Creating a Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Cluster Service SQL Active/Passive Cluster on a single ESXi 4.0 Server

Configuring the Virtual Environment and Virtual Machines

Note – this configuration will work for ESXi 4 upwards due to the server 2008 MSCS requirement for persistent SCSI-3 reservations.

The first step is to create a new vSwitch for the host-only cluster heartbeat network, don’t assign any network adaptors to the switch as it’s going to be local only.

Create a new virtual machine with a single hard disk. For the purposes of this test, I’ve assigned 2 vProcessors, 1GB RAM, 30GB drive for the OS, 1 vNIC in the default vSwitch0.

Add a second vNIC and assign it to the cluster network vSwitch created in step 1.

Install Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and all the Windows Updates, for the example I’ve named it SQLCluster01.

Clone the server and rename the new one to SQLCluster02. In ESXi you can’t clone, so shut down the first server, copy the files to a new folder and right click the VMX file to add it to the inventory. When you boot it the first time VMware will ask if it’s been moved or copied – select copied.

Create a disk for use as the Quorom, this needs to be shared and since I’m using ESXi with local storage only it must be “eagerzeroedthick”. To do this I have to use the unsupported mode in ESXi (Alt+F1, type unsupported and then your root password) and use the vmkfstools command to create it (vmkfstools –c <size> –d eagerzeroedthick –a lsilogic /vmfs/volumes/<datastore>/<folder>/<disk>.vmdk)

Add the new disk to SQLCluster01 using a new SCSI virtual controller (different from the current controller, e.g. my first HD is on SCSI 0:1, the Quorum is on SCSI 1:0)

Check that the new SCSI controller is set to LSILogic (it is for Server 2008 by default) and set the SCSI Bus Sharing to Virtual.

Add the Quorum disk to the second virtual machine, using the same settings.

Edit the .vmx file for both servers, adding in the following lines (edit for your SCSI controller):

scsi1:0.mode = “independent-persistent”
scsi1:0.shared = “TRUE”

Create a disk for some shared storage for the cluster too, it will be needed for the DTC application as well as the SQL server – in a production environment you may want to separate logs and data, but for my test, I’m just adding another two 10GB disks. Use the same process as for creating the Quorum disk.

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