What You Need To Know About SQL Server Virtualization 

Enterprise-scale solutions are continuing to be in demand. With millions of data being exchanged within different organizations and all over the internet, database administrators are being kept busy. Most organizations understand the importance of having a well maintained IT infrastructure because they know that it’s one of the most important tools a business needs to reach success. Some may think that database managers and administrators are just there to make orders and be bossy, but most administrators will totally disagree. Managing servers requires lots of work, man hours and dedication. Administrators need to be on their feet to prevent crashes or any other issues that can bring down the servers resulting in big losses for the enterprise in terms of work time and capital.

The Importance Of Server Virtualization

One essential issue most database administrators and IT experts have been facing is virtualizing the SQL servers. Today, most organizations understand the importance of implementing SQL virtualization. Based on studies and other expert opinions, virtualization plays a big part in increasing the ROI (return on investment) through server consolidation. SQL virtualization greatly speeds up the delivery of new servers within the enterprise by eliminating the need to acquire, setup and install new hardware for each new application. Most importantly, it helps in minimizing the in-house server workload from the physical hardware. This in turn enables increased availability in enhancing infrastructure and disaster recovery capabilities.

Workload consolidation from multiple servers into a single server enhances the ROI for your servers by driving up the rate of hardware utilization. Several studies have shown that the average rate of hardware utilization of a typical server is in between 10%-15%. If you’re going for server virtualization, it will increase to between 75%-85%, which makes it more efficient when using the computer resources that an organization has acquired.

Issues In SQL Server Virtualization                 

Just like in any application, changes in the system will pose many challenges. Consolidating multiple workloads can present many performance challenges specifically for the I/O-intensive apps. Known issues include:

1. Performance Issues

A few years ago, SQL servers were considered to be too resource intensive and the early virtualization platforms didn’t provide the required levels of scalability and performance. Most businesses then thought that SQL servers couldn’t be virtualized, but advancements have been made to make this happen. At present, it’s very common for any SQL servers to be virtualized as today’s platform can support highly scalable virtual machines.

2. Vendor Assistance And Support

While most of the software vendors do not have any restrictions in running their applications on a virtual server, there are still a number of vendors that don’t support a virtual environment. This is because of concerns due to management and support. It’s rare that there are actual technical restrictions that can prohibit any application from running in a virtual machine. These issues will eventually disappear when organizations move to virtualizing the SQL server as the standard practice when implementing new servers.

3. The Complexity Of The System

Virtualization presents many benefits, but it also presents many challenges that not all business organizations can handle. Smaller organizations specifically may not have the technical know-how to create, run and manage virtual environments. For smaller businesses, public cloud is a good alternative to on-premise server virtualization.

Even with these known issues, server virtualization is a core IT technological development that will continue to prosper.

Image credit: www.quickmeme.com
Image credit: www.quickmeme.com

Choose The Right Hardware For Virtualization

Controlling the price, the required hardware, enhancing and expanding the database for a business has become increasingly important when dealing with server set-up. Virtualization is the solution to these issues. Even though virtualization allows us to enhance the workloads from the hardware, the physical hardware resources are still the central nerve system of any data center. A weak hardware foundation can create bottleneck effects that can cripple the servers. Present day servers are shipped and sold with massive amounts of memory, supporting solid-state storage and using multiple network interface cards. It can get confusing when choosing the right hardware that fits your requirements, but the guide below can help in in deciding which hardware is the best for your server virtualization.

1. Memory And Processor Requirements

Choosing the best hardware usually begins with choosing the right memory and the fastest CPUs. In most cases, memory will be the factor in limiting the number of virtual machines a server can cope. A shortage in the processing power and RAM can directly cause performance issues. If you have the capital, purchase the best memory and CPU you can afford.

2. Network Hardware Options

Before virtualization was introduced, most of the servers used only a fraction of the network bandwidth. And because of this a single network interface card can encounter issues trying to keep up. Present day physical servers are capable of hosting multiple virtual machines, but a server’s network card will be overwhelmed. Bottlenecks in the I/O are some of the issues a database manager will encounter thus choosing the right network hardware is very important.

3. Storage

Development in storage technology has made big advancements in recent years. Keeping up with these developments is important to have the best hardware if you’re thinking of virtualizing your SQL server. Some examples are hypervisor-aware storage which uses integrated software that gives debase managers more insight into the virtual workloads. At present, there is a growing number of of servers outfitted with local storage even if most virtualized structures rely on shared storage. These changes have resulted in a price drop in recent years.

SQL virtualization provides more benefits over traditional physical server implementations. Multiple server consolidation to be used as virtual machines will surely increase the ROI of the hardware platform by enhancing the utilization of the physical resources. It also helps in reducing management overhead, provides availability and disaster recovery features that are not available in physical SQL servers. Ask the experts to know your options before buying.


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