Jan 182016

emblem-questionI recently received a great question through email. It was whether or not it is a good idea to have multiple SQL Server instances on a single VM. This is a fun question and I thought I’d answer it here.

The answer is the ubiquitous DBA answer – “It Depends“.

Both pros and cons exist to this configuration. I’ll outline them both for you.


  • If you are licensing based on the VM rather than the physical CPU cores, you can potentially minimize your licensing spend.
  • You have fewer operating systems to manage and patch.
  • You might need to isolate an application to its own instance for security purposes, but the resource demands are not great enough to necessitate another VM.
  • You might need to mix different SQL Server versions to support different applications, but do not have available licensing for additional VMs.
  • You can patch and restart individual SQL Server instances independent of the others as needed, which can reduce the downtime that is usually associated with one large consolidated instance with many applications connected to it.
  • You have more VMs to manage and monitor, which means a greater level of involvement for daily operational activities.


  • You now have to manage resource consumption at both the VM and SQL Server instance levels. For example, if you have two instances on a given VM, one SQL Server instance could start to consume all of the available CPU on the VM, and can cause the other instance to take a background stance and cause performance problems as a result. To manage this in the long term, some sort of action must be taken, such as CPU affinity, resource governor, etc. This action goes along with the management of the VM-level resource consumption, such as vCPU count, host-level CPU contention, memory management and allocations, resource throttling and prioritization, etc.
  • Smaller VMs are more flexible and are easier to migrate to another host or even upgrade.
  • You might need a larger VM to properly power all of the instances, which could possibly negate the vCPU licensing savings from the consolidation exercise.
  • You have more flexible outage windows. If Windows were to need to be patched, or even worse, fail – all instances are down unless you have an HA solution in place for each instance. Scheduling planned outages with multiple business groups, multiple applications, and multiple instances on the same OSE can be a nightmare, and sometimes not even possible.
  • Security is improved because one support request might need OS-level access. If they have access to the OS but only one instance, they can still see the files of other instances and potentially cause problems.
  • Depending on your workload, you might end up with resource contention inside the VM itself. It usually manifests in things such as disk queuing contention within Windows, and can exhibit signs of higher disk latency and slower SQL Server performance as a result.

emblem-noticeI am personally partial to having just one instance per VM, as long as the situation allows for it. The resource management area between SQL Server and Windows allows me to manage the overall resource consumption at the VM level, and en mass, managing at this layer rather than multiple layers is usually preferable. I claim that the extra overhead of managing more VMs is worth the resource management flexibility.

Weight your options carefully and select the right path for your installations. Both options are certainly workable, depending on your environment and circumstance.

 Posted by at 10:33 am
Jan 072016

2016sqlsatchicagoI’m pleased to announce that I’m launching a new all-day precon training session at the next SQL Saturday in Chicago on 3/4/2016 called ‘SQL Server Infrastructure Tuning for Availability and Performance.’

The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with the concept and purposes of each layer of the architecture around their databases, and how this knowledge can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of infrastructure and virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to review and engineer the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • Datacenter Fundamentals
  • Infrastructure Stack Fundamentals
  • Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
  • Networking and Interconnect Topologies
  • Physical Server Technologies
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for strategic reference in working with SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath in their own environments.

I am really happy to be launching this new precon, and look forward to seeing you all there! Reserve your seat at this exciting event at EventBrite here. Tickets are available at $150 plus EventBrite fees.

Jan 052016

Next Wednesday, January 13th, at 1pm Eastern the PASS Virtualization Virtual Chapter will be holding an open questions and answers session on anything related to SQL Server virtualization, with me as your host! Send over your questions to either Tom Norman (VC lead), or over to me and we’ll get them answered for you! Any SQL Server virtualization question is welcomed in this no-holds-barred open session. We’ve had a blast with these in the past, and look forward to answering all of your questions!

RSVP for this free webinar here!

Dec 172015

Poor storage performance continues to be the largest pain point with enterprise Database Administrators in today’s virtual world. However, it is not the only challenge to the enterprise. The cost of the infrastructure pales in comparison to the licensing costs of the database platform. These challenges impact not only the DBAs, but also the financial side of the business. The business is constantly seeking ways to reduce the financial strain of the IT infrastructure, looking for ways to cut operational costs any way possible.

Decoupling storage acceleration from the storage layer can improve performance, but can also introduce some benefits not immediately obvious to the technologists in the organization.

What if the business could improve performance and reduce your licensing costs at the same time? 

PernixLogo_smHeraflux is proud to announce a new whitepaper developed jointly with PernixData to discuss and demonstrate the power of the FVP product in reducing the licensing footprint of enterprise SQL Server deployments.

Download this new whitepaper here.

Dec 152015

In the West, the holiday season summons different memories and plans for different people. The thought of gorging on a selection of delicious fowl and carbohydrates. Spending time with friends or family or loved ones for a gift exchange, or maybe not so loved ones for the obligatory once a year meet and greet. Maybe you volunteer at a local soup kitchen to serve those in need.

In the IT industry, as well as many other professions, working long and late hours is part of the job, and the thought of sleeping in a couple extra hours for a day or two could be at the top of your holiday break to-do list. Others may stay up all night for the official retail kickoff to the busiest shopping days of the year. For many, the activities will be a combination thereof, but whatever your yearly holiday rituals may be, the mere essence of the holiday season can help us remember to reflect on what we are thankful for. In our fast-paced world that we live in, it’s hard not to have blinders on at some point in time. Gratitude should be practiced every day of the year, but an explicit reminder is never a bad thing.

ocean_smMy wife and I recently relocated to the Northeast coast, and we have many reasons to be thankful this year. Having the ability and freedom to make the move is immense, and we are extremely thankful for this opportunity. One positive aspect to traveling so much as a consultant has been the ability to vet many different areas of the country, and decide which region would be the best fit for my family. The largest factor in our ability to move comes from the flexibility gained by running our own company – Heraflux Technologies. Since we have no required city or state to live in, we just need access to an airport and a stable internet connection readily available. Although some states are considered more advantageous to growing a business over others, we were able to focus on quality of life. Because we whole-heartedly believe that in the pursuit of running and growing the very best company we can build, day-to-day quality of life is a vital component and is both directly and indirectly related to our goal. We are here to serve our clients in the best manner possible, meaning making decisions in their best interests, with ethics as one of our guiding principles. We are ever so thankful to all of our clients, as they have given us the ability to transition our efforts to living our passion every single day. Although the written words don’t seem powerful enough, thank you to all of our clients and business alliances!

As we continue to grow and hire employees, we cannot forget those who work with us. I want to emphasize work with us over for us. Working for Heraflux Technologies means things like receiving your pay, benefits, and W2 with the words Heraflux Technologies somewhere on a physical document, but our stance even before we hired our first employee was reciprocal respect for the employee and employer relationship.

Our practices couldn’t have been better surmised by Bryan Johnson, who sold his company Braintree to Ebay for $800 million. He has shared that from the beginning, Braintree had three goals: employees would say it’s the best company they have worked for; engineers would say it’s the best payments platform in the industry; and customers would write love letters to the company. Get these three things right and everything else takes care of itself.

Our approach is to empower and value employees as much as our wonderful customers. Without the hard work they put in day in and day out, we would not be where we are today, and these key components hold the potential to get to where we are going. So with that said, we are extremely thankful to those we work with and for, and I challenge more organizations to share their gratitude for their fellow employees not just over the holiday season, but also throughout the year.


 Posted by at 2:28 pm
Dec 072015

Want to get out of the winter blues and into some warmer weather for some deep SQL Server training? Join me on the next SQL Cruise to the Caribbean this January! This is my second SQL Cruise, and I’m really excited to go again. This trip sets sail to three different Caribbean islands with four full days of education while at sea. It’s seven great days of serious education mixed with fun.

What is the cruise all about?

It’s all about education.

First and foremost, it’s a real training class! The cruise is focused on world-class education. The speaker lineup this year is world-class (as always), and I’m truly honored to be a part of it. Grant Fritchey ( b | t ), Jason Hall ( b | t ), Jes Borland ( b | t ), and Amy Ford ( l ) will all be there, along with Tim Ford ( b | t ), the SQL Cruise coordinator. These high-level courses are guaranteed to help you grow as a technology professional, both from a technical and business standpoint. These sessions are fantastic! Just check out the topics!

Tim Ford – ‘A Picture Says 1000 Words: Visualizing Your SQL Server Metadata’

Grant Fritchey – ‘The Query Store and Query Tuning in SQL vNext’ & ‘Azure SQL Database for the Earthed DBA’

Jason Hall – ‘tempdb Parasites’ & ‘Ultimate Plan Explorer’

Jes Borland – ‘Everyday Extended Events’ & ‘Beyond CXPACKET: Understanding Wait Statistics’

and me – ‘Objective Stack Performance Analysis’ & ‘Advanced SQL Server Infrastructure Performance’

It’s all about family.

Over the last ten years, my relationship with the SQL Server community has really evolved from a casual observer to where I feel that I’m part of the community now. The networking and friendships made on these cruises lasts a lifetime, and I really cannot wait to make some new memories with this group of speakers and students. It’s going to be a great trip with everyone!

It’s about the cruise itself.

Norwegian Escape

We all work very hard. Being a database professional comes with a lot of stresses and challenges of the job because of the nature of what we do. You probably need a vacation. The cruise is on the Norwegian cruise lines‘ brand new ship – the Escape, which looks absolutely amazing. It’s a great way to get out of the winter cold and into some Caribbean sun and warmth!

Join us for learning and fun

Register for the cruise today. The Caribbean cruise is going to be here before you know it. Find the cruise that best suits your vacation time and book today!

The 2015 event was truly life-changing for me, and the memories and friendships last a lifetime! I can’t wait to see you all there!

SQL Cruise Caribbean 2015

SQL Cruise Caribbean 2015