Planning for SQL Server Hgih Availability option on VMware and SQL 2012 Standard license to reduce license cost.

Hi All,

I'm planning to consolidate all of my SQL 2012 Standard database all around my office and data center into 2x Node clustering or SQL Server AlwaysOn to simplify the maintenance, reduce licensing cost and also maintaining high availability during the SQL Server patching.

Because at the moment the SQL Server database is installed in many server in different places.

Can I do it using the following resources availble:

2x VMware VM running Windows Server 2012 R2
SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition license

so my question is:
1. Do I need to build MSCS (cluster) with Private Heartbeat network on the Vmware ESXi server ?
2. Does SQL Server 2012 Standard allows Availability group AlwaysOn? if not what are my options for high availability ?

Thanks
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAsked:
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Brett DanneyIT ArchitectCommented:
Take a look at this to get a better idea:
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1037959
There are additional links to help you understand what is supported from Microsoft too. Great place to start.

Personally using VMware I would use AlwaysOn it is a great solution to replace a SQL cluster. However take note that the VM's will still need to be clustered although with 2012 that is a little easier.
Another thing to look out for is when you use AlwaysOn is that unlike in a SQL cluster the SQL agent does not failover in the event of a failure. This means that any jobs you have set to run under the SQL agent of one node will not be present when a failover happens. You will need to have a copy of all the jobs from the production side loaded onto the failover side. On the failover side the jobs will need to be disabled, and you will need to enable them when a failover happens, although it is easy enough to test with a script where the database is running and enable\disable jobs accordingly.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Ah I see,  but as for the licensing and capabilities, does the standard edition can work with Availability group ?
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
AlwaysOn is only available in Enterprise Edition so you can forget about it since you only have Standard Edition.
With Standard Edition you can have a 2 cluster nodes install but you'll need Windows Enterprise Edition to build the cluster. So you'll need to license:
- 2 Windows Enterprise Edition
- 1 SQL Server Standard Edition for an active/passive cluster or 2 SQL Server Standard Edition for active/active cluster.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks Vitor,

How is that possible active/active MSCS ?
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
Active/Active means that you have both nodes providing services. Like if you install 2 SQL Server instances and having each node with a SQL instance then both are providing database services.

Active/Passive means one node is providing services and the other one is there only waiting for a failover to receive and provide the service from the other node. Normal solution for a single instance that can work only in a node or another but not on both nodes at same time.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Ah I see,
Because my understanding was back then since the older windows server 2008 R2 MSCS which can be only active passive.

Maybe in 2012 R2 there is no need for quorum disk and it can be active/active with SQL 2012 standard.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks !
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