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Can I run MS SQL 2008 R2 on VMware ?

Posted on 2011-02-23
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I have a question for you, I have 3 hosts Vmware Ent+ with HP SAN 24 HDDs 146 GB @ 15K  install and I want to run MS SQL 2008 R2 on it, would you advise to do it, or is it better to run it flat? I have WIndows Server 2008 R2 and approx 70 office users. Any imput would be greatly appreiacted from your own experience.
Thank you for your help.

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Question by:ibozc
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by:sventhan
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< Can I run MS SQL 2008 R2 on VMware?

Yes. You can run MS SQL 2008 R2 on VMware. What is your OS?
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by:bos
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Yes you can.  We run several SQL databases on VMware and one of them is SQL 2008.  VMware makes it easy to add hard disks to seperate your OS. DBs, and Logs.  

Our SQL 2008 database is actually clustered.   We have two seperate VMs connected to the database on the SAN using a Raw Device Mapping.  It seems to work out really well.

You can also use virtual disks instead of RDM if you like.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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We use SQL 2008 R2 32 and 64 bit for our vCenter installations on VMware ESXi 4.1.
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by:chkdsk01
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Like the answers above, yes.  I run SQL 2008 R2 in a VM and it is also my database for my VMware environment.
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by:ibozc
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Thank you guys, I just wanted to make sure, because I tried to move one of our MS SQL 2008 R2 installs from hardware server DL380 G5 to virtual environment and I experienced substancial lost of performance, eventhough I provided lots of resources. Searching became really slow...
Just quick question, if the server had 2 x 4 cores CPUs @ 3gb and when I moved it into VMware, I provided 8 VMCPUs and the performance was really slow. I was using the same servers in both cases. Any ideas? Suggestions? I have also 4 x1gb iSCSI SAN. Is 4x1Gb enough of bandwith?
Thank you.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Support and Performance are two different issues.

Well performance issues are another issue, on virtual environments, RAID type, Storage Type SAS or SATA, how many IOPS do you databases require (or had on the phyisical environment).

How many hits are the databases getting, how many concurrent users, and not ALL SQL databases are suitable for a virtual environment. How many virtual machines occupy the server, many variables to check.

and agaiin, I'll say, not all servers are good candidates for virtualisation depending on workload and infrastructure.
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by:bos
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Because of the way VMware allocates resources there are cases where giving a single VM a large number of CPUs can actually slow the VM down.  I'd give the VM 2 or maybe 4 CPUs and see if you notice and improvement.  Our SQL 2008 install has 4 CPUIs and 8 GB of memory.  It runs better than the hardware  did.  I believe you iSCSI bandwidth is fine.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Personally, I would open another question in SQL, VMware and Storage Zones for Experts to discuss and comment.
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by:bos
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Also, when we first implemented VMware we had iSCSI performance issues related to our core switch.  The core switch was 5 or 6 yrs old.  When we replaced it the iSCSI perfermance issues went away.
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by:chkdsk01
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Yes, performance is another issue.  VMware performance is very different than a physical server performance.  Documentation from VMware dictates starting with a single vCPU and growing if needed.  I always start small and very rarely do I need to add a 2nd vCPU.  Thisis very likely to be your perf problem
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by:chkdsk01
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Here is an excerpt from VMware vSphere performance best practices.

Use as few virtual CPUs (vCPUs) as possible. For example, do not use virtual SMP if your application is
single-threaded and will not benefit from the additional vCPUs.

Here is a link.  The cite is on pg 19.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vmware.com%2Fpdf%2FPerf_Best_Practices_vSphere4.0.pdf&ei=GsFmTZ9Yh63wBsrSrI8L&usg=AFQjCNEOiRqB4lH9SOpEt5zip17WMURmBw
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chkdsk01 earned 250 total points
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Sorry for the multiple posts but thoughts keep coming into my brain...

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I see this issue a lot.  The reason behind limiting vSMP when not necessary  is this.  When a virtual machine has multiple vCPUs the hypervisor has to schedule these cycles.  The more vCPUs a VM has, the more waiting the VM has to do for all physical CPU cycles to become available.  Thus degrading system performance.  When an application can utilize these CPUs the application will benefit from the additional vCPUs but again, CPU wait time may increase and cause issues.  I highly recommend reading the perf best practices and check out the white paper regarding how the CPU scheduler works.  A link for 4.1 is below.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10131
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