One of the most customer requested features in SQL, from as far back as SQL 2012, has been Always On Availability Groups. This takes disaster recovery and high availability to a new level by enabling multiple copies of the database to be highly available, enabling the possibility of Read-Only workloads and enabling the ability of offloading management tasks such as backups. Unlike database mirroring, Always On Availability Groups allow for failover of a group of databases in a single SQL Server instance.
This step-by-step details the creation of a SQL Server 2016 / 2017 Always On Availability Group to ensure high availability of mission-critical databases.
Step 1: Windows Failover Cluster Feature Installation
The Windows Failover Cluster feature needs to be added to all machines running SQL Server instances that will be configured as replicas. The following steps will add the feature to machines running Windows Server 2016:
Step 2: Enabling Windows Failover Clustering Configuration for SQL Server
At this point, proper Active Directory rights are required to configure the Windows Server Failover Cluster. Microsoft provides a complete listing of different Active Directory permissions able to create a Windows Server Failover Cluster. Take a moment to review the Step-By-Step Guide to Configuring Accounts in Active Directory for more details.
The following steps will configure Windows Failover Clustering:
Step 3: Enabling the SQL Server 2016 Always On Availability Groups Feature
Work can now start in enabling the Always On Availability Groups feature in SQL Server 2016 now that the Windows Server Failover Cluster has been created. All SQL Server instances need to be configured as replicas in said Availability Group.
The creation of the SQL Server Always On Availability Group is now complete. Do note that any additional new databases will need to be manually added.
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