Microsoft Cluster Server (“MSCS”) is a Microsoft-specific high availability technology that provides a failover capability to pairs of its servers.

Like “web farm”, the term “clustering” is a vendor-neutral term, but every vendor that does clustering does it a little differently, and provides cluster services at different levels (typically at the hardware, OS or application levels).

Microsoft clusters using a specific combination of hardware (e.g,. quorum disk with fiber attachment) and operating system (e.g., Microsoft 2008 Enterprise), and it has decided to name those particular bundles – the only bundles that support clustering – as “Microsoft Cluster Server”.

See also “Web Farm“.

BEST PRACTICES: Explicit support for MSCS is no longer critical for file transfer technology.  Most managed file transfer applications already have application-level clustering support, use web farms or can be failed over in virtual environment using technology like VMware vMotion.