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I am implementing a Windows Service. The service will be installed in a cluster of application servers.

Is there a way in the cluster functionality of Windows to set up active/passive failover for a regular Windows Service?

Or is it necessary for the service to specifically be written with calls to cluster API for failover to work?

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You can configure a generic service in the Failover Cluster Manager. These are the requirements:

  • The service or application should be stateful. In other words, the service or application should have long-running in-memory state or large, frequently updated data states. One example is a database application. For a stateless application (such as a Web server front end), Network Load Balancing will probably be more appropriate than failover clustering.

  • The service or application should use a client component that automatically retries after temporary network interruptions. Otherwise, if the server component of the application fails over from one clustered server to another, the unavoidable (but brief) interruption will cause the clients to stop, rather than simply retrying and reconnecting.

  • The service or application should be able to identify the disk or disks it uses. This makes it possible for the service or application to communicate with disks in the cluster storage, and to reliably find the correct disk even after a failover.

  • The service or application should use IP-based protocols. Examples include TCP, UDP, DCOM, named pipes, and RPC over TCP/IP.

Check out this technet article:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753938.aspx

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As an aside, if you create an application to those guidelines, it should work with Veritas Cluster Server too. –  hmallett Jan 7 '11 at 14:53
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