About Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in
The Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in provides protection for Microsoft SQL Server. It configures Ipswitch Failover to protect the files and registry items used by SQL Server and also monitors aspects of the application and its environment that could affect availability.
Install/Uninstall Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in Via the Ipswitch Failover Manager
To install the Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in, follow the steps below:
- Unzip the Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in to the desired location.
- Launch the Ipswitch Failover Manager.
- Navigate to Applications: Plug - ins .
- Click on the Install button.
- Click the Browse button and navigate to the location of the SqlServerNFPlugin.dll file.
- Click OK to complete the installation.
To remove/uninstall the Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in, follow the steps below:
- Launch the Ipswitch Failover Manager.
- Navigate to Applications: Plug-ins .
- Select the desired plug-in to be removed/uninstalled.
- Click on the Uninstall button in the Plug-ins pane.
When the plug-in is uninstalled, the files are not removed. This is by design for future functionality and therefore the following workaround is provided:
- Copy the contents of the r2\plugins\<sponsor>\<version> folder to a different location (for example, C:\temp ).
- Delete the contents of the r2\plugins\<sponsor>\<version> folder.
- To reinstall the plug-in, when prompted for the location of the plug-in files, navigate to the new folder location (for example, C:\temp ).
Note: As an alternative, reinstallation can be accomplished by using the download files from the original download location after removing the plug-in.
The monitoring of SQL Server and its system environment can be broadly categorized into the following three areas:
- Availability Monitoring
- Performance Monitoring
- Database File Monitoring and Replication
Ipswitch Failover monitors the availability of a server by sending continuous heartbeat signals via the Ipswitch Channel to the other server in the pair. The “Yes I am alive” response ensures that the other server is connected and responding. The heartbeat signal interval is configurable from the Ipswitch Failover Manager.
Service monitoring ensures that the application services are available and servicing clients. The plug-in also provides a database availability test to ensure that the SQL Server instance is capable of responding to requests.
- Executes a stored procedure.
- Checks the SQL Server Instance is capable of responding within the designated period.
Note: The filter discovery task will also fail if an instance or database is unavailable because it needs to connect to SQL Server in order to determine the location of database and log files.
Ipswitch Failover can monitor general system performance and does so via the Ipswitch Failover System Plug-in. For information on monitoring general system performance, please see Ipswitch Failover System Plug-in Online Help.
Each instance of SQL Server runs as a separate service. The default instance runs as MSSQLSERVER , and named instances run as MSSQL$<instance name> . Scheduling operations for SQL Server are controlled by the SQL server agent which can present itself as SQLSERVERAGENT for default instances and SQLAgent$<instance name> for named instances. Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in monitors these services, and can react when they fail. The user may configure this reaction through the user interface of the Ipswitch Failover Manager under the Applications page.
Rules - The following Performance Monitoring Rules are installed by Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in:
- Default Instance Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
- Default Free Pages
- Default Instance Free Pages
- Named Instance Working Set
- Named Instance Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
- Named Instance Free Pages
- Named Instance Total Server Memory
- The default Buffer Cache Hit Ratio rule is triggered if the counter falls below 90% for 1 minute or more within a 30-minute period. All other rules are disabled by default.
The following rules depend on the SQL Server instance name:
- Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
- Free Pages
- Total Server Memory
To configure the Rules properly, the Condition field of the rules has to be edited to show the correct SQL server instance name: SQLServer for the default instance or MSSQL$InstanceName for the named instance.
Otherwise, the rule may become disabled with the error "Error creating counter SQLServer:[...]. Category does not exist".
To configure/modify Rules, follow the steps below:
- Using the Ipswitch Failover Manager, click on Applications: Rules .
- Select the desired Rule.
- Click on the Edit button at the top of the Rules pane.
Configure/modify the desired fields (listed below).
- Condition: (the condition being evaluated) For example, see the Note above.
- Duration: (the length of time the condition exists)
- First Failure: (action to take upon first failure) The default is set to Alert .
- Second Failure: (action to take upon second failure) The default is set to Alert .
- Third Failure: (action to take upon third failure) The default is set to Alert .
- Click OK to save the changes.
Note: This dialog is also used to Enable/Disable the selected Rule.
Database File Monitoring and Replication
When the Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in is installed, it will determine all current instances of SQL Server and their default locations for database files (Primary and Secondary data files and Transaction log files). It will also query the instance of SQL Server to determine any additional locations for database files, which may have been configured, for example, through the SQL Server Enterprise manager. These files will be protected, for example, their contents will be synchronized, and subsequent updates replicated to the passive server. During operations, administrators may add additional data and log files to existing databases, or indeed add entirely new databases to new file locations.
Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in will regularly (by default every two minutes) check for new database files or instances and add them to the set of protected files. This does not require any intervention by the user. The addition of new database files is likely to be an infrequent activity and thus the default time step that the Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in checks for such changes is deliberately set at a reasonably low frequency of 2 minutes. However, it may be necessary to alter the frequency of this check (while the application is stopped). This is achieved through the Ipswitch Failover Manager, by navigating to 'Application' screen and selecting the 'Tasks' tab. Expand the 'SQLServer' tree view, and selecting the File Filter Discovery item and then clicking on the Edit button in the Tasks pane. The dialog that is invoked reveals the Interval that the task will run in seconds. The default is 120 secs (2 minutes). This may be adjusted to suit, however it should not be decreased below about 30 secs, as this will create an unnecessary overhead, nor should it be increased greatly as this will create the possibility of a failure occurring in the time window between new data files being added and Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in detecting and protecting them.
- All registry data and program files.
- All installed SQL Server instances discovered at install time.
- All the databases for the protected SQL Server instances.
Tasks - The following Tasks are installed by Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in:
- Protected Services Discovery
- File Filter Discovery
- Registry Filter Discovery
To configure/modify Tasks, follow the steps below:
- Using the Ipswitch Failover Manager, click on Applications: Tasks .
- Select the desired Task.
- Click on the Edit button at the top of the Tasks pane.
Note: Interval is the only field available for configuration/modification and is measured in seconds (secs).
- Click OK to save the changes.
Note: This dialog is also used to Enable/Disable the selected 'Task'.
Protected Service Discovery
This is a list of all services that can be protected by this plug-in at install time or as part of periodic service discovery. When the plug-in is installed, it scans all services to see if they are in the automatic or the started state. After the plug-in has been installed, the Service Discovery Task will protect services in the Automatic state to protect a previously unprotected service, set it to Automatic . Please note that where a plug-in supports multiple vendor versions, some services may not be present in a particular version.
- Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)
- Task Scheduler (Schedule)
- Indexing Service (CiSvc) – SQL Server 2000
- Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)
- Search Service (MSSearch) - SQL Server 2000
- SQL Server Integration Services (MsDtsServer)
- SQL Server Browser (SQLBrowser)
Instance specific services
- SQLAgent$InstanceName (SQLAgent$InstanceName) – SQL Server 2000
- MSSQL$InstanceName (MSSQL$InstanceName) – SQL Server 2000
- SQL Server (Instance) (MSSQL$Instance)
- SQL Server Agent (Instance) (SQLAgent$Instance)
- SQL Server Analysis Service (Instance) (MSOLAP$Instance)
- Msftesql$Instance (Msftesql$Instance)
- SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)
- SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER)
- SQL Server Analysis Service (MSSQLSERVER)
- SQL Server Reporting Service (MSSQLSERVER)
- Microsoft Full Text Search Service (Msftesql)
The Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in will protect services and set them to manual.
The plug-in will determine at install time and at the configured discovery interval, the entire protected data set. Please note that exact filters will be based on the configuration of the application.
- All registry data and program files
- All installed SQL Server instances discovered at install time
- All the databases for the protected SQL Server instances
Automatic File Filter Discovery
This plug-in provides a filter discovery task.
- The plug-in will automatically protect all newly created databases for SQL Server
Note: The information provided in the DSN SQL Server connection file must specify a user account with a minimum of read access to the SQL Master database. The filter discovery task uses the DSN connection information to query SQL Server and create the file filters.
Installing a New Instance of SQL Server (recommended)
If you install a new instance of SQL Server after Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in has been installed, then this new instance must also be available on the Secondary machine. The safest method of ensuring that the installation and configuration are identical on both servers is to perform the following procedure:
- Shutdown Ipswitch Failover and leave the protected applications running.
- Install the new instance of SQL Server on the Primary server.
- Install an identical instance location/configuration on the Secondary server.
- Restart Ipswitch Failover.
- Using the Ipswitch Failover Manager, navigate to Applications: Tasks .
- For SQL Server, select the Protected Service Discovery periodic task and click the Run Now button.
- Check that the services of the new instance of SQL Server have been correctly added and marked as Running on the active server and Stopped on the passive server.
The Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in will automatically detect the services and files for the new instance.
Unsupported Components or Features
This plug-in does not protect the following application features or components:
Full Text Catalogue protection is disabled by default (protection is not recommended because of the presence of sparse files. It can be enabled from the Ipswitch Failover Manager.
- Navigate to the Applications: Plug-ins tab
- Select the SqlServerNFPlugin.dll
- Select the Edit button.
- Select the Protect the index catalogues check box and click OK .
- If new SQL Server Instances are created post install please refer to Section Installing a New SQL Server Instance.
- The Report and Analysis projects created with the Business Intelligence Development Studio are not protected by default. In order for them to be protected, a File Filter must be defined manually for the user location where they are saved. For more information on how to create File Filters from the Ipswitch Failover Manager, please refer to the Ipswitch Failover Administrator's Guide .
- SQL Server VSS Writer (SQLWriter) is a demand start service that is run when required.
- The Mssqlserveradhelper service is not monitored or protected because it is a demand start service.
- Jobs temporary directory - If you wish to have the Jobs Output files replicated between servers, create a file filter for the Jobs Directory.
Ipswitch Failover for SQL Server Plug-in