Considerations for managing performance when you have virtualized SQL Server

Virtualization of databases is becoming more popular and Microsoft SQL Server seems to be at the forefront of that movement. I find myself talking about this topic a lot with one of our product managers and it’s one of our most popular areas in the SQL Server space right now – in both talking to customers and the market in general. A lot of customers are finding Virtualization allows them to expand their portfolio of disaster preparedness as well as consolidate small applications onto a single large server. While there are many more reasons to virtualize, we’re seeing more management issues arising – partly due to the inherent technology implications, but also because there are more teams involved and communication between all ‘interested parties’ is often fragmented or sometimes non-existent.


We ran a webcast last month that took a look at some of those challenges (you can watch the recording of it here – sorry, you do have to register for it to watch it) and we got some great questions from the audience that I thought I’d share for anyone who has a hand in managing a virtual SQL Server environment, or are exploring it, or just want to get a handle on some of the management challenges that cross the ‘physical/virtual’ chasm.


These are a few of the “Configuration” related ones with responses from SQL Server MVP Kevin Kline and the webcast presenter, system consulting manager, Jason Hall – as well as input from that product manager I mentioned before – Eric Brown:


Question: Can you speak to SQL server IO SQL OS threads, number of vcpus, HBA queue depth?

Answer: Those are standard questions for IO subsystems. Be sure to check SQLCAT.COM for the white papers on IO, plus blogger Denny Cherry.


Question: What is the corresponding vSphere tool in Hyper-V?

Answer: It's called Hyper-V Manager and it's free from Microsoft. You can find information about it here.


Question: Can you hit on the difference between the number of CPUs in a VM and the number of cores?

Answer: VMs are allocated a certain amount of CPU. The number of cores is simply the number of physical CPUs available to the physical machine and, by extension, to the VMs.


Question: What’s the relationship between virtualization and private cloud?

Answer: In many cases, virtualization technology provides the platform for deploying IT infrastructure within a company as a service to other organizations within the company. For example, IT might provide virtualized applications to marketing for managing marketing campaigns.


If you have any questions about SQL Server virtualization and performance management, our team would love to know and we’ll do our best to help you out. Just shoot me an email and I’ll cover more of the Q&A in upcoming posts.