VMware Guided Consolidation

Posted on 2010-09-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-10

Unfortunatly I have the task to make a decission on if we should virtualize our SQL cluster or not.
So someone recommened to me to run the VMware Guided Consolidation which is part of the VirtualCenter 3.5 - we have not upgraded to 4.0 yet. However I just started the process and in the moment it shows four dots in the 'Confidence' column. Is that a good value or not so much? What is the max?

Thank you
Question by:Mc2102
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Accepted Solution

robdcoy earned 167 total points
ID: 33629517
First, I don't think it is a good idea to run SQL in 3.5.  There were too many performance improvements to 4.0/4.1 to support SQL.  Others have a different opinion, but from what I have seen, 4.0 does a much better job than 3.5.  I started my VM on 3.5 and moved to 4.0 soon after and saw much better performance.  As long as you know about the possibility of decreased performance with 3.5, then you can go for it.
Second, running an SQL cluster inside an HA environment is supported BUT for me, I went not to go with failover clustering.  Instead, I go with heartbeat monitoring on the VM, and if the VM heartbeat fails, the system restarts.  This has never happend, in fact, my server has been running without any problems for the past 145 days.  No reboots, nothing.  I can give you details of my VM if you would like.  The system takes about 1 minute to reboot, so an extra 30 seconds doesn't hurt me at all.

Last, I have never used the Guided Consolidation because of fear of the unknown.  I just brought each server in using VMware Converter.


Assisted Solution

mail2vijay1982 earned 167 total points
ID: 33630327
VirtualCenter 2.5 included a new feature called Guided Consolidation (also known as Capacity Planner) which uses a built-in wizard to discover physical systems and analyze them for preparation to be converted into virtual machines (VMs). This feature is a "lite" version of the full Capacity Planner application that is available to VMware business partners to help analyze customer environments.
Once these systems have been analyzed they can be converted into virtual machines by the built-in VMware Converter feature of VirtualCenter 2.5. The entire process consists of the following steps:

Finding servers - First search for, and select, the physical systems in your data center that you want analyzed.
Analyzing servers - Selected physical systems are analyzed and performance data on each selected system is collected. Generally, the longer the duration of the analysis phase the higher the confidence in VirtualCenter's recommendations.
Consolidating servers - Performance data is compared to the resources available on the virtual machine host systems. The selected physical systems are converted to virtual machines and imported into VirtualCenter on the recommended hosts where they are managed along with other components of your virtual environment.

Assisted Solution

phantom024 earned 166 total points
ID: 33633501
How long has guided consolidation been running?  It has been a little bit since I have used it, but I think the dots are showing progress of monitoring.  Give it a little while longer and I believe that it will give you a confidence rating of Low to High or something like that as to how well it believes that it can run in the virtual environment.

Also at VMworld this year that had a bit about SQL and HA or clustering.  It may be a good idea to think about going to SQL mirroring rather than using MSCS between VMs.  Also as others hinted at before, usually physical clusters were used in case of hardware failure but if it is converted to a VM you can use HA to handle any physical server failure rather than having to deal with MSCS.  Yes it will have to reboot the VM but I have seen MSCS failovers that have take just as long as a reboot.

Author Comment

ID: 33636999
Thank you very much for the input on this. I checked status of guided consolidation again this morning and it now says "Low" in the confidence column. Well since the results are based on the VM hosts then I am not suprised since they are already at the limit of their resources. So if we would move the SQL cluster onto VMware then no matter what we would need to upgrade to 4.0 - which was the plan anyways - and buy bigger VM hosts as well. We would also skip Windows clustering and use HA. I just have a hard time coming up with a decission if we should move away from a standalone solution to a virtualized one since the opinions about this topic are really 50\50. But that is a diffrent topic.

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