It's the Database!!! (8/5/2013)
I have an infrastructure guy that is turned on by the AlwaysOn feature in SQL 2012, I like the idea for DR but not production all the time however I am willing to do the research to see what is the best option. I myself prefer traditional clustering for large databases, SharePoint and document containing DB's in SQL 2012, now we have AlwaysOn and they want to do a 2 node A\P cluster (AlwaysOn) for everything. Would this be the best, most efficient option for a production environment or should traditional clustering be set up with AlwaysOn to the DR site?
1) Be sure you dot the eyes and cross the tees when doing FCI clustering AND AlwaysOn for the same system.
2) traditional clustering for SQL Server (FCI now) has an advantage over AGs when you have large BLOBs being thrown around willy-nilly (i.e. SharePoint) because in AG you have to ship the tlog stuff over to the secondary(ies), which can be a LOT of data when big blobs are in play. And the movement/replay of that stuff in single-threaded per database, which combined with network latencies/bandwidth can become a problem in some cases.
3) I note that you can do traditional clustering without Enterprise Edition. You must have EE for AlwaysOn. That isn't a small price difference.
4) The right way to go about this is to determine your NEEDS (HA/DR/scale-out/etc), then review options for solving those needs including costs, complexity, manageability, skill-sets, etc. and do something intelligent based on that matrix.
Kevin G. Boles
SQL Server Consultant
SQL MVP 2007-2012
TheSQLGuru at GMail