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SQL Server ETAP HA/DR Handling

AWS Test scenario

A SQL Server Failover Cluster is configured. This is a standard SQL server Enterprise Edition setup option: AWS RDS does set this up automatically when you configure a multi-availability zone:

Endpoints are exposed and are slightly different in terms of DNS:

When a failover is triggered (in RDS console you can ask for one during a reboot), the endpoint address DNS entry will be updated. This adds additional recovery time based on TTL in DNS, the client DNS cache, etc. and can vary wildly depending on local conditions.

Modern MSSQL clients can connect to the listener address instead: this address exposes 2 IPs at once that the client can check in parallel. This entirely eliminates the DNS latency part of recovery: it can be the difference between a connection timeout vs slowdown in terms of downstream availability.

This option is usually referred to as MultiSubnetFailover and is supported by newer clients like the .NET driver implicitly or explicitly with the JDBC driver to aggressively retry faster than the operating system and DNS update would normally allow it to.

When we tested with the listener address in a Guardium ETAP, the connections were broken and we could only make it work with the older endpoint address. I expect it only actually tried one IP or got confused by two being present.

It does appear that Guardium ETAP essentially supports this client behavior for when an ETAP (not SQL Server) should go out of service. The ETAP address has multiple DNS records for a client to try, just like the original SQL listener endpoint.

Additionally, a separate option in the MS SQL HA space are Read-Only intents/replicas. This gives some more flexibility that certain connections can be routed to the non-primary database, whether to reduce load or to allow some workloads to succeed during a primary database outage.

  • Guest
  • Apr 19 2021
  • Future consideration
  • Admin
    25 Sep 01:42am

    Hello - thank you for your submission. We are looking into this request further, we will get back to you with our findings.


    Product Management Team

    IBM Data Security / Guardium

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