server clusters while continuing to provide service to your users. Rolling upgrades can be performed for the following scenarios only:

  • From Windows 2000 Advanced Server to Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition.

  • From the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Datacenter Server operating system to Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

You cannot perform a rolling upgrade directly from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003. To upgrade from Windows NT 4.0, you can perform a rolling upgrade to Windows 2000 and then perform another rolling upgrade to Windows Server 2003. Consult your Windows 2000 documentation for the best way to upgrade your server cluster to Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

As with a standard (offline) upgrade, before performing a rolling upgrade you have to check the Windows Server Catalog to make sure your cluster hardware is supported, and then you have to confirm that your clustered applications and services will be able to run in a Windows Server 2003 cluster. For more information about cluster hardware support, see the Windows Server Catalog link on the Web Resources page at

For detailed procedures for performing a rolling upgrade, see "Perform a rolling upgrade from Windows 2000" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003. Also available is specific information for upgrading Windows 2000 clusters running IIS and MSMQ, and for upgrading a print spooler resource.

During the process of a rolling upgrade, some of your nodes will be upgraded to Windows Server 2003 while others will still be running Windows 2000, temporarily resulting in a mixed-version cluster. Although mixed version clusters are supported by Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, this is not a desirable configuration. You should upgrade all nodes to the same operating system as soon as possible.

The operation of a mixed-version cluster is complicated if a resource type that you add to the cluster is supported in one version of the operating system but not in the other. For example, the Cluster service in Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports the Generic Script resource type. However, older versions of the Cluster service do not support it. A mixed-version cluster can run a Generic Script resource on a node running Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, but not on a node running Windows 2000. The Cluster service transparently sets the possible owners of new resource types to prevent these resources from failing over to a Windows 2000 node of a mixed-version cluster. Consequently, when you view the possible owners of a new resource type, a Windows 2000 node will not be in the list, and you will not be able to add this node to the list. If you create such a resource during the mixed-version phase of a rolling upgrade, the resource groups containing those resources will not fail over to a Windows 2000 node.

For information about which services support rolling upgrades, see "Resource behavior during rolling upgrades" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003. Also, before you perform a rolling upgrade, read Relnotes.htm in the \Docs folder of the Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition operating system CD, in addition to the product documentation that comes with each application or resource.

If you have a service that is not fully supported during rolling upgrade, you can still perform a last node rolling upgrade. For more information, see "Perform a last node rolling upgrade from Windows 2000" in Help and Support Center for Windows Server 2003. This process entails moving all the applications and resources on your server cluster that do not support rolling upgrades to a single Windows 2000 node. You then upgrade the remaining nodes in the cluster, transfer the applications and resources to the newly upgraded nodes, and upgrade the final node to Windows Server 2003.