Cluster Validation test fails on Windows Update check

Every once in a while I run into this little issue with cluster validation check that, while not a critical one, can lead to some confusion. When I deploy clusters to my customers one thing I keep telling them is that they need to update their cluster nodes regularly like any other Windows Server. The other thing I keep telling them is that once they’re all properly updated run the validation test that checks the Windows Updates. And yes, that’s a one way to use the validation tool after you’ve done the deployment 🙂

Now this problem usually arises when you’re not updating the nodes in the exactly same schedule. You update the other, failover services and then forget the other for whatever reason. During the next maintenance window you do remember to update both and you run validation which suddenly looks like this.

You're missing updates. Or are you?
You’re missing updates. Or are you?

The answer is that you probably aren’t. The next thing you probably do is to check manually if the updates are available through Windows Update and they probably aren’t. Then you go and download the package from the Microsoft site and run it, only to get a message saying that the update is “not applicable to your system”. And then you go sobbing “But.. But.. The validation report! It says.. The warning! The warning!” Don’t fret my friend, there’s a reason for what you’re experiencing.

In this scenario things started going wrong when the updates were missed for the second node during the first maintenance window. During the next maintenance window a new HotFix was released and it included the ones that now show up in the report. The reason this happens is that the validation test doesn’t do binary check for your files, it’ll just look at the installed KB names and compare them to each other. If they’re not identical you get the above warning.

This can also happen with freshly installed servers if you’re not using completely identical installation media for Windows installation. Surefire way to accomplish this is that you install another node with RTM media and the other one with media that has Service Pack included.

To avoid this issues, always use the same media when installing nodes and remember to update all your servers in regular schedule.

Author: Mika Sutinen

Hi, My name is Mika Sutinen and I'm a Senior Database Administrator for a company called Tieto. I've been working in IT-industry for two decades and I've spend most of my career working with healthcare information systems. I've worked with SQL Server for most of my career, starting with version 6.5 a long, long time ago. My other interests are high availability, everything related to performance (testing, monitoring, etc), Windows operating systems and I'm currently learning more about Azure.

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