The cost of building highly available databases dropped with the introduction of Database Mirroring in 2005. Without the need to purchase identical hardware for a spare system, it became much easier and less expensive to set up extra systems that could handle a workload in the event of a disaster. This technology was improved in SQL Server 2008, and in SQL Server 2012 we have a new option: Always On.
When I first heard about the changes coming in SQL Server 2012, I thought for sure that many people might upgrade to take advantage of the HA enhancements and provide more stability for their systems. However as I see the actual changes in detail, and talk to more and more data professionals, I'm not so sure. Many of us have spent years building systems that tolerate most issues meet the majority of our needs. With that in mind, I had a question for the DBAs out there.
How important is a highly available database with automatic failover to your employer?
Having a spare system that automatically picked up the load when a database server failed would seem to be on the wish list of every user, but plenty of environments don't implement one. Many companies desire such a configuration, but when they see the cost or complexity, many forego an implementation.
This Friday I'm wondering if your business sees this as critical and has implemented such a system, or are you more tolerant of minor issues, and willing to accept some downtime in a simpler environment.
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