Is This Cluster Good Enough?

Earlier this year, Microsoft released the Microsoft Cluster Configuration Validation Wizard.  A handy dandy tool for analyzing the setup and configuration of clustered servers.  And this is definitely a tool to keep in the toolbelt when building clusters, especially the ones that I like to build with SQL Server on top of them.  And as a SQL Server fanboy with an upcoming cluster migration I’ll definitely have a chance to use it soon.

The Microsoft Cluster Configuration Validation Wizard, a.k.a. "ClusPrep", is a validation tool that does a complete system inventory and runs focused tests on servers that are configured and ready for Microsoft Server Cluster installation (in other words, before the servers are a cluster). ClusPrep will also run the inventory and many of these same tests after clustering is installed, however, because of their potentially disruptive nature, most storage tests are not run if the servers are already a cluster.

ClusPrep will validate that your system is configured properly by taking inventory of your system configuration and highlighting discrepancies in service pack levels, driver versions, etc.; evaluating and testing your network and storage configuration.
If the results of your ClusPrep execution do not show errors (viewable in detail from the XML report) then you can have a high level of confidence that your subsequent cluster installation and/or operation will be successful.

ClusPrep is a “client/server” tool: you install it on one machine (must be installed on a 32-bit architecture machine), and it drives tests on a collection of server machines (can be any architecture). All drivers and test agents are automatically installed on the servers as part of ClusPrep operation. In other words, the only install you do is on the machine from which you initiate the testing.

Now the next question is where am I going to find a couple knock-off servers that I can use to play with this one before the migration.  Or maybe a new PC that can run a fairly monster virtual environment.  I like this last idea a lot…