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Create cluster from existing SQL 2008 R2 server?

Posted on 2013-01-23
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Hello experts,

I have an existing SQL 2008 R2 database server (standard) running on Windows 2008 R2 (enterprise). I want to cluster this server with another. Is this possible or does SQL have to be installed as a cluster in the first place for this to work?

Regards,
PMIMIS
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Question by:PMIMIS
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knightEknight earned 250 total points
ID: 38811730
Server clustering is done at the OS level, and then you install a clustered SQL instance on top of that.  I'm not saying "no way", but IMO you would save yourself a lot of trouble by provisioning a clustered server first and then migrating your SQL Server to it.
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by:Ryan McCauley
Ryan McCauley earned 250 total points
ID: 38811820
You can definitely still cluster-enable the OS in this case, but as the previous poster mentioned, enabling clustering on the OS and clustering an application are two different things. In theory, you can cluster any service at all, even if it's not specifically cluster-aware - in the case of SQL Server, though, there's a specific cluster installation process that sets up the clustering for you (though to be fair, I've never clustered a previously stand-alone instance of SQL Server, so I'm not sure how that would go).

I'd recommend that you configure clustering on the OS between your two servers, and then install a clustered instance of SQL Server, using the specific segment of the SQL installer designed for it. Once you've gone that, you can migrate your users and databases to the new clustered instance.

To try and help clear things up, I did a post a while back that explains some different terms in clustering - there's some confusion around what it means to enable clustering on an OS vs. clustering an application. Not sure if it will help in this case, but I wanted to put it out there:

http://trycatchfinally.net/2012/09/clearing-up-windows-cluster-terminology/
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by:PMIMIS
ID: 38812299
Thanks to both of you. I wish I had known this before hand. I had thought the SQL server could be enabled for clustering after the initial install.

Looks like after I cluster the OS I will install a clustered instance of SQL and migrate my databases over.

My new SharePoint servers already point at this existing database. Any thoughts on what I will have to do to make sure they happily see the database once it is moved to the clustered instance?
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Author Closing Comment

by:PMIMIS
ID: 38812315
Both experts gave me great information in a very timely fashion. knightEknight gets the nod for best solution by virtue of being complete and first, while ryanmccauley gets half the points for adding significant depth and explanation to the first answer.
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Expert Comment

by:Ryan McCauley
ID: 38812772
I've not ever moved a Sharepoint deployment from one SQL Server to another, but in the research I've done (we'll have to do it soon), it looks as though you need to move it between two servers at the exact same version and patch level (like SQL 2008 SP2 -> same). The easiest thing to do is set up a DNS alias (or a local SQL Alias on the web servers) that points the old server name to the new one, so the configuration doesn't require any changes - kind of ugly, but requires the least intervention.

Good luck!
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