BizTalk : How To : Cluster BizTalk Server Databases

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If the BizTalk Server databases become unavailable, the BizTalk Server environment will not function correctly. To provide high availability, you can create a Microsoft SQL Server cluster for the BizTalk Server databases, as shown in the following figure.

BizTalk Server Database Tier

To create a highly available solution for the BizTalk Server databases, you must have at least two computers that are running SQL Server and a shared disk array in the cluster.
Determine the best cluster configuration for the BizTalk Server databases for your business needs. Here is a list of the options:
  • Active/passive. High availability for the BizTalk Server databases typically consists of two or more database computers configured in an active/passive server cluster configuration. These computers share a common disk resource (such as a RAID 1+0 SCSI disk array or storage area network) and use Windows Clustering to provide backup redundancy and fault tolerance.
  • Active/active. Windows Clustering and SQL Server allow you to run SQL Server in Active/Active mode where each node of the cluster is “active” and running one or more SQL Server instances. For example, this would allow you to have the MessageBox database on one node and all other BizTalk Server databases on the other node. This allows you to maximize cluster hardware usage, but an active/active SQL Server configuration should be used with care.

    Can each node simultaneously handle the load of all SQL Server instances during a SQL Server cluster node failover scenario? Are there enough CPU resources? Is there sufficient memory? What about network bandwidth? How about disk I/O contention?

    These are just some of the questions that need to be answered in order to determine if an active/active SQL Server cluster is right for your BizTalk applications. If it is determined that one node cannot handle all SQL Server instances in a failover scenario, an alternative is to use active/active/passive clustering.
  • Active/active/passive. The run-time processes write to the BizTalk Management database, MessageBox databases, Tracking Analysis Services database, BAM Analysis database, BAM Star Schema database, BAM Primary Import database, and BAM Archive database. Therefore, these databases are especially important if a disaster occurs, and must have greater priority when determining what databases to cluster. Only users or tools write to the other databases. For the MessageBox databases, you can consider an active/active/passive or active/active/active/passive configuration to minimize the hardware needed.
SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 SP1 Standard Edition supports 2-node failover clusters. If you decide to use the active/active/passive configuration on SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2008 SP1, you must use the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server.
Make sure you meet the following prerequisites before you start clustering the BizTalk Server databases.
  • When you create the domain groups for your BizTalk Server environment, you must create global domain accounts.
  • Configure the SQL Server cluster before you install and configure BizTalk Server. For more information about clustering SQL Server 2008 R2, see Getting Started with SQL Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering (
  • If you are also clustering the master secret server, configure that server first. For more information about high availability for Enterprise Single Sign-On, see High Availability for the Master Secret Server.
  1. Install BizTalk Server 2010 on a runtime server.
  2. Launch the BizTalk Server Configuration program. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010, and then click BizTalk Server Configuration.
  3. To apply a custom configuration, follow the steps in Working with the Custom Configuration Manager ( in BizTalk Server Help. To specify the SQL Server cluster for the BizTalk Server databases enter the name of the SQL Server cluster in the Databases dialog of the configuration.
  4. Complete the BizTalk Server configuration by following the instructions in Custom Configuration ( in BizTalk Server Help.
For more information about clustering BizTalk Server databases, see Improving Fault Tolerance in BizTalk Server by Using a Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster or Windows Server 2003 Server Cluster ( 
For more information about behavior of BizTalk host instances during SQL Server failover, see Behavior of BizTalk Server Host Instances during SQL Server Failover(
For more information about using SQL Server database mirroring with respect to BizTalk Server database clustering, see Use of SQL Server database mirroring or the Volume Shadow Copy service ( in BizTalk Server help.

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