How do I get failover functionality on Server 2008 R2 Standard and SQL 2008 Standard

Good afternoon,

I am trying to set my client up with failover for file services and SQL. They've purchased two identical servers with Windows Server 2008 Standard equipped with RAID-1 storage. While attempting to install SQL2008 Standard in a two-node configuration, it complained Windows Server was not configured for clustering. I am trying to make the servers failover for file, print, and SQL services; Active Directory is easily covered ;-)

Can I set up active/passive failover of Windows Server 2008 Standard or do I need Enterprise/Datacenter edition and a SAN? If Windows Standard cannot natively do the failover, what can I do to make this happen? SQL subscriptions? Robocopy? vCenter? The servers are already onsite, so changing out the operating system is not an option.

Any recommendations on configuration and relevant reading materials would be greatly appreciated.
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Sadly you cannot use the STD or WEB version of Windows Server to install Failover clustering .
You also do need a SAN to do clustering which can get expensive, and clustering doesn't provide any protection against your data going bad, as they share the same storage.  Clustering is more useful for patching and hardware (non disk) failure.

You should look carefully at SQL Server ASYNCHRONOUS (not synchronous) mirroring.  It provides safety against disk failures, gives application level failover via a witness server configured (you can put the witness on the secondary server), you do not need $80,000+ worth of licenses, nor do you need a SAN.  Go through this link and ask any questions you have:

Print services is easy to configure with print pooling, check out:

You are however, not covered with file services failing over.  In that case, you'll want to use a prefered method to copy files over multiple times a day, you brought up robocopy which will work.  I would do the file synch in VMWare and VMotion, but again that's a whole new topic, and for your needs a robocopy or xcopy solution would work.  Actually almost any 'file synch' utility will work.  Let us know if you have any questions.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
You can not cluster server2008 R2 Standard.

"The Failover Clustering feature is included in server products such as Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter. The Failover Clustering feature is not included in Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard or Windows Web Server 2008 R2."

Microsoft -
HamptoniteAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your comments. I'm still working on the servers.
HamptoniteAuthor Commented:
In my understanding of Introduction to Database Mirroring in SQL Server, having a witness server requires synchronous mode. Is this not true?

How do you configure a client to use the mirror? Let's say the principal SQL server is at srv1.mydomain.local\sql1 and the  mirror is at srv2.mydomain.local\sql2 (and the witness at srv2.mydomain.local\wit), where do you point the client when configuring the SQL server?

Let's say connectivity failure to srv1.mydomain.local\sql1 has occurred, and srv2.mydomain.local\sql2 becomes the principal server. How will srv1.mydomain.local\sql1 ever become principal if the quorum always and only exists on srv2.mydomain.local (because it contains an instance and the witness)?
Steve BinkCommented:
Yes, you need to use synchronous mode for automatic failovers with a witness server.  See here for how to set up a witness:

As far as connecting to a mirror, see here:

And finally, you're talking about role switching.  This only happens automatically with a witness present, and a failure of communication between the witness and principal.  However, you can switch the roles manually, also.  See here:
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