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We are currently running a working SQL Server 2005 Failover cluster, with 2 nodes. We are now in the process of replacing the servers in that cluster with 2 new servers running SQL Server 2008, my question, should I add the new servers to the current cluster and then retire the old servers or create a new cluster and then copy the databases to the new servers?

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migrated from Jan 2 '12 at 20:24

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Personally, if there is no paper from Microsoft I would test each scenario (that is, set up 2 boxes with 2005 then 2 more with 2008). If you need a failover cluster you want to be sure it works. If you have to plan your downtime you will even know how long it takes. – Stephan B Jan 2 '12 at 14:10
Assuming your apps are easy to reconfigure and you have the storage space I would migrate your databases to the new cluster not for a technical reason but purely so there is a clear roll back path in the event of a problem. If you don't have the storage for 2 copies; add them into the cluster and then roll the old servers out after that. – u07ch Jan 2 '12 at 14:21
@u07ch: that should be an answer... – gbn Jan 2 '12 at 15:17

It would be cleaner and potentially more reliable to build your new SQL 2008 cluster first on new hardware. Do a test migration by restoring your databases from backups into your new cluster.

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