[Part -3] How to build SQL Server Failover Cluster Lab on Windows 8   5 comments

Alright! So till now we have created 1 DC , 1 domain “Manishlab” and then added 2 nodes (NODE1, NODE2) in to the domain. Now we have reached to the last and final segment of this series. In this final post of the series we will do following things.

– Configure an iSCSI target to create a shared disk.

– Add this target as Shared disk to both the nodes.

– Enable Failover Cluster feature

– Create Failover Cluster, add shared disk in to the cluster.

Note: We will not install SQL Server in this series as I am assuming we know how to install SQL Server on a failover cluster once we have all the pre-requisite available.

Before we proceed further, the first steps is to download and install iSCSI target as it does not install by default. You can download the iSCSI target from this link

Install this target on one of the machines,  in my case, I installed it on DC for better manageability.

Before proceeding for creating a target we have to go to each node and create a iSCSI initiator. So perform below steps on each node (NODE1 and NODE2)

All the steps below in this blog will be performed on NODE1, please make sure you perform same set of actions on NODE2 as well.

Go to NODE1, you can find the “iSCSI Initiator” under “Administrative Tools” in Windows Server 2008/R2 server. You can also find it in the “Control Panel”.

When you load it for the first time it will prompt you like this.


Go to Discovery tab and click on “add portal”, add the DNS server name (it will show the port number default so let it be there.).


Perform the above 2 step on NODE2 as well.

Now lets go to the server where we have installed iSCSI target (in my case i installed it on Domain Controller) and click on “Microsoft iSCSI software Target”


In the iSCSI Target right click and click on 1st option “Create iSCSI Target”


Give the Target name (now we are going to add this to both the nodes one by one so first give name as NODE1


Now in the below screen it will show all the Initiators in your case it will show 2 values for (NODE1 and NODE2), select the initiator which has NODE1 host name.


Hit next, you will see one Target with name NODE1. Now we will have to create virtual hard disk, so right click on NODE1 and select “Create Virtual Disk for iSCSI Target”tar5

Give the location on the virtual disk.tar6

[Edit]Note: please make sure to give the same VHD location for configuring other targets to make this disk shared for multiple nodes. In our case we need to give same location while creating target for NODE2

Give the size of your shared disk. Note:  this size is in MBtar7

Hit next and complete the remaining steps. NODE 1 is completed, now you have to perform same steps for NODE 2 as well.

Once you add both the nodes you should see both the targets like this.


Now lets configure this as a disk on both the nodes. so go to first node and click on iSCSI initiator, in the “Target” tab click on refresh button and now you should see your target here in “Inactive” state. So click on Connect and click on “ok” to the next pop up now discovered target should be connected.


Now on the same node go to Server Manager. Under “Storage” click on Disk Management in the bottom you should see our disk in offline state, right click on that and click on “Online”.


Again right click on that and select “Initialize Disk”


Now you should see that disk as “Unallocated”. Right click on unallocated and “New Simple volume”


In the next pop up wizard give the name of Volume and in the next screen give the size of disk.


You should see your disk like this.


Now don’t forget to follow the same steps on NODE2 as well.

Share disk is down, now we have reached on the last and final action of this series. Create Failover Cluster.

As we know from Windows Server 2008 R2 this is a feature in operating System so we will have to enable it from “Server Manager”. Go to Server Manager and click on Add feature. In add features Wizard select “Failover Clustering”.


Hit Next


Now click on Install and it will start configuring.


You should see the screen below. You may see warning as well ignore the warning and close the screen.


Now we are in the final stage of the cluster configuration. In this we will create our Failover Cluster. So go to Server Manager under features right click on “Failover over Cluster Manager” and select “Create a cluster”


In the next screen we need to add the host name which will be part of this cluster. In our case we need to add names of NODE1 and NODE2.


Hit Next. Next Screen click on Yes to perform Cluster validation. it will take some time to perform cluster validation.


Once the validation is done hit next. Give the Cluster Name to your cluster.


Click Next and it will start creating cluster.


Once it is done, go back to Failover Cluster Manager and expand your cluster to see your failover cluster is configured. Once it is done its time now to add a disk. right click on “Storage” and click on “Add a disk”


Select your shared disk which you added using iSCSI target.


Now you should see the disk in “Available Storage” section like below.


Finally we are done with our failover cluster. We have our lab ready!!

As I said, i am assuming you know how to install SQL Server on a failover cluster so the environment is ready you can now proceed with SQL Server failover cluster installation.

Alright! its time to say good bye…. I hope you enjoyed learning in this series.

I will be back soon with some other interesting topic. Till then good bye… happy learning!!

5 responses to “[Part -3] How to build SQL Server Failover Cluster Lab on Windows 8

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  1. Brilliant effort to make it look so easy, just one suggestion here. We need to add other node disks in each iSCSI target before we try to add a storage in cluster otherwise, error will be reported (no valid disks found for cluster).

    • Thanks Manu for suggestion. Though i had mentioned this in the blog(to repeat the steps in Node2) but i agree i need to make to very clear to avoid confusion. I have edited the post.

  2. When you install the failover cluster feature, do you have to install in all of the 3 nodes (dc, node1, node2)? Or did you only install in one? If only in one, which? Thanks.

  3. Pingback: We didn’t know that… | SQLactions.com

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