DH2i DxEnterprise 19.5 Software: MSSQL HA Instances for Linux on Azure Quickstart Guide

Download the PDF


This quick-start guide describes how to set up and configure a MSSQL HA (FCI) with shared disk solution for DxEnterprise running in Azure. Using this guide, the user will create an availability set and virtual machines, configure Azure shared disks, and create and configure an Azure load balancer that will allow access to the resources assigned to the DxEnterprise Vhost.

Create the Availability Set and Virtual Machine

  1. Login to the Azure Management Portal.
  2. Search for Availability Sets using the top search bar, then select Add.
  3. Assign the availability set to a resource group and give it a name.
  4. Select Review + Create in the bottom-left corner, then select Create.
  5. Search for DxEnterprise in the top search bar and select one of the DxEnterprise offers available under Marketplace.
  6. Under Select a software plan, choose an operating system and select Create.
  7. Configure a virtual machine template and assign it to the availability set.
    1. Assign the VM to the same resource group as the availability set and give it a name.
    2. Under Instance Details > Availability options, select Availability set.
    3. A new drop-down box will appear. Select the availability set created in step 4.
    4. Setup an authentication type.
    5. Under Networking, select Create New and set the SKU of the public IP address to standard. NOTE: There is an option under network settings to place the virtual machine behind an existing load balancing solution. Do not select this option.
    6. Select Review + Create, then Create
  8. Repeat steps 7a-f for additional VM(s).
  9. The availability set has been created with VMs assigned to it. Return to the Azure homepage by selecting Microsoft Azure in the top-left corner.

Install DxEnterprise

To install DH2i DxEnterprise on Linux, please reference the following documentation:

Activate the Server Licenses

  • sudo dxcli activate-server AAAA-BBBB-CCCC-DDDD

Set a Cluster Passkey (First node installation)

  • sudo dxcli cluster-set-secret

Create a Cluster

Join two or more nodes to the DxEnterprise cluster using the “sudo dxcli join-cluster” command. If prompted to join via NAT proxy, input “no”, input the IP address of the cluster node you wish to join, and then enter the cluster passkey.

  • sudo dxcli join-cluster

Install Microsoft SQL Server

To install Microsoft SQL Server on Linux, please see the below link from Microsoft Docs, select the correct operating system and follow the steps.

Configure Storage

Present Storage

Note: Please ensure proper presentation of storage to nodes. If there is storage that is not managed by this DxEnterprise cluster presented to the nodes, it is possible to overwrite or corrupt the data held on that storage.

DxEnterprise supports any storage that is SCSI-3 Persistent Reservation compliant. The below examples are specific to the Azure Shared Disk feature.

Create and configure Azure Shared Disk

On July 16, 2020, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Shared Disks.  Azure Shared Disks is the industry’s first shared block storage in the cloud. Azure Shared Disks are available both on Ultra Disks and Premium SSDs.

Note: there are various limitations for Azure disks that can be used as shared disks. For example, the VMs and the disks must be residing in the same Availability Zone for regions that support Availability Zone/Set, or Proximity Placement Groups. Thus, it’s important to provision appropriately as they cannot be changed after the creation.

Before an Azure shared disk can be used, the VMs must have its Ultra disk feature enabled. From the Azure Portal, go to the Disk property of the VM and enable the Ultra Disk Compatibility.

Ultra disk feature can also be enabled via Azure CLI:

  • az vm update -g <resource_group> -n <vm_name> –set additionalCapabilities.ultraSSDEnabled=1
  • To deploy an Azure disk (e.g. Ultra disk) as shared disk that is shareable across multiple VMs, specify the maxShare parameter to a value greater than 1.
  • az disk create -g <resource_group> -n <disk_name> –size-gb <desired_size> -l <location> –sku UltraSSD_LRS –max-shares <number_of_VMs_sharing>
  • Once the shared disk is created with maxShare>1, it can be attached to the VMs via Azure CLI:
  • az vm disk attach –resource-group <resource_group> –vm-name <vm_name> –name <disk_name>

Manage the Disk(s)

DxEnterprise leverages native file system (NTFS/ext4/xfs) and shared storage technology to coordinate access to a pool of disk resources in the cluster. Managing a disk puts that disk under DxEnterprise control. To manage a disk, use the “sudo dxcli add-disk” command. The “sudo dxcli get-disks” command can be used to look up a diskid of interest.


dxcli add-disk <disk_id> [label]


Name Description Required
disk_id The ID of the disk True
label The unique label for the disk False


sudo dxcli add-disk 50842140-be32-d3a7-45d4-3999bf3ad3a8 “Cluster Disk 1”

Create a Volume

Create a volume on the managed disk using the “sudo dxcli create-volume” command.


dxcli create-volume <disk_id>,<size_in_bytes>


Name Description Required
disk_id The ID of the disk True
size_in_bytes The size of the volume to create in bytes. True


sudo dxcli create-volume 50842140-be32-d3a7-45d4-3999bf3ad3a8,1073741824

Format the Volume

Format a volume on the managed disk using the “sudo dxcli format-volume” command. The “sudo dxcli get-disk-detail <disk_label>” command can be used to look up a volume ID of interest.


dxcli format-volume <volume_id> <fstype> <label> <block_size> <quick_format:true|false> <compression:true|false> [optional_parameters]


Name Description Required
volume_id The ID of the volume. True
fstype The file system type. [FAT|FAT32|exFAT|EXT3|EXT4|NTFS|UDF|ReFS|XFS] True
label The label for the volume. True
Block_size The block size in bytes. [512|1024|2048|4096|8192|16384|32768|65536] True
quick_format:true|false Whether or not to perform a quick format. True
compression:true|false Whether or not to enable compression. True
optional_parameters Optional parameters from format.com. False


sudo dxcli format-volume 3409ed39-60c1-4f49-8186-dfface26e2a1 EXT4 Volume1 4096 quick_format:true compression:false

Assign a Mount Point for the Volume

Assign a mount point to the volume using the “sudo dxcli set-mountpoint” command.


dxcli set-mountpoint <volume_id> <mount_point>


Name Description Required
volume_id The ID of the volume True
mount_point The mount path. True


sudo dxcli set-mountpoint 3409ed39-60c1-4f49-8186-dfface26e2a1 /mnt/volume1

Create a Vhost

DxEnterprise uses Virtual Hosts (Vhosts) to provide failover support and high availability. A Vhost virtualizes the network name and IP address associated to a particular SQL Server Instance, file share, and/or service. Instead of using the network name and IP address of a physical server, a Vhost is created and assigned a unique name/virtual IP-address pair. Clients access the databases associated with an instance via the Vhost name or IP address; they do not need to know which node is running the SQL instance. When a Vhost is configured, the user will need to specify at least one node to participate in the Vhost. It is recommended to create A and PTR records for each Vhost in DNS for resolution as well as add Vhost entries to each node’s local hosts file.

To add a Vhost, use the “sudo dxcli cluster-add-vhost” command.


dxcli cluster-add-vhost <vhost> <vips> <nodes> [autofailback] [priority[1-5]]


Name Description Required
vhost The name of the Vhost. True
vips The virtual IP(s) for the Vhost (comma separated list for multiples). The use of a loopback address ( is supported, but must be preceded by an asterisk (*). True
nodes The node(s) to add to the Vhost (comma separated list for multiples). True
autofailback Set autofailback option, or leave blank if autofailback is not desired. False
priority The priority order of failover between Vhosts (1 is the highest and 5 is the lowest). False


sudo dxcli cluster-add-vhost vhost1 dxemssql1,dxemssql2

Manage a Vhost Diskgroup

A diskgroup is a logical set of disks that are added to a Vhost. When a disk is added to a Vhost diskgroup, the disk will be set online on the active node and offline on all other nodes. If there is a failure of a disk within the diskgroup, the Vhost will failover onto the next available node in the cluster.

To assign a disk to a Vhost, use the “sudo dxcli vhost-set-diskgroup” command.


dxcli vhost-set-diskgroup <vhost> <disk_ids>


Name Description Required
vhost The name of the Vhost. True
disk_ids A full list of pipe (|) delimited disk IDs to add to the diskgroup. True


sudo dxcli vhost-set-diskgroup VHOST1 50842140-be32-d3a7-45d4-3999bf3ad3a8

Add a SQL instance to a Vhost

When a SQL Server instance is added to a Vhost, DxEnterprise virtualizes the network name and IP address associated with the SQL Server instance creating a Virtual SQL Server instance. Clients can then access the Virtual SQL Server instance via the Vhost\instance name.

Assigning a SQL Server instance to a Vhost creates a managed instance. To add a SQL instance to a Vhost, use the “sudo dxcli add-instance” command.


add-instance <vhost>\<instance> <port> <sql_data_path> <sql_log_path> [sql_login] [sql_pass] [keep]


Name Description Required
vhost The name of the Vhost. True
instance The name of the SQL instance. True
port The port to be used. True
sql_data_path The path for the SQL data. True
sql_log_path The path for the SQL logs. True
sql_login A sysadmin user for the SQL instance. False
sql_pass The password for the SQL sysadmin user. “dxcli encrypt-text <pass>” command can be used to generate encrypted string. False
keep Specify this parameter to keep the current SQL data. False


sudo dxcli add-instance vhost1\mssqlserver 1433 /mnt/volume1/data /mnt/volume1/log sa Gks+GJplFmUbTLlBy4wPmw==