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I started working in a small company which have three separate databases, for three different systems. They are SQL Server 2008, 2012 and 2014, installed in different servers.

We'd like to set up an AlwaysOn AG to replicate into another offsite server (one server only). Is it possible to create 3 availability groups from different servers and SQL versions into a single SQL Server 2014 instance?

I think I'll have troubles setting up the WSFC from multiple origins to a single server.

Is there any other way to fix this issue, since we only have a single offsite server to replicate our systems?

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    2008 does not support Availability Groups; its a 2012+ feature.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:29
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    Also, if you did fail over to the 2014 instance, you'd never be able to fail back over to the older instances since the databases would have been automatically upgraded during failover.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:31

4 Answers 4

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It is possible, provided that:

  • all servers run the same post 2012 version, preferably 2014 and all patched to the same SP/CU.
  • all servers are licensed to Enterprise Edition
  • all servers are in the same domain, or a within domains that trust each other

Perhaps you are interested in Transactional Replication instead? This would support a heterogeneous configuration (2008, 2012, 2014), crossing domain boundaries via mirrored NT accounts, does not require Enterprise licensing everywhere. You need to explicitly set up the 'published articles' (ie. what tables get replicated).

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No it is not possible to set up three availability groups of different SQL Versions (I think that is your real question). It is possible to set up an availability group solution to meet your needs, however, but you would have to have all servers at the sames Windows Server level (2012R2 preferred) and SQL Server Level (SQL2012+).

Availability Groups is like mirroring, so each server has an instance with identical databases which are synchronized across all of the instances, including the off-site instance in your case. You then (generally) connect through an Availability Group listener which is configured to point to the primary replica. The primary can automatically move to one other instance (e.g. if there is a hardware failure) or can move to any other instance in the availability group manually.

If you are just looking to replicate the data from the three databases I would recommend Log Shipping. You can ship from previous SQL versions to SQL 2014 and it only requires Standard Edition. Once you set it up it is pretty rock solid, and you can even read from the secondary DBs if you select the Stand By mode. You will not, however, be able to Log Ship back to the older versions from the SQL 2014 off-site server so it is not a great solution for DR.

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It is not possible to logship from old to newer SQL version AND use readonly, only standby is possible. This is since SQL will not be able to upgrade the logshipped secondary since it is readonly

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Sorry it's a bit late but feel it is worth adding this for people looking through for this. Agree with the comments above about same versions SP/OS etc. but if the question really is looking for the answer to offsite, provided you meet the version requirements, offsite servers can be included in an availability group from SQL 2012 onward (the functionality is much improved in SQL 2014 and above). Also Enterprise edition is required to allow 3 servers in a group and for anything other than a basic version of HA. In 2016 this can only be done from the command line and is read only on the secondary server. You also can't backup the secondary copy in basic mode.

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