What is a sql server cluster

Hi,
Can someone explain to me simply "what is a sql server cluster"?
nutnutAsked:
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
a server cluster (does not only apply to SQL Server), is nothing else than 2 (or more) Boxes, with shared stored (disks), running both the same software (ie sql server), where the passive node will server as failback box when the active node fails (goes down).

so, say you have 2 servers (nodes), in a usual activ-passive config, both boxes have sql server installed, but only 1 has the database(s) for a given application (active), the other has nothing (passive node).
if the active box fails, the cluster software will perform the failover, and the software (SQL Server) will continue running on the previously passive box.


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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
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nutnutAuthor Commented:
Great answer thanks.  I have one bit of what you said I don't understand

You say if one fails the other will take over, but the databases are on only one server.   If the active server fails how then does the passive server access the databases on the failed active server?

Thanks



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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
>You say if one fails the other will take over, but the databases are on only one server.
the databases (including master, msdb... etc) have to be located on the shared storage, so can be accessed by the other server also.
when you install sql server in the cluster, hence both nodes, both will be able to work with all the databases.
consider it like it's only 1 logical installation of sql server on the 2 nodes.
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nutnutAuthor Commented:
Ok great but where are things like DTS packages stored?  Active Node, passive node or Sharded storage?
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
DTS packages (and sql server agent jobs) are stored in the msde database, means in fact in shared storage.
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nutnutAuthor Commented:
Doh!...of Course!

Great answers thanks!!
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Microsoft SQL Server 2005

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