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Configuring SQL Server 2012 Always On Lab- Part 3

In my last article I talked about setting a domain for my lab environment for a SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Group.

This is the third of a 4 part series that covers the entire process.

  1. Initial Setup
  2. Domain Setup
  3. Cluster (Shared nothing) Setup
  4. SQL Install

One of the really cool new features is the ability to remotely manage a bunch of servers from a central place. Instead of logging into each and every server, I can install cluster manager and Windows backup features from a single location. It is not installed on Windows 8 Clients by default, so you will need to install it from here. Then you will need to open it, by clicking on the start menu and then typing Server Manager, as seen below:

I take this moment to right click on it to pin it to both the start menu and the task bar. Now I can click on Add other servers to manage:

Now I can add all 3 servers at the same time, by typing the beginning of their names (SMLW12) and then add each server with the > and then click OK:

Now I see all 3 servers listed below:

Now you can right click each server and then click on Add Roles and Features

The default screen shows up for the wizard, (which allows you to skip it in the future) just click next

Now select a Role based or featured based installation

Select a server from the pool

First, the roles will show up, but in this round we can just select next

Now, Features will show up and we can choose Failover Clustering

Now, the installer will detect that other features need to be added and will prompt you

I would also recommend Windows Server Backup

When you click next, you will see a review of the roles/features you selected, if all is ok, then click next

It will show you a progress bar of the installation

The installation was successful

Now that the role is installed, it is time to setup the cluster. In Server Manager under tools, you will need Failover Cluster Manager

Right click on Failover Cluster Manager and then click on Create Cluster

Now it brings up the Create Cluster Wizard (which you can skip by default in the future)

Now you can select the servers that will be a part of these clusters by clicking on browse

In this search, you can type just part of the name

Now, you can select many nodes at the same time and then click OK

Now you can see that you selected all the nodes and then click OK

Verify all nodes are selected and then click OK

Now, comes the part where you can validate the cluster to get support from Microsoft if you run into issues

It will bring up the Validate a configuration wizard

Since, we are creating a share nothing cluster (no shared storage) we can run only selected test

Since we are not setting up shared storage, we can skip those tests

Click Next to run the tests and validate the cluster

Here is a view of the progress with these tests

When it is completed, it will let you know that it is validated

Highly recommend that you save the report, in the event you need support from Microsoft

If you are curious, you can take a look to see all the tests that it run and the results

Now, it is time to name the cluster and assign an IP address for the resource

At this point, it will allow you to add all the nodes and if applicable add storage (which in our case is not applicable so we uncheck it)

Progress bar

Success, we are live with the cluster! (You could view the report) Click finish

Now, you can verify in Failover Cluster Manager that all nodes were added

Now, we are ready for the next stage and can install SQL Server.

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