My DBA delivered a 2 server WSCF for me to connect my sharepoint farm to. I have a load balancer name and a windows cluster name, and 2 server names. I realize I need to connect either to the cluster name or the load balancer name but which would be the correct choice and why?

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    Hi, with WSFC, do you mean that an Always On availability group was set up on top of the created WSFC? And could the load balancer name be the listener name? If these statements are true, then you should connect via the listener name. – Randi Vertongen Mar 21 '19 at 13:58
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    Sounds like a great question for your DBA :) – LowlyDBA - John McCall Mar 21 '19 at 14:08

Let's assume this is just a Windows Server Failover Cluster and that there is no Always On availability group involved.

The terms are often used somewhat interchangeably, so I don't know what your DBA or server admin calls them. But in the Failover Cluster management console, there are the following terms and concepts.

  • Cluster Name. This is the name for the Windows Server Failover Cluster, and is independent of any resources (SQL in your case, but other resources (DHCP, file server, generic services) can be added to a cluster). This is not what you want to point any SQL-using application to.
  • Node Name. This is the name of each server in the cluster. This would be used if you want to connect to a specific member of the cluster, without regard to whether the clustered service (i.e., SQL) is running on that node or on another one. Generally used for OS management tasks, this is also not what you want to point your SQL-using application to.
  • Server Name. This is where it really gets confusing. Within each role of a cluster (SQL Server in your case), there is a resource line item called "Server Name". That's the name (and associated IP address) that the role listens to. That name/address is the one that swings back and forth between the nodes whenever there is a failover. This is the one that you want to point your SQL-using applications to. (The IP address associated with this Server Name, and sometimes the name itself, is often called a "Virtual IP Address" or "VIP", referring to the idea that the IP address doesn't belong to a specific server.)

I suspect that the person providing this information to you is using "load balancer" to refer to the Server Name that you should point your application to. The term "load balancer" is a bit mis-used in this case, because there isn't really any balancing happening -- either by round-robin or by resource capacity.

  • Thanks for that info that helps a lot. There is an AAG associated with this build as well. I assumed he had mis-used the term load balancer and it was really as you described "Server Name". That's what I connected to and its working great so far. I wanted to verify because I could have connected to the Cluster Name but that just felt incorrect. – Mr T Mar 21 '19 at 15:54

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