My manager has asked me to put together a plan for a backup server for our production server running SQL Server. Should I use log shipping or clustering?

Pros of Log Shipping

  • Relatively speaking, less expensive.
  • Relatively speaking, less work to set up.
  • Relatively speaking, less on-going maintenance.
  • Requires less experienced DBAs and networkadministrators.

Cons of Log Shipping

  • Failover is not quick, may take from 15 – 60 minutes or more of downtime.
  • Failover is not automatic, it must be manually implemented.
  • Failed over server must be renamed to the name of the failed server.
  • Failing back to the original server, once it is fixed, is a manual process that can require 15 – 60 minutes or more of downtime.

Pros of Clustering

  • Failover is quick, usually resulting in less than minute or two of downtime.
  • Failover is automatic, no manual intervention is required.
  • Clustering doesn’t require any servers to be renamed.
  • Failing back is quick, usually resulting in less than minute or two of downtime.

Cons of Clustering

  • More expensive than log shipping.
  • Requires more set up than log shipping.
  • Requires more on-going maintenance.
  • Requires more experienced DBAs and network administrators.
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