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Virtualization for SQL server - good or bad

Hi

I'm wondering what people's expreiences are of Virtualising SQL server. I'm using VMWare ESXi server and so far I've been very impressed with. Just have a few Windows 2008 servers and a couple of Linux servers on it. I not sure if SQL server is a good idea for virtulisation sharing resources with other systems espically Disks. I may be wrong. I am thinking of putting our test/dev SQL server on but not the production servers, but I'm open to any arguments for it.

Anyone have any real world experinces of SQL server as a VM.

Thanks

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asked Dec 17 '09 at 05:38 AM in Default

Keith gravatar image

Keith
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4 answers: sort voted first

Just to add my 2 "peneth"..

Im my prod environment is running on the latest VMWare ESXi software (other virtualization software is available ;-) ).

Initially when I started my current company I was a "bare metal" dba and previously had heard bad stories from clients that ran database/aplication in a virtual environment.

Upon starting my 1st question was "why"..? And the next thought was how to put a business case together on removing it from the VM environment! After a few days I got to know the VM expert within our company and querying the reasons (consolidation and HA). He began explaining the "in's and out's" of the VM hypervisor and all of the HA options. These included VMotion, DRS, the ease of adding mem/hdd etc plus others.

I personally dont have an issue with VM environments in production. All I would add is make sure that the infrastructure team know their sh!t when it come to configuring a VM for a SQL Server (i.e. raw mapped luns, dedicated CPU, etc). Shared disk pools are a no no IMO

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answered Dec 17 '09 at 08:50 AM

sp_lock gravatar image

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See this question for some discussion on this.

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answered Dec 17 '09 at 06:01 AM

Kev Riley gravatar image

Kev Riley ♦♦
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We've been running VM's for SQL Server in pre-production environments for about two years now. It works extremely well. Performance is more than adequate. Maintenance is much easier. It's been a great experience.

We've only run a few production instances on a VM. They were chosen to be on VM's because they were a lighter load or less important than other instances. We have noticed that, while the VM's run very well, there is a noticeable difference between a VM and a physical machine.

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answered Dec 17 '09 at 08:35 AM

Grant Fritchey gravatar image

Grant Fritchey ♦♦
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I'd agree with the points that Grant made above. Virtualization is great for test environments. I've also found that it's great for legacy servers that have a very light load. When I say "legacy", think about those SQL 2000 (or older, /wince) boxes that are running databases/apps that nobody knows how to support running on seven year old hardware. I've had very good experiences virtualizing very old apps on very old hardware and it helps me sleep better at night.

On the other hand I have not had a good experience yet virtualizing anything that has a high I/O load. The only production servers I have that are virtual are legacy.

Hope that helps.

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answered Dec 21 '09 at 11:06 AM

BrianDBA_Dancer gravatar image

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asked: Dec 17 '09 at 05:38 AM

Seen: 2840 times

Last Updated: Dec 17 '09 at 06:01 AM