Updated – Microsoft SQL Server on vSphere Best Practices

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most widely deployed database platforms in the world, with many organizations having dozens or even hundreds of instances deployed in their environments. In addition, SQL Server is on the top of virtualized applications on the VMware vSphere platform. In continuous effort to facilitate the virtualized deployments of SQL Server, VMware constantly updating set of best practices and guidelines for hosting instances of SQL Server in virtual machines. Consider checking the latest Official VMware Guide: Architecting Microsoft SQL Server on VMware vSphere® now to learn more about configurations recommendations and architectural guideline for hosting Microsoft SQL Server workload on vSphere.

May 2019 Update: VMware vSAN and SQL Server Engine Recommendations

I’m pleased to announce that the document now includes completely reworked VMware vSAN Section (3.8.2.). The section provides lot of details on the new vSAN functionality and aims to help in selecting the right vSAN configuration for different SQL Server types workloads (OLTP, SSRS/BI, etc.). The recommendations were jointly developed  with David Morera and Tony Wu (published on Virtual Blocks section of VMware blogs ) and I really appreciate their involvement.

In addition, a new SQL Server engine related recommendation was introduced: Enable Instant file Initialization during the SQL Server installation process. Enabling Instant file initialization provides positive effect on disk operations, especially database restore, and where performance of the database engine is the primary goal, should be enabled. It should be mentioned that this option is not affect space allocation for database log files and might pose a security risk which generally exists in all situations where a disk space is re-used without zeroing first.

Check the document to review the new content and your feedback is always appreciated.

August 2018 Update: vSphere 6.7 Features and vNUMA Recomendations

I am pleased to announce that the updated Official VMware Guide: Architecting Microsoft SQL Server on VMware vSphere®, August 2018 is now available.  The massively updated document provides best practice guidelines for designing and implementing SQL Server in virtual machine to run on VMware vSphere. The recommendations are not specific to a particular hardware set, or to the size and scope of a particular SQL Server implementation. The examples and considerations in this document provide guidance only, and do not represent strict design requirements, as varying application requirements might result in many valid configuration possibilities.

This document assumes a knowledge and understanding of vSphere and SQL Server. Architectural staff can use this document to gain an understanding of how the system will work as a whole as they design and implement various components. Engineers and administrators can use this document as a catalog of technical capabilities. DBA staff can use this document to gain an understanding of how SQL Server might fit into a virtual infrastructure. Management staff and process owners can use this document to help model business processes to take advantage of the savings and operational efficiencies achieved with virtualization.

The document was revised and partially rewritten to reflect new features introduced by VMware vSphere 6.7 release and to highlight the latest guidelines for running SQL Server on VMware vSphere. The changes includes but are not limited to:

  •             vNUMA Consideration for a VM hosting SQL Server
  •             Persistent Memory
  •             vSphere 6.7 features highlights

A big Thank you! is due to:

  • Allan Hirt (Twitter @SQLHA) for reviewing the document and aligning on terminology)
  • David Klee (Twitter @Kleegeek) for his valuable input for SQL Server configurations
  • Deji Akomolafe (Twitter @dejify) for his expertise and contribution

I would appreciate your comments and feedback!