Mar 232017
 

I am proud to announce that we contributed to the latest revision of the Microsoft SQL Server on VMware best practices guide, freely available at this address. This document outlines some of the common VM-level tweaks and adjustments that are made when running enterprise SQL Server VMs on VMware platforms. This guide is considered a must-read if you manage these sorts of SQL Servers, which cannot be treated as general purpose virtual machines.

This guide was recently updated for vSphere 6.5, and we consider it an absolute must for your enterprise management library!

Special thanks go to Niran Even-chen for his efforts in making this guide continuously current, plus Allan Hirt and Deji Akomolafe for their incredible contributions as well.

Mar 062017
 

VMware’s VMTools package has some options for synchronizing the in-guest clock with the time of the ESXi host. By default, these are set to disabled, and under most circumstances, the hypervisor follows these settings and everything is fine. However, several situations exist where the hypervisor will reset the in-guest time, even though the VMTools setting is explicitly set to not allow this to happen.

  • A virtual machine is resumed from a suspended state
  • A vMotion occurs
  • A snapshot is taken
  • A snapshot is restored from
  • A virtual disk is shrunk
  • The VMware Tools service is restarted, which includes a guest reboot

Of these tasks, vMotions for load balancing and snapshots for VM-level backups are very common routine operations for VMs.

These time sync actions can move a guest’s time backwards as well as forwards. More details about this conflict of settings are found in VMware KB1189. If the host time is out of sync, such as when a BIOS battery fails, bad things can happen. This action is extremely detrimental to the state of SQL Server high availability features, such as Availability Groups and Failover Cluster Instances, which depend on the in-guest time closely aligning with the Active Directory synchronized time. This action must be explicitly disabled to ensure that these maintenance items do not trigger an unexpected failover of the SQL Server HA solution. To disable this action, perform the following tasks.

To correct this action, first shut down the virtual machine. Then, edit the virtual machine’s advanced configuration parameters under VM Options, and add the following keys and values.

Key Name Value
tools.syncTime 0
time.synchronize.continue 0
time.synchronize.restore 0
time.synchronize.resume.disk 0
time.synchronize.shrink 0
time.synchronize.tools.startup 0
time.synchronize.tools.enable 0
time.synchronize.resume.host 0

Save the configuration. Power back on the VM.

Feb 192017
 

To add to an already amazing year, recently I was named a VMware vExpert for 2017. I’m honored, humbled, and proud of my contributions to this amazing virtualization community. The vExpert list is up to 1505 this year, and it’s amazing to be part of this list of experts.

vExperts demonstrate significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share their expertise with others. Contributing is not always blogging or Twitter as there are public speakers, book authors, CloudCred task writing, script writers, VMUG leaders, VMTN community moderators and internal champions among this group.

As always, Corey Romero does a fantastic job of herding cats managing the vExpert program, and he and the rest of the VMware Social Media & Community Team do an incredible job with the vExpert program.

I look forward to continuing my work in the virtualization and cloud space, and look forward to seeing you all at VMworld this year!

Jan 042017
 

Heraflux is proud to announce that I am teaching a preconference training session at this year’s upcoming SQL Saturday in Chicago. The training class is entitled “The Complete Primer to SQL Server Infrastructure and Cloud” and is to be held on Friday, March 10th, at the DeVry University Campus in Addison, IL. This course has been updated to include key concepts about SQL Server in the cloud, including the similarities, differences, and performance characteristics.

Session Details: Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to getting the most out of the infrastructure underneath your SQL Server environment, whether on-premises or in the cloud. The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with function and purpose 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, virtualization, and cloud underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance and database, and will learn how to review and engineer the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

Registration is now open here, and seats are limited! Register today!

Nov 292016
 

vmwareVMware’s latest release of the vSphere virtualization suite, version 6.5, changes how they handle vNUMA presentation to a virtual machine, and there’s a high likelihood that it will break your virtualized SQL Server vNUMA configuration and lead to unexpected changes in behavior. It might even slow down your SQL Servers.

Here’s what you need to do to fix it.

Continue reading »

Nov 202016
 

Warning! If you have added custom indexes to the VMware vCenter database, you will need to remove them completely before you can complete a vCenter 6.5 upgrade. If they are still present in the database, the upgrade wizard throws an error.

vcenter65_01

The error file tells you specifically which indexes it does not like. The error file is found at:

C:\Users\(youraccount)\AppData\Local\Temp\vcsUpgrade\vcdb_req.err

You’ll find the error message towards the bottom of the document. My specific item was:

1 [42000](50000) [Microsoft][SQL Server Native Client 11.0][SQL Server]ERROR ! Extra indexes: VPX_EVENT.HFX_VPX_EVENT_Cover01; VPX_STAT_COUNTER.IX_VPX_STAT_COUNTER_STAT; VPX_TASK.HFX_VPX_TASK_Cover01;

Drop the indexes and retry the upgrade and it should get past this point without a problem.

Such is the risk we all take with modifying the databases underneath third party software…