Jul 122017
 

I get asked all the time – “why virtualize SQL Server if I’m content with my physical servers today?” The normal answer, outside of the usual answers of increased agility, flexibility, cloud-readiness, etc., is that license optimization is possible if your organization has enough scale to license a set of virtualization hosts and manage VM density to maximize licensing.

But, what if your organization does not have the sheer volume needed to cross that break-even point on the virtualization investment? What if the SQL Server version, platform, and app are happy? What other talking points do we have that can encourage virtualizing every SQL Server?

There are quite a few less-tangible benefits, such as VM migrations for hardware or SAN upgrades, ease of system-level backups and disaster recovery, improved operational high availability choices, and greater flexibility and agility in the datacenter. However, it’s difficult to put a dollar amount on this one. All of these are operational benefits that save staff time and energy. But, what about saving cost?

We need to look a bit further out. Eventually, the third-party vended app vendors are going to stop supporting the older versions of SQL Server, and the new versions have all migrated to core-based licensing, which can potentially lead to an unexpected cost during application upgrades. Moving to VMs now – or then – allow you to allocate the number of vCPUs that are needed at the time, rather than whatever the current hardware contains. Future physical server purchases will get harder to find smaller core count servers, all of which will increase the license spend. The vCPUs in a SQL Server instance can be licensed by virtual cores, and that can contribute to a reduction in future licensing purchases. The fact that these VMs could reside on the current VM infrastructure (as long as it is capable and contains enough free resources) could also help reduce or eliminate a future hardware purchase as well.

I know I’m preaching to the virtualization-friendly choir here, but if SQL Server virtualization is not the right call for right now, as time goes on, the necessity for maintaining or reducing CAPEX along with reducing OPEX will make virtualizing these systems a more appealing option as time goes on.

And… virtualizing these platforms is step number one in your cloud readiness strategy. And you are moving towards the cloud, right?

 Posted by at 6:24 pm
Jun 302017
 

I’m proud to announce that my sessions for this year’s VMworld 2017 conference in Las Vegas have turned up in the VMworld Content Catalog! I have four exciting sessions (if you’re a database geek) at the conference, and for those DBAs with VMware administrators attending this conference, tell them to attend these sessions so they can help build a better platform for your data.

ALL DAY SQL Server on VMware Boot Camp

The second revision of our business critical applications and databases pre-conference workshop is to be held at VMworld 2017 US this year on August 26th!

We will cover all pertinent aspects of best practices for deployments and ongoing management of MS SQL Server running in virtualized infrastructure. This deep-dive full-day workshopwill be delivered by VMware technical SQL Server specialists working in concert with world renowned external SQL Server and Virtualization experts, including me! The attendee will experience a workshop rich with technical content to include subjects such as vMotion for Failover Cluster Instances, Availability groups, SQLaaS with vRealize Automation and Site Recovery Manager. The content will be focused on best practices for design, implementation and management augmented with anecdotes of successful customer implementations.

SQL Server professionals, listen up. If your infrastructure admins are attending VMworld this year, please let them know about this course. Training them in the intricacies of the VMware platform as it relates to SQL Server, and having the training come from SQL Server professionals, is going to make your virtualization experience better.

Register for VMworld here! Add the training course at the bottom of the VMware Education courses during the registration process.

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right [VIRT1309BU]

with Michael Corey

VMware vSphere 6.5 has made a lot of changes to enhance the performance of Monster virtual machines (VMs). Databases by their very nature are the classic Monster VMs. If Monster VMs are not virtualized properly, they will never perform well and can negatively impact the performance of other VMs on the hosts. In this presentation, we will teach you how to properly virtualize Monster VMs/databases with vSphere 6.5. We will discuss why you should virtualize and take a look at some installation issues as well as how to architect for performance in terms of vSphere 6.5 specifics, including the storage layer, the processor, memory considerations, and the network layer. Topics will also include NUMA, memory reservations, and how to avoid common mistakes. These lessons will help you optimize any workload you are virtualizing.

Performance Tuning and Monitoring with Virtualized Database Servers [VIRT1430BU]

with Thomas LaRock

Business-critical database platforms are the last holdouts to enterprise virtualization. These systems are the most resource-demanding and latency-sensitive applications, and at the first symptoms of infrastructure challenges the DBAs blame the infrastructure. Successful virtualization of these platforms requires a different approach to virtualization from other applications. The speakers will share their years of experience in virtualizing data platforms. You will learn how to validate your VMware environment and manage the performance properly. Scalability concerns will be addressed through discussions on scaling database VMs upwards and outwards as you work with the DBAs to manage the data lifecycle. Key talking points will help you learn how to perfect database virtualization from a technical, an organizational, and people level.

SQL Server on vSphere: A Panel with Some of the World’s Most Renowned Experts [VIRT1930PU]

with Niran Even-Chen, Thomas LaRock, and Allan Hirt

Continuing from last year’s successful session, learn from some of world’s most renowned SQL Server experts’ real-life experiences gained while virtualizing the most demanding SQL Servers! In this panel discussion, you will also have the chance to ask your own questions about SQL Server on VMware vSphere and get answers from the SQL Server gurus.

For those of you who don’t manage SQL Servers in a VMware environment, check out all of the fantastic sessions in the performance tuning areas, as they are sure to help you boost performacne across your vSphere farms.

Register for VMworld USA today, and make sure to select the SQL Server on VMware boot camp as part of registration! I look forward to seeing you all there!

 

 

Jun 132017
 

PASS has just announced this year’s precon sessions for the PASS Summit in Seattle this October, and I am humbled to announce that my session, “Virtual SQL Servers – Right to Ludicrous Speed” has been selected for one of the Tuesday precon slots. This topic is near and dear to my heart, and I’m thrilled to be able to present to the group advanced SQL Server VM tuning techniques learned from over 16 years of performance tuning.

If you are less interested in SQL Server infrastructure than other topics, I urge you to check out the other precons being presented at this conference. The topics and presenters are world class, and if I was not presenting this precon on Tuesday, I’d be in one of the other precons!

I hope all of you can attend what I consider the best SQL Server ecosystem conference in the world. I’ll never miss it, and I look forward to meeting you all there!

Session Details:

Join this full-day introduction session focused on managing and boosting the performance of a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization, infrastructure, and cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, no matter if on-premises or in the cloud, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

Intended Audience
The intended audience of this course is information workers (both business and IT-centric) involved with architecting a virtualization strategy for SQL Server, or managing business-critical SQL Servers that have already been virtualized.

Course Topics
The following topics will be addressed during the course:
• The Physical Infrastructure Underneath the VM
• Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
• Virtualization and Infrastructure Fundamentals
• The SQL Server Virtual Machine
• Networking, Support, and Licensing
• SQL Server Infrastructure in the Cloud
• High Availability and Disaster Recovery and SQL Server
• 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 virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

Register today! Seats are sure to fill up for these precons!

May 292017
 

Recently I contributed my thoughts in a new ebook from ScaleArc called “Industry Perspectives: Upgrading to Modern SQL“. Modernizing the datacenter is an ongoing struggle for those of us in the operational trenches, and a number of us in the industry contributed our thoughts to ScaleArc to help administrators sift through the options and learn how to make these upgrades easier. It’s a great read, and learning from the great contributors is fun! Check it out!

May 052017
 

This past week, I presented a preconference session and regular session at this year’s SQL Nexus conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. I highly recommend this conference!

The preconference session called “The Complete Primer to SQL Server Virtualization was well received! The attendees were well prepared for deep discussions on SQL Server virtualization, infrastructure, and cloud XaaS topics, and the questions were wonderful.

The SQL Server on Linux session was also solid and well attended, as we discussed common administration tasks around tasks that are necessary when making the transition to SQL Server on Linux, such as backing up databases and logs to a file share, and how to configure and mount additional disks for objects such as tempdb, database data, and database log files.

The slides for the SQL Server on Linux session are available for you to download here.

SQL Nexus, thank you for a great time! We really enjoyed our discussions and deep-dives with attendees and other speakers, and would be very happy to return next year to this conference!

 

(@sqlreeves getting into American food in Europe)

More @sqlreeves just chillin’ with the ‘Hoff

Mar 152017
 

I hope you all can join me for an upcoming webinar as part of the Datacenter Madness webinar series, presented by ActualTech Media, Nutanix, and Intel. The Madness is moving from the basketball court to the cloud. It’s time for the ultimate data center showdown where opponents will go head-to-head debating the hottest methods IT pros are relying on to eliminate IT complexity and build the Enterprise Cloud of the future.

I’m dueling in Round #2 on March 28th at 2pm Eastern to discuss traditional RDBMS versus NoSQL databases and separate virtualization stacks versus integrated hypervisors. It’s sure to be a blast!

In the second round of March DC Madness, we’re all about applications. How will applications evolve in the age of cloud? How will they be run? Watch the referee for this one—it’ll be a heated match-up!

RDBMS vs. NoSQL:

How will enterprise applications evolve and what type of databases will hold the PBs of data generated in the coming years? Will RDBMS continue to rule the DC, or will the challenger NoSQL be the new king?

Virtualization Throwdown:

Now that the market has embraced virtualization as the norm for practically all workloads in the datacenter, does it make sense for applications and VMs to run on a separately deployed virtualization stack? Or has the hypervisor become another integrated feature?

Register for this exciting series of webinars today!