How to Cluster SQL Server 2005



Clustering Analysis Services

SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services can be clustered just like SQL Server 2005, and in fact, is installed using the same setup program used to install SQL Server 2005. Below are some points to keep in mind if you should decide to cluster SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services.

  • SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services can be installed by itself, or with SQL Server 2005. Because some of the features of Analysis Services require components of the SQL Server 2005 database engine, it is generally a good idea to install both of them in your cluster.
  • SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services is installed using the same setup program as SQL Server 2005. When running the setup program, you select, or not select, Analysis Services to be installed in the “Components to Install” screen.
  • Because SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services needs to store program files, data files, and shared files, you will have to specify the location of your shared array, where they will reside. These files must reside on a shared array if you want Analysis Services to run after a failover. To specify the location of the shared array, you must select the “Advanced” button from the “Components to Install” screen in the setup wizard.

Other than the above, installing SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services in a cluster is virtually identical to installing SQL Server 2005 in a cluster.



Installing the Service Pack and Hot Fixes

Once you have installed SQL Server 2005 clustering, your next step is to install the latest SQL Server 2005 service pack and hot fixes, which can be downloaded from Microsoft’s Web site. Installing a service pack or hot fix is fairly straightforward because they are cluster-aware. Once the service pack or hot fix setup program is started, it detects that you have a cluster and will upgrade all nodes simultaneously. Once setup is complete, you may need to reboot your servers and failover the nodes. Generally, once I have run the service pack, I like to reboot the active node first. Once it has rebooted, then I reboot the passive node. This way, failover and failback is automatic.



Checking the SQL Server 2005 Installation From Cluster Administrator

Once an instance of SQL Server 2005 clustering is installed, you can view its cluster resources by going to Cluster Administrator and opening up the SQL Server Group resource, as shown below.

This figure shows the cluster resources for the SQL Server 2005 cluster we just built. We see all of the names of the resources, their state, and which node the resources are running on. As I have already mentioned, Cluster Administrator is a great tool for seeing if all the resources are up and running and which node is the current active node.

Here is a brief rundown on each of the SQL Server 2005 cluster resources:

  • Disk F: This is the shared disk array where the SQL Server data files and logs are stored.
  • SQL Network Name (sqlcluster): This is the virtual SQL Server name used by clients to connect to this clustered instance of SQL Server 2005. The name “sqlcluster” is the name I have assigned this cluster instance, and will not be the same as your cluster, unless you name yours the same as mine.
  • SQL IP Address (sqlcluster): This is the virtual SQL Server IP address used by clients to connect to this clustered instance of SQL Server 2005. Again, the name “sqlcluster” is the name of the virtual server, and is the one I have used for this cluster. Your name will most likely be different.
  • SQL Server: This is the SQL Server service.
  • SQL Server Agent: This is the SQL Server Agent service.
  • SQL Server FullText: This is the SQL Server FullText service. Even though you may not use this service, it is automatically installed as a cluster resource.
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