Windows Geo-Clustering: SQL Server

Published: October 2014

This document provides a high-level overview of geo-clustering using Windows Server 2012 for both high availability and disaster recovery. An understanding of what geo-clustering is and what needs to be considered form the foundation of successful implementations. The document is intended for technology architects and system administrators who are responsible for designing, creating, and managing IT environments that utilizes Microsoft Windows Server Technologies and familiar with the concepts of Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC.)

Geo-clustering on Windows Server 2012 provides customers with flexible design choices for building both a high availability and disaster recovery solution for mission critical applications like SQL Server. The implementation of a geo-cluster solution requires additional complexity in terms of architecture design, implementation and operations and comes at an additional cost. It is important to properly evaluate the overall benefits of implementing a geo-cluster solution, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal of implementing such a solution is to meet organizational recovery objectives and service level agreements.

Geo-clustering - also called multi-subnet clustering, wide area network (WAN) clustering and stretched clustering – addresses both recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) when a severe catastrophic failure occurs and affects the production data center. It involves having two or more cluster nodes that are located in different geographical locations forming a single highly available system. Implementing geo-clustering as both a high availability and disaster recovery (https://www.starwindsoftware.com/blog/lets-get-real-about-data-protection-and-disaster-recovery) solution can be a viable strategy to meet the organization’s recovery objectives and service level agreements (SLA).

Geo-clustering - also called multi-subnet clustering, wide area network (WAN) clustering and stretched clustering – addresses both recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) when a severe catastrophic failure occurs and affects the production data center. It involves having two or more cluster nodes that are located in different geographical locations forming a single highly available system. Implementing geo-clustering as both a high availability and disaster recovery solution can be a viable strategy to meet the organization’s recovery objectives and service level agreements (SLA).

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – the maximum amount of time it takes to restore a business process or an application system after a service disruption to avoid unacceptable loss as defined by the business.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – the maximum point in time to which a business process or an application system can afford data loss.

The main focus in this document is on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and higher versions running as a failover clustered instance on the geo-cluster WSFC. The paper describes planning considerations, requirements, and prerequisites to consider before implementing a geo-cluster solution for high availability and disaster recovery using Windows Server 2012.

The following matters are highlighted in the document:

  • Single-Location Clustering Versus Geo-Clustering
  • Quorum Considerations
  • Network Considerations
  • Client Connectivity
  • Storage Considerations
Windows Geo-Clustering: SQL Server

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