I am patching SQL server, going from SP1 to SP3, on a cluster while following Microsoft's instructions on how to do it.

Every single place I read tells me to do the following:

  1. Pause the passive node
  2. Update the passive node
  3. Resume the passive node

And then it goes on, but when I try step number 2, I get the following error in the analysis before actually updating:

Not clustered or the cluster service is up and online

If I try to do the update without pausing the node everything works fine, but I don't think that's a safe way to go.

What am I doing wrong here?

update: I was actually following Windows itself patching instructions which states that the node should be paused. The instructions on how to patch SQL don't include pausing/resuming the node. But still, I believe this would be a best practice since something can happen to the active node making the cluster attempt to failover to the node being patch, with the results of that being unknown to myself.

Does anyone know what would happen?

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    Windows patches or SQL Server SP/CUs? I've never paused a node for SQL patching...2008 and later - patch passive node (B), failover, patch new passive (A)...done. The link is for Windows – Kevin3NF Feb 16 '17 at 19:00

2008 and later - patch passive node (B), failover, patch new passive (A)...done.

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    What happens if for some reason the cluster tries to failover to node B while updating it? – ranbo Feb 16 '17 at 19:10
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    Exceptionally rare but possible...I honestly don't recall what happens if SQLServr.exe tries to start while being patched...hopefully the installer has a lock that would prevent SQL from even trying to come online. – Kevin3NF Feb 16 '17 at 19:16
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    You can just remove the node as a possible owner, which would prevent failover. – Nic Feb 16 '17 at 19:21
  • @Nic I read about that but didn't find out how to do this. Could you give me some light? – ranbo Feb 16 '17 at 19:31
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    What version of Windows? If not 2012 R2 then you'll probably need to use PowerShell. – Nic Feb 16 '17 at 19:48

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