Using PowerShell with Clustered MSMQ

My good friend Lars Wilhelmsen asked me a couple of days ago if I knew of a way to automate creating Queues on a clustered instance of MSMQ. Normally, a cluster of machines using Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) with MSMQ in Windows Server 2008 and up will have several MSMQ instances installed. For example, a 2-node cluster will typically have 3 MSMQ instances: 2 local ones (one for each node) and the clustered instance, which will be configured/running on a single node at a time.

So what usually happens is that if you try using System.Messaging on PowerShell on an MSMQ cluster, you’ll end up creating the queues in the local instance, not the clustered instance. And MessageQueue.Create() doesn’t allow you to specify a machine name either.

The trick to getting this to work lies in KB198893 (Effects of checking ”Use Network Name for Computer Name” in MSCS). Basically all you have to do is set the _CLUSTER_NETWORK_NAME_ environment variable to the name of the Virtual Server that hosts the clustered MSMQ resource:

$env:_CLUSTER_NETWORK_NAME_ = 'myclusterMSMQ'
[System.Messaging.MessageQueue]::Create('.\Private$\MyQueue')

One thing to keep in mind, though: You have to set this environment variable before you attempt to use any System.Messaging feature; otherwise it will simply be ignored because the MSMQ runtime will already be bound to the local MSMQ instance.

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