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Is it recommended to run Crystal Reports server on Virtual server (VMWARE)?

mitovso
mitovso asked
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We are running BusinessObjects XI R2 Service Pack 5 under Windows Server 2003 Standard (SP2) on virtual server (VMware).

We are having intermittent performance issues with some reports - getting errors like "Whitespace not allowed this location" after report runs for a while.  Sometimes report completes and sometimes it doesn't.  Also, difficulty exporting to Data only XLS format at times ("unable to export - may be disabled on server") - works sometimes and fails others.  

Are there any known issues with running Crystal Reports server in a virtual environment?  
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Top Expert 2010
Commented:
From a VMware virtualization standpoint, there are no known performance issues that I'm aware of. We have been running CR in a VM for several years now with no issues.

~coolsport00
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
We've not seen any issues with running Crystal Reports in a virtual environment, but that is not to say, that performance under a hypervisor may be less than a physical machine.

Could you give more information in the host server?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Commented:
However, from time to time, we do find that a Virtual environment IS NOT SUITABLE for a server or application, and then we have to V2P it back to a physical platform.

He's a documented example

Poor Microsoft SQL Performance caused by Virtualisation - Not all servers are equal!

The query submitted to this Dual Processor Quad Core VMware Hypervisor, with only a single SQL VM, if a query was submitted, the VM flatline at 100% for 13 minutes!

When Windows 2008/SQL were installed on the same physical server, the query took, 45 seconds to complete!

End Result, that SQL application, was never virtualised, and moved back to a physical platform!
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Correct, just like some Terminal Svs deployemnts...

@mitovso, how long have you had your CR deployed to a VM? Has it worked fairly well for a while, and now are having issues? Have you ran Perf Monitor or looked at your Event Viewer to see if there is something within the guest OS (Win2K3) that may be causing the problem? Have you deployed any updates to CR or anything else within the VM that potentially could've led to some of these errors you're getting?

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Commented:
Thank you for this information and advice.  I have passed these questions on to our Systems and Network group as they have access to this information and I don't.  I will post an update when I get some more information.
Mike McCrackenSenior Consultant
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Top Expert 2013

Commented:
Do some reports have the issue all the time or is it more random where a report will run then once have the issue?

If  report is rerun does it still have the issue?

Is there a default printer defined for all users?

mlmcc

Sr. Business Intelligence Consultant/Architect
Commented:
Is it recommended to run BusinessObjects Enterprise (which is what you're really asking about) in a VM?  There's no recommendation to do so or not.  That being said, BusinessObjects Enterprise can obviously run in a VM environment and I have several customers who do so (I'm working on one right now, actually, who will have 6 total servers clustered for their prod environment - all in VM).  There are some caveats, though:

1)  Your server still has to be sized appropriately. Even if its in a VM, you still need to allocate the appropriate virtual hardware to it and that hardware has to be supported by the VM Host. Don't over-allocate.

2)  You may run into Licensing/Maintenance (maintenance is the right to upgrade provided you've got a current maintenance agreement) issues if you have CPU licences.  Virtualization Rights weren't technically allowed with CPU licensing until the last couple of years and you're running an outdated server OS and a version of BusinessObjects Enterprise XI that's no longer under technical support (that ended in June 2011 for XI R2, which is why I'm working on a number of upgrade projects).

The error codes you describe aren't BusinessObjects-specific.  They're pretty general, which points to an overall issue with your environment, as opposed to BusinessObjects itself.
Mike McCrackenSenior Consultant
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Commented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.