Can MSMQ be deployed on an MNS Cluster?

What the question is really asking is whether or not you can install MSMQ on a cluster without a traditional shared disk and make use of the Majority Node Set (MNS) method of keeping disks in sync instead. 

Looking at a selection of points from this clustering FAQ:

Frequently Asked Questions (Server Clusters: Quorum Options - Windows Server 2003)

What is a Majority Node Set cluster?
It is a cluster that has a quorum based on local disks in each node, rather than a shared disk.

Can this method be used to replicate application data as well?
No, that is not possible in this version of clustering. Only Quorum information is replicated and maintained in a synchronized state by the clustering infrastructure.

How is the quorum information located on the system disk of each node kept in synch?
The server cluster infrastructure ensures that all changes are replicated and updated on all members in a cluster.

Does MNS get rid of the need for shared disks?
It depends on the application. For example, clustered SQL Server 2000 requires shared disk for data. Remember, MNS only removes the need for a shared disk quorum.

So, if you have an MNS cluster you will need a shared disk for MSMQ to access.

Comments (2)

  1. Thanks for this very basic explanation – it’s amazing how difficult it is to get basic explanations.  I am wondering with 2008 majority node clustering would I be able to do Exchange clustering/mirroring/failover without a shared disk?  If not is there any way other than with shared disk to do Exchange clustering/mirroring/failover?  And if I have to have a shared disk does it have to be a SAN? Are there any other options? Can I share a pair of mirrored hard drives on a computer dedicated to that function?

    Your response is appreciated in advance,

    Arlester Christian

  2. MSDN Archive says:

    Hi Arlester, I’ve checked with my Exchange colleagues and they suggest that you are looking for Exchange 2007 Cluster Continuous Replication.

    Apparently this uses an MNS cluster with File Share Witness so none of the disks need to be shared. In Windows Server 2008 this isn’t a default cluster configuration but you can choose a file share witness after configuring clustering.

    Cluster Continuous Replication

    It was also available in Windows 2003:

    "An update is available that adds a file share witness feature … to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1-based server clusters"

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