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Adding virtual CPUs to Server 2003/SQL 2005

Posted on 2012-03-12
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Last Modified: 2012-03-14
Scenario:
vmWare ESXi 4
Several VM's, all running Windows Server 2003 32-bit
The SQL VM was originally configured (not by me) with only 1 virtual cpu (Xeon 2.5GHz) and with 4GB RAM.

This machine is taking strain as it runs 8 SQL databases (various sizes, largest one being about 8GB).

I need to increase this VM's performance and am toying with the idea of adding at least one more virtual CPU as this CPU runs at or above 90% for most of the day.
Since the OS is 32-bit, I cannot realistically add more RAM to it (...or can I in this virtual environment?)

VMWare says that adding a cpu to a VM may cause instability - the last thing I need is for this server to becme unstable, so the big question is: can I do this safely?

My other option would be to create another SQL VM and spread the databases accross the 2VM's, but as my datastore space is limited it may be a tight fit.

Anyone have any advice/guidance for me?
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Question by:Altra
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10 Comments
 
LVL 119
ID: 37710146
You can certainly try and add another CPU to the Virtual Machine, and see if it helps you performance.

The amount of RAM you have allocated to this VM seems, low, what version of Windows 2003 Server do you have?

because 32bit could be limited to 4GB only, depending upon version.

see here

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:RickEpnet
ID: 37710147
It depends on how the server's HAL was setup originality. Can it handle multiple CPUs. How was the machine setup in the first place as a VM or a physical machine?
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LVL 119
ID: 37710157
I think it would be wise to setup a new VM, with single processor and as much ram as you require. Maybe select a 64 bit VM.

If you cannot increase the memory in the VM, what memory is in use currently?
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Author Comment

by:Altra
ID: 37710323
Thanks for the responses:

The VM is running Windows Server 2003 Standard R2 32-bit (with SP2).

As far as I know the VM was originally set up as a VM, not a physical machine, and looking at the timeframe, it made sense to do it that way, but with the company's expansion, in retrospect it was possibly under-specced, and unfortunately it is only Standard Edition, so it looks like I am limited to the 4GB I have curently.

I would like to add a vCPU to see if this alleviates the problems, I'm just worried about stability.

Ideally I would like to go to Server 2008 x64 but I need to work on the client quite a bit to convince him to spend the money, so it is not an option at the moment.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 250 total points
ID: 37710402
You will be fine adding another CPU.

Make sure the VM is off.

Add A CPU
Add another CPU, when the VM restarts, you may need to start Device Manager, select CPU, and select Upgrade and select the Multi Processor HAL, and then restart.

It should not cause stability issues, but may not give you the results you expect.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:RickEpnet
ID: 37710439
Is the server utilizing all the RAM right now? Do you have multiple databases do you have multiple incidents of SQL running or are all the databases running under the same incident?
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Author Comment

by:Altra
ID: 37713451
hancocka: Thanks - stability query answered ok. Will add the cpu and see what happens. I do accept that it may not do all I need it to do, but if it alleviates the almost constant 100% cpu usage I'll be happy. Users are experiencing lagginess and hanging when using the app that depends on these databases - and I've drawn a correlation that cpu usage is pegged at 100% when they experience this lag.

RickEpnet: There are 8 databases all running on one instance of SQL and memory usage is not horribly high - usually around 50% to 75%
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Assisted Solution

by:RickEpnet
RickEpnet earned 250 total points
ID: 37715755
Then adding the CPU is you best chance beside going with a 64 bit server.
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Author Comment

by:Altra
ID: 37718668
Great, thanks - going 64-bit is first prize, but since the client is not going to spend money on that right now, I'll settle for second...
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Author Closing Comment

by:Altra
ID: 37719382
To the point, just what I was looking for.
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