Thursday, October 2, 2008

Install SQL Server in Windows Cluster environment as failover cluster.

Last few weeks working on building custom cluster environments and custom applications which can support cluster. So took that chance to take some snapshots of SQL Server cluster installation. As other MicroSoft product, SQL Server Cluster installation is very much easy and simple. Let's have a look at below procedures need to follow while installing SQL Server in Windows Cluster Environment. I setup my windows cluster environment from use of Virtual Server 2005 and build two Windows environments and took them both in cluster. Windows cluster configuration is not in the scope of the this article. I will surely produce the article for Windows Cluster too. But for this article I would like to focus on SQL Server 2005 Cluster environment.

The same standard SQL Server installer allows you to set up the SQL Cluster, but if your host OS is Windows Cluster then it will enable few options while installing service for enabling failover cluster for SQL Server Database Engine and Analysis service, no other service support clustering. So let's see below steps to install Database Engine as failover cluster.

1. Follow the standard SQL Server Installation steps but at the screen while you are selecting components to install or upgrade you will notice one check box option labeling "Create a SQL Server failover cluster" for SQL Server Database Service and Analysis Service only, as these both service only support failover clustering and cluster implementation. Please have a look to the below screen, you must check the SQL Server failover cluster option to continue installation or upgrade in cluster mode.

2. If you haven't checked box for cluster installation or upgrading then it following screen will be standard installation installation wizard screen, else you will see the below screen in order to setup the cluster. Every cluster need the virtual server name, that virtual name behave mostly like named instance, you can provide the virtual server name while setting up connection strings to connect databases or while managing cluster through management studio. Please make sure few important checks before naming the SQL Cluster, to avoid conflicts in name and network resolution please provide unique network object name (like computer name, host names etc...). Refer below screen.

3. The next wizard screen is very important to configure the cluster server's virtualization configuration. The Virtual Server Configuration screen will allow you to setup virtual load balance IPs for the networks (These networks are only cluster virtual network which generally we configure while setting up Windows cluster only). You can setup load balance virtual IP for those networks, I will surely suggest you to create public and private virtual IP separately and avoid heartbeat network channel for the cluster for the performance benefits. Refer the below two screen.

4. The next screen will allow you to add the resource to respective manageable cluster group, in my setup I have just created one cluster group so there is not much choice for me to select :-) but it's a really good practice to manage proper cluster group for better and clean administration. Another important input the screen show is data file's location, it will enumerates the physical drives you have added as the resources in cluster. Ideally the drive should be accessible and shared among all cluster servers and should have valid and proper permissions for required operations. Ideally it should be SAN or SCSI device. Also would advice to cross check after installation that physical drive resource has been added to dependencies in SQL Server resource.

5. The next screen will be for configuring Cluster Node. It will allow you to select cluster nodes. It was my first cluster node installation so just displaying single node in list. Other node you can notice under the label "required node".

6. BINGO.... You are back to main land, and standard installation starts, the following steps would be smiler then regular non cluster installation.

SQL Cluster installation is very simple to install and also to manage. I hope the article helps you to install it first time on your machine. Will try to come up with new articles on clusters and installation. I recently setup my R&D environments in clusters and enjoying to working on it. Next installation will be MOSS 2007 on cluster, BizTalk 2006 R2 installation. Will come up with those articles soon.

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Steef-Jan Wiggers said...

Good post. Fail over clustering is very important step towards high available BizTalk Server environment. I have done same installation (cluster) for customer a year back.

longge said...
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