VMware ESX 2.5 or 3.0 Virtualizing SQL (2000 or 2005)

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SQL Server 2005
SQL Server Virtualization
VMware
VMware ESX
VMware ESX 2.5
First thanks for weighing in on this.... I support a department whose deployment of several department size SQL 2000 systems needed overhauling. I have recommended virtualizing their SQL because: 1. this is a department level database that has at best moderate use 2. It is currently and comfortably deployed on servers with 2GB of ram and processors of no more than 2 at 500 mhgz each 3. local storage for raid 5 on single volume with OS AND becuase my virtualized environment will be: 1. On a 28 disk SAN that virtualizes all the disks into one raid group for performance (also with write cache and LUM prioritization) 2. the VM for the new SQL will have three volumes: C for os and app RAID 10 E for DBs RAID 5 (with write cache) F for logs RAID 10 (with write cache) 3. Two virtual CPUs of 2.4 ghz each (AMD Opteraon 885s) will be allocated to the server 4. Two or more GBs ram can be allocated to the server I had hoped that becuase they have not stressed their older servers that this would okay with a fast disk subsystem and each of the two CPUs 4 time more powerful than one of their currently used ones.... How does it sound and what am I missing? Again thanks for your review.....
ASKED: September 12, 2006  4:42 PM
UPDATED: February 3, 2009  2:37 PM

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Good morning.

I guess I have to ask “the” question:
What do you hope to gain by virtualizing? Are you looking to consolidate SQL servers in order to reduce the number of physical servers?

If that’s the case, then a little leg work may be in order. You may want to do some performance trending on your current servers to determine average CPU and memory utilization.

If your databases require only marginal utilization of their current resources as you suspect, these physical servers may be prime candidates for virtualization, and therefore consolidation.

Hopefully this helps,

Jeff

Hello, somthing to think of in all of this is that you will want to use Raw diskmappings on the raid arrays or you will get no benefit from your arrays, as Jeff stated find out what is the biggest resource drain at current?

Disk IO/ Mem/CPU or NIC, also things to consider isthat VMware does not use active active on connections to your san so on fibre you are going to get 4gb (at present).

one thing to think of would be using DRS and affinity rules to keep certain SQL Vms away from each other and try to keep Memroy hungry servers with CPU intensive servers to split an equal load over physical machines. if you have ESX 3.5 use the consolidation tool to assess the SQL boxes however this does not measure NIC or disk IO unfortunatly however it is a start.

I have seen lots of succesful SQL production VM’s which have worked well, specifically write and read specific servers together.

Even the VirtualCenter instance can be virtulaised succesfully as HA does not use it and will bring it back up in the event of a failure.

hope this helps

Paul

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  • Jerry Lees
    I have seen successful virtualization of development and QA Microsoft SQL servers. We did not virtualize our production servers. This limitation was because we needed more than 2 processors and were not yet running VMWare Infrastructure 3.x, which supports 4 way SMP virtual machines. 10 years from now I'll, likely regret this statement ("640K ought to be enough for anyone" - Bill Gates), but I personally think for production SQL servers you're going to get better performance out of a stand alone dedicated system.
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