SQL Server 2008 Clustering

We are looking to implement SQL Server 2008 Clustering over Windows server 2008 R2 cluster.
We need to select a storage device that is compatible with this configuration with a reasonable cost.
Any suggestions?
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Do you already have a pair of Cluster Compatible Servers, or are you looking for purchase all of the hardware at once?
How much storage will you need?
How critical is performance? Expandability?

You've got 3 basic connection technologies to choose from:
  Direct Attach
  Fibre Channel

Generally Direct Attach storage systems for 2-node clustering is the cheapest/easiest to implement.
iSCSI is coming on strong and can be flexible, but costs can be higher with clustering you need full redundancy which means redundant iSCSI compatible switches too.
Fibre Channel is the Enterprise Clustering Mac-daddy... there is even a FCOE (Fiber Channel Over Ethernet) options. FC networks are generally most expensive

Since it appears cost is a primary driver am going to go out on a limb and assume you will want DAS.

Direct Attach Storage:

1) Not exactly "State of the ART" but if you work with Dell servers you can consider an MD3000. (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pvaul_md3000?c=us&l=en&s=biz&cs=555)
2) HP has MSA2000sa (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pvaul_md3000?c=us&l=en&s=biz&cs=555)

For iSCSI and FC solutions I suggest following up with further questions.

Here's Dell's Clustering Page.... near the top you can choose Fibre Channel, iSCSI, or Direct Attach (SAS) clusters:


Personally I'm using an MD3000 (SAS direct attach) clustered to a pair of Dell servers with Windows Server R2 and SQL 2008 in a cluster. Works GREAT!

They also have an MD3000i which is an iSCSI version... you'll need NICs and EtherNet switches that are iSCSI compatible to get best performance with these. Since you're looking for Clustering I'm assuming you do not want any single points of failure, so you'll want 2 switches probably if you go the iSCSI route.

TaibaDXBAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your reply.
I think we will go for the iSCSI because it gives us better technology with affordable cost.
What do you mean by "iSCSI compatible switches" ? what standard these switches should have to pass iSCSI traffic?
Now: what about the Storage disks itself? I mean the type of disks: SATA, SSD, ... etc ? what is the best in this area ?
Finally: I am looking to buy solutions from HP or DELL ? what product you suggest from these brands ? or if you recommend some other brand ?

One downsize of iSCSI is that for the most part you're limited in bandwidth when compared to Direct Attach or Fibre Channel. Still, most databases will be IOPs limited, not IO bandwidth limited.

I think you can do fine from either HP or DELL.


Some switches are setup for iSCSI and some are not. The iSCSI Ethernet switches have lower latency and other optimization for iSCSI traffic... I highly recommend you go this way. Since you're going for uptime/reliability you'll need a pair of switches.
You could use a pair of Dell PowerConnect 5424 switches, although there are many options available.


Dell MD3000i which is expandable with additional MD1000 units if you need more disks.
Dell also has a EqualLogic PS series, but I find these fairly expensive.

HP has the StorageWorks 2000i G2 (http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/12169-304616-241493-241493-241493-3971510.html)
HP also has a newer HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 MSA
You can go with SFF (2.5") or LFF (3.5") units. I tend to opt for SFF for databases since you can get more disks and increase performance.


This is down to your performanced needs. If the SQL servers will be stressed hard (high transaction volume), then you'll want faster/more disks.
Personally I only buy 15K RPM SAS disks... more smaller disks with RAID1 and RAID10 volumes for the databases files.
I'm extremely interested with Enterprise SSD drives for high-performance databases... but you need to do a LOT of research before going this route.

My only iSCSI Windows 2008 R2/SQL 2008 cluster I run has:

1) 2 Dell R710 servers with Dual processors and 48GB of RAM each.
2) 2 Dell 5424 Ethernet Switches
3) Dell 3000i with a mix of 146GB 15K and 73GB 15K drives.

Good luck!

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TaibaDXBAuthor Commented:
What about using a device from QNAP ?
Is it ok for my scenario?
TaibaDXBAuthor Commented:
I am thinking if we can also setup a fail-over for the storage itself, I mean to be able to have a stand-by storage device in case there is a failure in the main storage device?
I'm not sure if QNAP is ideal for SQL clustering... you'd have to dicsuss with them. SPEC look very bottom end in terms of performance and I'm not sure it supports all of the requirements for failover.

Failover for storage is not needed for MD3000i and the HP units. They have redundant architecture for all pieces... IE 2 storage processors, 4 connections, 2 connection to each disk, etc. Standard iSCSI wiring will have each server with 2 nics (1 to each switch)... each ethernet switch connects to each storage processor. It's pretty darn reliable.

Here's some posts on cheap iSCSI alternatives:


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Microsoft SQL Server 2008

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