We are designing an active/active/passive failover cluster using SQL 2008 R2. We have two separate instances of SQL 2008: instance A is on node 1, and instance B is on node 2. Right now I'm trying to set up a linked server, since there are databases on each instance that will need to talk to one another. I can set up a linked server from A to B just fine, but setting one up from B to A is not working; I keep getting an error saying "Error Locating Server/Instance Specified [xFFFFFFFF]. OLE DB Provider "SQLNCLI10" for linked server "A" returned message "Login timeout expired." OLE DB Provider "SQLNCLI10" for linked server "A" returned message "A network-related or instance-specific error has occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. Server is not found or not accessible...." Error 65535.

I've tried setting the linked server to A's IP but there's no difference. I'm a sysadmin on both machines and security is set to use the current login's security credentials, so it's not a login goof. I can ping A from B, but I cannot connect to A via SSMS on B.

All this seems to point to a network issue, or cluster, but I'm a data warehouse geek and am kinda unfamiliar with the innards of SQL clusters and network communications, so any help will be most appreciated!

  • Are you setting up the linked servers to the physical machines IP address or are you setting up the linked server to the virtual cluster's IP. – mrdenny Sep 9 '11 at 20:23
  • Turns out it was the windows firewall that was the culprit. It was only active on one node, and everyone else was freaking out about it. Disabled it and voila! No more linked server timeouts. – Valkyrie Sep 21 '11 at 14:14

Have you checked the SQL Logs of the instance you are trying to connect to, to look for login failure errors?

You just need to enter the virtual SQL Server name as the servername, and you should be away. Linked server setup can be a pain, but if there was a bigger problem you'd see clustering issues.

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  • There's nothing in either the SQL error logs or the Windows event logs on either node that's even close to this issue. :( I even tried recreating the linked server so I could trigger an event but nothing was logged. – Valkyrie Sep 9 '11 at 15:39

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