multi purpose / corporate SQL Servers

Posted on 2013-05-10
Last Modified: 2013-05-10
Can I ask (I am not a DBA), if you work in larger organisations is it common to have a few servers dedicated to SQL Server (and/or Oracle). I’ve recently received a database inventory for some risk/assessment information governance purposes, and it lists number of databases per SQL Server instance. Looking down the list it seems SQL is installed on over 40 servers, but there’s 2 or 3 servers with generic sounding names, whereby there are loads of databases. Is this common?

Can you have databases for multiple purposes on the same servers/instances – why so? What do you refer to these master / corporate SQL Servers as in your organisation?
Why cant you put every database on these same systems, i.e. why do some servers require a server for their own database only?
Question by:pma111
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Expert Comment

ID: 39155080
It's common for there to be many instances of SQL in an organisation, many server apps install SQL Express or MSDE for their own purposes without giving the user much choice in the matter.

SME's will usually have at least one primary database server (depending on the data they handle), we are a 350+ user organisation and we have 1 primary SQL server, with probably 10 - 20 other SQL instances installed by various apps on various servers.

Expert Comment

ID: 39155085
As for the multiple databases per instance on one server , it largely depends on the load placed on the servers, your storage and backup requirements, all these things costs money so where you can you should consolidate these things.

Author Comment

ID: 39155086
So for apps you can control where to put the database you cluster them together on one primary sql server - can I ask why organisations do this, i.e. put all sql databases on the same server?
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Accepted Solution

BurundiLapp earned 500 total points
ID: 39155096
For us it's primarily about managing risk and ensuring performance, if the databases are on one server we can use various tools to replicate that data to a backup server which can take over if the primary server fails.  Backing up the data is also easier if it's all in one central location.

We can also manage the resources to that server quite carefully ensuring it's performance is maintained and it isn't overloaded, many of our databases are not critical but are so small that it's easier to install them to the central DB server than create a new instance for them.

Author Comment

ID: 39155121
Do you call these central single database servers as anything particular in your organisation ?
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Expert Comment

ID: 39155126
On a SQL server(box) you can have multiple SQL server instances. Instances act independently from each other but obviously will share the box resources, cpu, memory and drive units. Normally you have multiple instances on non production environments where the resources management is not so critical and you want to save costs on hardware and licenses.

On a SQL server instance you can have as many databases as you want. There are no rules here and every company will do accordingly to their need and possibilities.

So in a dev, qa environment you could have multiple instances on a box but in prod is better to have one instance on a box or VM.

It is common for database hub and hosting companies to have multiple servers with one ore more instances on each and on each instance as many databases as they need. The number of databases can also be a result of the design just to group different kind of data in different databases. On Oracle there is a different approach with one database but multiple workspaces and schemas.

Back to SQL the idea is that there are no rules or best practices in regards to how many databases can be created on an instance or how many instances to have on a server, still with instances is not very practical to have too many on the same box due to hardware limitation.

Expert Comment

ID: 39155151
With our new build of SQL Server 2008 we have used SQL in the server's name, however previously we have named the servers sequentially (SVR01, SVR02, SVR03, etc...) and SVR03 happened to be the SQL server, it largely depends on the naming scheme in existence at the time the servers were created, frankly so long as they 15 characters or less and contain just AlphaNumerics the server names can be anything you like.

The larger and more complex your infrastructure the more relevant to their task the names should be.

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