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 SQL Server 2008 Forums
 High Availability (2008)
 VMware or Microsoft Cluster Solution
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sql-lover
Yak Posting Veteran

84 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2012 :  19:16:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very simple question.

I used to work for a big, big company. But changed jobs recently and on my new role, I was asked to provide advice about our soon to be deployed, SQL server infrastructure. I never worried about picking the servers before, the IT dpt dit, but I know by facts VMware was giving us some performance issues and we trusted our million dollars dbs to Veritas and Microsoft SQL clustering instead. It work really good and still I believe it does.

Back to my new job and role, the consultant company pretty much says VMware HA features are far better than an actual MS-SQL cluster (2 nodes, active passive) which I strongly disagree. So, I thought having an "impartial" feedback here may confirm or deny some of my statements, based on other experiences, of course, not books or theory.

I do not want to start a heated debate about the topic, but get some opinions, hopefully from people that have had some real exposure to both products.

--What my bosses want --

HA for our MS-SQL databases

--What the proposal is ---

Deploy VMware and move all databases there.

--What I am suggesting ---

A hybrid model. One or two MS-SQL instances running on VMs; deploy 80% of our databases there. Plus a real Microsoft two node cluster, with only 2 or 4 mission critical databases on it, including our most important database, which is over of 1TB of size.

Comments and opinions are welcome.

Thanks in advance,

russell
Pyro-ma-ni-yak

USA
5072 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2012 :  23:45:55  Show Profile  Visit russell's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Both.

VMWare is fine if the host has the horses and you configure it properly.

Pay particular attention to the peak loads on the servers and over-provisioning.

Performance problems you had are due to inadequate hardware and/or improper configuration.
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jackv
Flowing Fount of Yak Knowledge

United Kingdom
2058 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2012 :  03:41:46  Show Profile  Visit jackv's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A few consideration:
1) What is the SLA - what is the acceptable downtime? What is the support infrastructure? Is automatic failover necessary?
2) Is there a requirement for DR - such as Site Recovery?
3)MS SQL Cluster is SQL Server aware and is configurable for failover more intuitevely. VMWare is configurable for automatic failover , but out of the box - if you're taking ESX 4.1 - is only configurable at a OS level. It is possible to build custom SQL Server aware failover - but is extra work
4)In the new VM set up - is the plan to have a Cluster - with n+1 , for hardware failure?

Jack Vamvas
--------------------
http://www.sqlserver-dba.com
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sql-lover
Yak Posting Veteran

84 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2012 :  18:06:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are no plans to provide additional fault tolerance to the SAN, so if we go Vware, everything will be hosted on one only host and one only SAN.

Granted, I know most SAN already come with dual power supply, etc, but if goes down, everything will go down as well.

It looks the solution will be one SAN and one VMware host. I may have the chance to deploy a SQL failover cluster (virtual) but I disagree on that model.

DR is out of the equation here.
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robvolk
Most Valuable Yak

USA
15663 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2012 :  18:19:02  Show Profile  Visit robvolk's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
It looks the solution will be one SAN and one VMware host
So one physical server hosting all VMs, using one SAN device? Not sure I'd call that high availability, as any single hardware failure and you're down hard.
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jackv
Flowing Fount of Yak Knowledge

United Kingdom
2058 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2012 :  01:43:55  Show Profile  Visit jackv's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If possible , aim for 2 hosts in an ESX cluster. At least then you'll have hardware failure redundancy. But this depends on budgets - and the level of risk acceptable.

Jack Vamvas
--------------------
http://www.sqlserver-dba.com
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