Managing SQL Server on VMware

If you’re frustrated with performance or manageability of SQL Server on VMware, you’re not alone.  Here’s what you need to know to get started, and I recommend reading ’em in this order:

Planning SQL Server Virtualization Projects

Here’s the first three concerns I start with when I’m virtualizing SQL Server:

  1. The First Virtualization Concern: Licensing – are you going to license at the host or guest level, and with Enterprise or Standard Edition?
  2. The Second Concern: Recoverability – the business’s requirements for uptime and data loss may dictate how you do backups and failovers, which might rule out virtualization (or require it).
  3. The Third Concern: Capacity Planning – during the SQL Server’s lifetime, what’s the projected growth for that server?

Why Your Sysadmin Wants to Virtualize Your SQL Servers – explains the advantages they get with virtual boxes.

Why You Should Virtualize SQL Server – the pros of virtualization, followed by Why You Shouldn’t Virtualize SQL Server.

VMware HA Is Not Database High Availability – we love VMware HA, but it’s missing a few key features that some (but not all) database servers require.

The Technical Details of Running Virtual SQL Servers

Book Review: Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware – Brent explains why you can’t believe everything you read.

Top 10 Keys to Deploying SQL Server on VMware – you can get away with not doing all of these, but…

How to Set SQL Server Max Memory for VMware – do you need to get a reservation? Find out here.

Getting Read-Only Permissions to VMware – your virtualization project will be much more successful if everybody’s on the same page.  Hand this article to your VMware sysadmins so they understand how to get you the read-only access you need.

SQL P2V: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs – I’m a big fan of virtualization, and it’s a great tool for database administrators when they need to make an archaic server disappear as fast as possible.

Big Changes for Big SQL VMs in vSphere 5 – SQL Server is one of the few NUMA-aware applications that get hurt when running under virtualization, but there’s great news in vSphere 5.

Online Training: Virtualization, Storage for SQL Server DBAs

Training Videos: VMware, SANs, and Hardware for SQL Server DBAs – our 5-hour training video series explaining how to buy the right hardware, configure it, and set up SQL Server for the best performance and reliability. Here’s a preview:

Buy it now.

More Tools for Slow SQL Servers

sp_Blitz®: Free SQL Server Health Check – You’ve inherited a SQL Server from somebody, and you have no idea why it’s slow. sp_Blitz® gives you a prioritized list of health and performance issues, plus gives you URLs for more details about each issue.

Our Free 6-Month DBA Training Plan – Every Wednesday, you get an email with our favorite free SQL Server training resources. We start at backups and work our way up to performance tuning.

SQL Critical Care® – Don’t have time to learn the hard way? We’re here to help with our quick, easy 3-4 day process that gets to the root cause of your database health and performance pains. Contact us for a free 30-minute sales consultation.


About Brent

Specialities: performance tuning, SAN storage, VMware

Off duty: foodie restaurants, travel, bad pop music


About Jeremiah

Specialities: database architecture, teaching SQL, cloud computing

Off duty: Portland food trucks, long walks on the beach


About Kendra

Specialities: query tuning, index rocket science, SSDs

Off duty: drawings, dinosaurs, Spurious Capitalization


About Doug

Specialities: query tuning, T-SQL, SSRS

Off duty: shooting videos, lightsaber duels, Hercule Poirot

Erik Darling

About Erik

Specialities: VLDBs, T-SQL trickery, index tuning

Off duty: human pop culture dictionary, heavily peated single malts