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IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups
 

IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups

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Learn about IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups. This document describes the IBM Flex Reference Architecture for ...

Learn about IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups. This document describes the IBM Flex Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups. IBM reference architecture offerings create virtually turnkey solutions built around the latest IBM x86 servers, storage and networking, literally taking the complexity out of the solution. This IBM reference architecture combines Microsoft software, consolidated guidance and validated configurations for compute, network, and storage. For more information on Pure Systems, visit http://ibm.co/J7Zb1v.



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    IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups Document Transcript

    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability usingAlwaysOnAvailabilityGroups 31 July 2013 Author(s): Michael Lawson
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Table of contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 4 Business problem and business value .................................................................................... 4 Requirements ............................................................................................................................ 4 Primary Functional requirements ............................................................................................................. 4 Normal operation ............................................................................................................... 5 High Availability ................................................................................................................. 5 Disaster Recovery ............................................................................................................. 6 Variations of the design ..................................................................................................... 7 Secondary functional requirements ......................................................................................................... 7 Read-able Secondaries ..................................................................................................... 8 Rolling Upgrades ............................................................................................................... 8 Storage Migration .............................................................................................................. 8 Multi-subnet Support ......................................................................................................... 8 Licensing ........................................................................................................................... 8 Automatic Page Repair ..................................................................................................... 8 Hardware Overview ................................................................................................................... 8 IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System ........................................................................................... 8 IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node .................................................................................................... 9 IBM Flex System V7000 Storage ........................................................................................................... 10 IBM Storwize V7000 .............................................................................................................................. 11 IBM Storwize V3700 .............................................................................................................................. 12 IBM Flex System EN4093 Switches ...................................................................................................... 13 IBM Flex System FC3171 Switches ...................................................................................................... 13 Architectural overview ............................................................................................................ 13 Component model ................................................................................................................... 15 Operational model ................................................................................................................... 15 Physical Layer ........................................................................................................................................ 16 Virtual Layer ........................................................................................................................................... 20 SQL Server Layer .................................................................................................................................. 21 Deployment considerations .................................................................................................... 22 Systems management ........................................................................................................................... 23 Server / Compute Nodes ....................................................................................................................... 23 Networking ............................................................................................................................................. 23 Storage integration................................................................................................................................. 25 Performance Considerations ................................................................................................................. 26 Best practices and limitations ................................................................................................................ 27 Other considerations .............................................................................................................................. 27 About the author...................................................................................................................... 28 Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................. 28 Appendix 1: Bill of Material .................................................................................................... 28 SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 2 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Resources ................................................................................................................................ 32 Trademarks and special notices ............................................................................................ 34 Document history Revision history Date of next revision Date of this revision: 31 July 2013 Revision Number (1.0) Revision Summary of Changes Date (3 June Initial draft 2013) (date) Changes marked (N) SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 3 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Introduction This document describes the IBM Flex Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups. IBM reference architecture offerings create virtually turnkey solutions built around the latest IBM x86 servers, storage and networking, literally taking the complexity out of the solution. This IBM reference architecture combines Microsoft software, consolidated guidance and validated configurations for compute, network, and storage. The intended audience of this document is IT professionals, technical architects, sales engineers, and consultants to assist in planning, designing and implementing the IBM Flex Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 High Availability using AlwaysOn Availability Groups. Business problem and business value These following sections outline the value proposition of this solution. Business problem For customers who have selected the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 relational database management system, this reference architecture provides a solution which makes SQL Server highly available within a main data center and provides disaster recovery in a remote data center, all using standard hardware and software. Business value This solution leverages the new AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature of SQL Server 2012, the IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes, Flex System storage node, Flex System networking components and the IBM Storwize V7000 and V3700 storage systems. The AlwaysOn availability group feature is a high availability solution and disaster recovery solution for SQL Servers that offer an alternative to database mirroring. This solution features SQL Server synchronous replication with automatic failover between two compute nodes in the main data center, with no data loss. In addition, it features SQL Server asynchronous replication with manual failover between two compute nodes, one in the main data center and one in a remote data center, with possible data loss, in case of disaster at the main data center. Not only are the compute nodes redundant, but so is the storage, for higher uptime and lower risk of data loss. In the past, this functionality required specialized hardware and software. This solution uses standard hardware and software. This paper provides the configuration steps and best practices to implement the solution. Requirements The following section describes the primary purpose of this solution, as well as some additional benefits. Primary Functional requirements This section describes the high availability and disaster recovery capabilities of this solution. This solution leverages the new AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature of SQL Server 2012. This solution is flexible and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 4 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA can be modified in a variety of ways to suit the customer’s environment. In Figure 1 below, three servers are shown, each with their own dedicated storage. Two servers are co-located in the Main Data Center (MDC) and one server is located in a remote Disaster Recovery (DR) site, connected by Ethernet networking. Main Data Center(MDC) Server1 DB Disaster Recovery (DR) Server2 Synchronous Server3 DB DB secondary primary secondary Asynchronous Figure 1: Normal operation, AlwaysOn Availability Group spanning the Main Data Center and DR Site Normal operation Figure 1 shows the normal operating mode. Server1 has the updatable primary replica of the database. Users connect to this server to update the database. Changes are replicated synchronously to Server2 and asynchronously to Server3 using SQL Server replication. Server1 waits to receive confirmation that the change has been reliably received on Server2. Since the servers are physically close, the additional latency for synchronous replication is low. Server1 does not wait for confirmation from Server3, so even though there may be a longer latency (due to the remote distance to the DR Site), which does not affect the latency experienced by the users performing updates on Server1. This arrangement creates three copies of the database, two of which are synchronized and one of which is nearly synchronized. High Availability If Server1 or its storage were to fail, Server2 and its storage would take over the role of updatable primary replica (shown in Error! Reference source not found.). This would be automatic. With the proper configuration (prior to the failure), users connected to Server1 would be automatically connected to Server2 the next time the application they are using attempts to connect to the database. Configured correctly, this can make the outage of Server1, transparent to the users. No data would be lost, since the updates from Server1 are synchronously transferred to Server2. After the failure of Server1, the configuration is vulnerable to data loss because the replication to the DR site is asynchronous. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 5 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Main Data Center(MDC) Disaster Recovery (DR) Server1 Server2 Server3 DB DB DB primary secondary Asynchronous Figure 2: Automatic failover to Server2 in Main Data Center Disaster Recovery If the Main Data Center has a catastrophic failure and all components fail, Server3 can be manually configured to take over the role of updatable primary replica (shown in Figure 3). These would be preplanned steps, executed manually, after the failure of the Main Data Center has been confirmed. There is some possibility of data loss, because the updates from Server2 (or Server 1) are asynchronously transferred to Server3. Not all the updates made on Server1 may have been transferred to Server3 before the Main Data Center failed. With the proper configuration, users connected to Server1 would be automatically connected to Server3 the next time the application they are using attempts to connect to the database. Users might experience two things in this scenario. First, if they entered data that was lost, they would need to re-enter the lost data. Second, depending on how long the manual failover takes, there may be a short, but noticeable period when their application is not available. After the failure of both servers in the MDC the configuration is vulnerable to data loss and extended outage because only one copy of the data and only one server have survived. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 6 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Main Data Center(MDC) Disaster Recovery (DR) Server1 Server2 Server3 DB DB DB primary Figure 3: Manual failover to DR site Variations of the design This basic design can be modified in a variety of ways. Below are some of the possible variations on the example design presented in this paper. Additional replicas The AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature allows for up to four secondary replicas; two synchronous and two asynchronous. Combine with other HA features Other SQL Server high availability features, such as, Failover Clustered Instances, can be combined with AlwaysOn Availability Groups. This means that four, five, or more servers could be utilized to create higher availability. Multiple databases The concept of a replica collects together one or more databases, so, in the event of a failover, multiple databases failover together. Virtualization variations The design of this paper uses Hyper-V Virtual Machines (VM) and SQL Server is installed within each VM. However, it is also possible to install SQL Server directly on the physical servers. Pass-through disks In this design, the storage has also been provisioned using VHDX formatted virtual disks. However, the storage could also be implemented on the physical disks using pass-through disks. Secondary functional requirements In addition to the main purpose of the design, which is to provide redundancy in the event of various failures, there are other benefits. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 7 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Read-able Secondaries The databases connected to Server2 and Server3 can be used for read-only tasks, including reporting, database snapshots, database integrity checks and backups. Using this capability can reduce the performance load on the primary replica. Rolling Upgrades When upgrading the software or hardware on the servers, this can be done on the secondary servers first, and then after failing over the primary, on the (old) primary. This can reduce the users’ downtime during an upgrade. Storage Migration Like rolling upgrades, migrating the database to new storage can be done in a way that shortens downtime for the users, by first making the new copy a secondary replica, and then switching over to it when ready. Multi-subnet Support This solution paper demonstrates how the server in the DR site can be on a different subnet, which supports a remotely located disaster recovery site. Licensing You are allowed one Passive Secondary server that you do not need to license. Automatic Page Repair If SQL Server detects that a database page is corrupted, the replication topology will transfer a good copy of the page to the server with the corrupted copy and repair it. Hardware Overview This section describes the IBM hardware used for the reference architecture. IBM PureFlex System and IBM Flex System IBM PureFlex™ System is a comprehensive infrastructure system that provides an expert integrated computing system. It combines servers, enterprise storage, networking, virtualization, and management into a single structure. Its built-in expertise enables organizations to manage and deploy integrated patterns of virtual and hardware resources through unified management. These systems are ideally suited for customers who want a system that delivers the simplicity of an integrated solution while still able to tune middleware and the runtime environment. PureFlex System uses workload placement based on virtual machine compatibility and resource availability. Using built-in virtualization across servers, storage, and networking, the infrastructure system enables automated scaling of resources and true workload mobility. PureFlex System has undergone significant testing and validation so that it can mitigate IT complexity without compromising the flexibility to tune systems to the tasks businesses demand. By providing both flexibility and simplicity, PureFlex System can provide extraordinary levels of IT control, efficiency, and operating agility. This combination enables businesses to rapidly deploy IT services at a reduced cost. Moreover, the system is built on decades of expertise. This expertise enables deep integration and central management of the comprehensive, open-choice infrastructure system. It also dramatically cuts down on the skills and training required for managing and deploying the system. The streamlined management SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 8 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA console makes it easy to use and provides a single point of control to manage your physical and virtual resources (with KVM now. Hyper-V support is planned) for a vastly simplified management experience. Figure 4: Front and rear view of the IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis The hardware used in this paper is IBM Flex System. IBM Flex System takes the components of the PureFlex System and offers them à la carte allowing customers to custom-build their own infrastructure. This gives customers to ability to purchase exactly what they need, with the option to move to the PureFlex System at a later date. IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node, an element of the Flex System, provides outstanding performance for your mission-critical applications. Its energy-efficient design supports up to 16 processor cores and 768 GB of memory capacity in a package that is easy to service and manage. With outstanding computing power per watt and the latest Intel® Xeon® processors, you can reduce costs while maintaining speed and availability. Highlights    Optimized for virtualization, performance and highly scalable networking Embedded IBM Virtual Fabric allows IO flexibility Designed for simplified deployment and management To meet today’s complex and ever-changing business demands, the x240 compute node is optimized for virtualization, performance and highly scalable I/O designed to run a wide variety of workloads. The IBM Flex System x240 is available on either your PureFlex System or IBM Flex System solution. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 9 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Figure 5: IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node More information about the IBM Flex System x240 compute node can be found in Resources at the end of the document. IBM Flex System V7000 Storage IBM Flex System V7000 Storage® combines best-of-breed storage development with leading 1/10 Gb iSCSI, FCoE, or FC host interfaces and SAS/SSD drive technology. With its simple, efficient and flexible approach to storage, the Flex V7000 Storage is a cost-effective, complement to IBM Flex System. By offering substantial features at a price that fits most budgets, the Flex V7000 delivers superior price/performance ratios, functionality, scalability and ease of use for the mid-range storage user. The Flex V7000 storage offers:          Automate and speed deployment with integrated storage for the IBM® PureFlex™ System or IBM Flex System™ Simplify management with an integrated, intuitive user interface for faster system accessibility Reduce network complexity with FCoE and iSCSI connectivity Store up to five times more active data in the same disk space using IBM Real-time Compression™ Virtualize third-party storage for investment protection of the current storage infrastructure Optimize costs for mixed workloads, with up to 200 percent better performance with solid-state drives (SSDs) using IBM System Storage® Easy Tier®1 Improve application availability and resource utilization for organizations of all sizes Support growing business needs while controlling costs with clustered systems Get innovative technology, open standards, excellent performance, and a broad portfolio of proven storage software, hardware and solutions offerings from IBM IBM System Flex V7000 Storage (Figure 3) is well-suited for Microsoft virtualized cloud environments. The Flex V7000 Storage complements the IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis, Flex CN4093 Converged Network switches, and x240 compute nodes in an end-to-end Microsoft Hyper-V private cloud solution by delivering proven disk storage in flexible, scalable configurations. Connecting optional EXP2500 enclosures to your Flex V7000 Storage can scale up to 240 SAS and SSD disks and up to 960 per clustered system. The Flex V7000 Storage has 8GB cache per controller and 16GB for the whole system. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 10 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA The IBM System Flex V7000 Storage comes with advanced features such as System Storage Easy Tier, IBM Flashcopy, internal virtualization and thin provisioning, data migration, system clustering. Optional features include Remote Mirroring, Real-time Compression, and external virtualization. Figure 6: IBM System Flex V7000 Storage IBM Storwize V7000 The IBM Storwize V7000 disk system is a multi-faceted solution that consists of both hardware and software components. The modular hardware enclosures include integrated drives of varying form factors, including both hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). The solution also provides external storage virtualization, making it possible to integrate with and manage heterogeneous storage along with the Storwize V7000 storage as a single resource. The Storwize V7000 system is designed to allow quick and efficient storage deployment, thanks to an easy to use Graphical User Interface (GUI), integrated drives, and interoperability with nearly any backend SAN attached storage. The web-based GUI runs on the Storwize V7000 system so there is no longer a separate console server or management software installation required. Highlights    A single user interface to manage and virtualize internal and third-party storage that can improve storage utilization Built-in tiering and advanced replication functions are designed to improve performance and availability without constant administration Single user interface simplifies storage administration to allow your experts to focus on innovation Figure 7: IBM Storwize V7000 Control Enclosure SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 11 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA V7000 system details V7000 enclosures support up to twenty-four 2.5-inch drives or up to twelve 3.5-inch drives. Control enclosures contain drives, redundant dual-active intelligent controllers, and dual power supplies, batteries and cooling components. Expansion enclosures contain drives, switches, power supplies and cooling components. You can attach up to nine expansion enclosures to a control enclosure supporting up to 240 drives. The system also supports intermixing 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch type controller and expansion enclosures. Key system characteristics are:   Internal storage capacity: up to 36 TB of physical storage per enclosure Drives: SAS HDDs, near-line SAS HDDs and solid-state drives can be mixed in an enclosure to give you extraordinary flexibility  Cache memory: 16 GB cache memory (8 GB per controller) as a base feature—designed to improve performance and availability More information about the Storwize V7000 can be found in Resources at the end of the document. IBM Storwize V3700 IBM Storwize V3700 is an entry-level addition to the IBM Storwize family of disk systems, and delivers efficient configurations specifically designed to meet the needs of small and midsize businesses. The system shares the same integrated easy-to use web interface as the XIV and other Storwize systems. The internal disk storage virtualization enables rapid, flexible provisioning and simple configuration changes. IBM Storwize V3700 offers advanced hardware and software capabilities usually found in more expensive systems, including:  Redundant, battery backed dual controllers  Up to 16GB cache, 8 per controller (4GB per controller standard)  Redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and fans  Dual-port, hot-swappable 6 Gb SAS disk drives  Support for RAID 0,1,5,6 and 10 and up to 180 TB of capacity  1 Gb iSCSI, optional 10 Gb iSCSI/Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) or 8 Gb Fibre Channel Disk storage scales up to 120 2.5-inch disk drives or 60 3.5-inch disk drives with four expansion units. Each unit is a packaged in a compact 2U 19-inch rack-mount enclosure. The modular design allows a business to start small and hot add additional enclosures as needed and without any downtime. The system also supports SSD drives and IBM Easy Tier® automated hot data migration as an optional upgrade feature. As with earlier Storwize systems, advanced data protection and migration features include:  Non-disruptive data migration  Internal virtualization and thin provisioning  Remote mirroring  Integrated IBM FlashCopy® snapshot technology  Reduce power consumption with energy-saving features  Advanced upgrades like FlashCopy (more targets) and Easy Tier SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 12 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Figure 8: IBM Storwize V3700 Control Enclosure IBM Flex System EN4093 Switches The IBM Flex System™ Fabric EN4093 and EN4093R 10Gb Scalable Switches provide unmatched scalability and performance, while also delivering innovations to help address a number of networking concerns today and providing capabilities that will help you prepare for the future. These switches are capable of supporting up to sixty-four 10 Gb Ethernet connections while offering Layer 2/3 switching. They are designed to install within the I/O module bays of the IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis. These switches can help clients migrate to a 10 Gb or 40 Gb Ethernet infrastructure and offer virtualization features like Virtual Fabric and VMready®, plus the ability to work with IBM® Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V. Figure 9: IBM Flex EN4093 Switch IBM Flex System FC3171 Switches Tx/Rx Link Mgmt TX RX TX RX LOG 19 TX RX LOG 18 TX RX LOG 17 TX RX LOG 16 TX RX LOG 15 LOG 0 8Gb FULL FABRIC The IBM Flex System™ FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch is a full-fabric Fibre Channel component with expanded functionality. The SAN switch supports high speed traffic processing for IBM Flex System configurations and offers scalability in external SAN size and complexity, and enhanced systems management capabilities. The IBM Flex System FC3171 8 Gb Pass-thru supports a fully interoperable solution for seamless integration of the Fibre Channel initiators to an existing fabric. The pass-thru module uses industry-standard N_Port ID virtualization (NPIV) technology to provide a cost-effective connectivity solution for the IBM Flex System chassis. Figure 10: IBM Flex FC3171 Switch Architectural overview The architectural diagram (Figure 11) shows a high-level view of the complete high availability solution. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 13 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA V7000 SAN Array VMDX WAN DB Users FLEX (MDC) FLEX V7000 V3700 SAN Array SAN Array VMDX VMDX DB DB FLEX (DR) r-V pe Hy r-V pe Hy VM VM L SQ L SQ SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group r-V pe Hy VM L SQ Windows Failover Cluster Figure 11: Complete high availability solution architecture The solution is composed of two IBM Flex Systems (each with an external storage subsystem), which are located in two separate data centers; the Main Data Center (MDC) and the Disaster Recovery (DR) site. The two data centers have connectivity across a Wide Area Network (WAN). The Flex System in the MDC has two physical servers (x240 compute nodes) and one integrated Flex System V7000 Storage unit. One x240 is connected to the Flex System V7000 Storage unit. The other x240 is connected to the external IBM Storwize V7000 Storage unit. The Flex System in the DR site has one physical server (x240 compute node). That x240 is connected to the external IBM Storwize V3700 Storage unit. Each x240 compute node is running Windows Server 2012 with the Hyper-V role enabled. A single virtual machine (VM) has been created on each server. Windows Server 2012 and a standalone SQL Server 2012 has been installed in each VM. The virtual machines have been configured in a Windows Server Failover Cluster with no shared storage. This is a scalable solution and more SQL Servers and VMs can be created depending on resources available. More x240 compute nodes can be added to the configuration also. The disk space for the files used in the SQL Server databases begin as physical arrays, and then physical volumes, created on each of the dedicated storage units. These volumes are then presented to the Windows Hyper-V operating system and formatted as VHDX files. The VHDX files are attached to the VMs, which see them as volumes presented to the Windows operating system inside the VM. It is on those volumes that the SQL Server databases are created. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 14 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA A single database, or multiple databases, can be included in a SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group. In this paper, we use a single database called TXN_DB, as an example. The Availability Group is initialized so that all three servers have an identical copy of the TXN_DB database. One SQL Server is identified as having the primary replica. Users are automatically routed to the primary replica for updates. Updates made to the primary replica are sent to the other two SQL Servers, keeping them synchronized. In the event of a failure on the primary replica, the AlwaysOn Availability Group feature, along with Windows Server Failover Clustering feature, provide high availability by changing the role of one of the servers to become the new primary replica and automatically routing users to the server with the new primary replica. Component model The component model describes the functional view of the solution, showing the relationship of the components. In Figure 12 below, three servers are shown, each with their own dedicated storage. Two servers are colocated in the Main Data Center (MDC) and one server is located in a remote Disaster Recovery (DR) site, connected by Ethernet networking. Main Data Center(MDC) Server1 DB Disaster Recovery (DR) Server2 Synchronous Server3 DB DB Asynchronous Figure 12: AlwaysOn Availability Group spanning the Main Data Center and DR Site Operational model This section describes the "operational" aspect of the solution architecture in a technology and product dependent manner. It describes the required operational characteristics and capabilities of the solution SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 15 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA architecture and represents, at an architectural level, the network of computer systems and their associated peripherals, together with the systems software, middleware, and application software that they run in order to support the users of the system. It is useful to view this solution in three layers, each built upon the previous layer: Physical, Virtual and SQL Server.  Physical Layer – this includes the physical hardware; Flex chassis, servers, switches, storage units, the networking configuration between the hardware components, as well as the operating systems installed on the hardware and the storage volumes created.  Virtual Layer – this includes the virtual machines (VMs), the virtual disks, the networks created between them, and the Windows Server Failover Cluster created between the VMs.  SQL Server Layer – this includes the SQL Server instances and the AlwaysOn Availability Group configuration, the replication topology created between them, and the user databases. Physical Layer We begin with a discussion of the placement of the hardware in the racks. There will be one rack in each data center – the Main Data Center (MDC) and the Disaster Recovery (DR) site. Please refer to Figure 13 Physical layer rack view. One Flex chassis and one external storage unit is placed in each rack. In the MDC, an integrated Flex V7000 storage unit, two x240 compute nodes, two 10 Gb Ethernet switches and two 8 Gb Fibre Channel switches are placed in the Flex chassis. In the DR site, one x240 compute node, two 10 Gb Ethernet switches and two 8 Gb Fibre Channel switches are placed in the Flex chassis. The physical location of the components in the chassis determines which internal connections are made with the switches. For example, the adapter in IO Module 1 in the x240 connects to switch bays 1 and 2 (which are in positions 1 and 3 viewed from the back, from left to right). In this solution, the Ethernet adapter is installed in IO Module 1 and the Ethernet switches in bays 1 and 2, so that the Ethernet components are connected internally by the Flex infrastructure. Likewise, the Fibre Channel adapter is installed in IO Module 2 in the x240 and the Fibre Channel switches are installed in switch bays 3 and 4 (which are in positions 2 and 4 viewed from the back, from left to right), so that the Fibre Channel components are connected internally in the same way as the Ethernet components. In addition, the placement of the x240s and integrated Flex V7000 (V7000A) in the Flex chassis determines which internal switch ports are used. For example, the x240 placed in node 1, called BT101, will utilize internal switch port 1 on each of the 4 switches. We will make use of Windows Ethernet adapter teaming on the x240, which will require an ISL (interswitch link) configuration between the two Ethernet switches within each Flex chassis. A Virtual Link Aggregation Group (VLAG), to support the team, should be configured on the 2 switches [refer to page 19 “Grant Privilege and Enter Configuration mode” of Hyper-V Fast Track Reference Architecture for IBM Flex System]. The ISL requires two physical Ethernet cables between the switches. In addition, two physical Ethernet cables are required to connect the Flex chassis to the WAN (wide area network). The external storage unit (V7000B in the MDC and the V3700C in the DR site) requires four external fibre cable connections to the fibre channel switches. The integrated Flex V7000 (V7000A) does not require external fibre cables as those connections are made using the internal infrastructure of the Flex chassis. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 16 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA The storage on the external Storwize V7000 (V7000B) will be zoned and dedicated to the x240 named BT101. The storage on the integrated Flex V7000 (V7000A) will be zoned and dedicated to the x240 named BT103. The storage on the external Storwize V3700 (V7000C) will be zoned and dedicated to the x240 named BT105. Dedicating each storage unit to one x240 provides high availability and performance. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 17 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Physical deployment rack view Main Data Center (MDC) Ethernet Fibre CAUTION 1 3 2 4 1 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 CAUTION 4 2 1 2 2 4 1 3 1 2 1 2 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 1 3 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 2 4 24 4 CAUTION CAUTION 1 Power Supply Bay 2 4 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 2 1 1 3 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 1 1 3 System Storage Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation V7000 storage controller V7000B 10 3 2 Power Supply Bay 5 4 CMM2 I/O Bay Link 1 I/O Bay I/O Bay Link 1 1 Control Module Tx/Rx 6 8Gb FULL FABRIC Link 2 0 Tx/Rx 14 Link 15 3 Tx/Rx 2 16 Tx/Rx 17 5 Link 1-24 LOG 18 6 Tx/Rx CMM Bay 17 5 LOG TX RX Tx/Rx Link 18 6 LOG Tx/Rx TX RX LOG TX RX Link Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switch LOG TX RX Flex System V7000 19 Link 7 7 Link 8 8 Tx/Rx Power Supply Bay Fan Bay Fan Bay Link Link 9 9 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link 10 Tx/Rx Power Supply Bays 6 3 5 Link 11 Tx/Rx 2 4 Link 11 Tx/Rx 1 Link Link 12 12 Tx/Rx 8 Flex FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch Link 10 Tx/Rx 7 Tx/Rx Fan Bays 10 9 8 7 6 Link 13 Tx/Rx 5 4 3 2 1 Link 13 Tx/Rx Link Link 14 14 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Fan Bay Fan Bay Link 15 Link 16 15 Tx/Rx 10 Gb 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 6 15 16 17 18 40 Gb Power Supply Bay Link 20 21 15 Power Supply Bay 18 19 LINK 40 Gb 15 Link 17 TX/RX 16 Tx/Rx 5 LOG TX RX Tx/Rx Link Tx/Rx 10 19 Link LOG TX RX Tx/Rx Power Supply Bay 9 Flex x240 compute node BT103 16 Tx/Rx LOG LOG TX RX Fan Bay 4 TX RX Tx/Rx 12 15 3 Tx/Rx TX RX Link LOG TX RX Link 4 Link 4 11 0 5 LOG TX RX Fan Bay Link 8Gb FULL FABRIC Link Tx/Rx LOG TX RX 13 I/O Bay 1 Tx/Rx Control Module Flex V7000 storage node V7000A 22 17 18 19 20 21 22 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 1 Link Link Tx/Rx 0 3 Tx/Rx 10 Gb Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switch 10 Gb 19 20 21 22 19 20 21 22 40 Gb 4 x240 40 Gb Fan Bay 19 Fan Bay 19 3 1 2 Link 0 Link Mgmt Flex x240 compute node BT101 Link 1 Mgmt Tx/Rx 1 Link Mgmt Tx/Rx Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 2 x240 CMM1 Flex System Enterprise 1 6 3 2 1 4 Flex FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch Front view Back view WAN Disaster Recovery (DR) CAUTION 1 3 2 4 1 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 CAUTION 4 2 1 2 2 4 1 3 1 2 1 2 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 2 4 1 3 2 4 1 1 3 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 2 4 24 4 CAUTION 1 Power Supply Bay CAUTION 1 2 4 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 2 1 1 3 Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation 1 3 System Storage Disconnect all supply power for complete isolation V3700 storage controller V3700C 10 3 2 Power Supply Bay 5 4 CMM2 I/O Bay Link I/O Bay I/O Bay Link 1 Tx/Rx 6 8Gb FULL FABRIC Link 2 0 Tx/Rx Link 15 3 Tx/Rx 2 16 17 5 18 6 Tx/Rx Link 7 7 Link 8 Tx/Rx Power Supply Bay Fan Bay Fan Bay Link 9 9 Tx/Rx Link Flex FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch Link 10 Tx/Rx Power Supply Bays 6 3 5 2 4 Link 11 1 Link 11 Tx/Rx Link Link 12 12 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Fan Bays 10 9 8 7 6 Link 13 Tx/Rx 5 4 3 2 1 Link 13 Tx/Rx Link Link 14 14 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Fan Bay Fan Bay Link 15 Link 16 15 Tx/Rx 10 Gb 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 6 3 4 15 16 17 18 40 Gb Power Supply Bay Power Supply Bay 18 20 21 LINK 40 Gb 15 Link 17 19 TX/RX 16 Tx/Rx 5 LOG TX RX Tx/Rx 8 Link 10 Tx/Rx 8 22 15 Link 17 18 19 20 21 22 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 10 Gb Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switch 10 Gb 19 20 21 22 19 20 21 22 40 Gb 40 Gb Fan Bay 19 Fan Bay 19 3 1 2 Link 0 Link Mgmt Mgmt Tx/Rx Flex x240 compute node BT105 1 Link 1 Link Mgmt Tx/Rx Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 2 x240 Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switch LOG TX RX 19 Link LOG Link Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 7 18 6 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 10 LOG TX RX Link LOG TX RX Tx/Rx Power Supply Bay 9 CMM Bay LOG TX RX 17 5 Tx/Rx TX RX 19 16 Link LOG LOG TX RX Fan Bay 4 Tx/Rx TX RX Link 12 15 3 Tx/Rx LOG TX RX Link Tx/Rx LOG TX RX Link 4 Link 4 Tx/Rx 11 0 5 LOG TX RX Fan Bay Link 8Gb FULL FABRIC Link Tx/Rx LOG TX RX 14 I/O Bay 1 Tx/Rx 13 CMM1 Flex System Enterprise 1 6 3 2 1 4 Flex FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch Front view Back view Figure 13: Physical layer rack view SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 18 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Next, we discuss the configuration of the physical hardware, such as, installing the operating system and creating the SAN volumes. Please refer to Figure 14. We install Windows Server 2012 on each x240 compute node (on a RAID1 mirror between the two local spinning disks) and enable the Hyper-V role. We name these servers BT101, BT103 and BT105. The first two are in the MDC and the last one is in the DR site. We are not going to configure Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) on the Hyper-V servers. (However, we will be using WSFC on the virtual machines, as described below.) We use the new NIC Teaming feature in Windows Server 2012, which allows two or more network adapters to behave as a single, virtual device. This improves the reliability of the networking subsystem – if one NIC dies, the other continues to function – and allows the bandwidth available to each to be pooled for greater total network throughput for SQL Server data. The physical volume configuration is highly dependent on an organization’s requirements for space and performance. The client may wish to increase the number of volumes, for example, if there are more databases involved. We describe the sample configuration created for this paper. Each storage unit is configured identically. Three physical volumes were created on each storage unit. (Note that Figure 14 shows a single SAN array physical volume per storage unit for simplicity.) The three volumes are mounted under the local C: drive (in C_mnt, K_mnt and L_mnt directories) of the Hyper-V server. They will be provisioned for a virtual machine operating system disk (C drive), a database data disk (K drive) and a database log disk (L drive), respectively. In this solution, the operating system disk (C_mnt) is on a volume of 6 spindles in a RAID10. The database (K_mnt) and log (L_mnt) disks are on dedicated volumes of 8 spindles each, in a RAID10. It is a SQL Server best practice to place the database and log files on separate dedicated volumes. This improves both availability and performance. Two spindles are assigned as hot spares. Each set of three physical volumes is mapped to and mounted on the corresponding Hyper-V server (meaning the one zoned on the fibre channel switch). SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 19 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Physical deployment logical view V7000 SAN Array WAN Users FLEX (MDC) FLEX V7000 SAN Array V3700 SAN Array FLEX (DR) r-V pe Hy r-V pe Hy r-V pe Hy Figure 14: Physical layer logical view Virtual Layer Once the physical layer has been setup, we move on to creating and configuring the virtual layer. We will create virtual switches, virtual disks, virtual machines, and a cluster between the virtual machines. This will lay the foundation for SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups, the final layer. Please refer to Figure 15. On each Hyper-V server, we create a Hyper-V virtual switch (vSwitch) based on the physical teamed network adapter created in the physical layer. vSwitch will provide one interface back to the Hyper-V host, and the switch can support ‘N’ interfaces on the Virtual Machines (VMs). In this case, two virtual ports were configured in the VM. The management port will be used to manage the Hyper-V server (for example, using RDP). The two virtual machine ports will be used in the cluster between the virtual machines to create the public and private (heartbeat) networks. On each Hyper-V server, we create 3 virtual disks (VHDX format) using the volumes mounted in the C_mnt, K_mnt and L_mnt directories created in the physical layer. One virtual machine was created on each Hyper-V server and assign it the desired number of processors and memory, adding the 3 virtual disks as SCSI drives and the two VM network ports created on the vSwitch. We install Windows Server 2012 in each VM and enable the Failover Clustering Role. We SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 20 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA mount the C_mnt volume to the C: drive and the K_mnt and L_mnt volumes to the K: and L: drives, respectively, inside the VM. We assign the static IP addresses to the VM network interfaces, one for the Public network and one for the Private network. Note this solution supports multiple subnets. We name the VMs VM101 (on BT101), VM103 (on BT103) and VM105 (on BT105). We join the VMs to the domain. We create the Windows Server Failover Cluster between the three VMs. Please not that this cluster has no shared storage. It should have multiple static IP addresses, if the VMs are on different subnets. For details on establishing the cluster quorum model, including using a file share, and voting, please see: Building a High Availability and Disaster Recovery Solution using AlwaysOn Availability Groups Virtual deployment V7000 SAN Array VMDX WAN Users FLEX (MDC) SAN Array FLEX V7000 V3700 SAN Array VMDX VMDX FLEX (DR) H r-V pe Hy r-V ype VM VM r-V pe Hy VM Windows Failover Cluster Figure 15: Virtual layer SQL Server Layer After the virtual layer has been configured, we create the final layer based on SQL Server and the AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature. In this step, we will install SQL Server, configure the AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature and assign a sample database, TXN_DB, to an availability group for high availability protection. Please refer to Figure 16. We install a default standalone SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition Instance in each VM. Please note that this is not a clustered SQL Server Instance. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 21 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA We place our user database, TXN_DB, on the K: and L: drives in VM101, which will be our primary replica. Then we backup the database and restore it (using the NORECOVERY option) on the other two VMs, VM103 and VM105, which will be our secondary replicas. We create the Availability Group for the TXN_DB database, making VM101 the primary replica, making VM103 the synchronous secondary with automatic failover and making VM105 (in the DR site) the asynchronous secondary with manual failover. We create an Availability Group Listener, called TXN_AG_Listener, giving two static IP addresses (one for each subnet), which provides a DNS name which user applications can connect to and be automatically routed to the primary replica, regardless of which subnet the primary replica is running on. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group deployment V7000 SAN Array VMDX WAN DB Users FLEX (MDC) FLEX V7000 V3700 SAN Array SAN Array VMDX VMDX DB DB FLEX (DR) r-V pe Hy r-V pe Hy VM VM L SQ L SQ SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group r-V pe Hy VM L SQ Windows Failover Cluster Figure 16: SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group layer Deployment considerations This section describes noteworthy deployment considerations. In particular, it describes how features of the Flex System are used in the solution deployment across data centers for high availability. This section also includes a high-level overview of the requirements the customer’s IT environment must address for deploying this reference architecture. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 22 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Systems management Systems management for this solution uses the native Windows Server and SQL Server management tools. Server / Compute Nodes The compute nodes are the Flex System x240 compute nodes. Each x240 has 2 processors, 96 GB of memory, two 2.5” spinning disks in a RAID1 pair, a dual port 10Gb Ethernet adapter in IO Module 1 and a dual port 8 Gb fibre channel adapter in IO Module 2. Processor speed and number of cores, and amount of memory should be selected based on the customer’s requirements. Networking This section describes the Ethernet network topology. Figure 17 Ethernet network connections shows the connections between the servers, switches, and the wide area network (WAN). Each x240 compute node has two Ethernet connections from the EN4132 2-port 10Gb Ethernet adapter in IO Module 1, one to each Ethernet switch for redundancy and increased performance. These connections are made via the Flex infrastructure, not by using external cables. Two external cables connect the two Ethernet switches within a single Flex chassis to create a bonded (LACP) Inter Switch Link (ISL). The ISL link allows the two Ethernet ports in each x240 to be teamed efficiently. The teaming is done using LACP for active/active utilizations of the links. Additional Ethernet cables uplink the switches into the WAN infrastructure. The WAN, which is unique to each customer, provides connectivity between the Flex chassis over a geographic distance. The WAN also connects to the file share (needed for the quorum in Windows Server Failover Cluster), to the customer’s Active Directory servers (required for the Windows Server Failover Cluster) and to the users for accessing the application servers using the SQL Server databases. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 23 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Main Data Center(MDC) Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switches Flex Chassis Link Link 1 1 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 2 2 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link 3 Tx/Rx Link Internal ports I/O Mod1 ISL cables 3 Link 4 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 5 5 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 6 6 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 7 7 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Internal ports BT103 4 Link Tx/Rx Link 8 Tx/Rx Link 9 Tx/Rx Link 10 Tx/Rx Link 11 Tx/Rx I/O Mod2 Link 12 Tx/Rx 8 Link 9 Tx/Rx Link 10 Tx/Rx Link 11 Tx/Rx Link 12 Tx/Rx Link Link 13 13 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 14 14 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link 15 Link 16 15 16 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 40 Gb 40 Gb 15 I/O Mod1 15 Link 17 Link 18 19 20 17 18 19 20 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 10 Gb 10 Gb 19 20 21 22 19 20 21 22 40 Gb 40 Gb 19 I/O Mod2 21 External cables 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 BT101 Internal connection Link Tx/Rx 19 22 21 22 Link Link Mgmt Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx WAN AD Server Users File Share Disaster Recovery (DR) Flex EN4093 10Gb Ethernet Switches Flex Chassis Link Link 1 1 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 2 2 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link 3 Tx/Rx Link 4 ISL cables Link 3 Tx/Rx Link 4 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 5 5 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 6 6 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 7 7 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link 8 Tx/Rx Link 9 Tx/Rx Link 10 Tx/Rx Link 11 Tx/Rx Link 12 Tx/Rx Link 13 Tx/Rx Link 14 Internal ports Internal ports 8 Tx/Rx Link 9 Tx/Rx Link 10 Tx/Rx Link 11 Tx/Rx Link 12 Tx/Rx Link 13 Tx/Rx Link 14 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link 15 16 Link 15 16 Tx/Rx 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 BT105 Tx/Rx 10 Gb 15 16 17 18 40 Gb 40 Gb 15 I/O Mod1 15 Link 17 18 19 20 Link 17 18 19 20 Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Link Link Tx/Rx Tx/Rx 10 Gb 10 Gb 19 20 21 22 19 20 21 22 40 Gb 40 Gb 19 I/O Mod2 21 22 19 21 22 Link Link Mgmt Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Figure 17: Solution Ethernet network connections SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 24 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Storage integration This section describes the storage fibre channel network topology. Figure 18 shows the connections between the servers, switches, and the storage units. Each x240 compute node has two fibre channel connections from the F3172 2-port 8Gb FC adapter in IO Module 2, one to each fibre channel switch for redundancy. These connections are made via the Flex infrastructure, not by using external fibre cables. The integrated Flex V7000 (V7000A) is also connected to the fibre channel switches via the Flex infrastructure. The external storage units (V7000B and V3700C) are connected to their respective Flex chassis via external fibre cables to the fibre channel switches as shown. The effect of this topology is for each server to be connected to its own dedicated storage, with redundancy, including redundant switches. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 25 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Main Data Center(MDC) Node1 Node2 Flex FC3171 8Gb Switches V7000B Flex Chassis Node1 Node2 8Gb FULL FABRIC 8Gb FULL FABRIC 0 0 15 16 17 V7000A 18 19 LOG TX RX LOG Internal connection Internal ports TX RX BT103 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 19 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 18 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 17 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 16 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 15 I/O Mod1 I/O Mod2 External cables BT101 Internal ports I/O Mod1 I/O Mod2 Link Link Mgmt Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Disaster Recovery (DR) Node1 Node2 Flex FC3171 8Gb Switches V3700C Flex Chassis 8Gb FULL FABRIC 8Gb FULL FABRIC 0 0 15 16 17 18 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 19 19 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 18 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 17 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 16 LOG TX RX LOG TX RX 15 LOG TX RX LOG Internal ports TX RX I/O Mod1 Internal ports BT105 I/O Mod2 Link Link Mgmt Mgmt Tx/Rx Tx/Rx Figure 18: Solution storage fibre channel network connections Performance Considerations AlwaysOn Availability Groups are sensitive to Ethernet network bandwidth, because potentially high volume updates on the primary replica can be sent over Ethernet to the secondary replicas. This solution provides very high network bandwidth using the 20 Gb/s aggregated teamed network adapters. Updating SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 26 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA workload performance on the primary replica can be improved by offloading read-only workloads (such as backup and reporting) to the secondary replicas. Create fixed sized VHDX disks for best storage performance. Chose 64K as the NTFS cluster (Allocation Unit) size for the volumes used by SQL Server. Another improvement in performance could be realized by doing away with the virtual machines and installing SQL Server on the physical servers. Both of these options trade off performance with the manageability benefits of virtualization. Best practices and limitations In this solution, the unit of failover is the availability group (a group of user databases). SQL Server Agent jobs, logins, linked servers, and other objects that are stored outside of the availability databases do not fail over with the availability group. Consider the use of contained databases for containing logins that fail over across the availability replicas. For other objects outside of the user database such as SQL Server Agent jobs, linked servers, and SQL Server Integration Services packages, you will need to take additional synchronization steps across the SQL Server instances. When conducting a planned failover to the DR site, or when failing back to the MDC, put the secondary replica on VM105 in synchronous mode, temporarily. Then the failover can proceed. Once the availability group is operational, set up monitoring to provide alerts when the health of the availability group declines. Set up database and log backup preferences, so that backups are taken regardless of the state of the availability group. Other considerations When deploying the solution, here are a couple of alternatives. Consider installing SQL Server from the command line, rather than via the GUI. After the first VM, VM101, has been created, sysprep it and copy the VM image to the other two servers. This works even if SQL Server is installed (a new feature of SQL Server 2012). SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 27 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA About the author Michael Lawson works at the IBM Center for Microsoft Technologies in Kirkland, Washington (just 5 miles from the Microsoft main campus). He also has an office on the Microsoft main campus in Redmond, Washington to facilitate close collaboration with Microsoft. Michael has been an IBM employee since 1999 and has specialized in SQL Server including data warehousing, high availability, performance testing, and virtualization. mikelaw@us.ibm.com Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the following people for supporting the work in this paper: Vinay Kulkarni, David Ye, Hoai Nguyen, and David West. Appendix 1: Bill of Material MAIN DATA CENTER (MDC) PN Description Quantity Flex System chassis_MDC 8721HC1 A0TB 4942 3700 4942 3701 A1EL A0UE 3793 A0UC A0UC 6252 A0TW A0TA A0UA A1NF A2EV A0UD A0UD 6292 A0TD 5075 IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis Base Model IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switch 10GbE 850 nm Fiber SFP+ Transceiver (SR) for IBM BladeCenter 1m LC-LC Fiber Cable (networking) 10GbE 850 nm Fiber SFP+ Transceiver (SR) for IBM BladeCenter 5m LC-LC Fiber Cable (networking) IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switch (Upgrade 1) IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module 3m Yellow Cat5e Cable IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module Standard IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module Standard 2.5m, 16A/100-240V, C19 to IEC 320-C20 Rack Power Cable System Documentation and Software - US English IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 80mm Fan Module IBM Flex System Console Breakout Cable RFID Tag, AG/AP: 902-928Mhz IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module 2m, 16A/100-250V, C19 to IEC 320-C20 Rack Power Cable IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch IBM 8Gb SFP + SW Optical Transceiver SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 28 1 2 4 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA 3704 2300 2306 A2ZT 5m LC-LC Fiber Cable BladeCenter Chassis Configuration Rack Installation >1U Component IBM Fabric Manager Manufacturing Instruction 4 1 1 1 4939X49 9170 AD23 ADB2 AD2D AD2B Node_Flex_V7000 IBM Flex System V7000 Control Enclosure Storage Subsystem ID 01 600 GB 10,000 RPM 6Gbps 2.5-inch SAS HDD 8Gb FC 4 Port Daughter Card Agency label - IBM Logo Bezel - SRC with IBM Logo 1 1 24 2 1 1 8737AC1 2212 5599 A1BL A1C2 A1BD A1BM A1QY 8923 A2ER A2ES A1BF A248 Node_x240_BT101 Flex System node x240 Base Model Custom RAID Configuration IBM 300GB 10K 6Gbps SAS 2.5" SFF Slim-HS HDD IBM Flex System Compute Node 2.5" SAS 2.0 Backplane System Documentation and Software-US English IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node IBM Flex System FC3172 2-port 8Gb FC Adapter IBM Flex System EN4132 2-port 10Gb Ethernet Adapter 8GB (1x8GB, 2Rx4, 1.35V) PC3L-10600 CL9 ECC DDR3 1333MHz LP RDIMM Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W Addl Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Front Bezel IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Air Baffle 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 12 1 1 1 2 8737AC1 2212 5599 A1BL A1C2 A1BD A1BM A1QY 8923 A2ER A2ES A1BF A248 Node_x240_BT103 Flex System node x240 Base Model Custom RAID Configuration IBM 300GB 10K 6Gbps SAS 2.5" SFF Slim-HS HDD IBM Flex System Compute Node 2.5" SAS 2.0 Backplane System Documentation and Software-US English IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node IBM Flex System FC3172 2-port 8Gb FC Adapter IBM Flex System EN4132 2-port 10Gb Ethernet Adapter 8GB (1x8GB, 2Rx4, 1.35V) PC3L-10600 CL9 ECC DDR3 1333MHz LP RDIMM Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W Addl Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Front Bezel IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Air Baffle 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 12 1 1 1 2 SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 29 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Rack_1 IBM 42U 1100mm Enterprise V2 Dynamic Rack RFID Tag, AG/AP: 902-928Mhz DPI Three-phase 60A/208V C19 Enterprise PDU (US) 5U black plastic filler panel 1U black plastic filler panel Rack Assembly - 42U Rack 1 1 1 1 6 2 1 1 0036 Software IBM Flex System V7000 Base SW Per Storage Device with 1 Year SW Maintenance IBM Flex System V7000 Base SW Per Storage Device SW Maintenance 3 Yr Registration 2076-124 3546 5301 6942-25B External_V7000 IBM Storwize V7000 Controller - 124, includes four 8Gb FC ports & SFPs per controller (8) IBM 600 GB 2.5 in SAS Disk Drive for Storwize V7000 1 meter fibre cable (LC) 2076-124 24x7x4 Warranty Service Upgrade (WSU) 3yr 9363RC4 A2EV 6061 4275 4271 2304 0051 1 1 24 4 1 DISASTER RECOVERY SITE (DR) PN Description Quantity Flex System chassis_DR 8721HC1 IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis Base Model 1 A0TB IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switch 2 4942 10GbE 850 nm Fiber SFP+ Transceiver (SR) for IBM BladeCenter 4 3700 1m LC-LC Fiber Cable (networking) 2 4942 10GbE 850 nm Fiber SFP+ Transceiver (SR) for IBM BladeCenter 2 3701 5m LC-LC Fiber Cable (networking) 2 A1EL IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10Gb Scalable Switch (Upgrade 1) 2 A0UE IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module 1 3793 3m Yellow Cat5e Cable 1 A0UC IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module Standard 1 A0UC IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module Standard 1 2.5m, 16A/100-240V, C19 to IEC 320-C20 Rack Power Cable 3 System Documentation and Software - US English 1 6252 A0TW SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 30 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA A0TA IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 1 A0UA IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 80mm Fan Module 4 A1NF IBM Flex System Console Breakout Cable 1 A2EV RFID Tag, AG/AP: 902-928Mhz 1 A0UD IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module 1 A0UD IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis 2500W Power Module 1 6292 2m, 16A/100-250V, C19 to IEC 320-C20 Rack Power Cable 1 A0TD IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch 2 5075 IBM 8Gb SFP + SW Optical Transceiver 4 3704 5m LC-LC Fiber Cable 4 2300 BladeCenter Chassis Configuration 1 2306 Rack Installation >1U Component 1 A2ZT IBM Fabric Manager Manufacturing Instruction 1 Node_x240_BT105 Flex System node x240 Base Model 1 2212 Custom RAID Configuration 1 5599 IBM 300GB 10K 6Gbps SAS 2.5" SFF Slim-HS HDD 2 A1BL IBM Flex System Compute Node 2.5" SAS 2.0 Backplane 1 8737AC1 A1C2 System Documentation and Software-US English 1 A1BD IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node 1 A1BM IBM Flex System FC3172 2-port 8Gb FC Adapter 1 A1QY IBM Flex System EN4132 2-port 10Gb Ethernet Adapter 1 8923 8GB (1x8GB, 2Rx4, 1.35V) PC3L-10600 CL9 ECC DDR3 1333MHz LP RDIMM 12 A2ER Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W 1 A2ES Addl Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 8C 2.9GHz 20MB Cache 1600MHz 135W 1 A1BF IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Front Bezel 1 A248 IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Air Baffle 2 9363RC4 Rack_2 IBM 42U 1100mm Enterprise V2 Dynamic Rack 1 1 A2EV RFID Tag, AG/AP: 902-928Mhz 1 6061 DPI Three-phase 60A/208V C19 Enterprise PDU (US) 1 4275 5U black plastic filler panel 6 4271 1U black plastic filler panel 2 2304 Rack Assembly - 42U Rack 1 External_V3700 Storwize V3700 SFF (small form factor – 24 drives) dual controller w/8GB cache (4 per controller) Cache upgrade (additional 4GB for each controller) IBM 600 GB 10k 2.5 in SAS Disk Drive for Storwize V3700 1 2 24 2072-24c ACHB ACLK SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 31 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA ACHK ACSJ 675685B 8Gb FC host interface card, 4 port, includes 2 SFPs per card 1 meter fibre cable (LC) 3 Year Onsite Repair and Warranty 24x7, 4 hour response 2 4 1 Resources Building a High Availability and Disaster Recovery Solution using AlwaysOn Availability Groups http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj191711.aspx Hyper-V Fast Track Reference Architecture for IBM Flex System http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=tss1wp102278 Overview of AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff877884.aspx Prerequisites, Restrictions, and Recommendations for AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff878487%28v=sql.110%29.aspx SQL Server AlwaysOn team blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlalwayson/ Monitoring of Availability Groups http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff877954.aspx IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/flexsys/information/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.acc.8731.do c%2Fconfiguring_and_managing_storage_node.html IBM Support http://www.ibm.com/support IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node Installation and Service Guide http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/flexsys/information/topic/com.ibm.acc.8737.doc/dw1ko_book.pdf IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module Installation Guide http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/flexsys/information/topic/com.ibm.acc.cmm.doc/dw1ku_cmm_ig_b ook.pdf IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module User’s Guide http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/flexsys/information/topic/com.ibm.acc.cmm.doc/dw1kt_cmm_ug_p df.pdf IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module Command-Line Interface Reference Guide http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/flexsys/information/topic/com.ibm.acc.cmm.doc/dw1ku_cmm_ig_b ook.pdf IBM Flex System Power Guide http://www-03.ibm.com/support/techdocs/atsmastr.nsf/WebIndex/WP102111 IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 and EN4093R 10Gb Scalable Switches http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/tips0864.html SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 32 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch and Pass-thru http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/tips0866.html IBM Reseller Option Kit for Windows Server 2012 http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=AN&subtype=CA&htmlfid=897/ENUS212513&appname=totalstorage IBM Fast Setup http://www-947.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/docdisplay?lndocid=TOOL-FASTSET IBM x86 Server Cloud Solutions http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/x/solutions/cloud/index.html More detailed information on the Storwize V7000 disk system can be found in the IBM Storwize V7000 Introduction and Implementation guide Redbook at: http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpieces/abstracts/sg247938.html?Open Another excellent resource is the IBM Storwize V7000 Information Center at: http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/storwize/ic/index.jsp For more information about PureFlex System and IBM Flex System visit the following URL: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/pureflex/overview.html For information on creating a Windows Server 2012 failover cluster, please visit the following URL: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/clustering/archive/2012/05/01/10299698.aspx For best practices, tuning, and troubleshooting recommendations see the IBM Storwize V7000 Information Center, at the following URL: http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/storwize/ic/index.jsp SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 33 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA Trademarks and special notices © Copyright IBM Corporation 2012. References in this document to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in every country. IBM, the IBM logo, and ibm.com are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at "Copyright and trademark information" at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Intel, Intel Inside (logos), MMX, and Pentium are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. SET and the SET Logo are trademarks owned by SET Secure Electronic Transaction LLC. Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. Information is provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. All customer examples described are presented as illustrations of how those customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics may vary by customer. Information concerning non-IBM products was obtained from a supplier of these products, published announcement material, or other publicly available sources and does not constitute an endorsement of such products by IBM. Sources for non-IBM list prices and performance numbers are taken from publicly available information, including vendor announcements and vendor worldwide homepages. IBM has not tested these products and cannot confirm the accuracy of performance, capability, or any other claims related to non-IBM products. Questions on the capability of non-IBM products should be addressed to the supplier of those products. All statements regarding IBM future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Contact your local IBM office or IBM authorized reseller for the full text of the specific Statement of Direction. Some information addresses anticipated future capabilities. Such information is not intended as a definitive statement of a commitment to specific levels of performance, function or delivery schedules with respect to SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 34 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013
    • IBM Flex System Reference Architecture for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 HA any future products. Such commitments are only made in IBM product announcements. The information is presented here to communicate IBM's current investment and development activities as a good faith effort to help with our customers' future planning. Performance is based on measurements and projections using standard IBM benchmarks in a controlled environment. The actual throughput or performance that any user will experience will vary depending upon considerations such as the amount of multiprogramming in the user's job stream, the I/O configuration, the storage configuration, and the workload processed. Therefore, no assurance can be given that an individual user will achieve throughput or performance improvements equivalent to the ratios stated here. Photographs shown are of engineering prototypes. Changes may be incorporated in production models. Any references in this information to non-IBM websites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those websites. The materials at those websites are not part of the materials for this IBM product and use of those websites is at your own risk. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Reference architecture 35 © Copyright IBM Corporation 2013