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Before you start installing SQL 2005 Cluster

Posted by Brajesh Panda on March 8, 2010

Here is some best practices you should aware of before you start installing Windows Cluster. I will be keep updating this list….. Let me know if I am missing something most important.

Applicable Product: Windows Cluster & SQL 2005

  • Make sure you have installed Advanced/Enterprise/Data Center Edition of Windows OS on all servers
  • Deployment User account is added to local admin groups
  • Deployment User account must have all Active Directory permissions to create Computer accounts for Virtual SQL Node
  • If you’re IT policy is preventing you to get computer account creation rights for deployment user account please go through KB articles how cluster computer accounts can be staged before you start installation
  • Verify Task Scheduler is running on all cluster nodes (For SQL Clustering)
  • Verify Windows Cryptographic Service is running on all cluster nodes (For SQL Clustering)
  • Verify NTLM Security Provider Service is running on all cluster nodes (For SQL Clustering)
  • Verify Remote Registry Service is running without any error on all cluster nodes (For SQL Clustering)
  • Verify you can access media location from other nodes by using UNC path (For SQL Clustering)
  • Apart from SQL Clustering you have to install software individually on all other nodes. Hence make sure all media you are using are of same version & cluster aware.
  1. SQL Clustering use Task Scheduler to install the SQL software on all nodes at the same time.
  2. Apart from SQL Standard Edition, you need Enterprise Edition software for Clustering. SQL Standard edition support only 2 Node clusters
  • Make sure you have the right software media
  • Better to keep handy SMSTrace tool to verify Installation logs encase of any problem
  • File Systems must be formatted as NTFS.
  • Configure cluster networking configuration as per best practices;
  1. Private Network;
  • Use only TCP/IP
  • Static IP Should be used
  • Don’t use Switches. Better use Cross Cable or HUB for Private Network
  • Don’t configure DNS
  • Don’t use DNS Registration or Suffix
  • Don’t use WINS configuration
  • Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP
  • NIC Team should be avoided. It can be used, but encase of any issue MS Product Support may ask you to unbind those cards
  1. Public Network
  • Use only TCP/IP
  • DNS Resolution must work
  • Nodes should be registered with DNS
  • Better to have multiple DCs in the environment
  • Configure Network Card priority i.e. Public Network should be used for primary communication
  • Bind network cards in porper order like Public, iSCSI Storage, Private
  • Incase of Windows 2008 (R2) servers I always prefer to remove IPv6 & Tunneling adapters. Read my other article here
  • If you are running any file level Anti Virus tool, try to exclude Quorum Drive Database, Logs & any other application database or logs
  • Cluster Service account’s password must not expire
  • Cluster Service Account doesn’t needs any administrative privilege.
  • Decide on kind of quorum mode you are going to use as per your architecture
  • You may add cluster service account to Log on as Service in all nodes
  • Make sure your all nodes have identical hardware and they are cluster certified by the OEM vendor
  • Encase of Windows 2008 Fail Over cluster Shared Storage must support SCSCI-3 Persistent Commands

If you are new to Windows 2008 Family, you may face little annoying issue with the same. 1st time you will not able to find that Advance option like XP. Go to Network Connection Settings page & Press ALT key. You will able to see menu bar and Advance option over there. After you configure the same use ipconfig /all to check if Public NIC ip addresses are showing on the top itself.

I mentioned some of the mandatory services for SQL Clustering & there is a reason for the same;

At the time of SQL Cluster installation, SQL Installation wizard install the application on both of the server at the same time.  It means let suppose you start installation on Node 1, Node1 Installer will create a TASK and will schedule to run this task on other nodes using the deployment manager account. So you need all those services running without error in all nodes for SQL Clustering.

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