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Why every SQL Server installation should be a cluster


Why every SQL Server installation should be a cluster

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Francis Apel
Francis Apel
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Why every SQL Server installation should be a cluster

Francis
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RichB
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"lessoning" of hardware failure.

Love it Smile



Cody K
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So, the companies I work with are the only ones not running Windows Server Enterprise edition? Ok.
SQLPhil
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I like this article a lot and you make the case very well. It would be interesting to see the balance of arguments if you look at the alternative options for HA, particularly when you consider the potential cost savings (hardware at least) that could be achieved if you plum for AlwaysOn AG over clustering. As ever it boils down to requirements, and I've recently gone for a mix of clustering for HA and AlwaysOn AG for DR in a design I've just done. So I'm very much looking forward to your next article which will hopefully vindicate my design! :-)
GhandiDBA
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An excellent and well thought out article, especially relevant now that Microsoft have changed the Enterprise licensing model to make the use of AGs that much more costly and difficult to justify.

It is just such a shame that clustering still requires a storage medium that can be passed between the nodes, whereas networking has moved on to allow for multisubnet failovers. It makes clustering difficult for any that are in a traditional separate data centre design and cannot have floating storage between them
john.deprato
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Clustering can be a very nice convenience, however, there is still the cost of ownership for the hardware to properly backup that type of HA solution. I'm not 100% sold on the TCO for the particular environment that our team supports. We do use mirroring though and that for us has a much lower TCO for how our environment is built. I have worked with a clustered environment before though and I can attest to the benefits. I also think your article does make a very good case for using it. I think it would be good to do a follow up post where you delve into the infrastructure requirements that clustering requires for the databases to perform well. Maybe a best practices type of posting to get people started on clustering if they want to go that route based on your own experiences with clustering and not just from various BOL articles and white papers.
sknox
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This is a good start to an article, but it's more of an advertisement than a convincing argument. Why? It's all upside.
You don't acknowledge the costs of clustering: hardware, licensing, implementation and administration time.
A full rational argument sets out the costs and the benefits and shows (in a positive case) that the benefits outweigh the costs.
I would love to see a part two to this article which fully covers the costs of clustering, as enthusiastically as this one covered the benefits.
info 42138
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IMHO the decision if to cluster or not should be entirely business driven. Do you really need the potential higher availability and are you willing to pay the additional cost. How does increased availability of SQL Server measure up compared to application failure (IMHO the most significant source of service downtime).

To my experience, the added complexity of clustering at the SQL Server level can in practice lead to less uptime than a simple straight forward single node installation (especially in a vm on a vm cluster). Today, in a computing centre you already have many other means to guard you from hardware failure or at least allow rather quick recovery. (High available, redundant storage in a SAN, VM clusters etc.)
William Soranno
William Soranno
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I found the article very interesting. As the sole DBA I am currently supporting 2 clustered environments in 2 domains. The headache I am going to be facing next summer is the replacement of the 2 servers in one of the clusters. When we replace hardware, we also upgrade OS. We do not upgrade the OS on existing hardware. The reasons for this can be the subject of another post. This particular cluster is running Windows server 2008 R2 Enterprise. When we replace the hardware these servers will move up to Windows Server 2012 R2. Can Win 2008R2 and Win 2012R2 be clustered together?

Bill Soranno
MCP, MCTS, MCITP DBA
Database Administrator
Winona State University
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"Quality, like Success, is a Journey, not a Destination" - William Soranno '92
Andrew Peterson
Andrew Peterson
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Clustering SQL Server first requires a clustered OS. And that has IMHO, been the missing element to setting up a clustered SQL Server. either limitations in windows or the IT staff just would not, or could not setup and maintain a cluster.

But lately, ease and IT skill in setting up an OS cluster have improved. That combined with mirroring being phased out will lead more and more DBA's to cluster. It makes sense to cluster, but you need the infrastructure.

The more you are prepared, the less you need it.
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