I often find the need to build and test SQL Server clusters to support native two-node or N+1 (multi-instance) scenarios and also validate SQL Server 2012 Always On configurations.  I was previously running Windows Server 2008 R2 on my laptop but I a few issues using this as a day to day operating system e.g. no support for standby when hyper-v was enabled, no dual boot (hyper-v on/off) with bitlocker enabled, no Bluetooth support etc.  Fortunately, Windows 8 meets all my needs and the experience has been excellent to date.

Note: for rapid provisioning of other images, I created a fully patched base OS image which was sysprep’d (this is incredibly easy).  I now just copy the image if I want to create other server roles e.g. System Center 2012.

The only issue I have found to date is that host internet connectivity is affected (delayed) after defining multiple internal network adapters, therefore I switched to using Private network adapters.   I only need internal adapters for host to guest connectivity e.g. copying files etc.

My hardware and software is defined below:

  • Laptop HP 8540w (16GB memory, 4 cores hyper-threaded)
  • Two internal SATA disks (hybrid)
  • Windows 8 Release Preview (x64) with Hyper-V enabled

The environment consists of the following virtual guest images:

  • 1 x Domain Controller (also hosts the virtual storage)
  • 1 x Primary Node (node 1)
  • 1 x Secondary Node (node 2)

All servers are running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64 with Service Pack 1.  The cluster role is enabled on node 1 and node 2. 

Storage

The shared storage is provisioned using the iSCSI Software Target which I defined on the domain controller.  I didn’t find a need to dedicate a specific storage server.  The screenshot of the virtual storage is presented below

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Cluster Validation is good, the only warning was inconsistent OS patch levels on both cluster nodes as shown below.

 

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After running cluster validation, I created a cluster and the final configuration is shown below. 

Below is a screenshot of the raw cluster configuration.

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I’ll blog more following the SQL Server install.  I also plan to repeat this for Window Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012.