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Defending Fort SQL Server

By: on July 7, 2015 in Consolidation, Consulting, Hyper-V, Live Migration, PASS, Presenting, Vmware

I’m seeing a common theme with a subset of our customers. It goes something like this: An enemy horde is on the horizon and the database team has banded together and barred the gates of Fort SQL Server to keep it at bay or die trying.

Unfortunately, the enemy is “change” and the DBAs have about as much chance of winning as cocker spaniel does in a fight against a pack of velociraptors. It really is just a matter of time.

The particular change du jour that some are stalwartly resisting is the encroachment of virtualization into the hallowed halls of SQL Server. This puzzles me because virtualization is a potentially beneficial change. However, conversations along those lines usually result in a “Keep that virtualization away from my SQL Server!” cry from these DBAs.

In computer history terms, virtualization is by no means a “new” technology. It’s been around for more than a decade. It has already been accepted as the foundation of the modern datacenter and the secret sauce for both public and private clouds. It is also the queen of the fully automated test environment.

Logic, logic, wherefore art thou logic? Can virtualization really be good for everything else, but not good for SQL Server?

Our customers that embrace virtualization and allow us to help them tend to find that it:

  • Adds almost no overhead (1-2% in most cases)
  • Provides some nice options for building (and rebuilding in DR scenarios) standardized servers from templates
  • Gives the only type of failover (either vMotion of Live Migration depending on your invading virtualization horde of choice) that keeps SQL Server’s hard earned self-tuning knowledge
  • Increases the available options for server consolidation which usually improves both hardware utilization and HA/DR options

That is not to say that the pathway to virtualization is a cakewalk which doesn’t have its challenges. Typically, there is new knowledge to be gained and new skills to master. Service monitoring becomes a must have to thwart the “noisy neighbor” scenario and other resource conflicts. At many companies, the DBAs become more reliant on the IT operations staff for certain tasks they previously owned – up to and including some types of failover. However, none of these is by any means terrifying to IT professionals. This is partially because no other field progresses as fast as computing, and over time we’ve gotten used to the pace of our changing technologies.

My business partner Allan has also seen quite a few of these SQL-under-siege situations. It is one of the main reasons that we are teaming up for a talk about virtualizing SQL coming up on Wednesday July 8 at noon EDT for the PASS Virtualization virtual chapter (http://virtualization.sqlpass.org/). If you are interested, please join us there. Click here to register.

Our goal is to help you understand what long-term benefits Hyper-V brings to the table so you will be leading the team doing the planning and deployment. In the end, a great Hyper-V implementation the best defense of all.


One response to “Defending Fort SQL Server”

  1. Partha Neogi says:

    really good topic to help people.

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