SQL Server Clustering
Recently we were asked to build a SQL Server cluster. My initial thought was to use some other technology to provide high availability like replication, log shipping, database mirroring or availability groups. No, it had to be a cluster and my thoughts turned back to the complicated installations that required all hardware to be on a compatibility list and step by step instructions, that if you got one thing wrong meant starting all over again. I am not a novice to clustering as my first exposure was with VAX VMS clustering and then with Wolfpack in NT3.5, but it was always a very complicated installation. Not anymore. To my delight the installation of a cluster and the creation of a SQL Server cluster is now relatively easy. Since Windows 2008 the failover cluster service and the ability to validate a cluster configuration, the installation has been made simpler. With the use of virtual machines and a SAN, the setup of the hardware is easier. Even the SQL Server cluster installation is straight forward. There is still a fair bit of planning required for setting up a cluster, but it is so much better than in the past. There should be no reason why you shouldn't be evaluating a cluster for your solution to SQL Server high availability.