Guide to SQL Server virtualization best practices

Last updated:June 2013

Editor's note

Enterprises who seek better control over resource management and allocation may find help with virtualization technologies. SQL Server virtualization enables consolidation, which boosts efficiency. Recent developments have brought about very powerful virtual machines that can manage larger capacities and provide faster provisioning of the database environment. In addition, SQL Server virtualization is cost-effective and convenient.

While SQL Server virtualization offers numerous benefits, database administrators and other lead IT staffers must closely examine issues surrounding licensing, performance and availability before implementing virtualization. And an enterprise may have what is needed to implement a virtual environment, but do they have the proper support to manage one? Virtual machines also have scaling limitations to take into consideration.

Making the shift to virtualization is a big decision that requires careful research. This guide offers insights into virtualization advances and drawbacks, as well as SQL Server virtualization best practices and issues related to licensing.

1Different perspectives on SQL Server virtualization

Virtualization adds another layer of complexity to the server environment, which can contribute to communication breakdowns between database administrators and other members of the IT team. The resources necessary for virtual machine implementation require planning, provisioning and management. Experts discuss these and other complications associated with SQL Server virtualization in this section.

2SQL Server virtualization best practices

Experienced users recommend following a few steps to achieve SQL Server virtualization success. These steps include identifying the best hardware and software for your enterprise's needs, comparing costs and performance, examining the impacts of server migration, and making preparations to maintain high availability. The stories in this section offer expert advice for moving forward with virtualization.

3SQL Server virtualization licensing

Virtualizing the SQL Server environment can lower licensing costs, but the licensing process can be challenging. The decision of how to license SQL Server depends on the version and edition your company is running, as well as the number of processors on the machine. It is helpful to fully understand licensing implications before moving forward with virtualization. This section offers stories that explore the issue of licensing.