After CPU, memory and storage, monitoring is the fourth thing which changes massively according to Brent Ozar’s list when you move to virtualisation. Some of the performance counters we used to organise our lives around become meaningless and the performance of the host server is often over-looked when looking for problems.
What’s encouraging here is that the majority of people are already looking beyond the performance of virtual server and at the performance of the host server. This is what matters equally as much as looking at the virtual server alone. What’s sad and shows the challenges some DBAs have is that they can’t access performance data of the underlying host servers. This isn’t to be un-expected. In a managed service, IaaS or PaaS world however you just can’t access the host server, that’s part of the magic you buy into. A compromise will need to be found.
Choice of hypervisor
For me this was the most interesting result of the whole survey. I asked what hypervisor people primarily use. I’m sure there are all sorts within an organisation but which is used for those mission critical platforms?
What’s Missing From The Virtual Toolbox?
My final question covered the reasons people aren’t deploying all of their SQL Server installs with virtualisation. I worded the answers expecting features to be the primary reasons and they were certainly popular reasons but not the biggest reason. Lack of high CPU count virtual servers and clustering support were the features people were missing the most, but the majority of reasons were all around knowledge and comfort of virtualisation itself. Either companies were still dictating physical servers had to be used or they just didn’t have enough confidence in their support staff to run mission critical servers on a relatively new piece of technology. Mass adoption of virtualisation is still only 4 years old at the most, using physical servers is decades old. I suspect in 18 months’ time we’ll look back and wonder why we never trusted it for production.
I only had 21 responses, not enough to make the virtualisation marketplace re-consider its strategies, but what I now know is what some people are doing, not doing, or think they’re doing. The biggest observations for me were the dominance of VMware and the fact people really hate the idea of contending resources.
I hope this survey was of interest to you, many thanks for reading.