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 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