Cluster Group in Failover Cluster Manager- Windows Server 2008/2008R2??…

Where did Cluster Group go starting Windows Server 2008? Did microsoft really removed the concept of Cluster group starting Win Server 2008??…

If you worked a long time on Windows Server 2003 Clusters, you will definitely know what a cluster group is. In 2003, we used to have a concept called “Groups”. One of the groups which it displays is “Cluster Group”, when you open your Cluster Administrator(Cluadmin). If you are new to clustering,  just to keep it very simple Cluster group is the Core of your Cluster. If your Cluster group is down, basically your entire cluster(all the applications, resources etc) are down.

Things got drastically changed starting Windows Server 2008. Basically we should no longer call it as “MicroSoft Cluster Services(MSCS)“. They renamed it to simply “Failover Cluster Services”. IMHO, this makes it very clear that we are not referring to NLB(Network Load Balancing) – which is one of the flavors of Clustering Services offered by Windows Servers.

Note: Failover Cluster and Network Load Balancing Cluster are completely two different entities, no way related to each other.

Anyways, let’s see where can we see the cluster Group in Failover Cluster Manager in Win Server 2008. Assuming you’ve already Installed FCS(Failover Cluster Service), once you navigate to your Administrative tools and open Failover Cluster Manager(GUI to Manage your Failover Cluster), you’ll see something very similar to the below Screeshot.

Typically we expand our Cluster and navigate to our Services and Applications, Nodes, Networks to manage our SQL Servers! But you are not able to see the actual Cluster Group anywhere as shown in the below Screenshot!

Soooo….where do i get that info!!…

All you’ve to do is to Navigate to the Main Windows cluster and expand Cluster Core Resources(This will be collapsed by default) as shown below.

Once Expanded, you could see something like the below screenshot, where we can see our Cluster Group 🙂

If you are more CMD/PS person, One Simple Way to get the list of all the Groups within our Cluster from CMD is just typing “CLUSTER GROUP” from your Command Prmt! You can see the Below Screenshot from one of the nodes in my Failover Cluster.

As you can see, we still have the Core Concept of “Cluster Group”! Don’t get confused with “Available Storage” being Offline from above Screenshot, It has nothing to with your current allocated SAN Drives(Storage). I Don’t have any extra(additional) storage available in this cluster as of now(See below Screenshot to see what I mean, as you can see all of my drives are allocated to something or other), that’s the reason this is listed as Offline for now, I believe it will appear ONLINE once i create a new SAN Drive and add to this Cluster(Pls. correct me If I’m wrong.)

Soo…the Bottom Line is…We do have Cluster Group Concept, but in stealth Mode 😉


Installing/How to Install MySQL 5.5.16 on Windows?

Well, Let’s deviate a little bit from SQL Server in this Blog Post. In this Post, let’s see how to Install MySQL on a Windows Machine! Before doing that, let me tell you why/how one gets benefited knowing multiple RDBMS Platforms.

Reason 1: Well, exposure to other products besides SQL Server is an Obvious Reason to Explore other RDBMS Softwares.

Reason2: Gaining Knowledge is never a loss 🙂 There’s no harm pushing it into our brains as much as we can.

Reason3: SQL Server Vs Oracle!!!….Personally I love SQL Server(May be because I’m administering SQL Servers, I did SQL 2000, 2005/2008/R2 and always carried the passion and Zeal and am totally into Microsoft), but I was always very curious to Know how things work in Oracle. How they achieve so and so in Oracle. What is SQL Server Missing when compared to Oracle, What is Oracle missing when compared to SQL Server and So on….

Reason 4:  Why MySql?? MySql is an open source, well, not 100%, since it was acquired by Oracle in year 2010. MySql has almost all the functionality very similar to Oracle. I can download “MySQL Community Server” for absolutely free and Install on my Laptop and learn/Explore how things work with a very very less pain compared to Oracle, but I’ll be learning almost similar concepts as of Oracle. (You could get more benefited if you Install on a Unix Machine)

Reason 5: Below is a screenshot from “Gartner Group” on trends/Market Share of RDBMS platforms.

Image Source

Yeyyyy……..SQL Server is almost there leading the Market share 🙂  Now Oracle acquired MySql, So…What would be my choice if i want to learn any RDBMS besides MS SQL Server?? Ofcourse MySql 😉

Anyways….If you are interested in Installing MySql, you can follow the rest from now on!

Step 1: Go to and download MySQL Community Server. Choose your appropriate Operating System/X64/X86 as shown in the below Screenshot.

Step 2: I’ve downloaded 64-Bit Windows msi file. Double Click on the msi file, you’ll be welcomed with the Installation screen as seen below.

->Next -> Read the License agreement -> Next. Choose Custom(to change the defaults and control what exactly we need to be Installed) as shown below.

Step 3: Change the Default Paths(Optional). You can see the default Paths selected by MySQL as “C:|Program files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.5\”.

I’ve changed the path to “C:\MySql\” to keep it simple. Make sure that you changed both for MySQLServer and Server Data Files.

Next -> Install as you can see below.

Now, you should be getting a window with “Next Button” as the only option to select as shown below.

Click Next ->Next and now you should see “Completed MySQL Server 5.5 Setup Wizard” window.  Keep the “Launch the MySQL Instance Configuration Wizard” button checked as shown below.

Step 4: Now you will be welcomed with Instance Configuration Wizard as shown below.

Choose “Detailed Configuration” as shown below

Now, I selected “Developer Machine” considering many SQL Server Instances already I’ve on this machine!. It’s your choice, all it matters is how your CPU/Memory resources are consumed my MySql Server. You can see this in the below Screenshot.

Step 5: This is a crucial decision now! If you want only Databases, which are not necessarily needed to obey ACID Properties, you can choose “Non-Transactional Database only”.( With this Option, InnoDB Storage Engine will not be Installed). If  you want truly ACID Database, you can choose “Transactional Database Only” (This will make InnoDB Storage Engine as the Main Storage Engine). If you want both, with no exceptions/issues, Choose “Multi Functional Database”.

This is a huge huge difference from Installing MS SQL Server Database Engine!

Step 6: Now, Choose where you want your InnoDB TableSpace (Data files) to be Placed. See the below Screenshot.

Step 7: Now, choose how many concurrent connections you would want to allow to connect to your MySql Instance. You can choose either DSS(OLAP) or OLTP or also you can define your Own number. I’ve chosen OLTP as you can see below.

Step 8: Network/TCP IP Settings. By default MySQL TCP Port for communications is 3306(Remember, it’s 1433 for SQL Server). You can change it if needed, make sure that you’ve checked “Add an exception to this Port” Button as shown below.

Step 9: Now, Collation. Leave it to default unless you really understand what you are trying to do by changing character set!! You can see below.

Step 10: Choose Install MySQL as a Windows Service and Check “Include BIN Directory in Windows Path” checked as shown below.

Step 11: Choose “Root” User password. This is similar to “sa” in SQL Server. Choose a very strong and Secure Password. You can see below!

Step 12: Click Execute and Keep your Fingers Crossed 🙂 If everything goes well, it should be pretty quick and you will be getting the below Screen!

Some times It might just enter “hung state” annoyingly!!! In that case, try disabling Windows Firewall/Firewall from any Antivirus Software temporarily and try to run MySQL Configuration Wizard again or even Uninstall/Re-Install(with the exact same options/paths what you have chosen earlier) sometimes.

Now, as you can see in the below Screenshot, I’ve mysql as a windows Service.

Let’s actually try to Connect to MySQL using our Root User! (you should be seeing MySQL command Line Client 5.5 in our Program Files.) Once I clicked on it, I was asked to provide root user Password.

Once I provided the pwd, I was able to see the below Screen.(you can see I’m in MySQL> Prompt)

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! We did it Guys! Now we are all set to Explore/ Learn MySQL ( Baby Oracle 😉 )

Hope this is useful. Cheers!!

How to Create a Suspect Database???….

Yes, You heard it right! How to Create a SUSPECT Database. You might be thinking, why would someone make a Database Suspect! I got you! Well, This post is not to teach you how to make your Production Database as “SUSPECT” 😉  I thought of sharing this Info, to fight a PANIC situation where you see a SUSPECT Database in your environment.  Create a SUSPECT Database in your play area and practice how to recover from that situation, get familiarize with a SUSPECT DB and play with it and try to recover from it far before a real Disaster hits your Prod Database(I hope not).

In this post, I’m not going to show how to recover from “SUSPECT DB”, Instead just to simulate a scenario where your DB goes into SUSPECT State. Let’s begin!!!…

Couple of months ago, I’ve written a small blog post(see here) on how to simulate 824 Error using Hex Editor. I’ll be using the same tool to achieve our goal here in this post.

Simple Method:

Step 1: Create a Dummy Database to play with.

Step 2 : Shutdown your SQL Server DB Engine Service.

Step 3: Open your LDF file with Hex Editor and edit it manually with few Bogus entries.

Step 4: Start your SQL Instance, you should be seeing your Database marked as Suspect by SQL Server.

Alternate, more practical method:

Step 1: I’ve created a dummy database to play with “Suspect_tst”.

Step2: I’ve started an explicit transaction(but didn’t committed or Rolled Back) and left it as an Open transaction and did a Checkpoint.

Step3: Force Shut down your SQL Server.

Step4: Open your ldf file in Hex Editor and choose a random row and fill them with some random bogus values same as in method 1.

Step5: Start your SQL Server, You will be seeing a Suspect Database 🙂

You can see the below Screenshot what i meant in Steps 1 and 2.

Now, as of Step 3, all you’ve to do is just open a new query and type “SHUTDOWN  WITH NOWAIT;“(Never ever run this on Production, Trust me, you’ll immediately loose your job:D)

for Step 5, as you can see in the below screenshot, I’ve opened ldf file and filled in 2nd Row with all 1’s.

Save and now Start your SQL Server Instance! Once SQL has been started, query your DB Status as shown below.

Tadaaaaa! We did it….:)

Now, you know how to simulate this most disastrous situation, play with this database for recovery, loosing as less amount data as you can. Cheers!

SQL Server 2008 SP3 Released……….:)

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack3 Released:

Howdy!! Microsoft has released Service Pack3 for SQL Server 2008. This contains CU 1 to 4 of SQL Server 2008 SP2 + few interesting fixes to issues which customers have repeated.

As per MSFT, Few Interesting Enhancements in this SP are:

  • Enhanced Warning messages when we create any Maintenance Plan with Shrink DB           Option Enabled! Yayyyyyyy…… 🙂
  • Exact Number of rows sent in Data Flows will be logged in SSIS logs .
  • Increased and Reliable Setup experience/performance.
  • Making Database Enabled in the case of dropping your Certificates!! (It doesn’t mean that you can loose your Certificates, after all they are the most Critical pieces of the Encryption Puzzle)

For More Information and downloading/testing yourself , Please visit Microsoft Download Center.