Before you can create your AlwaysOn availability group, you must first configure your two or more server nodes as a Microsoft Failover Cluster. It’s a trivial task if you are not using shared disks. Follow along as I create a two node cluster with Windows Server 2008R2.

NOTE: This demonstration was done on a VMware vSphere 5.0 cluster. SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn’s clustering underpinnings work great on vSphere!

Launch the Failover Cluster Create Cluster Wizard.

My ultimate goal is to create the cluster virtual node db3. My two cluster nodes are db3a and db3b.

If you run the validation test, ignore any warnings about shared disks not being available for the quorum drive.

Name your virtual node name, and assign the network and IP address. You must have administrative privileges on the cluster within Active Directory, because this wizard creates an object in both Active Directory and DNS for these items.

The confirmation process is very straightforward.

It will take a bit of time to create the node objects on each of the two servers.

Look at that! The cluster has been established and the virtual node created. The warnings come from the lack of shared disks.

The cluster is up! It responds to pings appropriately.

The cluster is up and nodes are reporting that all is good.

Next step – AlwaysOn configuration!

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