Is it possible to accomplish High Availability (HA) with two SQL Server Standard nodes ?

  • We can't use SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn without Groups as it has single point of failure by using the "single" database file
  • We can't use SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn with Groups because it's placed in Enterprise package and we don't have license for that
  • We can use any other SQL Server version but in Standard packaging level
  • We can't use mirroring because it requires a third SQL Server used as witness server

Any other suggestions ? I have tried to find an answer all over the internet and didn't find anything.


  • 1
    Log Shipping is another option. – RBarryYoung Dec 2 '13 at 15:07
  • 3
    What's the problem with having a third instance as witness in mirroring? – Remus Rusanu Dec 2 '13 at 15:10
  • Witness server requires additional license and VM, we have third VM that we can use but maybe it's to weak for SQL Witness server. Thoughts ? – khorvat Dec 2 '13 at 15:39
  • 2
    The witness can be an Express Edition, unless they've changed things. And there's no real processing/storage overhead imposed by acting as a witness. – Damien_The_Unbeliever Dec 2 '13 at 15:44
  • +1. Witness basically can be a very small instance using Express - it doesn ot really do anything except standing there and be a witness ;) – TomTom Dec 2 '13 at 15:47

Use Database Mirroring. Witness node is optional.


You may configure a failover cluster with virtual shared storage. There are guys who do the VSAN for Windows (however they call it "for Hyper-V" but don't get confused it works bare metal on Windows as well).


  • What happens to auto switching from secondary to primary mirroring node ? This happens automatically only when witness server is running or ? – khorvat Dec 6 '13 at 14:37
  • You don't need witness for failover. Also if your RTO/RPO are flexed out enough you may look @ Hyper-V Replica as it does support SQL Server (with some limitations for the scenario usage). – BaronSamedi1958 Dec 6 '13 at 15:07

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