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Can anyone give an high-level overview of the options available for SQL Server clustering, their pros and cons?

Is it better to use Microsoft Clustering services or SQL Server native clustering? Does that choice even apply to the latest SQL Server versions?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Versions since SQL Server 2000 use Microsoft Clustering services. There are multiple high-availability options including:

  • Replication
  • Log shipping (built-in since SQL Server 2000)
  • Fail-over clustering (natively supported since SQL Server 2000)
  • Database Mirroring (since SQL Server 2005)

Which option is best depends completely on the scenario. And in some cases multiple solutions may be used (such as database mirroring of critical databases across two fail-over clusters).

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So basically you have no other option than installing a Windows cluster using the Microsoft Cluster services, and then installing SQL Server on top of that? I used to think SQL Server had it's own clustering ability. – Tomalak May 2 '09 at 7:14
There are other high-availability solutions, but they aren't built into SQL Server and they aren't from Microsoft. Symantec (formerly Veritas), HP (formerly PolyServe), Double Take, VMware, and others all have high availability solutions. – K. Brian Kelley May 2 '09 at 17:53

Check out the 4/22 episode of RunAsRadio ( "Allan Hirt Fails Over Our Clustered SQL Server!" as Allan goes over exactly what the options are.

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I did an hour-long webcast with the options for SQL Server high availability and disaster recovery, discussing the pros and cons of each:

You have to register to watch it, though.

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