Most DBAs don't think of their job as an adventure, but after installing their first SQL Server 2008 cluster, they may want to reconsider. Unlike most aspects of the DBA's job, the task of installing, configuring, and administering a SQL Server 2008 cluster really can be an adventure, with the attendant excitement and danger lurking in the most unexpected places; and, as in most adventure stories, the outcome is uncertain.
You might think we're telling you can't just follow a bunch of steps and get clustering going for your company. Actually, you can, but the problem is that literally hundreds of steps must be executed correctly and in the right sequence. This can be a challenge. You'll find, though, that after doing a cluster once, it will be very easy to repeat the process.
To rephrase this for emphasis: If you want to have a successful SQL Server 2008 cluster, you will need to spend time on the following tasks:
Studying all aspects of clustering and mastering all of its intricacies.
Researching hardware and software configurations to identify what will work best for your organization.
Configuring the operating system.
Configuring SQL Server 2008.
Administering and troubleshooting the production SQL Server 2008 cluster.
If all of this hard work and attention to detail doesn't scare you away, you are ready to read this chapter as the first step of your adventure.
With this chapter's tried-and-true information, ...