Have you ever been asked by a high-level architect or CIO what Microsoft's approach is to a given scenario? If you have, then you know the challenges faced because as you read through MSDN and TechNet and even at the Microsoft.com site level, you find a lot of material which is very large and complex. Trying to distill things, particularly multiple things into a short executive-type summary is difficult. It's not to say that the information isn't there, it's just that there is so much of it and it is scattered around.
I was asked earlier this week to provide Microsoft's options for SQL Server high-availability. Below is what I cobbled together from MSDN - there's not much original material in here, but hopefully you'll find this helpful, if you need to provide the same type of information in a distilled format. I wrote this for SQL 2005. I confess I haven't gotten up to speed enough on SQL 2008 to know if there are any significant modifications needed, but I suspect that most of this should be application for 2008 as well.
Microsoft provides an architectural framework to support a high availability (HA) environment known as the Windows Server System Reference Architecture. It is a framework of best practices that leverage the high availability technologies built into the Microsoft line of products including SQL Server as well as Microsoft .NET Application Servers. It encompasses the following products and technologies:
There are several options available with SQL Server in regards to high availability. The relevant technologies are:
Figure 1 - SQL Clustering
Figure 2 - SQL Mirroring
Figure 3 - SQL Mirroring integrated with Clustering
Figure 4 - SQL Log Shipping
Figure 5 - SQL Server Transactional Replication
· http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/wssra/default.mspx - Microsoft Windows Server System Reference Architecture
· http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms190202.aspx - SQL Server 2005 Books Online: Configuring High Availability