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SQL 2012 Failover Cluster and replication, or P2P replication for DR

Posted on 2012-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-04-12
Hi,
My clients provides mobile transactional sites for retail clients.  They are looking to refresh their infrastructure.  Currently, their infrastructure is hosted at a single datacenter (managed hosting).  I want to include some DR in their new design, and will have some of their infrastructure hosted at a second site.  They currently have a MS SQL Failover Cluster (consisting of 2 servers).  I will recommend another non-clustered SQL server at the secondary site.  Would it be best to keep the failover cluster at the primary site, and perform replication to the secondary site, maintaining a warm standby, or simply get rid of the failover cluster, and have one SQL server at each site using P2P replication?  I know very little about P2P, but having two separate active servers in different locations seems to meet the requirements for resiliency, as well as ensuring the DR site is as up to date as possible.

They will probably buy completely new kit for their planned infrastructure, and obviously P2P doesn't have the expense of shared storage.  Connectivity between the sites will be very good.

Thanks

M
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Question by:lambch0p
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Ryan McCauley earned 2000 total points
ID: 37836046
You have a couple of choices here. First, if the cluster they're using at their primary data site is working well, I wouldn't modify it. While you could break up the cluster, there's no reason to do so and if it's configured properly, it can help minimize downtime in the event of a single server failure.

However, I would add an additional server at another datacenter. I've never used P2P replication replication before (and didn't realize it was an option, honestly), but it sounds like it might be what you need. P2P treats each site like an active server that accepts reads and writes - as long as you've got a quick and reliable connection between sites, you should be good to go with that method. I'm always a bit hesitant to do situations where you accept writes on multiple different servers (like merge replication, for example), but the initial research seems to turn up good results for P2P, so I'd say go with that.

P2P replication would also allow you to balance the read/write load across multiple servers, and even add a third server to support the load at a later date if they wanted. I can't tell from the walk-through I read if this is supported natively or if some kind of load-balancer is needed, but if it's supported natively, it would definitely be working checking out as well.
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by:lambch0p
ID: 37836764
Great, thanks for the advice.

Mick
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