Microsoft KB Archive/873288

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What to consider when you configure file share resources with a Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster on Windows Server 2003

Article ID: 873288

Article Last Modified on 10/30/2006


  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)


The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Load Balancing (NLB) service lets you share the server load between multiple servers. Although creating file share resources on a Windows Server 2003 NLB cluster is supported, we do not recommend that you use the NLB service for this purpose. We recommend that you use Microsoft Windows Cluster Services for file share resources.

For additional information about how to configure file share resources in a Windows server cluster, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

238137 Considerations when you create clustered file shares on a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 server cluster


If you use a NLB cluster for file shares, you must consider the following behavior and limitations:

  • The file share can only contain read-only files. Only static files will be supported for the file shares that are load balanced. Files that may be opened for modification or that may change dynamically are not supported.
  • There is no file replication support for the file share resources. Microsoft does not have file replication tools that are available for file share resources in a NLB server cluster.
  • Kerberos authentication for the cluster virtual server name that is used in load balancing file shares is not supported. Instead, NTLM must be used for authentication.
  • The affinity level for the server cluster must be configured as Single.

    For additional information about Windows Server NLB service affinity, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    198496 How to configure WLBS port rules

  • If membership in the NLB cluster changes, client connections are not remapped to a different host in the cluster. Instead, the client must manually reestablish the connection and re-authenticate with the NLB cluster.

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