Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Changing IP Settings on an SQL Cluster

This simple five minute job during an implementation  really threw me.

To paint a picture there is a three node SQL cluster with two instances (2 Active nodes, one Passive) these are isolated from clients behind a firewall.

To facilitate a hardened firewall policy to permit only TCP 1433 to the instance resource group IP addresses, as well as  ensuring only the instance resource group IP address listens on that port (opposed to the default ALL IP’s setting) some changes are required to the network settings in SQL configuration manager.

On a standalone SQL server, it’s simply a matter of changing the settings using the Configuration Manager GUI, restarting the SQL service and the change takes effect. However when in a cluster the changes revert back to the previous ones immediately after clicking ok.

After venturing into this issue a bit more I discovered what I was trying to do wasn’t really documented any ware, but some other articles pointed me in the general direction of the joys of quorum in clustering. In a nutshell I was making a change on one box but as the registry settings being changed are managed by the cluster service the the other two nodes in the cluster won quorum and overwrote the settings.

To change these settings the cluster the reservation checkpoint for the registry path needs to be removed, the changes made in the registry and then the cluster reservation checkpoint added again.

The first step is to get the checkpoint name of the instance you are going to modify, run the following command:

Cluster res /checkpoints

Once you have the instance name, take the SQL server offline in failover cluster manager and run the following command:

cluster res "SQL Server (INSTANCENAME)" /removecheck: "Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.INSTANCENAME\MSSQLSERVER"

You should now edit the registry or use SQL configuration manager to make the changes you wish to make.
Personally I prefer to edit the registry as this enables you to delete the unused IP addresses and just leave the cluster IP in place, which is much tidyer.
The path to edit the registry settings is

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.INSTANCENAME\MSSQLServer\SuperSocketNetLib\Tcp\

Delete any of the IPx keys you don’t need but leave IPAll
To specify the port for the IP address to listen on, simply modify the TCPPort value, and remove the value from the TcpDynamicPorts

Once you are happy with the changes, run the following command to add the checkpoit back into clustering

cluster res "SQL Server (INSTANCENAME)" /addcheck: "Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.INSTANCENAME\MSSQLSERVER"

Bring the SQL Server resource back online and check SQL configuration manager, the changes should have taken affect.

As a result of this change, your firewall rules will be more secure as the massive dynamic port range doesn’t need to be permitted and if need be both SQL instances can be failed over to the one server without ports comflicting. There is also the added bonus that the IP configuration in SQL configuration manager looks a whole lot tidyer.