We need to replicate an environment in Azure, running a clustered DB. The current physical environment is running on Windows 2003 and MS SQL Server 2005 R2.

We know that there's no OS/DB support but that it's possible to install these versions are run there.

However, how do you do the clustering side? There's no 'shared disk' as such. I believe in newer versions you use something called SIOS datakeeper that manages replication for you (for example, in a SAP set up: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/workloads/sap/high-availability-guide). Can you use this on Windows 2003, with SQL 2005, in Azure?

Thanks Ross

  • 2
    I totally understand this is probably a limited option scenario for you, but do you really want to run an unsupported operating system in the cloud, assuming you actually care about the database here? I'd force folks to stay as-is or upgrade. The potential here for a disaster, even if you can do it, would be huge. Apr 20, 2020 at 14:53
  • It's a long story but basically the software CANNOT be upgraded or migrated to another OS or DBA and it's only a 'temporary' solution... but thanks for the concern, we're fully aware of the risks involved - arguably it's at high risk leaving it where it is Apr 21, 2020 at 7:15

1 Answer 1


Shared Disks are currently in preview. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/disks-shared

But if you have no choice but to run old, unsupported software, you shouldn't attempt anything as complicated to implement and operate as cluster. Just install the software on a single VM with premium disks, and live with the 99.9% uptime SLA for a single Azure VM. And with a single stand-alone VM, you may have an easier time supporting a more current OS or SQL Server version.

Put another way, a failover cluster on with Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005 will definitely be more expensive, and will probably have worse uptime than a single standalone VM. With a cluster you have to properly configure and be able to troubleshoot the quorum model, the Azure load balancer that supports the floating IP, and you must have a domain with highly-available domain controllers. The likelihood that you get all this right, and have the ability to troubleshoot and repair it if it gets messed up is just too low. And if you can't figure something out, you won't be able to get help.


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