SQL 2005 Cluster Setup Checklist


I know there are many resources on various web sites to install SQL Server 2005 on Cluster. Below are the three documents which I always share with my customers.

Server Clusters: Storage Area Networks http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ea283d46-125f-4f94-9059-87681c0ab587&DisplayLang=en

Guide to Creating and Configuring a Server Cluster under Windows Server 2003 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a5bbb021-0760-48f3-a53b-0351fc3337a1&DisplayLang=en

SQL Clustering White paper: .  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=818234dc-a17b-4f09-b282-c6830fead499&DisplayLang=en

Another great blog by Arvind on similar topic http://blogs.msdn.com/arvindsh/archive/2009/01/03/sql-server-2000-2005-failover-cluster-pre-installation-checklist.aspx

Below is the template you should fill before stating cluster installation. These will be required through out the process of installing windows cluster and then SQL cluster. You can take printout and make hard copy for your ready reference.




Domain Name



Node 1 Name



Node 2 Name



Node 1 Public Network IP Address/Mask


Node 2 Public Network IP Address/Mask


Private Network IP Address on Node1


Private Network IP Address on Node2


Admin Account Name and Password



Windows Cluster Virtual Name



Windows Cluster IP Address


MSDTC IP Address


MSDTC Network Name



Virtual SQL Server Name (default or named)



Virtual SQL IP Address


Cluster Service Account Name and Password



SQL Service Account Name and Password



SQL Server Domain Group Name

SQL Server Admins


MSDTC Disk Letter



Quorum Disk Letter



Drive letter for SQL Server database files

N, O, P


Any comments are most welcome.

Comments (19)
  1. Santosh Dwivedi says:

    This is not sufficent for that

  2. Balmukund says:

    Santosh, I could not understand the post. Can you please explain. I am all ears.

  3. Santosh Dwivedi says:


    Actually i need script or guide to install Multi instance clustering, As I have 3 DB Servers lets say DB1 DB2 DB3, DB1&DB2 are in Active Active cluster Which has 4 Databases A/B/C/D,hence both DB1 & DB2 will have these A/B/C/D i want to have a multi instancing cluster for database D on Server DB3

    how to go about it?? plz help  


    Santosh Dwivedi


  4. Santosh Dwivedi says:

    sorry just made one mistake while expalining, DB1&DB2 are in Active Passive Cluster, wherein DB2&DB3 need to be in Active Active Cluster,plz endorse

  5. Balmukund says:

    Hi Santosh, thanks for writing back.

    Active-Active or Active-Passive are confusing term.

    All I understand is that you have 3 nodes in a windows cluster called DB1, DB2 and DB3. from your explaination I am failing to understand that how many SQL Instances you are talking about.

    There is no concept called "multi instancing cluster for database D". Windows Clustering works in shared-nothing model which means, one resource would onlt be with one node at a given point of time.

    If you can explain more, I will try to help you further.

  6. shali says:


    Can any one tell me the Active/Active/Passive SQL 2005 Clustering, is passive node is standby or passive.

  7. Balmukund says:

    Well, Active/Active/Passive is confusing.

    How many nodes? How many SQL Instances?

  8. Suhas De says:

    Well, there seems to be a lot of confusion around the Active-Active / Active-Passive term. I have seen many users and customers use this term; however, this concept is not out dated and no longer in use.

    The term Active-Active and Active-Passive dates back to the SQL Server 7.0 days when we did not have the concept of multiple instances running on a machine or a node. We just had a default instance; and just one instance running on one machine.

    In the SQL Server 7.0 days, we could have just two configurations, considering a 2-Node cluster:

    1. One single default instance running on Node1 and nothing running on Node2. This is what we used to call as the Active-Passive Clustering.
    2. We could also have a default instance running on Node1 and another default instance running on Node2. This is what was termed as a Active-Active Cluster. However, I am not sure how failover used to occur those times; I have never worked with a SQL Server 7.0 Cluster.

    Since SQL Server 2000 came into being, we have the concept of multiple instances per machine. We can have one default instance and multiple named instances.

    On a SQL Server 2000/2005/2008 Cluster, however, we can have just one default instance and all the remaining instances have to be named instance. Additionaly, the instances can run on any node at any point in time; and again, as per requirement, they can be failed back and forth to any of the other nodes. So, again, considering a 2 Node cluster, we can have various configurations; I am listing below just a few of them:

    1. One single instance running on Node1. Nothing running on Node2.
  9. One instance running on Node1; one instance running on Node2.

  10. Two instances running on Node1; one instance running on Node2.

  11. Two instances running on Node1; nothing running on Node2.

  12. Two instances running on Node2; nothing running on Node1.

  13. So, ideally, we no longer have the concept of a Active-Active or Active-Passive Cluster. Just for an example, lets say, we have:

    One instance running on Node1; one instance running on Node2.

    What if the instance on Node2 was to failover to Node2. What would we call this configuration as?

    So, to conclude, let’s no longer use the terms Active-Active or Active-Passive or any other combination of these terms. Let’s just put across the same information in the form of:

    "I have 4 instances of SQL Server 2005 running on a 3 Node Cluster; instance I1 and I2 running on Node1, I3 running on Node2 and I4 on Node3…". That would give us a much clearer picture of your setup.

    Hope you agree Balmukund… 🙂

  • Suhas De says:

    Typo in the previous comment:

    Please read the first paragraph as: "however, this concept is now out dated and no longer in use."

  • vinit says:

    It is very excellent Suhas. It give some very good pic abt clustering.

  • kishore says:

    Thanks Suhas..Ur explanation was really helpful..Gr8 work..

  • TDAji says:


    In a configuration where you have 2 instances on Node1 and 1 instance on Node2, if Node1 fails for example, will the 2 SQL instances on that node be transfered to Node2?

  • Balmukund says:

    Hi TDAji,

    If all three instances are "clustered" then any instance can run on any node.

    To answer your question, Yes. those 2 instances would be transfered to Node2 automatically.



  • TDAji says:

    Thanks Balmukund.

    The reason for my previous question is to do with processor usage. The one instance that i want on Node2 is processor intensive therefore i need to know that one server is being utilised solely for that database instance.

  • dineshk71 says:


    I need to install a two node sql 2005 failover cluster on windows server 2008. It will be great help if I get the step-by-step guide link for installing sql2005 on windows 2008.


  • Balmukund says:

    Hi Dinesh,

    There is already a support webcast on same topic.




  • alice says:

    i think im not satisfied.can u explain the benefits of server clustering,advantages and summaries all about server clustering in SQL Server 2005.

  • Vineet Raut says:

    That is indeed a helpful set of link old friend. The whitepaper for SQL clustering is sufficent for normal cluster installs.

  • Swamy says:

    How many IP's required to set up MSCS minimum? Some says 5 and 6. Is MSDTC IP is mandatory?

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