JDBC driver support for High Availability, disaster recovery

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This article discusses Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server support for high-availability, disaster recovery: Always On availability groups. For more information about Always On availability groups, see SQL Server 2012 (11.x) Books Online.

Beginning in version 4.0 of the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server, you can specify the availability group listener of a (high-availability, disaster-recovery) availability group (AG) in the connection property. If a Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server application is connected to an Always On database that fails over, the original connection is broken, and the application must open a new connection to continue work after the failover. The following connection properties were added in Microsoft JDBC Driver 4.0 for SQL Server:

  • multiSubnetFailover

  • applicationIntent

Specify multiSubnetFailover=true when connecting to the availability group listener of an availability group or a Failover Cluster Instance.


multiSubnetFailover is false by default. Use applicationIntent to declare the application workload type. For more details, see the sections below.

Beginning in version 6.0 of the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server, a new connection property transparentNetworkIPResolution (TNIR) is added for transparent connection to Always On availability groups or to a server that has multiple IP addresses associated. When transparentNetworkIPResolution is true, the driver attempts to connect to the first IP address available. If the first attempt fails, the driver tries to connect to all IP addresses in parallel until the timeout expires, discarding any pending connection attempts when one of them succeeds.


  • transparentNetworkIPResolution is true by default
  • transparentNetworkIPResolution is ignored if multiSubnetFailover is true
  • transparentNetworkIPResolution is ignored if database mirroring is used
  • transparentNetworkIPResolution is ignored if there are more than 64 IP addresses
  • When transparentNetworkIPResolution is true, the first connection attempt uses a timeout value of 500 ms. Rest of the connection attempts follow the same logic as in the multiSubnetFailover feature.


If you are using Microsoft JDBC Driver 4.2 (or lower) for SQL Server and if multiSubnetFailover is false, the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server attempts to connect to the first IP address. If the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server cannot establish a connection with first IP address, the connection fails. The Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server will not attempt to connect to any subsequent IP address associated with the server.


Increasing connection timeout and implementing connection retry logic will increase the probability that an application will connect to an availability group. Also, because a connection can fail because of an availability group failover, you should implement connection retry logic, retrying a failed connection until it reconnects.

Connecting with multiSubnetFailover

Always specify multiSubnetFailover=true when connecting to the availability group listener of a SQL Server 2012 (11.x) availability group or a SQL Server 2012 (11.x) Failover Cluster Instance. multiSubnetFailover enables faster failover for all Availability Groups and failover cluster instances in SQL Server 2012 (11.x) and will significantly reduce failover time for single and multi-subnet Always On topologies. During a multi-subnet failover, the client will attempt connections in parallel. During a subnet failover, the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server will aggressively retry the TCP connection.

The multiSubnetFailover connection property indicates that the application is being deployed in an availability group or Failover Cluster Instance and that the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server will try to connect to the database on the primary SQL Server instance by trying to connect to all the IP addresses. When MultiSubnetFailover=true is specified for a connection, the client retries TCP connection attempts faster than the operating system's default TCP retransmit intervals. This behavior enables faster reconnection after failover of either an Always On Availability Group or an Always On Failover Cluster Instance, and applies to both single- and multi-subnet Availability Groups and Failover Cluster Instances.

For more information about connection string keywords in the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server, see Setting the Connection Properties.

Specifying multiSubnetFailover=true when connecting to something other than an availability group listener or Failover Cluster Instance may result in a negative performance impact, and isn't supported.

If the security manager isn't installed, the Java Virtual Machine caches virtual IP addresses (VIPs) for a finite period of time, by default, defined by your JDK implementation and the Java properties networkaddress.cache.ttl and networkaddress.cache.negative.ttl. If the JDK security manager is installed, the Java Virtual Machine will cache VIPs, and won't refresh the cache by default. You should set "time-to-live" (networkaddress.cache.ttl) to one day for the Java Virtual Machine cache. If you don't change the default value to one day (or so), the old value won't be purged from the Java Virtual Machine cache when a VIP is added or updated. For more information about networkaddress.cache.ttl and networkaddress.cache.negative.ttl, see https://download.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/net/properties.html.

Use the following guidelines to connect to a server in an availability group or Failover Cluster Instance:

  • The driver will generate an error if the instanceName connection property is used in the same connection string as the multiSubnetFailover connection property. This error reflects the fact that SQL Browser isn't used in an availability group. However, if the portNumber connection property is also specified, the driver will ignore instanceName and use portNumber.

  • Use the multiSubnetFailover connection property when connecting to a single subnet or multi-subnet, it will improve performance for both.

  • To connect to an availability group, specify the availability group listener of the availability group as the server in your connection string. For example, jdbc:sqlserver://VNN1.

  • Connecting to a SQL Server instance configured with more than 64 IP addresses will cause a connection failure.

  • Behavior of an application that uses the multiSubnetFailover connection property isn't affected based on the type of authentication: SQL Server Authentication, Kerberos Authentication, or Windows Authentication.

  • Increase the value of loginTimeout to accommodate for failover time and reduce application connection retry attempts.

If read-only routing isn't in effect, connecting to a secondary replica location in an availability group will fail in the following situations:

  • If the secondary replica location isn't configured to accept connections.

  • If an application uses applicationIntent=ReadWrite (discussed below) and the secondary replica location is configured for read-only access.

A connection will fail if a primary replica is configured to reject read-only workloads and the connection string contains ApplicationIntent=ReadOnly.

Upgrading to Use multi-subnet clusters from database mirroring

If you upgrade a Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server application that currently uses database mirroring to a multi-subnet scenario, you should remove the failoverPartner connection property and replace it with multiSubnetFailover set to true and replace the server name in the connection string with an availability group listener. If a connection string uses failoverPartner and multiSubnetFailover=true, the driver will generate an error. However, if a connection string uses failoverPartner and multiSubnetFailover=false (or ApplicationIntent=ReadWrite), the application will use database mirroring.

The driver will return an error if database mirroring is used on the primary database in the AG, and if multiSubnetFailover=true is used in the connection string that connects to a primary database instead of to an availability group listener.

Specify application intent

You can specify the keyword ApplicationIntent in your connection string. The assignable values are ReadWrite (the default) or ReadOnly.

When you set ApplicationIntent=ReadOnly, the client requests a read workload when connecting. The server enforces the intent at connection time, and during a USE database statement.

The ApplicationIntent keyword doesn't work with legacy read-only databases.

Targets of ReadOnly

When a connection chooses ReadOnly, the connection is assigned to any of the following special configurations that might exist for the database:

  • Always On. A database can allow or disallow read workloads on the targeted availability group database. This choice is controlled by using the ALLOW_CONNECTIONS clause of the PRIMARY_ROLE and SECONDARY_ROLE Transact-SQL statements.

  • Geo-replication

  • Read scale-out

If none of those special targets are available, the regular database is read from.

The ApplicationIntent keyword enables read-only routing.

Read-only routing

Read-only routing is a feature that can ensure the availability of a read-only replica of a database. To enable read-only routing, all of the following apply:

  • You must connect to an Always On availability group listener.

  • The ApplicationIntent connection string keyword must be set to ReadOnly.

  • The database administrator must configure the availability group to enable read-only routing.

Multiple connections that each use read-only routing might not all connect to the same read-only replica. Changes in database synchronization or changes in the server's routing configuration can result in client connections to different read-only replicas.

You can ensure that all read-only requests connect to the same read-only replica by not passing an availability group listener to the Server connection string keyword. Instead, specify the name of the read-only instance.

Read-only routing might take longer than connecting to the primary. This is because read-only routing first connects to the primary, and then looks for the best available readable secondary. Due to these multiple steps, you should increase your login timeout to at least 30 seconds.

Connection pooling

When using the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server in combination with a connection pooling library, you should consider the following points:

  • If you have read-only routing configured and a pool of read-only servers that you want to distribute load over, connection pooling will reduce the number of opportunities for new connections to spread over the target servers.
  • To avoid a higher load on any single server in a pool, choose pool options that encourage an even distribution of connections across the pool.
  • Make sure your connection pool is configured with a connection lifetime. In the event a read-only replica is unavailable when a read-only connection is made, the configuration should ensure that connection is eventually closed and re-established to a read-only replica when one becomes available again.

New methods supporting multiSubnetFailover and applicationIntent

The following methods give you programmatic access to the multiSubnetFailover, applicationIntent, and transparentNetworkIPResolution connection string keywords:

The getMultiSubnetFailover, setMultiSubnetFailover, getApplicationIntent, setApplicationIntent, getTransparentNetworkIPResolution, and setTransparentNetworkIPResolution methods are also added to SQLServerDataSource Class, SQLServerConnectionPoolDataSource Class, and SQLServerXADataSource Class.

TLS/SSL certificate validation

An availability group consists of multiple physical servers. Microsoft JDBC Driver 4.0 for SQL Server added support for Subject Alternate Name in TLS/SSL certificates so multiple hosts can be associated with the same certificate. For more information on TLS, see Understanding encryption support.

See also

Connecting to SQL Server with the JDBC driver
Setting the connection properties