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SQL server on a TS

Posted on 2011-02-25
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What are the pro's - if any - and con's - if any - of putting  a SQL server on a Terminal Server?
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Question by:lineonecorp
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MarioAlcaide earned 100 total points
ID: 34978149
Cons:

SQL Server is not supported on Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server application server

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327270

So, if it's not supported, you shouldn't do it
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by:dax_bad
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Well the fact that you Will have Many users on a TS, means that there's and increased risk that the SQL server could end up in a situation lacking resources by either memory or CPU starvation. But it also depends on the purpose of the SQL server, is it going to run heavily used databases? Or just a small app local to the TS, then I don't see a problem. Just always follow best practise with hw resources and disk setup with data and log files.

Cheers
Daniel
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 34989207
A couple of points to be clarified

The SQL server is not necessarily Microsoft's SQL Server

The server to be installed on may Terminal Services installed on it but it will not necessarily be used for Terminal Services on a regular basis; there is a regular Terminal Server on the network and the second one is a backup in case the first one fails so it is generally not in use. So even if I do end up using MS SQL Server would the fact that I have TS installed on the server even if it is not being used cause problems with it? Not that I am not planning to install the MS SQL as a TS app - it will be outside of Terminal Services so to speak on the computer.
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 35011362
Still on this?
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 35073200
Still thinking?
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by:Carl Webster
ID: 35095930
I persoannly would not put ANY version of any verndors SQL server on a TS server.  Even if TS is going to be used part time.
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by:BLipman
BLipman earned 200 total points
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I have had much experience with SQL Server on a TS system, it works just fine.  We have customers who have as few as 2 concurrent users so asking them to buy two servers (one for SQL and one for the application via TS) is not an option.  Sure, it is not recommended but test it with your application.  In our case, our "all in one" systems run very well, no issues.  When my clients have load of 30 ccu or more we start going from one server to two, then to three (SQL plus two load balanced TS systems).  

What is supported, recommended, and possible are often not the same thing; just test it thoroughly.  
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by:Tony1044
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ID: 35096573
Here's a thought for you.

Why not get hold of a free hypervisor from VMware, Citrix or Microsoft and a Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise license.

Enterprise allows you to bind four copies of the one license to a single virtual host.

Build separate virual machines. One for SQL and one for RDS.

Putting any kind of database onto a terminal server of any kind is a bad idea and will eventually lead to tears. For a start, you may find non-RDS aware applications try to run their services and processes once for each logged on user. With something the size of a SQL server that could be catastrophic.

And of course, what happens if you ever need official support from MS? You're handing them one huge get out of jail free card.

Just my thoughts on how to achieve a workable solution.
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by:BLipman
BLipman earned 200 total points
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"Putting any kind of database onto a terminal server of any kind is a bad idea and will eventually lead to tears"

blanket statement, not true in all situations, we have had all in one servers running this way for nearly 10 years, nearly 100 different installs.  Everything is different situation to situation.  If they are running a very light weight app it might co-exist with SQL server just fine.  

VMWare is a good option but will introduce overhead of multiple OS'es and complexity that not all IT folks can handle.  A single monolithic system can often be simpler and easier to maintain.  
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by:Tony1044
ID: 35107181
I'm glad it works for you. I'm also very happy you've never required any kind of vendor support on your systems and I hope that continues.

On the other hand, I've seen database instances that people have tried to run on terminal servers which weren't so nice and friendly.

On top of that, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable, like you clearly do, recommending someone do something that is wholly unsupported by the software vendors.

Especially in the cases you stated where not all IT folks could handle things - they are, after all, the most likely to require assistance.

Virtualisation in a single box solution with a free hypervisor really isn't difficult to implement or manage.

By the way, lineone, one thing that was never mentioned - if you're only using the remote admin features of terminal services/rds then that is ok. Only the application aspect isn't supported.
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by:BLipman
ID: 35109469
I would prefer SQL on a TS on bare metal in my case to SQL in a VM.  My company is a MS Gold Partner and we have very adept IT so were we to run into a support issue with MS we would simply migrate the data to a stand alone installation on some other machine and continue troubleshooting the issues because this config does not cause us any issues.  

For my documentation, where is everyone getting this concept that MS does not support SQL on TS?  Here is a document that explains how a cluster is not supported in TS application mode:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327270
but then it specifically states that a stand alone instance is supported.  I wonder when this changed?  

"However, SQL Server 2000 instance installation is supported as a stand-alone instance for Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services Mode (Application Mode)."

To prevent a contentious post like the one above, simply link the article that you are referencing so we know the supported config.  Comments like this are not informative or polite:
" I'm also very happy you've never required any kind of vendor support on your systems and I hope that continues."

" I personally wouldn't feel comfortable, like you clearly do, recommending someone do something that is wholly unsupported by the software vendors. "

One thing that IS documented is limited support of SQL in any other VM hypervisor than hyper-v (unless that changed recently).  MS (last I checked) can reserve the right to involve the SAN vendor as well as VMWare or Citrix (whatever third party VM vendor you are using) if they determine that the issue does not exist in Hyper-V or a physical server.  

Link: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;897615

"This support will include coordinating with the vendor to jointly investigate support issues. As part of the investigation, Microsoft may still require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. Where issues are confirmed to be unrelated to the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software, Microsoft will support its software in a manner that is consistent with support provided when that software is not running together with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. "

I don't feel comfortable recommending to my clients a configuration where, in the event of a critical issue, Microsoft can tell me: mirror this over on physical hw or load on Hyper-V.  Anyway, let's stick to facts and links and keep the subjective comments to other venues.  
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by:Tony1044
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Ok - I saw, and misread, the article you pointed to. My mistake. I apologise - it appeared you were leading the OP down an unsupported path. Your subsequent comments about the level of support and expertise that you have, back up my fears - it's all well and good for experts, with backing, to try things as they're the least likely to require an escalation to a vendor.

For your future reference you may wish to look at the more up to date virtualisation support for SQL:

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=956893

And for a much broader product list:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957006

They limit support to hypervisors on their SVVP list and won't tell you to V2P from one of them.

Again - apologies.
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by:BLipman
ID: 35110209
No worries, I overreacted a bit on my part, my goal is to get the best information out here for people at the end of the day!  This part still worries me RE: SVVP

"Microsoft and the virtualization solution provider will collaborate through TSANet if the root cause is believed to be from the other party's software and assistance is needed to resolve the issue."

Of course this is true with any underlying, non-Microsoft technology but I cringe when I think about engaging multiple vendors in a crisis regardless of the scenario.  

Thank you for the udpate link btw!  
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by:Tony1044
ID: 35110324
Ditto - rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth don't make for a good reply. :)

Agreed but I've got to say that the only time I had to engage MS on a problem (Exchange 2007 on VMware ESX) they worked methodically and at no point tried to blame the hypervisor.

This was slightly before their ecompassing support statements too - when they offered the "best endeavours" approach.

Unfortunately you're lucky these days to have a pure MS shop and personally I woundn't use Hyper-V just yet. Give it another service pack/update and it may be ready but for now I'd stick with one of the others.
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by:Tony1044
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BTW - gnashing and rolling: I meant me, not you :)
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by:Carl Webster
ID: 35110394
As the master of masters BLipman say, what is supported and what works are not always the same thing.  As a consultant, I can only offer my customers to follow documented vendor best practices and guidelines.  If they want me to stray from a supported practice then they have to sign-off on such and I cannot be held responsible for what happens and they cannot withhold payment. :)
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by:BLipman
ID: 35110443
Lol, you flatter.  Yes, absolutely, any time we leave the realm of officially supported I require a sign-off stating limited responsibility.  We perform a best effort resolution and then insist on moving things to a supported platform.  In a perfect world we would all have the money to deploy these systems in an ideal configuration and our customers would embrace this methadology...and then there is the real world!
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 35112043
Folks,

Thanks for the additional discussion.  Without wanting to sound too Pollyanish I appreciate the fact that everybody is trying to do the right thing here and offer the right advice.  Success has many parents it's said but  failure is always an orphan.  I think everybody above wants to be a good parent - - hopefully everybody can step back and see that.  Better to have parents fussing over you than the opposite.
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