High Availability and DR in SQL Server 2014 Standard

In my day job it’s part of my role to consider ways in which the IT department can work more effectively, as well as ways we can get our IT infrastructure to work better for us. A project that’s currently under way is migrating from SQL Server 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2014 Standard. The current plan is that it will run on it’s own box, and whilst it will have the horse power to deal with the load, this approach is ultimately vulnerable to a number of different types of failure that could render the database server unusable and adversely affect the business.

Part of my studies towards MCSE Data Platform involves High Availability and Disaster Recovery strategies for SQL Server, but most of the features are noticeable absent in the standard edition of SQL Server.

So, how can I work with Standard and still give us some type of fault tolerance?

I’m currently exploring either physical or hardware failover clustering using Server 2012’s built in Failover Clustering services along with a SQL Server 2014 cluster – Standard Edition, provided is correctly licensed (either through multiple licenses or with failover rights covered by Software Assurance) will allow for a two node cluster.

Windows Failover Clustering has reliance on shared storage however, thereby introducing another potential point of failure in the storage platform that would also lead to downtime.

Failover Clustering is great, but how do I provide fault tolerant storage to it?

I’ll document here my experiences with both hardware and software solutions to this.

I’m considering Synology rackmounted NAS devices in high availability configuration, but the potentially more cost effective solution is to virtualise a VSAN in a hypervisor of choice. SANSymphony and StarWind Virtual SAN are options I’ll consider. All of this will need to be tested in my home lab, which is a Lenovo Thinkserver TS440 with Xeon e3 Processor, 32GB RAM with 256GB SSD storage backed by a HP N54L providing shared storage via iSCSI – it runs Proxmox as my hypervisor of choice which is a platform I’ve been using for a number of years before Hyper-V really took off. It’s open source with commercial offerings, and uses KVM / Qemu – the solution must work here first.

I’ll post an update soon.

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