Clustered SQL instance

Experts:

we're in the process of deploying a clustered SQL 2008 R2 platform running on windows 2008. I'm toying with building our test infrastructure to mimic production - being clustered as well. This comes at an expense as it's more hardware. I'm trying to weigh up if this expense will be worth reducing the risks that I'd have by not having a clustered test environment. Can anyone give me some pointers, links to white papers/BOL, or other ideas and suggestions on this?

Thanks in advance
telliot79Asked:
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nemws1Connect With a Mentor Database AdministratorCommented:
If you are running clustered production it is *well worth* the extra costs in my book to run a clustered test environment (VMs are awesomely fine).

As for doing SQL/database changes, I found clustering to be a moot issue. (I'm talking about testing database-only changes).  You can test these on a single server (for the most part).  However, as you point out, having a clustered setup is *awesome* for testing OS & database patches/upgrades, since you can do so in the same method/manner as you will (eventually) upgrade your production servers.
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Aneesh RetnakaranDatabase AdministratorCommented:
are you going with two physical servers, in that case try with VMs; that way you can reduce some cost;
Now, what are the reason you are going for another clustered environment, is it just for testing ? are you planning to run any reports ; can you give more information on this?
If it is just for testing, it wont actually worth the money to mimic the servers;
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telliot79Author Commented:
yep, we're going to use VMs to reduce cost. right now, we've not made our mind up on another clustered environment for test. my thoughts are that it would be a better place to install and test windows patches as we're running an OLTP database and it's critical that we don't have any downtime. it's just a discussion right now, and I'm measuring this small risk against the cost of building and maintaining this test clustered environment.
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telliot79Author Commented:
the test envirnment will also be vitualised, but we'll need to add more resources if we do go for a clustered environment there.
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Aneesh RetnakaranDatabase AdministratorCommented:
Its mainly a business decision; How much money they can spend on this.
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nemws1Database AdministratorCommented:
I agree, it is a business decision.  The business should realize it is a gamble.  Maybe the upgrade will go fine.  Maybe it won't.  How much are you willing to lose if the upgrade does sour?  How much are you willing to spend to try to make sure that doesn't happen?  :)
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telliot79Author Commented:
Thanks for the quick feedback.
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