I mean can the nodes of MS SQL Server failover clustering be geographically separated and besides high availability also provide disaster recovery?

up vote 13 down vote accepted

By itself, no: clustering relies on shared storage. A failover cluster with shared storage looks like this:

Failover cluster

All 4 of the components - the 2 servers, the switch, and the shared storage - should be located in the same data center.

Disaster recovery is about maintaining availability even when you lose a data center. That means you need the same infrastructure pictured here, but in yet another data center, with some kind of mechanism keeping the data in sync between those environments.

Options include:

  • Storage replication
  • Always On Availability Groups
  • Log shipping
  • Database mirroring

But all of these are above and beyond plain ol' failover clustering.

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