SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 11: File Share Witness

Now that we have our SQL AAG up and running, there’s still some configuration left to do. In this installment I cover SQL 2014 file share witness confiugration. In my example I’m doing a 2-node AAG, which means that we need a file share witness to help establish quorum. If you have a NAS appliance, you can easily create a share on there and use it. In my case I’m assuming 100% Windows, so we will be using a third member server as our FSW. There’s nothing too special about this FSW, except for some permissions. Storage space is very minimal.

Blog Series

SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 1: Introduction
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 2: VM Deployment
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 3: Service Accounts
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 4: Node A Install
SQL 2014 Always-On AG Pt. 5: Unattended Node B
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 6: Cluster Configuration
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 7: TempDB
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 8: Max Mem & Email
SQL 2014 Always-on AG Pt. 9: SQL Maintenance
SQL 2014 Always-On AG Pt. 10: AAG Setup
SQL 2014 Always-On AG Pt. 11: File Share Witness
SQL 2014 Always-On AG Pt. 12: Kerberos

Create File Share

1. On a WS2012/R2 member server (not either SQL server) open Server Manager, go to File and Storage Services, click on Shares, then from the Tasks menu select New Share. If you don’t have that option, add the File Server Role and wait for the installation to complete. No reboot is needed.


2. Select the SMB Share – Quick file share profile.

3. Select the appropriate volume the share will be created on.

4. Use a share name in the format of: <Cluster name>-FSW (e.g. SDSQL03-FSW).

5. Enter a description in the format of: <Cluster Name> Cluster File Share Witness.

6. Uncheck allow caching of share and enable encrypt data access.

7. Customize the permission, disable inheritance and remove all inherited permissions.

8. Give the cluster computer object (e.g. SDSQL03) full control. If you want, you could also give administrators access so they can peek inside.


9. Finish the wizard and wait for the share to be created.

SQL 2014 File Share Witness Configuration

1. On a SQL server launch the Failover Cluster Manager.

2. Right click on the root cluster object (e.g. SDSQL03.contoso.local), select More Actions and then click Configure Cluster Quorum Settings.

3. Select Select the quorum witness.

4. Select Configure a file share witness.

5. Enter the file share path. Click through the remainder of the wizard and verify the FSW was successfully configured.

6. Verify Quorum configuration is now using a file share witness.



In this installment we configured the SQL cluster to use a file share witness. This is needed when you have an even number of servers in the SQL AAG. You can use either a NAS appliance, or another Windows member server. In the final two installments we will configure Kerberos and SSL. Check out Part 12 for Kerberos details.

vCenter 5.5 U2 does not upport SQL AlwaysOn AGs afterall

VMware has just published a KB article (KB 2086946) [Temporally down] on using Microsoft failover clustering services to support high availability of vCenter 5.5 U2. My assumption for this support is the demise of the vCenter Heartbeat product. I appreciate VMware giving customers a new choice for vCenter high availability.

Slightly buried in this gem of a KB article, in the original version, was the new support for using SQL 2012 Always-On Availability Groups for the vCenter database! However, the KB was since pulled and I’m told by VMware it was published in error. In fact, AAGs have not been qualified and are not supported for the vCenter database. If you are a customer that wants vCenter DB SQL AAG support, then escalate to your TAM and make your opinion heard. In case you missed it, vCenter 5.5 does support the ‘traditional’ shared storage SQL cluster configuration for vCenter.

SQL AAGs are still supported on vSphere in the general sense. This new KB article was for the specific instance of the vCenter database. If you want to see the full support matrix for Microsoft high availability solutions, check out this article.

Prior to the KB being pulled it stated this: