Microsoft SQL Server Failover Clusters

The options for high availability can get confusing, and we bet you’re having a hard time finding simple information on what a cluster does and the most common gotchas when planning a cluster.

In these articles, we’ll explain what clusters are, what they’re good for, and why we like to plan out our clusters in a very specific way.

Cluster Design and Architecture

Introduction to SQL Server Clusters with Diagrams – takes you from basic diagrams to common gotchas and FAQs.

Download the High Availability Worksheet

Download the High Availability Worksheet

High Availability Planning Worksheet – helps you get the business on the same page by asking them how much data you’re allowed to lose, and how long you’re allowed to be down.

Free Poster on SQL Server Failover Clustering - helps you remember the basic components and what happens when a server shuts down. Plus: unicorns.

Everything You Know About Failover Clusters is Wrong – we hate to break it to you, but if you’re still thinking about heartbeat networks and cluster.exe, it’s time for an update.

Free SQL Cluster Training Videos

Click to download our free poster on SQL Server Failover Clustering

Click to download a free poster!

Video: Introduction to SQL Server Failover Clusters 30-minute webcast with Microsoft Certified Master Kendra Little, plus the written questions and answers from the session.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery Basics (Video) – we explain all of SQL Server’s options including clustering, mirroring, log shipping, replication, and more so you can pick out the right option for your business needs.

Video: Common SQL Server Clustering, AlwaysOn, and HA Questions – 30-minute open Q&A video where our readers could bring any of their questions, plus there’s a written section with more questions and answers we couldn’t address during the webcast.

Virtualization and AlwaysOn

Why Your SQL Server Cluster Shouldn’t Be Virtual – sure, it might be supported, but is it really a good idea for you?

AlwaysOn Availability Groups – this new feature of SQL Server 2012 lets you scale out with active queries running against multiple nodes.

Want hands-on help? We’re a boutique consultancy focused on making SQL Server faster and more reliable. We specialize in a 3-4 day SQL Critical Care® session that uses our proven methodology to get to the root causes of your pain points. Contact us to learn more.


About Brent

Specialities: performance tuning, SAN storage, VMware

Off duty: foodie restaurants, travel, bad pop music


About Jeremiah

Specialities: database architecture, teaching SQL, cloud computing

Off duty: Portland food trucks, long walks on the beach


About Kendra

Specialities: query tuning, index rocket science, SSDs

Off duty: drawings, dinosaurs, Spurious Capitalization


About Doug

Specialities: query tuning, T-SQL, SSRS

Off duty: shooting videos, lightsaber duels, Hercule Poirot