If I currently have someName\instanceName on a standalone SQL Server and I want to migrate to a failover cluster, http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/sql-server/moving-a-standalone-instance-to-a-cluster-while-keeping-the-name-and-ip/ hints that I can give the cluster the network name someName but that page doesn't deal with instance names. On the other hand, Figure 8-10 on https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/articles/article.aspx?p=2224049&seqNum=2 shows an instance name (with the default value) suggesting that you can create named instances. What isn't clear to me from that page is whether sql-cluster refers to SQL-C\MSSQLSERVER (generically clusterName refers to hostName\instanceName) or if those three fields are independent and sql-cluster\MSSQLSERVER is a valid way to address that named instance on the cluster? (And, of course, if the "SQL Server instance name" was not the default but, say, myInstance, is sql-cluster\myInstance valid.) I've found conflicting hints and no conclusive or authoritative answers on the web.


You can use either a default instance or a named instance on a Failover Cluster. I have supported hundreds of clusters, most of them used named instances.

When connecting to it, use networkname\instancename. You can use other ways, but it makes most sense to use networkname since that moves to another node on failover.

  • Are you saying "it makes most sense" to use networkname\instancename and not hostname\instancename since the latter doesn't move on failover? – Chris Nelson Nov 29 '16 at 19:57
  • @ChrisNelson, yes use networkname\instancename. When I said "it makes most sense", I was referring to only the part before the backslash. If you use hostname\instancename or clustername\instancename, it's not going to work when they are not the server hosting the SQL instance. Use networkname\instancename since networkname follows where the SQL instance lives. – Tara Kizer Nov 29 '16 at 19:59
  • I'm sorry if I'm dense or dubious but the information I've gotten on the web has been all over the place... After filling out that form on host1 and host2, both part of myCluster, and specifying "SQL Server Instance Name" of myInstance on both hosts, any and all clients would use myCluster\myInstance to access the database and whichever host was the active one in the failover cluster would process the requests. Right? – Chris Nelson Nov 29 '16 at 21:33
  • @ChrisNelson, But what is the network name set to? Cluster name is not the same thing as the network name. – Tara Kizer Nov 29 '16 at 21:34
  • I don't know. You tell me. How do I (can I?) configure the cluster so existing connection strings which use someName\instanceName still work? – Chris Nelson Nov 29 '16 at 22:13

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