May 162017
 

 

I am extremely proud to announce that we’re holding the second SQL Server workshop at this year’s VMworld US in Last Vegas on August 27th. If your SQL Servers are running in a VMware environment, this course is critical to your success!

This business critical applications and databases pre-conference workshop 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 workshop will 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 SQL Server availability, performance tuning, disaster recovery, and SQL Server VM construction. 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! This event is going to sell out, so if you or anyone from your organization are going, register soon!

Oct 212016
 

vmworld-2016This past week I had the pleasure of attending our first VMworld Europe conference, held this week at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. What a great experience!

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The key takeaways from the conference are quite interesting. The announcements from last and this week indicate some challenges in portions of their strategy going forward. This photo from the speaker room sums up our thoughts on the state of VMware right now – many of the important puzzle pieces are in place, but there are some significant holes that need to be addressed for a more complete picture.

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Sessions

20161018_103107-copyFirst up, I presented a session entitled “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” with Thomas LaRock from Solarwinds. We talked about the need to monitor each layer at and underneath the databases for becoming proactive in active performance troubleshooting and monitoring. We presented to a packed room and fielded a number of great questions afterwards.

A little later in the day, I presented a session entitled “Performance Perspectives” for the vBrownBag TechTalks, where I talked about how VM admins need to understand that measuring performance statistics only from the hypervisor presents only a portion of the actual performance of the system.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhYxiZPSvGE[/embedyt]

At the end of the day, I sat on a panel session with Patric Chang and Jonathan Flynn from SanDisk, and Jase McCarty from EMC entitled “Running Business Critical Applications and the Software Defined Data Center on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and VSAN” where we discussed the implications of business-critical applications and their intersection with hyperconverged and all-flash systems.

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Wednesday

20161019_104942-copyWednesday was also a day filled with presentations and meetings. I started with a fun and action-packed session with Michael Corey entitled “Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) Doing IT Right” where we gave a rapid-fire stream of useful tips and tricks on maintaining maximum performance of virtualized SQL Server and Oracle VMs.

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That afternoon I presented a repeat session of the “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” to another near capacity room. Thank you to all of the die-hard attendees that came for the repeat session when you could not get into the previous session.

Next, VMworld has a lounge area that they call “Meet the Experts“. Michael Corey and I chatted with numerous attendees about their unique challenges with virtualizing business-critical apps, especially databases, and hopefully our answers will help them go and solve some of their concerns!

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Announcements

At this conference, VMware announced the next version of their flagship virtualization suite, vSphere 6.5. The whole list of updates and improvements are found here. I feel that this release is a solid evolutionary step towards the future of the on-premises software defined datacenter. I am exceptionally happy about the new REST-based API for managing the environment. We’ve got some ideas that we’re working on where this will come in handy! VMware says general availability of this release is scheduled for later on this year.

However, the overarching buzz at the conference was from VMware’s announcement last week. VMware is partnering with Amazon AWS to provide the means to extend the on-prem VMware deployments to the Amazon public cloud in order to create a seamless hybrid cloud approach. The reaction from the attendees was mixed. I am going to save my thoughts on this announcement for an upcoming blog post. It does open a lot of questions about target platform performance, database licensing implications, and operational management.

Barcelona

I did get to venture outside of the convention center and briefly explore Barcelona on Monday with several other SQL Server presenters. Barcelona is an incredible city. I wish I had a full month to just go exploring!

Thanks for having me speak at the conference VMware! This was my first trip to VMworld Europe, but it will certainly not be the last!

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Jul 292016
 

vmworld_2016

This year’s involvement in VMware‘s VMworld conference is up on the content catalog! I am extremely proud to announce my participation in the inaugural SQL Server workshop at this year’s VMworld US on August 27th. If your SQL Servers are running in a VMware environment, this course is critical to your success!

The first business critical applications and databases pre-conference workshop 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 workshop will 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.

AND – It’s not just SQL Server! A terrific Oracle on VMware session is being held on the same day as well. If you are running Oracle on VMware, I highly recommend your administrators head to this session as well!

I’m also presenting on a number of sessions during the main event!

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) Doing IT Right – VIRT8290R – with Michael Corey

Databases by their very nature are 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 teach you how to properly virtualize Monster VM Databases. We will discuss why you virtualize, installation issues, how to architect for performance, the storage layer, the processor, memory considerations, and the network layer. Topics include NUMA, memory reservations, and how to avoid common mistakes. Lesson learned here help you optimize any workload you are virtualizing, with special emphasis on Monster VMs.

Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers – VIRT7511 – with Thomas LaRock

Business-critical database platforms like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server are among the last holdouts to enterprise virtualization, and the first to exhibit symptoms of infrastructure challenges. Is your VMware environment ready to accommodate them properly? Are your DBAs ready to virtualize them? Have you virtualized these, and now the DBAs complain about performance or lack of control? Successful virtualization of these platforms requires a different approach to virtualization than for other applications. The speakers will share their years of experience in virtualizing these data platforms so that you know how to validate your VMware environment for these systems and manage the performance properly. Scalability concerns will be addressed through discussions on scaling an individual database VM upwards and outwards as you manage the lifecycle of these database VMs. Key talking points will be presented so you can not only perfect the database virtualization from a technical level, but also from an organizational and people level by knowing how to convince the DBA that database virtualization — done right — is here to stay.

Running Business Critical Applications and the Software Defined Data Center on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure at the Speed of Flash – STO9607-SPO – with Patric Chang, Jase McCarty, Jason Pederson, and Nanjunda Somayaji

Virtualization has advanced beyond the hypervisor to include software-defined storage, hyper-converged infrastructure software (such as Virtual SAN), and workload migration across data centers and cloud services. This panel session will discuss how to take full advantages of evolving SDS and HCIS capabilities with new flash-enabled architectures, including a number of reference configurations and architectures running the most demanding business applications, OLTP databases and VDI workloads. Panel speakers will provide their real-world insights on key decision criteria to include when considering a flash-enabled HCIS or SDS technology, including performance, density, manageability, and financial considerations. Extensive opportunities for audience Q&A will be included in this session as well.

SQL Server on vSphere: A Panel with Some of the World’s Most Renowned Experts – VIRT7654 – with Denny Cherry, Niran Even-Chen, Allen Hirt, and Thomas LaRock

Learn from real-life experience about virtualizing the most demanding SQL Servers from some of world’s most renowned SQL Server experts! In this panel discussion, you also have the chance to ask your own questions about SQL Server on vSphere practices and get your answers from the SQL Server gurus.

Register for VMworld here!

May 232016
 

vmworld_2016I am extremely proud to announce my participation in the inaugural SQL Server workshop at this year’s VMworld US in Last Vegas on August 27th. If your SQL Servers are running in a VMware environment, this course is critical to your success!

The first business critical applications and databases pre-conference workshop 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 workshop will 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!

AND – It’s not just SQL Server! A terrific Oracle on VMware session is being held on the same day as well. If you are running Oracle on VMware, I highly recommend your administrators head to this session as well!

Aug 262015
 

If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to attend VMworld USA this year, and you have any number of virtualized databases in your environment, you need to attend these sessions!

First and foremost, Thomas LaRock (@sqlrockstar) and I are presenting a session called “VAPP4696 – Will It Blend and Scale? Monster Database Virtualization Techniques“. In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate why virtual database servers (SQL Server and Oracle included) are some of the largest resource consumers in your virtual environment, why performance-oriented engineering matters more here than ever, and show ways to help boost your database performance to beyond that of their physical counterparts.

Some other fantastic sessions on various database topics, in no particular order, include:

VAPP5129 – Database Virtualization: Doing IT Right with vSphere 6.0 by Michael Corey and Jeff Szastak
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Are you ready for the single-most rapid-fire tech session ever? This session is PACKED full of goodness!)

VAPP6952-S – Project Capstone: VMware, HP & IBM by Mark Lohmeyer, Randy Meyer, Todd Muirhead, and Michael Kuhn

VAPP4786 – SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery by Denny Cherry

STO4544 – Using Virtual SAN to Maximize Database Performance by Rawlinson Rivera and Thomas LaRock.

CTO6453 – The Future of Software-Defined Storage – What does it look like in three years time? by Richard McDougall

VAPP4634 – Harnessing the Power of Storage Virtualization and Site Recovery Manager to Provide HA and DR Capabilities to Business Critical Databases by Marlin McNeil and Sudhir Balasubramanian

VAPP6437-GD – Business Critical Applications and Virtualized Infrastructure, a Match Made in Palo Alto by Mohan Potheri, Deji Akomolafe, Sudhir Balasubramanian, and Vas Mitra

VAPP5165 – Extreme Performance Sieries: Monster VM Database Performance by David Morse and Todd Muirhead

VAPP6441-QT – Microsoft Applications in the SDDC by Michael Corey and Deji Akomolafe

STO4525 – Architecting Disaster Recovery of Tier-1 Applications (SAP, Oracle, SQL Server, and Exchange) using Site Recovery Manager and vSphere 6 by Kannan Mani and GS Khalsa

VAPP6023 – Licensing Oracle and SQL Server on vSphere by Scott Salyer and Don Sullivan

VAPP5598 – Advanced SQL Server on vSphere by Scott Salyer and Wanda He

I urge you to attend all of these sessions if you can. Virtualized databases are arguably the toughest challenge in your virtual infrastructure, and the business depends on you getting it right. These sessions can help you get there!

Sep 102014
 

vmworld2014_thumbA few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend VMware’s VMworld 2014 conference in San Francisco, CA. The show was simply amazing. I spent the show mostly meeting with the different technology vendors and other consulting groups, and feel that the relationships created at this event will last a lifetime.

With regards to database professionals worldwide, I feel that the most important announcement of this event for the upcoming release of vSphere 6.0 (no announced release date at this point) is the enhancement of multiple vCPU Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT). Previously, the fault tolerance feature within the vSphere suite was limited to one virtual CPU per VM. For SQL Server, this essentially prohibited the use of this feature. Now, vSphere 6.0 will have up to four vCPUs and 64GB of RAM available for use with VMs configured under VMware Fault Tolerance. I claim that this is one of the most significant developments of the year. Consider a SQL Server Availability Group configuration architected with each synchronous VM built with Fault Tolerance configured. Your most important business-critical database platforms, when constructed and managed properly, might actually achieve a 100% uptime for unplanned hardware failure outages.

That’s tremendous.

Yes, the four vCPU and 64GB of RAM maximum is a limitation for DBAs, but I claim that a good number of business-critical SQL Server workloads could be made to fit within these constraints. Four is definitely better than one! It presents one more very viable option for building hardened and resilient platforms for your critical systems.

From a data professional perspective, the other announcements from VMworld are a bit less vital. For VMware administrators, the announcements are great and will save us all quite a lot of time for routine administration in the future.

  • Cross-cluster and cross-vCenter vMotions are to be supported, which helps to improve a hardware upgrade by allowing you to move VMs between dissimilar clusters without downtime.
  • A calculator called the vSphere Replication Calculator was announced that can help you determine the RPO, number of virtual machines, and the replication network bandwidth that is required to appropriately size a DR project.
  • Performance of the vSphere Web Client is supposed to get better, part of which I have already addressed here for existing installations.

Otherwise, additional details on the upcoming release are pretty slim at this time, but I have high hopes for this next revision!

FYI – the vSphere 6.0 beta is open to everyone, but specific details of the implementation any other features not publicly announced are all under NDA, so keep this in mind if you explore this beta. I can’t wait to get this fired up in the lab so I can explore this upcoming release!