Virtualization is everywhere today and has become an expected practice for mission-critical applications. By migrating SQL Server to a virtualized environment, you will lower your cost of ownership through savings and optimize durability and performance with always-updated, automated AI-powered features. When moving critical data to the cloud — or implementing any other big changes within your hardware and software environments — there can be anxiety around the process. However, through best practices and knowing the do’s and don’ts of SQL Server virtualization in 2022, you’ll enjoy a seamless transition to a cloud-based environment.
Don’t: Virtualize Older Servers
Today’s multi-core CPUs have better processing power than do older processors. Because newer processors support the Second-Level Address Translation (SLAT), CPUs can maintain both the virtualization host’s physical memory, as well as the virtual memory used by virtual machines. Before virtualizing SQL Server, it’s important to determine whether or not your existing hardware can support the workload and can be used to host VMs.
Don’t: Do it Cheaply
The adage “you get what you pay for” is relevant in SQL Server virtualization. This is true when ensuring that your VM hosts have high-powered CPUs with large caches, rather than lower-cost CPUs that may have decreased performance statistics and lower power consumption (it’s important that all cores are at full power). Additionally, a common misstep is not paying attention to cores versus sockets — SQL Server’s licensing has limits for both sockets and cores. Learn more about SQL Server licensing in Trusted Tech Team’s online resource library to ensure you’re on the right licensing track.
Do: Back Up Your SQL Server Data
When it comes to backing up your SQL Server data and backing up a SQL Server VM, these two tasks are apples and oranges. It is key to understand that VM snapshots, SAN snapshots and VM backups are not database backups. Back up your SQL Server with either a third-party application or with native SQL backups (differential, log, or full) to ensure that your information is secure.
Do: Make Sure You Have Adequate Amounts of RAM
When determining the most impactful limiting factors to how many VMs can be simultaneously run on a host, the host’s RAM is the most limiting. Although limiting the RAM used on VMs may achieve higher server consolidation ratios, SQL Server performs better when an adequate amount of RAM is used. Experts also recommend enabling dynamic memory for VMs that run on SQL Server Enterprise edition: Enterprise’s Hot-Add RAM takes advantage of dynamically added memory.
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