The given network name is unusable because there was a failure trying to determine if the network name is valid for use by the clustered SQL instance


Have you seen this message before? We see our customers encounter this message while performing SQL Server installation. If there is a problem, you will normally get this message in the “Instance Configuration” page of the “new SQL Server Failover Cluster setup” sequence.

Here is how the screen appears with the message at the bottom:

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After you provide the SQL Server Network Name and instance name, you will click Next. At this point the setup program performs a few validations. If those validations fail, then you will notice the error message at the bottom of the screen. If you click on the error message, you will see the some additional information embedded in this message at the end which is not visible by default in this view. Here is an example:

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In general you might encounter one of the following messages:

The given network name is unusable because there was a failure trying to determine if the network name is valid for use by the clustered SQL instance due to the following error: ‘The network address is invalid.’

The given network name is unusable because there was a failure trying to determine if the network name is valid for use by the clustered SQL instance due to the following error: ‘Access is denied.

The troubleshooting steps and resolution for these situations depends on the what the last part of the error message indicates. Let’s take a quick look at how the setup program performs the validation of the network name. The setup program calls the Windows API NetServerGetInfo and passes two parameters: The network name that you typed in the setup screen and level 101. There are multiple outcomes from this Windows API call:

1. The API call returns OS error code 53 [The network path was not found]. This tells the setup program that network name provided in the setup program is good to use since nobody is currently using that same name in the network. This is what you ideally want to happen. Setup can proceed to the next steps.

2. The API call returns success. This tells the setup program that there is another computer active with this same name and hence we cannot use the network name provided in the setup screen. This is essentially a duplicate name scenario. This is straight forward and you can provide a different name to be used by setup.

3. The API call returns other unexpected failure states like the following:

RPC error code 1707 which translates to "The network address is invalid"
Security error code 5 which translates to "Access is denied"

    These are the same error messages you actually get on the setup screen in the last part of that long error message. Now, let us review the steps you can take to troubleshoot these errors and resolve them.

As a first step, you can isolate this issue to this specific API call and remove SQL server setup from the picture. You can take the sample code for Windows API NetServerGetInfo to build a console application and pass the same network name as parameter to this call. Observe which one of the error codes discussed above is returned back. You need to get back OS error 53 but you might be getting 1707 or 5 as error codes.

If you now use Process Monitor to track the activity, you will notice a CreateFile call to \\SQL-VNN-TEST\PIPE\srvsvc encounter a BAD NETWORK NAME or ACCESS DENIED.

If you do not have the required permissions to create computer objects, make sure that the computer objects are pre-staged with the appropriate permissions as described in the document: Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Configuring Accounts in Active Directory. Also validate that there is no stale entry in the DNS server that is pointing this network name to a different IP address. If possible, clean up all entries related to this network name from the active directory and other name resolution servers like DNS. It will be a good idea to create entries for this network name fresh as described in the section “Steps for prestaging the cluster name account” and “Steps for prestaging an account for a clustered service or application”.

In the past when our networking team debugged this, they noticed that the error code changes (from 53 to 1707) while the network request is flowing through the various drivers in the network stack. RDBSS will show the correct error code but when the request reaches MUP it gets changed to one of the incorrect error codes we finally encounter. Typically this happens when there is some filter driver sitting in the network stack and intercepting these calls and eventually changing the return codes. So next step for you will be to review all processes and services that are running on this system and evaluate if you can disable or remove the non-critical ones just during the installation or troubleshooting timeframe.

Check if this problem happens only for a specific name or any network name that you pass for the validation. This can help establish the fact that there is a generic network issue at play than looking up a specific network name.

It will be great to hear from you if you encountered this issue and which one of the above steps you used to resolve this issue. Also if there is something we have overlooked, please let us know so we can add them to this list of steps to resolve this issue.

Thanks,

Suresh Kandoth – SQL Server Escalation Services


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