Designing your SQL Server Cluster

SQL Server Data & Log Files Placement

You should plan where you would like to place the SQL Server Data & Log files. You are asked this location during installation. It is preferred that these files are placed on separate shared disks.

SQL Server Backup File Placement

You should plan where you would like to place the SQL Server Database backups. It is preferred that there is a separate drive for the purpose of SQL Server database backup activities. There is a good reason behind this. When SQL Server is executing the database backup, it uses more heads to write to physical disks. If data files and backup files are located on same disk, then data file updates will become slower as it will get less heads to write on to the physical disk. This has a significant performance impact in a production environment.

Critical Services to Failover

Choose only critical resources which should initiate the failover. Non-critical resource should not failover / affect the entire group.

SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition License

Acquire the SQL Server licenses as per your setup requirement. For an active / passive configuration, you will only need one SQL Server Enterprise edition license. For an active / active configuration, you will have multiple SQL Server instances running, so you will need more then one license, depending on number of SQL Servers.

SQL Server Service Pack 3

As soon you complete the SQL Server Cluster installation, you will need to install the most recent service pack for SQL Server 2000. If your operating system is Windows 2003, then your TCP/IP and UDP network ports of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 gets disabled, as there are certain possibilities of security breaches and virus attacks.

MS DTC

Before starting the SQL Server Cluster installation, make sure that MS DTC is setup on the cluster and is up and running. It should be located under Primary Resource Group often named as “Cluster Group”.

If your operating system is Windows 2000, you can execute ‘comclust.exe’ at the command prompt to setup and start MS DTC on your cluster.

If your operating system is Windows 2003, you have to create the MS DTC resource within the cluster administrator. Follow these steps to create a MS DTC resource on a Windows 2003 cluster.

  1. Right-click the Cluster Group and then click NewResource.

  2. Type a name, such as MS DTC Resource.

  3. In Resource Type, click to select Distributed Transaction Coordinator, verify that the MS DTC Group is selected, and then click Next.

  4. In Possible Owners, click Next unless you do not want MS DTC to run on a particular node.

  5. In Dependencies, press and hold the CTRL key on the keyboard, select both the Physical Disk and Network Name of the Primary Cluster Node and then click the Add button.

  6. Click Finish, and then click OK to confirm that the resource has been created.

  7. Right-click the MS DTC Resource, and then click Bring Online.

Microsoft Data Access Components 2.6

If your operating system is Windows 2003, make sure that you have installed Microsoft Data Access Components 2.6 on both nodes of the cluster. For detailed steps on installing Microsoft Data Access Components 2.6, consult “Additional steps for Windows 2003 clustering” section later in this article.

Named Instance Alias

If your operating system is Windows 2003 and you are going to create a named SQL Server instance, you will have to create an entry for that Named Instance using the SQL Server Client Network Utility. For more details on this visit “Additional steps for Windows 2003 clustering” section later in this article.

Required Services to be Up and Running

Verify that only the services necessary for the operating system to function are running. Any other services should be stopped because they may interfere with the installation process.

Following are the services on Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server that should be left running.

Alerter
Cluster Service
Computer Browser
Distributed File System
Distributed Link Tracking Client
Distributed Link Tracking Server
DNS Client
Driver Extensions
Event Log
License Logging Service
Logical Disk Manager
Messenger
Net Logon
Network Connectors
Plug and Play
Process Control
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Service
Remote Registry Service
Removable Storage
Security Accounts Manager
Server
Spooler
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Windows Management Instrumentation
Windows NT LM Security Support Provider
Windows Time Service
Workstation

Continues…

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