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SQL Server Cluster LooksAlive and IsAlive Check


Windows Cluster Service use the “heartbeat” process to check whether each node is alive at both the OS level and SQL Server level. Heartbeat signals works on UDP.

Microsoft Windows Cluster service perform 2 health checks to perform node & resource availability check.

LooksAlive Health Check

1) LooksAlive is a quick lightweight health check

2) Run at interval of 5 Seconds

3) Does not impact performance but does not perform a thorough check

4) The check will succeed if the service appears to be running even though it might not be operational

5) If Fails calls “IsAlive” health check

6) Polling interval can be changed by adjusting LooksAlivePollInterval property of Cluster service

IsAlive Health Check

1) Run at interval of each 60 Second

2) Perform more detail check then LooksAlive

3) Run @@SERVERNAME to ensure that SQL Server is responding to queries

4) Does not ensure that all user databases are operational

5) Retired 5 times & then try to reconnect SQL Server

6) If all 5 retry fails, the SQL Server resource fails & Windows Cluster service will try to bring it online on other node as per configuration

7) Polling interval can be changed by adjusting IsAlivePollInterval property of Cluster service

Reference : Rohit Garg (http://mssqlfun.com/)

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Renaming or Changing SQL Server Cluster Instance


Renaming or Changing SQL Server cluster instance process is bit different from renaming a stand-alone instance.

Refer : Rename or Change SQL Server Standalone Default Instance http://mssqlfun.com/2014/06/30/rename-or-change-sql-server-standalone-default-instance/)

Refer : Rename or Change SQL Server Standalone Named Instance (http://mssqlfun.com/2014/07/29/rename-or-change-sql-server-standalone-named-instance/)

The name of the virtual server is always the same as the name of the SQL Network Name (the SQL Virtual Server Network Name). You can change the name of the virtual server, you cannot change the instance name like in the case of standalone named instance. You can change a virtual SQL server named SQLServerinstance1 to some other name, such as SQLServerNewinstance1, but the instance part of the name, instance1, will remain unchanged.

Rename a virtual server :-

1. Using Cluster Administrator, change the SQL Network Name or SQL Server DNS Name to the new name.

2. Take the network name resource offline. This takes the SQL Server resource and other dependent resources offline as well.

3. Bring the SQL Server resource back online.

Verify the Renaming Operation :-

1) Using @@ServerName

2) Using sys.servers

Minimize network propagation delay :-

ipconfig /flushdns

ipconfig /registerdns

nbtstat –RR

You are done ! You should ask your application teams to reconnect with new Name or if they are using IP address then no changes required.

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Reference : Rohit Garg (http://mssqlfun.com/)

Add Node to Windows Server 2008 Cluster


Steps : Add Node to Windows Server 2008 Cluster

1) Open Cluster Administration wizard > Right click on Windows Cluster & select Add Node

2) Add Node Wizard appears, Click Next to start

3) Browse Node to add, We select Node 3 to add

4) Select if you want to validate cluster settings or not & click Next

Note : Validation cluster settings is recommended

5) Validation a Configuration wizard will come, Click Next to start validation

6) Select type of test & click Next

7) Click Next to start Validation

8) Validation completed successfully(Warning to re configure quorum comes, we can ignore that), Click Finish to continue add node process

9) Click Next to start add process

10) Add node in process

11) Node 3 successfully added to cluster

Note : We need to reconfigure quorum to clear this warning.

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Reference : Rohit Garg (http://mssqlfun.com/)

How to add node to SQL Server Failover Cluster from SQL Server 2008 onwards ?


Steps : How to add node to SQL Server Failover Cluster from SQL Server 2008 onwards ?

1) Open SQL Server Installation Center > Click Installation from Left > Click Add node to a SQL Server Failover Cluster from right

2) Click Run to start setup

3) Click Ok to cont., In case of any failure, you need to fix that first

4) Enter Product Key & click Next

5) Accept EULA & Click Next

6) Click Install to install setup files

7) Click Next, In case of any failure, you need to fix that first

8) Enter Product Key & Click Next

9) Accept EULA & Click Next

10) Select SQL instance to add node

11) Enter Service account password & Click Next. You cannot change service account here, it must be same as existing setup

12) Click Next after Error reporting option

13) Check Setup Rules & click Next. In case of any failure, you need to fix that first

14) Check Configuration & Click install to start installation

15) Installation in progress

16) Installation completed successfully

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Reference : Rohit Garg (http://mssqlfun.com/)

How to install SQL Server Failover Cluster from SQL Server 2008 onwards ?


Steps to install SQL Server Failover Cluster from SQL Server 2008 onwards :-

1) Open SQL Server Installation Center > Go to Installation from Left > Click on New SQL Server Failover installation from right

2) Click RUN to start setup

3) Click ok after validation check. In case of any failure, you need to clear that first

4) Click INSTALL, to install setup files

5) Click Next to cont.

6) Enter Product Key & click Next

7) Accept the EULA & Click Next

8) Select Features, you want to install & Click Next

9) Specify SQL Server instance name & Click Next

10) Check Disk space requirement & Click Next

11) Mention SQL Server Cluster Group Name & Click Next

12) Select Cluster Disk, You want to use for installation & Click Next

13) Provide SQL Server Cluster VIP & Click Next

14) Check your security policy & Click Next

15) Specify Service accounts & Click Next

16) Add User to work as SYSADMIN & Click Next

17) Set error reporting options & click Next

18) Click Next (In case of any failure, you need to fix that)

19) Check all configurations & Click Next

20) Installation Started

21) Installation Completed successfully

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Reference : Rohit Garg (http://mssqlfun.com/)

Steps for Windows Cluster Installation on Windows Server 2008


Here, You have steps with screenshot to install 2 Nodes windows cluster on Windows Server 2008.

Step 1: Validate Cluster Configuration

a) Open Cluster Administrator & click on “Validate a Configuration”

b) Wizard for cluster validation appears, click Next

c) Add Node to create cluster

d) Select Type of test want to perform

e) Confirmation Wizard for Test

f) Test Completed, You can view report by clicking on View Report button

Step 2 : Create Cluster

a) Open Cluster Administrator and click on “Create a Cluster”

Note : You cannot create cluster until test validation completed successfully.

b) Create Cluster Wizard appears

c) Add Nodes to create cluster

d) Specify Windows Cluster Name & windows cluster VIP

e) Confirmation Wizard, check details & click Next

f) Cluster Installation Start

g) Cluster Created successfully, You can view report bu clicking on “View Report” button

Step 3: Add Quorum

a) Open Cluster Administrator, Right click on Storage & select Add a disk

b) Select the disk available in system

c) Disk successfully added in cluster storage

d) Select “Configure Cluster Quorum Settings” to create Quorum

e) Select Quorum type

f) Select the available cluster disk

g) Check confirmation & click Next

h) Configuration Started

i) Cluster Quorum Configuration completed, you can view report by clicking on “View Report” button

j) Cluster installation completed

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Reference : Rohit Garg(http://mssqlfun.com/)