sql database on vcenter - whats in it?

Can I ask what the sql server database(s) on a vcenter system will store? And what is the risk if an unauthorised user gained access to them? I.e. any sensitive data or information in there that should not be accessible to any user. What would happen if someone brought down the sql database on the vcenter?
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pma111Asked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
SQL DB:-

Performance Data
Virtual Machine names
Template information including Windows OS Product Keys (hashed and encrypted)
Usernames and Permission information (hashed and encrypted)

Very little risk, if the SQL DB was exposed and copied.

Performance would not be logged, VMware DRS would not work. Admin users could not login and manage.

BUT this does not affect running VMs.
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dipopoCommented:
The MS SQL database holds all the settings configured in VCenter including alerts/events etc. If this is down you will not be able to perform most of the VCenter associated feature tasks.

Above post beat me to it! Well explained too
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pma111Author Commented:
is it by default the express version of sql server that gets installed.
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dipopoCommented:
Yes, the install process tends towards MS SQL Express 2008 R2 but with options to specify an existing DB.

With the latter option a 64bit DSN is needed.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, if you use the version of SQL shipped with the installer. It's SQL Express.

But you could already have a SQL database, which you could use.
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pma111Author Commented:
How important are backups for the SQL DB? What would the impact be if you didnt have a backup of the vcenter DB?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Low Risk.

You would lose the above, as first posted.
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pma111Author Commented:
Do you not  backup that database then Hanccocka on your vcenters?
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dipopoCommented:
Well it depends regarding the vcenter db backups. If the solution is small enough a virtual vcenter with SQL express will be ok running under HA.

For larger systems these usually go to a clustered MS SQL solution which is (must) already be backed up.
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pma111Author Commented:
My understanding of HA/replication though is it only really saves you if the guest or host goes down, but if for some reason the database was corrupted or an admin deleted a table by mistake - then that is also replicated hence the need for a backup (to account for human error).
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
All our vCenter and Client vCenter Servers are VIRTUAL.

All servers get a backup, all SQL DBs get backup and sent to the cloud!

So we can restore any vCenter Server, and DB separately.

It's a management server, it does not affect running VMs, so if it fails, it does not stop the VMs.
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pma111Author Commented:
But best practice still dictates it should have a backup?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
All servers and databases should have a backup.
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pma111Author Commented:
Sorry one more - is this the same database that stores audit logs, i.e. what activity has taken place on vcenter? Which may be neccesary for investigation work - so may require retention of backups.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, it is the same DB.
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pma111Author Commented:
One thing I did notice was the report showed 3 instances of MSSQL running on that system, is that default, or would there typically only really be 1 instance of SQL express running on vcenter server.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
depend on how many dbs' are running, installation of SQL
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pma111Author Commented:
If as reported there are 3 instances of MSSQL running on the vcenter server.
How can you identify which instance stores the vcenter SQL database? And is it just 1 database or a multitude of databases behind vcenter?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
check the services, 1 database if using vCenter Server, 1 database if using VMware Update Manager, 1 database if using SSO.
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