Creating a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster

Creating a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster

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Creating a cluster on Windows Server 2012 is easy experience!

After installing the Failover Clustering feature, and validating a configuration, the next step is to create a new cluster. There are some minor changes in the create cluster experience in Windows Server 2012, but it is very similar to creating a cluster in Windows Server 2008 R2.

For details on installing the Failover Clustering feature, see this blog posting:

To learn more about validation, see this TechNet article:

You can create a cluster using the Failover Cluster Manager UI, or using PowerShell.  Both of these can be installed on Windows Server 2012 or Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows Server 2012.

Creating a Failover Cluster using Failover Cluster Manager

1. Open Failover Cluster Manager - it can be opened from Server Manager using the Tools menu:

2. In the Failover Cluster Manager, choose the “Create Cluster…” action, which can be found in 3 places:

3. The Create Cluster Wizard initializes. Review the information on the Before You Begin screen. Click Next

4. Enter the names of all the servers that will be part of the cluster. Note: More than one node can be specified at a time, using comma separation.

Example: MyServer1, MyServer2, MyServer3

5. If the nodes specified have not been validated, the following page in the wizard will be shown.  It’s highly recommended to validate the configuration before you create the cluster.  This will help ensure that the servers are connected and configured correctly and that it can be supported by Microsoft:

6. In the “Cluster Name” field, provide a NetBIOS name to be used as the cluster name. This cluster name is also the name that can be used to connect to the cluster to manage it.  During cluster creation, a computer object will also be created in the Active Directory domain and Organizational Unit where the cluster nodes computer objects are located. If the servers have no NICs configured for DHCP, then this page will also prompt for a static IP address.  If any of the networks are configured for DHCP, then this will not be shown and an IPv4 DHCP assigned address will be used.   Click Next:

Note:  If you do not want the Active Directory object for the cluster to be placed in the same Organizational Unit (OU) as the servers, the specific OU can be designated by specifying the full distinguished name like screen shot below:

For additional details on using a full distinguished name, please see “How to Create a Cluster in a Restrictive Active Directory Environment” (

Review the Confirmation screen. If all eligible storage will be added to the cluster, check the box Add all eligible storage to the cluster.  Click Next

Note: This ability to choose whether all eligible storage will be added to the cluster or not is new for Windows Server 2012.  In previous versions all storage would always be added to the cluster.  If you choose not to add all eligible storage to the cluster, you can add specific disks after the cluster is created:

7. The cluster should be successfully created. Review the Summary report if desired. Click Finish

8. A Failover Cluster Manager will automatically connect to the cluster when the wizard finishes:

Creating a Failover Cluster using PowerShell

An alternate way to create a Failover Cluster is to use PowerShell.  This can be accomplished with the New-Cluster PowerShell cmdlet.  The following command creates 2-Node cluster (Contoso-FC1) and it assumes that a DHCP assigned address can be assigned and all eligible storage is added.


 New-Cluster -Name Contoso-FC1 -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2

The following command is an example of specifying a static IP address for cluster to use for its management connection, and if you don’t want any storage to be automatically added to the cluster.


 New-Cluster -Name Contoso-FC1 -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2 –StaticAddress  -NoStorage


The following command is an example that would put the cluster account put into an existing Active Directory OU called “Clusters” that is in the Contoso.local domain.


 New-Cluster -Name CN=Contoso-FC1,OU=Clusters,DC=Contoso,DC=local -Node Contoso-N1,Contoso-N2


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  • Great article. I have one question though that I can't seem to figure out. I've run a little home cluster lab with Server 2008 R2 using FreeNAS as my iSCSI storage. When I run the cluster validation tests with the Server 2008 R2 validation tests, storage checks out fine. But if I try to validate a Server 2012 cluster config, the storage tests fail saying that the storage doesn't support persistent reservations. Was there a change in the way that Server 2012 validates storage, or is there a newer version of the SCSI-3 commands that Server 2012 uses? Just trying to figure out why it works for one version, but not the next.

  • The best place for questions like these are the cluster forum, here's the link:

  • Hi, I think that it is a nice feature that you guys have added the behaviour of creating the CNO/vCNO in the same OU structure (default) as that of the nodes as long as one can control it as with the distinguished name feature... questions is, all the other cmdlets such as Add-ClusterFileServerRole / Add-ClusterGenericApplicationRole and so on that also require a AD object to be created to a certain OU path (that you want to control), how about these ones? Can you send the distinguished paths of the objec to the name param? Cause I tried with the generic application cmdlet in Windows 2012 R2 and that did not work out very well... pointers or tips on how to get around that one? Thx guys...

  • In general you want the CNO and VCO's in the same OU.  So you can define where to explicitly put the CNO, then the VCO's will follow the CNO.  You are welcome to move the VCO's do a different OU after creation if you prefer.  See this blog for more details:



  • Hi,

    Question re: File Server Clustering:


    say I have 2 file server running windows 2012 R2, each has 2-160GB for OS, 12-450GB for Data.

    I need to cluster these two machine. How do I do this ?


    I now need to create an iSCSI Target on the above cluster, How do I do This?



  • Nice article,

    I tried to create a cluster, all went fine, but when I try to add it to a DAG for SQL server, I get the error "The specified instance of SQL Server is hosted by a system that is not a Windows Server Failover Cluster(WSFC) node."

    What could I be doing wrong?

    When I log on to the failover cluster manager, I see the Cluster and the respective nodes that I added.

  • Can we run cluster validation on a existin cluster node which is in production?

    Does it has any impact on the other cluster member nodes?

  • Hey iam trying to create a windows server 2012 failover cluster using vmware workstation using 2 vms as two nodes..can u please guide me on how should i proceed with it

  • See this doc which outlines VMware's considerations with Guest Clustering:

  • Can we create multiple windows server failover clusters on a 2 node ?

  • You mean have a physical node be part of multiple Failover Clusters? No, this is not allowed and we will block it. However, you can have multiple VMs hosted on a physical node. The physical node can be part of a cluster (host cluster) and the VMs can be part of another cluster (guest cluster).

  • when creating a windows cluster following steps above and although using Command-Line

    Error >> forming cluster unable to successfully clean up

    How can Fix !?

  • Hi Helmy,

    The best place for questions like these are the cluster forum, here's the link:

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