Walt Disney once said, It all started with a mouse. Walt s quotation, believe it or not, could apply to this book, except I can say, It all started with a white paper. Take a trip in your time machine to the fall of 2000. I was going to write a white paper for Microsoft SQL Server on SQL Server 2000 failover clustering. I started it, but then it turned into a chapter for the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit (among others I wrote or had a hand in, including Five Nines and Log Shipping ) and finally became a white paper proper in 2001 (with more stuff than was in the Resource Kit chapter). But it did not end there ”there were training courses, presentations, and so on. Like it or not, SQL Server 2000 high availability and I were joined at the hip. Thing is ”I did like it.
Through it all, I have seen my own knowledge blossom (and be challenged) from focusing on just one specific technology to taking in the entire scene from a holistic point of view. What you have in your hands represents three years of work and research condensed into one volume. I certainly could not have written this book as it is a year or more ago, even though I wanted to and thought I could.
My main motivations for this book were not only painting the whole picture, but also the huge need I saw for a book like this in my interactions with customers over the years. Whether I was working with one customer or speaking to hundreds at a conference like TechEd or SQL PASS, it was clear to me that people wanted real (and practical) advice and guidance that spoke to them ”not something that came from an ivory tower. I have both a DBA and a development/quality assurance background, so I could relate to that need. In fact, a lot of the documentation I create stems from that background. As the saying goes, keep it simple, stupid. Anything I create needs to explain things in a manner that not only makes sense but also talks to many audiences and helps people get their jobs done without wading through pages of information to find the one nugget they need. Practical always trumps theoretical.
The truth is, talking about high availability as it relates to SQL Server is hard to do in 40 pages of a white paper or one chapter of a Resource Kit, as I quickly found out. Topics need to breathe, like a fine wine. Microsoft Windows gets a small section in my failover clustering white paper or in most other SQL Server only “based documents, but it gets a dedicated chapter here. And let s face it ”it is sometimes impossible to track down multiple white papers, Microsoft Knowledge Base articles, and so on, to get that whole story. Until the release of this book, the best view of SQL Server 2000 high availability released to date has been the Patterns and Practices guide from the Prescriptive Architecture Group (PAG) at Microsoft. It s a great reference for those who want a concise look at high availability and SQL Server 2000.
No document ”whether 10 pages or 1,000 pages ”will cover everything. Many of the topics in this book could easily expand to be their own book (and maybe will be some day). Some of the topics are covered as far as they can be developed. The bottom line is that I want to make sure that with the information in the chapters and anything on the CD-ROM, you, the reader, get extreme value for your purchase and can use this book as a reference, and also that it proves useful in your daily tasks by providing job aids, worksheets, and so on.
Although SQL Server high availability material was published before this book and certainly will be again afterward, I hope you get as much from reading this book as we did from writing it.