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Physical to Virtual Cluster -- any thoughts? What about MS Support? Expand / Collapse
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:30 AM

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We're reviewing the option of setting-up a Physical to Virtual Cluster using Windows 2012 Clustering and SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, but I wasn't sure if anyone could point me to any documentation showing whether or not Microsoft will give support in such a configuration. The Virtual leg of this would be using vSphere 5.0 which is listed on the Microsoft SVVC site.

I've read some posts from MVP's on other forums who say as long as the cluster validates it's within support, but I'd be more comfortable hearing this directly from MS.

And from a technical standpoint, is anyone running this configuration? If so any pro's or con's? I like he idea of our primary replica being a physical machine, and mirroring to a VM with the redundancy VMware offers would allow us to use that on the passive Replica. Plus hopefully within a year or so we can add another physical machine as a third node and replica or even Azure, who knows...

Thanks for any insight.
Post #1504824
Posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:17 AM


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First off I would have posted your question in the SQL 2012 forum as Always on Availability Groups are only supported by SQL 2012.

Anyway. I am in the process of creating a proof of concept for a similar setup.

We currently use multiple 2 node clusters to support our DB infrastructure, we logship from several of the SQL clusters to a reporting server and have transactional replication sharing data between clusters all sharing the same distributor.

From an initail discussion with MS, they have confirmed that they will support a virtual windows cluster, but they were unclear if they would support a SQL Clustered Install ontop of this platform.

Our current setup in the POC is 5 Virtual Windows 2012 servers forming a windows cluster. Each of the 5 servers has a standalone SQL 2012 Install. We have two AG's defined each AG has 3 participating servers (1 primary, 1 Readable Synchronous Secondary, 1 Non Readable non synchronous secondary.

Only one of the servers participates in both AG's.

The problem we are working on at the moment is replication, from what I can tell AG's do not support distribution, so we have created 2 other VM's running Windows 2012 and SQL 2012 and they run as a SQL cluster and the distributor is installed here. All publications for databases within the AG's use this as a remote distributor. The subscribers are also part of the availablity groups. But they also cross groups.

This is something to consider if you are looking at this with a view to using AG's to provided for HA \ DR.

Post #1505772
Posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:32 AM



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I don't have direct experience here with support. We run SQLServerCentral as a cluster on virtual machines (Not AG/AlwaysOn) with 2008. Both nodes are provided to us by our hosting provider, and we validate the cluster inside this. I have some friends that have done this as well and I'm sure they have support as they are larger Fortune 1000 companies that typically require this.

I would assume this would be supported for SS2K12/W2k12 as well. My guess is they support hyper-v and VMWare, but it's possible they don't want something Xen or Virtual box.

They do list virtual machines in the TechNet articles (sample:, but I'd put a call into MS to verify this for your org.

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