SQL HA options and deployment setup for VMware 5.5

Hello Experts,

With previous version of VMware, the only way to setup a Microsoft cluster for SQL was using RDM disks. I was told today that changed for VMware 5.5, and you can use virtual vmdk disks

is that correct? if so, can you please attach official guides to setup SQL 2012/2014 for Windows 2012 cluster on VMware?
is there a documentation available as per previous versions? see link below

Jerry SeinfieldAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You've always been able to create a Failover Cluster in VMware vSphere using virtual disks (VMDK), which is often referred to as "Cluster in a Box"., it's not a new feature in 5.5.

The article you have referenced is very old, and refers to VMware vSphere 4.1 "Cluster In a Box".

see Page 6 here

Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service ESXi 5.5 vCenter Server 5.5

I would recommend, you use RDM (Raw Device Mappings), or iSCSI in the VM, as a supported method.

"Cluster in a Box - "this method of clustering is usually used as a demonstrator, or Lab use, not in Production, also both virtual machines would be installed on a single ESXi host.

VMware vSphere support for Microsoft clustering solutions on VMware products
Jerry SeinfieldAuthor Commented:
so, are you saying is better and recommended to use RDM disks for cluster setups on VMware?
Jerry SeinfieldAuthor Commented:
what are the best practices to deploy MSCS clusters for SQL on VMWARE 5.5?
Making Bulk Changes to Active Directory

Watch this video to see how easy it is to make mass changes to Active Directory from an external text file without using complicated scripts.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, RDM have always been used and supported for Failover Clustering on VMware vSphere.

But you are looking at HA options....

Do you have two hosts and VMware HA ?
Jerry SeinfieldAuthor Commented:
we do have multiple hosts and enable DRS and HA, now we need to introduce SQL cluster to place Symantec enterprise vault databases, so we are looking at best practices to virtualize and deploy SQL in a highly available environments

Btw, we do have 2 sites, each one with multiple physical VMware 5.5 hosts, NETAPP, v7000,and so on

Your thoughts?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well it comes down to cost, budget licenses and how much downtime, you can tolerate.

At present with a single SQL Server, in VMware HA, should the host fail, the VMs will be restarted on other hosts, within 1-2 minutes, if you require faster failover, then you will need to look at Failover Clustering, two virtual servers (2xOS and 2 x SQL), and RDM LUNs.
Jerry SeinfieldAuthor Commented:
budget is not a concern here, I would like to know best practices to deploy a highly SQL environment on VMware 5.5 for 2 sites, and all steps involved

Can you please provide your thoughts? and indicate high level steps for building a HA SQL environment on vsphere 5.5 ?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The steps to build the bare bones Failover Cluster for the Windows OS on VMware vSphere 5.5 is detailed in the following guide I posted

Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service ESXi 5.5 vCenter Server 5.5

and here is the Guide to follow to build the SQL component, once you have completed the Windows Failover Cluster.


Jerry SeinfieldAuthor Commented:
is there a best practice doc, or pdf that can be used to build a highly SQL environment on VMware 5.5?

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.