What is a server cluster?
A server cluster is a group of servers that work together to offer you improved performance and high availability. This is how the MSDN library describes a server cluster:
(Source) A server cluster is the combination of two or more servers that are interconnected to appear as one, thus creating a virtual resource that enhances availability, scalability, or both.
How does the cluster of servers work together?
It uses a concept called load balancing where the load of work is distributed (balanced) across servers. In a clustered arrangement, multiple servers act as one unit to accomplish a task.
What are the benefits of server clustering?
Here are the major benefits of server clustering:
- It offers high availability. With server clustering, one server takes over in case there is a problem with another server. This ensures high availability of applications.
- It is highly scalable. Cluster servers accommodate increasing needs conveniently.
- It makes maintenance easy. With a group of functional servers, you can choose to shut down one for maintenance while others handle its load.
- It makes it easier to manage the servers. You can manage and configure cluster servers without a hassle.
What are the limitations of server clustering?
The limitations of server clustering are listed here:
- It increases the infrastructure. Thus, you have more servers and more hardware to manage and monitor.
- It is not flexible. Not all types of servers can be clustered. Also, several applications are not supported by clustering design.
- It is not cost-effective. Server clustering is not only about investing in a few servers but about holding them together with a good server design. Some designs can be very expensive.