What is New with SQL Server Clustering on Windows 2003

Security Patch – Server Accessibility

If latest security patches are not installed on SQL Server, you may see following error message in event log.

You are running a version of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (also called MSDE) that has known security vulnerabilities when used in conjunction with the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family. To reduce your computer’s vulnerability to certain virus attacks, the TCP/IP and UDP network ports of Microsoft SQL Server 2000, MSDE, or both have been disabled. To enable these ports, you must install a patch, or the most recent service pack for Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

Once SQL Server is patched up with latest security patch, it is available to listen to the TCP/IP and UDP ports.

Increased Nodes

You can have up to 8-node clustering in Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition.

Clustering by Default

On Windows 2003 server system, clustering is installed by default; you only need to configure a cluster with Cluster Administrator.

Restart Not Required

You no longer need to restart the computer after you install or uninstall clustering. Clustering and associated drivers can be started and stopped dynamically.

New Configuration Log File

New configuration process with increased analysis displayed on the screen and to the following log file:

%SystemRoot%System32LogfilesClusterClCfgSrv.log

Disk Corruption Log File

When disk corruption is suspected, the Cluster service reports the results of the CHKDSK command-line utility in several places. Results are logged in the Application log and the Cluster.log file. In addition, the Cluster.log file references a log file in which detailed CHKDSK output is recorded.

%SystemRoot%CLUSTERCHKDSK_DISK2_20041101.LOG

Cluster Log Error Levels

The Cluster log readability is improved by adding error levels (similar to Event logs) that can help identify problem areas:

  • Info = Informational Entries

  • Warn = Warning Entries

  • Err = Error Entries

Cluster Log Improved

Cluster logs now display the server’s local time in a log entry when Windows Clustering starts. This feature assists you when you are comparing Event log entries to Cluster logs.

Multi-Node Cluster Without a Common Shared Disk

In Windows Server 2003, there is a new quorum-capable resource name “Majority Node Set” (MNS). With MNS, you can configure a multi-node cluster without using a common shared disk.

Windows Server 2003 is Now Active Directory-Aware

  • Windows Server 2003 is now Active Directory-aware.

  • You can publish a Network Name as a computer object in Active Directory.

  • You can run Active Directory-aware applications as a clustered application.

Improved Cluster Service Account Maintenance

You do not have to take the cluster nodes offline to change the password for the cluster service account.

Improved Resource Maintenance

You can delete resources in Cluster Administrator or with Cluster.exe without first taking them offline. The cluster service takes them offline automatically and then deletes them.

Chapter 11 – What is New with SQL Server 2005 – Clustering & Availability

Failover Clustering

SQL Server 2005 database engine supports 8 node failover clusters on 32-bit systems, and 4 node clusters on 64 bit systems. SQL Server 2000 supported only 2 node or 4 node failover clusters.

Instance Support – Improved Scalability

SQL Server 2005 supports 50 SQL Server Instances per cluster. SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition can have up to 50 SQL Server instances on a single computer. SQL Server 2000 supported only 16 instances per Window’s box.

Dedicated DBA Connection

Many DBAs may have seen instances where the database engine denies any new connection and no one is able to access it. Thus, it becomes very difficult to diagnose such a critical condition. The SQL Server 2005 database engine provides a smarter way to eliminate this scenario. SQL Server 2005 introduces a dedicated administrator connection. Members of the sysadmin fixed server role can make use of the sqlcmd utility and a dedicated administrator connection pool will allow those users to diagnose an instance.

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