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Failover Clustering

Posted on 2005-05-17
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Our organization needs a more fault-tolerant configuration of SQL Server than just running it
on its on a RAID-5 server.  We lost our RAID system over the weekend (something about
the parity stripe getting lost).

I've read a little about M$ failover clustering.  It sounds great, but my question is,
how well does it work?  I have seen some pretty lame software from M$, even
though SQL Server is awesome.  

Any first-hand experiences would be incredibly much-appreciated.

Thanks.
-Dan
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Question by:Danimal
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by:adathelad
adathelad earned 100 total points
ID: 14018651
Hi Danimal,

We used Clustering at my last place of work. I personally did not implement it and I don't have any experience of setting it up etc. BUT I do know it worked a treat for us.

There is effectively a "heartbeat" connection between the nodes - if a node fails, this "heartbeat" gets broken and the backup node kicks in to take over. A number of tests were carried out whereby the primary node was deliberately "knocked out" and every time the failover clustering did it's job.

I would have no qualms about recommending it.

HTH
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Kevin3NF earned 100 total points
ID: 14018699
It works extremely well when set up correctly.  It is also very expensive.  The O/S needs to be Enterprise level, and SQL Server Enterprise list price from Microsoft is $20K per processor.  In an active/passive configuration with both nodes being only 2 way, this is $40K just for the SQL software.  Add in the O/S and a cluster hardware package from a vendor....

I supported Clustering at Microsoft SQL Server support for 6 months and was amazed at some of the customer names I saw that had 2 and 4 node clusters set up and how robust they were.

Alternative solution:
http://www.nsisoftware.com/pro/doubletake/

I have not used them but the presentation  made me want to test it at the very leasy.  I am not affiliated with the company in any way.
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