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

Posted on 2011-10-27
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
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.
Question by:Hamptonite
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    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.
    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    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 -

    Author Comment

    Thank you both for your comments. I'm still working on the servers.

    Author Comment

    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)?
    LVL 50

    Assisted Solution

    by:Steve Bink
    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:

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Why do Marketing keep bothering you?

    Is your marketing department constantly asking for new email signature updates? Are they requesting a different design for every department? Do they need yet another banner added? Don’t let it get you down! There is an easy way to manage all of these requests...

    Sometimes drives fill up and we don't know why.  If you don't understand the best way to use the tools available, you may end up being stumped as to why your drive says it's not full when you have no space left!  Here's how you can find out...
    Don’t let your business fall victim to the coming apocalypse – use our Survival Guide for the Fax Apocalypse to identify the risks and signs of zombie fax activities at your business.
    This tutorial will walk an individual through the steps necessary to enable the VMware\Hyper-V licensed feature of Backup Exec 2012. In addition, how to add a VMware server and configure a backup job. The first step is to acquire the necessary licen…
    This tutorial will walk an individual through configuring a drive on a Windows Server 2008 to perform shadow copies in order to quickly recover deleted files and folders. Click on Start and then select Computer to view the available drives on the se…

    761 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    6 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now