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I have a 2-node cluster on SQL Server 2016 Standard with failover clustering configured with Dynamic Quorum.

There is one thing that made me confused: do we really need a Witness in this case?

Since I've enabled Dynamic Quorum, my cluster will not go down if one of the nodes goes down.

But some guys said, for the best practice, we still need to configure a Witness. So my question is: will a Witness make any difference?

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Dynamic quorum basically dynamically adjusts votes depending on available servers.

Each time when one of nodes goes down, dynamic quorum will remove the vote from that node. In your scenario you have 2 nodes only and dynamic quorum will automatically remove the vote from your passive node, so the 1st node will have the majority of votes. In planned maintenance scenario when you are shutting down the first node quorum will transfer the vote from first to the second, and remove it from the first node.

However in scenario where first node just crashes quorum does not have time to transfer the vote and your second node wont get to vote, which basically will just shut down your cluster.

Therefore in scenario with 2 nodes only, it is recommended to have a witness.

  • So in case of "shutting down", quorum still have a little time (until server really go off) to calculate and transfer the vote while in case of "crash", quorum suddenly lost connect to the node and can't calculate. Am i right? Which one of the below should i do? - Enable Dynamic quorum and configure File Share Witness - Disable Dynamic quorum and configure File Share Witness – The One Dec 14 '17 at 9:30
  • That is correct. Dynamic quorum is preferred option when you have even number of multiple nodes (4 +). In case of adding file share witness dynamic quorum has no purpose, hence disabling it would be my suggestion. – S4V1N Dec 14 '17 at 9:38
  • @S4V1N That is how I suspected it works, but I scanned through some of the TechNet pages on dynamic quorum and I never saw anything that made it clear. If you have such a reference, it would be great if you could add it to your answer. Thanks! – Tony Hinkle Dec 14 '17 at 14:24
  • itprotoday.com/windows-8/dynamic-quorum-windows-server-2012, petri.com/what-is-windows-server-2012-r2-dynamic-quorum, youtube.com/watch?v=2qtG3uAijLo hope this helps. Basically any of these are available just googling Dynamic Quroum – S4V1N Dec 14 '17 at 14:34
  • Kudos to @S4V1N. Never thought i could get a brilliant answer like this. – The One Dec 15 '17 at 1:30
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An odd number of votes will break a tie. It's always better to have a witness when you have two replicas for this reason.

You can learn more about quorum here:

When a subset of nodes cannot communicate with another subset of nodes (a split cluster), the cluster quorum configuration helps ensure that only one of the subsets continues running as a cluster. The subsets that do not have enough quorum votes will stop running as a cluster. The subset that has the majority of quorum votes can continue to host clustered roles. This helps avoid partitioning the cluster, so that the same application is not hosted in more than one partition.

  • I'm not sure if this break a tie or not. But with Dynamic Quorum, my cluster will not go down if one of my node go down. I don't need to configure any witness. – The One Dec 14 '17 at 5:09
  • If you look at @S4V1N's answer, that is addressed. – Randolph West Dec 14 '17 at 16:53

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