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My firm is considering virtualising our MS SQL Servers in a VMWare environment.

I'm not directly involved in the project but as a heavy user of our existing servers I'll have some input in the process.

Does anyone have any general advice for me about this type of arrangement? Or is it perfectly normal and supported to run Virtaul SQL Servers?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Running SQL Server in a Virtual Machine is supported as stated in this MS KB:

You can expect an overhead due to virtualization, that will cost around 5% of performance, if all best practices are respected.

Your vmware server will need to be power enough to support your SQL workflow. You will need to measure how much resource use the current SQL Server.

VMware best practice for SQL Server: Microsoft SQL Server and VMware Virtual Infrastructure

Other resources:

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Thanks very much Mathieu – Antony Feb 4 '10 at 8:08

We have LOTS of physical MSSQL servers and although our 1:1 reference platform is also physical all other platforms (integration, dev, test etc.) are VM'ed including these MSQL servers (both 2003 and 2008 by the way). We've had no problems with them at all, although clustering requires a methodical approach.

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will surely work, but... Virtualization for production servers is a non-sense for me (It's absolutely ok for developpers, eventually to have a warm standby server at low cost, or to made prospective tests, but not for production).

In term of performances, bad things will arrives (excepted if the load on the server is ridiculous), especially when the other db on another VM will start competing for disk access... (because it's ultimately the goal)

cf. pros and cons of server virtualization (a bit outdated, but the general concept is still true).

my two cents! (anyway, I'm surely not an expert about those things... just matter of good sense)

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The article isn't that outdated (last year) but I'd very strongly argue that the author's focus is not one that is universally shared by most organisations and System Admins. x86 Virtualization is a high performance, highly reliable technology today that is not only an acceptable substitute for typical businesses production server needs but it also enables capabilities (Live Migration, Lockstep\Fault Tolerance, hardware independence, dynamic resource scheduling) that increase uptime significantly and makes systems management easier. – Helvick Feb 4 '10 at 9:04
You'll prob want to tell all of the thousands of small and large companies using Virtualized infrastructure for their production server that they are wrong. – Sam Feb 4 '10 at 9:42
When it comes to hypervisor, performance is not an issue if properly done, as always. Virtualization often makes visible bad settings/implementations/architecture, which are normally hidden behind oversized and under used servers. – Mathieu Chateau Feb 4 '10 at 10:58

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