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Compare Clustering Methods for MS SQL Server

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Clustering is very important technology for High Availability and it is important for DBA to understand benefits and pitfalls. With very few available techniques and a lot of gray areas right decision …

Clustering is very important technology for High Availability and it is important for DBA to understand benefits and pitfalls. With very few available techniques and a lot of gray areas right decision might help to avoid extra costs. Presentation is unveiling clustering basics, reviews and compares clustering technologies including Microsoft, XCOTO Gridscale, and HP PolyserveMatrix. This presentation can be helpful not only to beginners but to intermediate level DBAs and infrastructure managers.

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  • 1. Available Clustering Technologies
    Alexander Prusakov
    Senior SQL Server DBA
    June, 2010
  • 2. Consultant - Sr. MS SQL Server DBA
    20+ years of IT experience (business users, ERPs, databases and applications support, software development, data warehousing, etc.)
    10+ years of experience with MS SQL Server and RDBMS
    MBA, MCITP: DBA 2005/2008, IndyPASS, IndyNDA, IIBA member
    Industries: banking/finance, energy, education, health care, manufacturing, IT consulting.
    Speaker’s Background:
  • 3. What we are talking about and why
    What is clustering: pure theory
    Clustering with Microsoft, HP, and others
    Pluses and minuses
    Conclusion
    Q&A
    Agenda:
  • 4. Target: Hardware failure Database availability
    Improve hardware quality
    Duplicate components
    Duplicate servers
    Mirroring
    Log shipping
    Clustering
  • 5. Main Entry: cluster
    Pronunciation: ’kləs-tər
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English clyster; akin to
    Old English clott clot
    Date: before 12th century
    • A number of similar things that occur together
    • 6. Two or more consecutive consonants or vowels in a segment of speech
    • 7. A group of buildings and especially houses built close together on a sizable tract in order to preserve open spaces larger than the individual yard for common recreation
    • 8. An aggregation of stars or galaxies that appear close together in the sky and are gravitationally associated
    Merriam-Webster Online.21 October 2009
  • 9. What we are talking aboutand why
  • 10. IMPORTANT!
    Clustering is different from mirroring and/or replication;
  • 11. What is clustering: pure theory
    Cluster (computing) - is a group of linked computers, working together closely so that in many respects they form a single computer. Clusters are usually deployed to improve performance and/or availability over that provided by a single computer. (From Wikipedia)
    Cluster categorizations
    Load-balancing clusters - clusters operate by distributing a workload evenly over multiple back end nodes.
    Compute clusters - are used for primarily computational purposes, rather than handling IO-oriented operations such as web service or databases. For instance, a cluster might support computational simulations of weather or vehicle crashes. The primary distinction within compute clusters is how tightly-coupled the individual nodes are.
    Grid computing - usually compute clusters, but more focused on throughput like a computing utility rather than running fewer, tightly-coupled jobs. Often, grids will incorporate heterogeneous collections of computers, possibly distributed geographically distributed nodes, sometimes administered by unrelated organizations.
    High-availability (HA) clusters – (also known as failover clusters) are implemented primarily for the purpose of improving the availability of services. They operate by having redundant nodes to eliminate single points of failure. Two nodes is the minimum requirement to provide redundancy.
  • 12. What is clustering: pure theory (cont)
    Cluster members are relatively close;
    Hardware capabilities are important;
    SCSI/iSCSI or Fiber drives only;
    No dynamics disks;
    MS DTC and Quorum – must exist
    (with size at least 1Gb each)
    Two network cards:
    Local – health check (LooksAlive test)
    Public – access point
  • 13. What is clustering: pure theory (cont)
    Cluster organization:
    • Logical host or Cluster logical hostis used to describe the network address which is used to access services provided by the cluster.
    • 14. Nodeis physical computer with its own IP address, OS, applications.
    Examples:
    MS SQL Server cluster – high availability
    Scale up
    Federation
    Oracle Real Application Cluster – load balancing
    Scale out
    Scale up
  • 15. High-availability (HA) cluster:
  • 16. IMPORTANT!
    Cluster is a way to reduce risk of failure:
    Storage (if it is not clustered itself):
    Power failure;
    Storage hardware failure;
    Geographical location:
    Disaster (fire, flood, earthquake);
    Power outage 2003 (New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Toronto and Ottawa);
    User’s mistake:
    From database drop to network cable pull out;
    Probability of simultaneous hardware failure is not zero.
  • 17. Downtime
  • 18. Probability of failure
    Mathematic theory.
    Murphy's law:
    Anything that can possibly go wrong, does
    Too many, too close (hardware, software, network, humans…)
    "Every program has at least one bug and can be shortened by at least one instruction — from which, by induction, it is evident that every program can be reduced to one instruction that does not work."
    by Ken Arnold
  • 19. Money, money, money
    Time is money
    More hardware means more money
    More software means more money
    More hardware and/or software means more money
    Does it worth to go all the way?
  • 20. Cluster configuration
    Active/Passive — Provides a fully redundant instance of each node, which is only brought online when its associated primary node fails.
    Active/Active — Traffic intended for the failed node is either passed onto an existing node or load balanced across the remaining nodes.
    N+1 — Provides a single extra node that is brought online to take over the role of the node that has failed.
    N+M — In cases where a single cluster is managing many services, having only one dedicated failover node may not offer sufficient redundancy. In such cases, more than one (M) standby servers are included and available.
    N-to-1 — Allows the failover standby node to become the active one temporarily, until the original node can be restored or brought back online, at which point the services or instances must be failed-back to it in order to restore High Availability.
    N-to-N — A combination of Active/Active and N+M clusters.
  • 21. Load-balanced (LB) cluster:
  • 22.
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. IMPORTANT!
    Clustering on virtual servers might not protect from hardware failure.
    Adds complexity of sizing
  • 26. Compare direct costs
    * - pricing details have to be complained to Microsoft Licensing
  • 27. Key features:
    • Microsoft Clustering for Standard Edition
    • 28. 4 processors
    • 29. Native clustering
    • 30. Microsoft Clustering for Enterprise Edition 2005:
    • 31. OS limited ## of CPUs;
    • 32. Partitioning;
    • 33. Parallel index operations;
    • 34. On-line indexing;
    • 35. Indexed view matching by the query processor;
  • Key features:
    Microsoft Clustering for Enterprise Edition 2005 (continue):
    On-line restore;
    Fast recovery;
    Oracle replication;
    Scale-out report server;
    Data driven subscriptions;
    Advances SSAS (like proactive cashing).
  • 36. Key features:
    Microsoft Clustering for Enterprise Edition 2008:
    Policy-Based Management;
    Performance Data Collection;
    Data Compression;
    Backup Compression;
    Resource Governor;
    Transparent Data Encryption;
    External Key Management / Extensible Key Management;
  • 37. Key features:
    Microsoft Clustering for Enterprise Edition 2008 (continue):
    Data Auditing;
    Server Group Management;
    Hot-Add CPUs and Hot-Add Memory;
    Streamlined Installation;
    Upgrade Advisor;
    Partition Aligned Indexed Views;
    Extended Events;
    More, more, and more…;
  • 38. Key features:
    HP PolyServe Matrix with MS SQL Server Standard Edition
    Non-NTFS file system;
    Increase disk size dynamically (no limits on disk size/RPM);
    Usage of files over 2Tb in size (16Tb limit);
    No need in identical hardware (Be careful!!!);
    Any SQL instance can be moved to any note;
    Software monitoring;
    Dynamic Re-hosting;
    4 or 8 Kb disk segment size;
    Performance cost: 10% ?
  • 39. Key features:
    XkotoGridscale:
    Horizontal scalability ~ 0.85*n-servers;
    Cost ~ 30% in software and hardware (SAN costs are not included);
    Ability to test new database versions in real production environment;
    Storage redundancy ;
    Flexibility;
    Time stamps?
  • 40. How Microsoft works:
  • 41.
  • 42.
  • 43. Windows cluster:
  • 44. How PolyServe works:
    What happens during failover:
    Removes the IP address for the Virtual SQL Server from the original node and then adds it to the backup node;
    Updates registry keys and then starts SQL Server and SQL Agent on the backup node;
  • 45. PolyServe Matrix Management:
  • 46. PolyServe Matrix Disk Management:
  • 47. PolyServe Matrix Disk Management:
  • 48. PolyServe Matrix Disk Management:
  • 49. You get what you paid for:
    Microsoft:
    Hardware is very important;
    Huge advantage in features;
    You already have it all;
    Easy to play with;
    A lot of documentation;
    A lot of knowledge around;
    Cheaper labor (more people know).
  • 50. You get what you paid for:
    HP:
    HP – is HP (customer support, buyer experience);
    Costly training and limited ($2500 pp);
    Limited accessibility to working cluster;
    Limited resource pull;
    Limited second opinion option;
    Clouded future.
  • 51. Think, analyze, think again – it is not black and white;
    What is the real business need;
    Create clear business requirements;
    Do cost – benefit analysis because cost of the solution should be less than benefits from implementation;
    Negotiate;
    Create a clear plan;
    Conclusion:
  • 52. 100% utilization is fiction:
    80% per box utilization;
    N+1 configuration;
    Do you really like that vendor;
    Evaluate alternatives (SSD, SST)
    How good is your SysAdmin;
    Do not be afraid – clustering is easy;
    Just Do It!
    Conclusion (continue):
  • 53. Internet – find your way.
    http://www.sql-server-performance.com/articles/clustering/clustering_intro_p1.aspx
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_cluster
    Vendor –pushing sales technique.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/enterprise/clustering.mspx
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2007.03.sqlclusters.aspx
    http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storage/software/polyserve/support/hp_polyserve.html
    http://www.xkoto.com/products/gs-sql.php
    Where to look for more:
  • 54. Email: a_prusakov@yahoo.com
    Questions & Open Discussion
    Thank You!

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