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I like to know which option to choose in the setup.exe in SQL Server 2012/2008? What I have here is Windows Active/Active Cluster setup with one quorum and one msdtc configured. I installed my first node by choosing "New SQL Server failover cluster installation", now I am not sure what to choose on the second node. On the second node should I choose the same "New SQL Server failover cluster installation" OR choose "Add node to a SQL Server failover cluster" option. Remember it is going to be A/A SQL Server Cluster. Appreciate your answers.

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Please don't use the term active/active - there's no such thing and it implies that both nodes can be running the same instance at the same time. Either you want a single instance failover cluster, where one node is active with the instance and the other is a standby waiting for things to wrong on the first node, or you want a multi-instance cluster, in which case each node has a different instance that is active, and in the event of a hardware failure, that instance will fail over to the other (at which point the "good" node will have two active instances). –  Aaron Bertrand Jan 24 '13 at 22:14
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You want to choose "Add node to a SQL Server failover cluster". When creating a Failover Cluster Instance (FCI), you will always do one initial cluster installation for the instance, then add nodes to that installation.

Keep in mind that Active/Active and Active/Passive as descriptors is very misleading. By it's very nature, each SQL Instance you install can only be active on a single node at any one time. To leverage multiple physical nodes at the same time, you will need to install multiple named FCIs to your cluster.

For example, let's assume a two node cluster. If we install a single named FCI to this, our layout would look like this:

NODE1:  CLSTSQL01\SQLServer01 (Active)
NODE2: 

This would be the result of you performing one "New SQL Server Failover Cluster installation" with the additional node additions for each node in your cluster. Now let's add a second instance to it so we can utilize each node. For this, we would install a second FCI to the cluster and end up with something like this:

NODE1:  CLSTSQL01\SQLServer01 (Active)
NODE2:  CLSTSQL02\SQLServer02 (Active)

Now, keep in mind that in a failover situation, on either node, the SQL instances could end up on the same node. For example, if NODE1 failed:

NODE1: <<DEAD>>
NODE2: CLSTSQL01\SQLServer01, CLSTSQL02\SQLServer02 (Active)

This is the basics of how you would arrange your instances. You will need to monitor your cluster if you want to make sure your instances are properly balanced across your nodes.

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Mkie Fal, this is exactly what I needed. Thanks for a quick answer. –  Kal Raz Jan 24 '13 at 20:36
    
That's a very thorough answer in such short time. Nicely done! @KalRaz if the answer works for you, then mark it as answer (the V sign near the up/down votes). –  Marian Jan 24 '13 at 20:41
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+1 and if you do have imbalanced nodes I wrote a startup procedure a while back that can help automate this. sqlblog.com/blogs/aaron_bertrand/archive/2009/09/18/… –  Aaron Bertrand Jan 24 '13 at 22:15
    
Thanks Aaron, I read your article it is very helpful. –  Kal Raz Jan 24 '13 at 22:46
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