SQL 2014 AlwaysOn Availability

I'm building out an AlwaysOn SQL 2014 cluster and have been able to locate most things online, but I'm have issues understanding Initial Data Synchronization when adding a database to the availability group.  I would want to select "FULL" but i'm unsure what shared network location they are requesting.  Is this the same path of the file share witness?  Is this a share that i need to setup on each cluster node?  I can't seem to locate where/what this path is.


Can someone please assist in explaining what goes in this share path?  Where this share is recommended to be?  Is there a special configuration of this share? (plus any other questions i should have asked but forgot)

Thanks in advance.
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Máté FarkasDatabase Developer and AdministratorCommented:
Always On technology in SQL Server has 2 operation mode:
1. Always On Failover Cluster: this is the same technology as former name SQL Server Failover Cluster. This requires a Windows Cluster Service to be installed, a quorum shared drive or folder (accessed by all nodes of cluster), a shared storage (the same storage (SAN/NAS) connected to each node and cluster service controls which node can fully access that drive) and a common IP address.
2. Always On Availability Groups: this is the same technology as former name SQL Server Database Mirroring. This requires 2 completely separated boxes (with own drives) on the same network. It uses mirroring technology with Witness and can fail over all databases included into the same availability group. This does not require shared storage.

Which type do you want to use?
jmachado81Author Commented:
I am configuring availability groups with synchronous commit.
Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
The SQL Server AlwaysOn feature will require always a Windows Failover Cluster to work.
The initial Data Synchronization option only appears because you're using the Wizard.
The Full means the Wizard will run a backup database command for the database that you want to replicate and it requests a share network where all nodes can have access so they will run later a restore from the backup ran by the Wizard.
The Join only requires you to have already the backups and restored commands ran manually by you so the Wizard will recognize them and only join them to the Availability Group.
The Skip option will make the Wizard take no action and you should do the backup, restores and the join operation after the Wizard finish.
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jmachado81Author Commented:
Since this holds the backups to restore to additional nodes, am I to assume the file share the full option requests should NOT be directly located on a cluster node or point to the existing cluster file share witness?
Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
Usually the file share witness is a very small disk (1GB is already too much) so I would not recommend you to use it.
Don't you have a file server for this kind of usage? If not, then use any server in the network that has enough space to store the backup and after the AlwaysOn set, delete the backup from that server.

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jmachado81Author Commented:
So this file share is used to temporarily backup the database on an AlwaysOn Availability groups with FULL synchronization cluster, so it can restore to the other replicas. Once the initial synchronization is completed you can safely delete the backups in this file share.

This file share should be separate from the witness and should be available from all nodes.  (assign same permissions as the witness)

If there is anything missing please let me know.  Thanks Vitor!
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