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The PASS Virtualization Virtual Chapter hosted a Q&A session with me last week. We talked about storage configuation options like VMDK/VHD vs RDM, how licensing works, what’s the biggest SQL Server I’m comfortable virtualizing, and much more:

For more tips, check out our virtualization resources page.

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  1. I think it is important to remember on the licensing issue that most installations will not be setting up single host in a VM farm. In addition, many farms will utilize vMotion to either dynamically or manually move guest around between host within the farm. This additional aspect will further change the licensing required. If you are utilizing vMotion in a multi-host farm in which you are running SQL Server Enterprise, every host in the farm must be fully licensed for all cores and..very important…it must have Software Assurance.

    • Keith – typically when there’s multiple guests running SQL Server, you build a separate cluster (or use DRS host affinity) to keep the SQL guests on a particular hosts. You shouldn’t ever have to license every host in the farm for SQL Server.

      • I agree that if you are dedicating a vm cluster to SQL Server and you are already licensed for every host, then you are correct. This would likely be the case if a DBA were deciding how the VM farm were setup, but frequently this is not the case and most other types of servers will be in the farm as well in which case it could be a lot more expensive than anticipated because Microsoft would say you have the ability to move to the host, so therefore you must license it for all cores and SA.

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