Microsoft Releases Best Practices for Virtualizing SQL Server 2012

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Best_Practices_for_Virtualizing_and_Managing_SQL_Server_2012-2The SQL Server team at Microsoft has just published a new white paper called Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing SQL Server 2012 which provides guidance and recommendations for companies who want to virtualize their SQL Server implementations.  The paper is a wealth of useful information and covers topics such as host clustering, configuring virtual machines, and SQL Server resiliency.  The paper also covers managing your virtual deployments via Systems Center 2012 SP1.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 provide a host of new features that can be used to effectively virtualize demanding database workloads that previously were not considered for virtualization. This guide explains these new features in the context of how organizations should consider virtualizing SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012 and the benefits of managing this virtualized environment with Microsoft System Center 2012. -- Executive Summary

The first portion of the paper is as to be expected an executive summary and explanation of why virtualization is generally a good thing, probably the least informative part of this document.  However, they then go on to make a strong case for how the combination of Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and System Center 2012 work together to create a fully integrated virtualization solution.

  • Better Scalability: Higher capacity vCPUs (up to 64), memory (up to 1 TB), and virtual machine density (up to 8,000 per cluster).

  • Better Performance: Hyper-V support on Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) and Fibre Channel.

  • Better Availability: Faster and simultaneous live migration and dynamic quorum support in SQL Server AlwaysOn cluster.

  • Better Manageability: Same management tool (System Center) for SQL Server virtual machines in both private and public clouds.

Throughout the document, best practices are called out such as using Windows Server Core to reduce the potential attach surface of the server, running Hyper-V on SLAT-capable processors and hardware, and letting Windows Server 2012 handle page file sizing.


The report goes into great detail to explain how the different storage options provide performance that rivals native disks using simple/striped, mirrored, and parity spaces.


If you're interested in learning more about virtualizing SQL Server 2012, you can find the document here.

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Paul Ballard

is a Chief Architect specializing in large scale distributed system development and enterprise software processes. Paul has more than twenty years of development experience including being a former Microsoft MVP, a speaker at technical conferences such as Microsoft Tech-Ed and VSLive, and a published author. Prior to working on the Windows platform, he built software using a vast array of technologies including Java, Unix, C, and even OS/2.