How to Run Failover Clustering FCI in Azure Virtual Machines IAAS

How to Run Failover Clustering FCI in Azure Virtual Machines IAAS

How to Run Failover Clustering FCI in Azure Virtual Machines IAAS

Till recently, SQL Server Always On Availability Groups were the only Cluster based High Availability option that was both supported and a recommended approach on Azure. You need to configure a failover clustered instance on the primary instance on the production data center for local high availability and an Availability Group replica on Microsoft Azure for disaster recovery in case of a hybrid deployment. For Hybrid, you needed a site-to-site VPN to allow communication between the primary data center and the virtual network on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft included support (KB article 2721672) for volume-level replication for non-shared storage when used to deploy Windows Server Failover Clusters. This enables you to use 3rd Party replication providers like Doubletake SoftwareSIOS Data KeeperStarWind Virtual SAN to simulate a SAN and enable FCI based Clusters on Azure a.k.a Geo-Clusters.

Configuration Details:

How to Run Failover Clustering FCI in Azure Virtual Machines IAAS

Typical FCI Deployment with a 2 Node Cluster

How to Run Failover Clustering FCI in Azure Virtual Machines IAAS

The Azure Virtual Network enables you to extend your on-premises network to Windows Azure and securely connect it using an IPsec connection

Steps to Configure the Cluster

After the network is configured and connectivity is achieved, the next steps is to configure the Cluster and SQL Server Installation:

  • Joing the to VM nodes to Domain using a Domain Account.
  • Enable Failover Cluster Feature from Server Manager.
  • Run the Cluster validation tool.
  • Configure Cluster with the Virtual network and Nodes.
  • Configure Cluster Quorum Settings with “Add File Share Witness to Quorum”
  • Configure Cluster Replicated Storage
  • Once this is done, the next step is to Create a Replicated Storage with DataKeeper.

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  • Add SQL Server to the Clustered Disk

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Here are the quick prerequisites for this setup

You need to use Azure hosted storage using either of the following options:

  • Application-level replication for non-shared storage
  • Volume-level replication for non-shared storage
  • Use ExpressRoute for remote iSCSI Target shared block storage for simulated SAN.
  • Using Azure Files for shared file storage.
  • This is a third-party clustered role based solution and Microsoft will not support the functionality. All Third-party clustered roles will be supported by the vendor.
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