In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the architecture for the solution in focus.

Note: See Part 1 for definitions of the abbreviations used throughout the series.

In this post, we are going to progress with the installation of SQL Server at the Primary DC in order to produce our FCI. This will form the HA side of our solution.

FCI setup (Primary DC):

  1. Install SQL Server 2012 FCI on each node in the Primary DC
  2. Enable AlwaysON AG on the FCI (requires instance restart)
  3. Test Failover within the FCI
  4. Check the logs (Cluster logs, windows event logs) and resolve any issues that will prevent you from moving to the next step in the solution.


The following activities are to be performed on Node 1 at the Primary DC, FLEX1 in our case:

Launch SQL Server setup. From the SQL Server installation center, choose ‘installation’ and then click ‘New SQL Server failover cluster installation’ from the right pane.



The next screens checks that there are no blockers that will prevent a successful SQL Server setup. Click OK to progress.

Note: If you have not installed .NET 3.5, the setup will not allow you to continue.



The next screens will require you to:

  • Specify the product key for the SQL Server 2012 edition you want to install, or to choose to install the 180-day evaluation edition
  • Agree to the Microsoft Software License Terms
  • Choose the SQL Server feature installation option. Here, we are going to select ‘SQL Server Feature Installation’

On the Feature Selection screen, selecting the ‘Database Engine Services’ feature automatically includes SQL Server Replication and Full-Text Search. These are required components when installing database engine on an FCI. Click Next to progress and to allow a rule check based on selected features, then click Next again.



We should now have the ‘Instance Configuration’ screen. Enter a Virtual Network Name for the FCI. This name will be the client access point for connecting to the FCI, but it is NOT the name users or applications will use for clients connections. Once completed, click Next.



Next, Disk space Requirement review. Click Next.

Click Next on the ‘Cluster Resource Group’ screen. You can change the name if you want, but the names must not include the reserved names as shown below.




Next is the ‘Cluster Disk Selection’ screen. Select all the available shared disks to be used and click Next to progress.




On the ‘Cluster Network Configuration’ Screen, enter the IP Address for the subnet the FCI belongs to, click Next.




Next is the ‘Server Configuration’ screen

  • On the Service Accounts tab, fill in the Service account details
  • On the Collation tab, choose the appropriate collation or use the server default.



Next up is the Database Engine Configuration screen.

  • We are going to use Windows authentication mode and also add the SQL Server Administrators’ windows AD group




  • On the data directories screen, complete the directory information for the databases. We are not going to use FILESTREAM, so click Next once finished with the data directories tab.



On the next screens:

  • Review the error reporting options and click next
  • Click next after the Cluster Installation Rules operation completes
  • Review the ‘Ready to Install’ screen (you can even copy out the configuration.ini file from the file path if needed), then click ‘Install’

When the installation completes successfully, the following screen will be displayed.





The following activities are to be performed on Node 2 at the Primary DC, FLEX2 in our case:

Most of the setup screens are similar to the ones above so only major differences or varying options will be shown.

Launch SQL Server setup as before, but this time we will select ‘Add node to a SQL Server failover cluster’ from the SQL Server installation center.


Run throught the following screens:

  • Setup support rules
  • Product key for edition or  choose Evaluation edition
  • Cluster Node Configuration. Check here that you are adding the second node to the correct SQL Server cluster instance.




On the Cluster Network Configuration, ensure that only the correct IP address is selected





Enter the same service accounts as before.



The next screens are for ‘Error reporting’ and ‘Add Roles rules’




Click next until you are ready to install. Once the installation completes successfully, the following screen will be displayed.



We should now have a functional SQL Server instance (SQL2012FCI) which should accept client connections. We can test failover at this point using the Failover Cluster Manager MMC console, but we are going to enable AlwaysON availability groups at the instance level.

To Enable AG, connect to the active Node (the Node that is the current owner of the SQL Server name resource)at the OS level and launch SQL Server Configuration Manager. Go to the properties of the SQL Server service and click to check the box for ‘Enable AlwaysON Availability Groups’ from the AlwaysON High Availability tab. You will not be able to select this option if the SQL server instance is not part of a WSFC. Enabling this option will require you to restart the instance at the service level, so you will get the warning message once you click OK.





The screen below shows what will be displayed if you attempt to enable AlwaysON AG from the passive node.




Check from the SQL Server Configuration Manager that TCP/IP is not disabled, that’s the protocol we will be using for network communication. If it is, enable it.




Finally, test Failover within FCI. From Failover Cluster Manager, Roles, right click the SQL Server role. From ‘Move’, choose ‘Select Node’ to choose the passive node at the Primary DC. Watch the failover and check to see that the Owner Node has now been updated accordingly.

Check error logs, troubleshoot and resolve any issues.

That’s it for the FCI setup. In part 3, we will setup the Stand alone SQL Server instance.

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