Blog Post

Virtualizing Your Business Critical SQL Servers Anthology


This week I completed a six-part blog series (more like five plus one) on the path to virtualizing your business-critical SQL Servers at the blog series at my employer, House of Brick Technologies. Every day I fight the fight in my day job for database virtualization in the enterprise. I frequently present a session on ‘Virtualizing Your Business Critical SQL Servers’ at SQL Saturdays across the country, and wanted to better verbalize the topic in a series of posts to continue to educate you all, those who care about absolute datacenter perfection.

Part 1: Myths and Misconceptions

Throughout this series we will be dispelling the various myths and misconceptions around this topic. We will also present specific details around our best practices for a business critical SQL Server virtual machine, operating system, and instance. We will also talk through the process of how to prove that in an apples-to-apples comparison of a physical and virtual SQL Server, the performance is at least equivalent.

Part 2: Understanding the Physical Workload

This installment continues our discussion, detailing how to understand the actual workload of the physical server. To properly virtualize a server, the performance of the physical server must be understood so that you know how to objectively demonstrate the raw performance of the virtualized equivalent. This means that a proper performance benchmarking methodology should be created, and system baselines be maintained. These benchmarks are then repeated periodically and turned into baselines. When virtualizing your business critical SQL Servers, the virtualized proof-of-concept (POC) server is benchmarked and compared against the baselines of the physical server to objectively demonstrate equivalent performance.

Part 3: Designing the Virtual Environment

This post continues our discussion with details around how to architect the VMware infrastructure and the new virtual machine so that it meets or exceeds the physical server specifications. These best practices are a direct result of years of virtualizing SQL Server, and include all of our lessons learned on infrastructure and configuration.

Part 4: Installing and Configuration of SQL Server

This installment continues our discussion detailing how to configure a new SQL Server instance on VMware to get the most performance out of the infrastructure you have just constructed.

Part 5: High Availability and Comparing the Performance

I discuss high availability with SQL Server on VMware, and this included SQL Server clustering and SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn.

Part 6: Disaster Recovery and Comparing the Performance

I discuss Disaster Recovery of your SQL Servers while running on VMware. I wrap up the post with a discussion of techniques used to help demonstrate the power of virtualization and discuss the benefits to those individuals that might continue to fear (or not understand) virtualization.

The overall goal of this series of blog posts is to educate the public on why they should at least NOT fear virtualization. It is the future. Educate yourself and learn to embrace it rather than backing away from it.


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