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Virtualization and the existential angst of the DBA


Virtualization and the existential angst of the DBA

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Tony Davis
Tony Davis
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Virtualization and the existential angst of the DBA
Keith Hays
Keith Hays
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I have been a SQL Server DBA for about 12 years. I have experience with both VMWare, hyperv, and of course physical. The biggest lie being told to business is that they should plow a bunch of money into virtual licenses and all problems are solved. I understand why the lie works; most in business don't understand what a database server really is in the first place. If they did, they would realize that in almost all cases VM'ing a database server is a completely redundant. Database servers by their nature are already virtual. I manage thousands of databases that map to thousands of applications and the number of databases/instances requiring a a dedicated OS can be counted on with two fingers.

On the application side:
While I think in many cases VM'ing applications is/can be a good idea, large servers with a TB of ram are not cheap, they run about 100k right now. SAN arrays are most assuredly not cheap by any definition between 1 and 3 million for a small one. Applications that were running on small servers using local disk (the cheap servers) are now running in VM technologies on the most expensive disks systems you can imagine, no matter how valuable the application is to business.
Jo Pattyn
Jo Pattyn
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Good point. Virtualization has many benefits: easy migration, lab testing, flexible in hardware resource, not so dependent on hardware-age

My mayor gripe with virtualization is the licensing model some software vendors use. If you have more than x cores than you need our super expensive license.
If you buy a modern cpu with 6 cores you need to pay license fee for all of then, doesn't matter if the virtual machine with the software on only uses 2. If you run it in a failovercluster you have to pay twice(2*6) as the cluster is viewed as one whole.
A minor is the added complexity of resource usage/influence tracking.
Keith Hays
Keith Hays
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The licensing model is changing for SQL Server this year 2012. CPU licensing and server/cal is going away for enterprise. licensing is moving to per core with a minumum of 4 cores per cpu and all cores must be licensed. For vm, all cores in the farm must be licensed and you must have software assurance or each guest can be licensed with a minumum of 4 cores per guest.

standard will still have server/cal, but maxes out at 20 cores

data center and workgroup will no longer exists
web will be for hosters only.
Keith Hays
Keith Hays
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Jo Pattyn (12/17/2011)
Good point. Virtualization has many benefits: easy migration, lab testing, flexible in hardware resource, not so dependent on hardware-age

My mayor gripe with virtualization is the licensing model some software vendors use. If you have more than x cores than you need our super expensive license.
If you buy a modern cpu with 6 cores you need to pay license fee for all of then, doesn't matter if the virtual machine with the software on only uses 2. If you run it in a failovercluster you have to pay twice(2*6) as the cluster is viewed as one whole.
A minor is the added complexity of resource usage/influence tracking.


if your main issue with vm is licensing, you are in for an interesting year. My primary issue with vm'ing SQL Server is that no matter how many cores you pay for its a waste of money on vm.
Keith Hays
Keith Hays
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for those trying to avoid this performance and administration nightmare:

1. consolidate your databases onto like instances for workload type
2. consolidate Instances onto clustered physical servers
3. have plan to implement 2012 geo-clustering for site recovery

by the time you finish step 1, you will no longer be a candidate for vm in all but the smallest environments. Many DBA's have allowed vm to ruin their environments, which they will ulitmately have to undo as the pendulum swings back the other direction, due almost entirely to the proliferation of small instances of SQL Server running on individual small servers.
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