In Part 2, we setup our FCI. This included the two nodes (FLEX1 and FLEX2) from the Primary DC.

In this post, we will setup the standalone SQL Server instance at the DR site and enable it for AlwaysON

Standalone SQL Server Instance setup (DR DC):

  • Install SQL Server 2012 standalone instance on the node at the DR DC
  • Enable AlwaysON AG on the standalone instance (requires instance restart)

Before we begin, there is a scenario which will prevent the standalone installation from completing while the node is attached to the WSFC. When you configure the disks (shared and standalone) to use the same drive letters, the Setup process for stand-alone installations will assume that the disks are part of the shared storage and will prevent you from using them. I think the setup process did not factor in the scenario where you’d want to install a stand-alone instance of SQL Server on a node that is part of a WSFC. However, Microsoft have said this is a supported architecture. You can scroll to the bottom of this page to see error messages related to this issue.

To get around this problem;

  • evict the node from the WSFC before you begin the installation
  • install the standalone instance of SQL as described below
  • add the node back to the WSFC


Okay, let’s install a standalone instance of SQL Server.

  1. From the SQL Server Installation Center, select ‘installation on the left, then choose ‘New SQL Server stand-alone’ to launch the installation wizard.
  2. Review the next two Setup Support Rules pages. Click OK to progress.
  3. The ‘Setup Role’ page presents you with 3 options (unlike the FCI installation). Choose ‘SQL Server Feature Installation’ and click Next.
  4. On the ‘Feature Selection’ page, Select the same set of features as those selected during the FCI installation.
  5. Click Next on the Installation Rules page.
  6. Complete the instance configuration page and click Next.
  7. Review and click Next on the Disk Space Requirements page.
  8. On the Server Configuration page, supply the domain account names and password for the service accounts as specified during the FCI installation.
  9. Review/amend the collation and click Next.
  10. On the Database Engine Configuration page, select Windows authentication and add the SQL Admin group to the SQL Server administrators list.
  11. Complete the ‘Data Directories’ tab exactly as we did for the FCI installation. This should enable ease of administration for failover purposes. Click Next
  12. Click Next on the ‘Error Reporting’ page
  13. Click Next on the ‘Installation Rules’ page
  14. The setup process has now gathered enough information about the standalone installation. Click Install on the ‘Ready to install’ page
  15. Once the setup process completes, the following screen will be displayed. P318



As described above, during the installation of a standalone instance of SQL Server on a WSFC node,  you get an error when you have selected to use disks with the same drive letters as those used for shared disks on the same WSFC. See examples below.




If you started the installation before realizing that you can’t progress due to the issue described above, and you then evict the node from the WSFC without cancelling the installation, the setup process will let you progress past the ‘Data Directories’ tab and you may think you’ve cracked it. No, you have not. It will catch you out when running through the setup rules after the error reporting page. You will be prevented from progressing and gifted with the error similar to the one below.



As mentioned at the beginning of the post, you will have to start over after the node has been evicted from the cluster.


Once the standalone installation has completed successfully, enable AlwayON AG from SQL Server Configuration Manager as we did in part 2.

So we wrap up this part by testing that we can connect to our standalone instance. In part 4, the final part in the series, we will bring both the FCI and the standalone instances together by  enabling their databases to participate in the same AG.


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