TL;DR: What possible solution(s) are there to practice AlwaysOn feature on SQL server 2014 installed on Windows 10 Home edition?

I am learning Database Administration on my own and have installed Trial version of SQL Server 2014 on my home laptop for 'playing around'. Going into Configuration Manager I found that I need to have Windows Server 2008 or later OS to work with AlwaysOn. Is there any way to bypass this requirement (with any patch or service pack) or what other solution can anyone kindly recommend.

Thanks in advance

3 Answers 3


SQL Server 2016 will allow for Availability Groups without a domain, but sorry, I don't think your operating system is going to cut it.

To support your scenario, you could put an eval of a proper server OS in a virtual machine or dual boot scenario, but to really test AGs, you'd need multiple copies of Windows in order to understand failover, availability modes, etc. And if you're trying to beef up your skills for a potential job, this edge case scenario is probably not the type of thing a company serious about HA/DR would have any interest in, because they're unlikely to be avoiding domains...

  • I agree with Aaron. If you can get your hands on Win 10 Pro, you can use Hyper-V and spin up a lab environment. It's definitely worth it to build the DC and DNS yourself and will really help you learning all the ins-and-outs of AGs. I use Win 10 Pro, Hyper-V (comes with Pro edition), Server 2012R2 eval and SQL 2014 Dev edition. Dec 7, 2016 at 20:58

You can use Microsoft's Virtual Labs to practice :

Virtual labs enable you to quickly evaluate and test Microsoft's newest products and technologies through a series of guided, hands-on labs that you can complete in 90 minutes or less. There is no complex setup or installation required, and you can use virtual labs online immediately for free.

Some of the virtual labs require an Azure or Power BI trial account (noted below). Please set up your trial account and then return to this page to launch your virtual lab.

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Yes, need minimal Windows 2008 Server with clustering enabled. I'm using Oracle VirtualBox for my playgarden (1 DC, 1 Server that acts as SAN with iScsi, and 2 VM's as Node) I use Windows 2012R2 evaluation version an d SQL Server 2014 evaluation) It works fine. You need a lot of RAM in your laptop.

Alwayson on on Windows 10 Home edition will not work.

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