This content is part of the Essential Guide: Hardware for SQL Server: Optimizing performance

SQL Server Consolidation Fast Guide

This short guide features resources for those looking to learn more about SQL Server consolidation, with details on when (and when not) to consolidate, strategies, best practices and more.

There are several benefits to consolidating your SQL servers, but there are also a number of "gotchas" to consider before moving forward. This short guide features expert advice for those looking to learn more about SQL Server consolidation, with details on when (and when not) to consolidate, consolidation strategies, virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V, and more.

Why consolidate?

The case for SQL Server consolidation
Get the basics on why SQL Server sprawl occurs, and how consolidation creates efficiency through improved uptimes, performance and monitoring. This eBook chapter also include details on the different approaches to database and server consolidation.

Key questions to ask yourself
There several questions that need to be answered before getting started with SQL Server consolidation. This checklist breaks down what you need to decide on regarding to hardware resources, database platforms and centralized management.

Pros and cons of SQL Server consolidation
Despite the many benefits of consolidation, there are also several "gotchas" to consider before making the move. This article walks you through the good and the bad.

Consolidation as an optimization technique Here you'll learn what to expect when consolidating SQL Servers, such as potential CPU- and CAL-based licensing issues, "new" hardware resources and less-costly system monitoring . 

Consolidation planning

Planning before you consolidate
Once you've made the decision to consolidate, it's imprtant to develop an effective strategy to help manage the challenges that may arise during the consolidation process. this eBook chapter oulines the steps to mapping out a SQL Server consolidation project.

SQL Server 2008 consolidation strategies and best practices
There are several consolidation options available for those looking to cut costs. Ross Mistry breaks down these strategies and when to use them, and provides details on the benefits of SQL Server consolidation with Windows 2008.

Creating a SQL Server consolidation methodology
Your goals for consolidation will often vary depending on the approach you are taking, so defining your goals at the beginning is crucial to a successful consolidation. This tip explains what needs to be decided at the very beginning.

Analyzing candidate databases and servers
It's important to take a close look at each SQL Server and its user databases to determine their performance characteristics, resource requirements, dependencies -- not to mention how to migrate them. Here you'll develop a better understanding of what to look for.

Weeding out poor candidates
Now all databases make sense for consolidation. Learn to spot the dependiencies that can cause this in advance, so you can develop workarounds for later. 

Deploying your consolidation

Performing a SQL Server consolidation
This eBook chapter provides detailed instructions for performing a SQL Server consolidation to ensure that apps will offer equal or better performance, higher availability and improved functionality. You'll also find a checklist to help limit downtime during the migration, as well as details on onventory, dependency and configurations considerations.

Testing your consolidation environment
A number of factors go into creating a proper testing environment during the conolidation process. This article emplains how to get the best results.

Putting consolidated databases in a production environment
There are a few different ways to migrate databases to a consolidated environment. This tip breaks down the steps for each technique.

Monitoring consolidated databases for stability
No matter how much planning you do, it's likely that some unexpected situations will still come up. Check out these best practices for monitoring your environment and catch these issues early.

Dig Deeper on Microsoft SQL Server Consolidation and Virtualization