DISASTER RECOVERY/COMPLIANCE

APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

DATA CENTER MANAGEMENT

STORAGE ARCHITECTURE

BI/APPLICATIONS

VIRTUALIZATION

Handbook
SECURITY

NETWORKING

CLOUD

1

DESIGNING A MISSION-CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Virtualizing MissionCritical Applications
Mission-critical applications no longer have to be confined to physical hardware. But before you virtualize the applications that keep your business running, learn how to avoid performance and availability issues.

2 3 4

VIRTUAL APPLICATION PERFORMANCE TESTING: AN ART FORM

THE PROS AND CONS OF VIRTUALIZING SQL SERVER ENVIRONMENTS

EXCHANGE 2013 STORAGE CONSIDERATIONS WHEN VIRTUALIZING ON HYPER-V

EDITOR’S NOTE

Getting to Know Your Enterprise Apps
Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V

Many companies have moved past the question of “Why should we virtualize our enterprise applications?” to “How should we virtualize them?” Yes, security, performance and availability are still major concerns for these important applications, but the advantages of virtualization often outweigh those issues—which can generally be addressed with good testing, migration and management policies. In this handbook, Mark Vaughn offers an overview of issues concerning virtualizing enterprise applications, including tier-one and mission-critical applications. By detailing the various types of applications that can be safely virtualized, he outlines how to design a virtual architecture that will sustain even performance-intensive apps. The trick, he says, is understanding and preparing for the particularities of each application before migrating. Supporting that idea of getting better acquainted with your applications, Mike Nelson’s article discusses the important of testing virtual apps. Nelson outlines steps for evaluating how your application will perform in a virtual environment, but his most important point is that there’s no one approach that will work every time in the dynamic world of virtualizing a company’s critical resources—hence why he defines testing as more of an art form than an exact science.

2 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N - C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S

n Laura Aberle Associate Features Editor 3 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N .EDITOR’S NOTE Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V The final articles in this handbook provide guidance for virtualizing two of the most critical and commonly used applications. you’ll find out if your organization is ready to virtualize its applications.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . With their advice. Basit Farooq takes you through the pros and cons of virtualizing SQL Server and Serdar Yegulalp gives valuable tips concerning storage for IT pros looking to virtualize Exchange 2013 with Hyper-V.

C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . For some. many users have abandoned physical servers and traveled far down the virtualization road. this “Why fix what isn’t broken?” mentality has shifted concerning virtualizing critical applications. those who have resisted it are considered dinosaurs clinging to yesterday’s practices. A failure or interruption in a mission-critical application can have a severe impact on an organization’s ability to conduct business. But one has to ask.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure In IT. The term tier-one application is often used synonymously. “Are they resisting the inevitable or are they simply protecting their business?” When the ability to conduct business is on the line. though it refers to the performance needs of 4 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . As virtualization has moved from the trendy minority to the trusted majority. frankly. the prospect of virtualizing mission-critical applications has been considered off-limits because. Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V WHAT IS A MISSION-CRITICAL APPLICATION? A mission-critical application is an essential component of core business functions. why fix what isn’t broken? But over the past few years. IT departments exercise an abundance of caution.

A physical server form can use. now holds more compute resources than the average operating system or software platform can use. Given their ability to fully exploit the vast amount of resources available in modern x86 servers. if a physical server compute resources used only a third of the available processing power. virtual platforms can often 5 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . you no longer sacrifice high-end performance to gain the high-availability and resource consumption benefits of virtualization. While it cannot be said that all mission-critical applications are also tier-one applications. first. At the same time. efforts are being needlessly replicated. it may be time to revisit the “Why fix A physical server what isn’t broken?” philosophy of deploying missionnow holds more critical applications. With the power of modern server hardware and hypervisors.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . A tier-one application requires finely tuned resources and reliable hardware to provide the desired performance metrics. it operating system would be labeled as broken. So. That is exactly where we or software platfind ourselves in today’s data center. or than the average just a fraction of the available memory resources. valuable resources are left untapped.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V an application. the value of these mission-critical applications is constant. it is highly likely that any tier-one applications will be mission-critical. and power consumption is increasing. What was once conservative and safe is now beginning to look broken. Five years ago. In a physical server environment.

In some cases. availability gains could outweigh small dips in performance. CONSIDERATIONS FOR VIRTUALIZING MISSION-CRITICAL APPS Once the decision has been made to virtualize. you need to build appropriate strategies for virtualizing mission-critical applications. And what application could be more in need of a solid and efficient disaster recovery or high-availability solution than a mission-critical application? In fact. You may need to develop unique strategies for each.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . You may also need to organize hypervisor clusters or use affinity rules to adhere to licensing 6 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Other applications may require the resilience of spreading infrastructure components out on different hosts. Whereas recovering a physical system often requires a second set of identical hardware. which control where virtual machines (VMs) can be located. evaluate the benefits of affinity and anti-affinity rules. you may want to run from the same host to improve performance. In terms of availability and disaster recovery. this is a significant advantage. almost any x86 hardware can now be enlisted to recover a virtual server. to either keep components on the same physical host or to force them to run from separate hosts. no longer tied to a specific piece of hardware. If one application has multiple components.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V yield the same performance as physical servers. if not better. A virtual server is also portable. even if an application’s virtual performance may not match the performance in a physical environment.

Where feasible. and though conversion tools are designed to find and adjust these settings during migration to a VM. it provides advantages in the areas of availability and recoverability. use your knowledge of the application or contact the application vendor for advice in deciding which configurations can be safely migrated without carrying over legacy attributes.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V requirements. Another critical decision is how to move the workload from a physical server to a virtual one. The settings of the OS and subsequent applications were originally customized for a physical server. Treat this migration like a hardware refresh.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . While physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion tools may be adequate for other applications. Though it is rare. Even though it does not aid in consolidation and reducing footprint. Since each application may require a unique approach. This is usually done for licensing or performance reasons. be careful about using them with mission-critical applications. When every millisecond counts in the performance and availability of an application. you may also want to consider dedicating an entire virtualization host to one VM. Recognizing that manually recreating configurations may also introduce risk. even configuration files should be created anew. below are some examples of the thought process behind a few popular mission-critical workloads. The operating system and applications should be installed fresh. 7 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . you don’t want to bring over artifacts from an install that was not intended for the virtual server. a setting can be overlooked.

Application servers cover a range of performance profiles.NET application to a large server hosting a complex Java application. as that will result in a cleaner VM. they can be anything from a small server hosting a simple JSP or . The best method is to first create a virtual Web server and migrate a website to it. Demand for Web servers can also be closely linked to seasonal trends and business cycles. allowing them to benefit from virtualization’s ability to rapidly deploy and decommission VMs. almost a commodity in many organizations. With a complex Java application. Web servers can also be virtualized using physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration tools. Few organizations would consider a Web server a mission-critical application. However. Though not always recommended.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 n  Web Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V servers.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . They have low resource demands and are often deployed in groups. But an Internet presence is essential to conducting business in today’s environment. Targeting Web servers are a win-win for virtualization. the application server is both mission-critical and a tier-one 8 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Web servers are often inexpensive resources. and they benefit greatly from the high availability and agility offered by virtualization. Size and complexity of application servers often have a direct correlation to the role an application plays within a business. Web servers are generally highly tolerant of minor imperfections in OS configurations. n  Application servers. Depending on the application they host. They have a small footprint that is easy to virtualize.

MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V resource—and the size and complexity of the application also make it difficult to deploy. the OS and the application to achieve the desired performance. tier-one application server. memory and other key resources. This makes Never use a physfuture deployments more efficient and accurate. Though not difficult. Under no circumstances should you use a P2V migration tool to virtualize a mission-critical. In many cases. virtualization allows you to quickly and easily create a clone of that VM. This brings over too many legacy settings from one hardware platform to 9 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . it can be a time-consuming task of tuning resources. After the tedious task of tuning infrastructure. By ical-to-virtual decoupling the VM from the physical hardware. CPU resources.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . Virtualization provides several advantages here. do not take the task of virtualizing an application server lightly. the underlying infrastructure is more easily tuned in a virtual environment: This includes network devices. it migration tool to also insulates the application server administrators virtualize a misfrom having to reproduce this effort every time a sion-critical appnew hardware platform is adopted. lication server. measuring performance and then adjusting resources again. deploying an application server requires precision tuning of the OS and the application. Regardless of whether it is physical or virtual. As application performance can be closely linked to underlying infrastructure.

the more likely it is to experience issues from human error. ing features to provide a rapid recovery of database services in the event of a hardware failure. Granted. the resources. But even the biggest and most complicated database servers can benefit from virtualization. In contrast. Database servers can be even more complex and sensitive to OS configurations than application servers. and significantly more resource-intensive. 1 0 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . some daThe more complex tabases may require 100% of a virtualization host’s a con­ figuration. but the high-availability and portability more likely it is to features provided may justify the effort. databases are deployed in an active/passive cluster as a single standalone resource. and overcomplicates the configuration tasks required to create a stable environment. database servers are rarely configured to spread production workloads across multiple resources. n  Database Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V servers. All these attributes should indicate a flashing caution sign for any virtualization administrator who wants to virtualize a database server workload.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . The more complex a configuration. Unfortunately. these features can also require expensive licensing and result in a very complex configuration. Unlike Web servers and application servers. experience issues Many databases can exploit software clusterfrom human error.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 another. More often.

Exchange 2010 introduces new features that illustrate why it is important to know your application before you virtualize it. Microsoft Exchange is an excellent example of a highperformance environment that thrives on virtual hardware. A DAG will work between any combination of virtual and physical hardware platforms. Like an application server. A DAG synchronizes data from multiple servers. almost any x86 server platform will make a suitable recovery host. when the database server is built and tuned for virtual hardware. However. n  Microsoft Exchange.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . With this feature and 1 1 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . allowing for almost immediate failover of a workload with a purely software solution.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V most hypervisors provide high-availability features that can move a failed database server to new hardware and reboot it almost as quickly as software clustering can restore the same database services. While this makes the use of P2V tools difficult. a database server must be tuned to the specific hardware resources and operating system that make up the underlying infrastructure. What may add only one to two minutes to automated recovery tasks can save hours in maintenance tasks. it also complicates the task of restoring a reliable database service on disaster recovery hardware. Microsoft Exchange 2010 introduced Database Availability Groups (DAGs). High availability within the hypervisor does not require additional database software licensing and will not require any complicated configurations in the database environment. At the same time.

If an application slows down the week after it is virtualized. why virtualize Exchange? Virtualization still provides several advantages in an Exchange environment. Before making changes. increasing the risk of a second and more costly failure. While software features may offer a rapid failover of services. These environments should already have monitoring tools in place to measure response times. a down server will still lead to diminished capacity. have solid data to provide a baseline of how the environment behaved prior to those changes.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V the relative ease of deploying and maintaining it. thus restoring redundancy within the environment.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . performance metrics and availability. using P2V tools to move a physical Exchange deployment to a virtual environment is not necessary. no one will 1 2 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Since Microsoft Exchange supports the live migration of mailboxes. Also ensure that you have at least 45 days of data. MEASURE TWICE. While the environment runs on diminished resources. MIGRATE ONCE Never forget that you are dealing with critical infrastructure. to include any weekly and/ or monthly business cycles that may generate fluctuations in usage and performance. This is where a hypervisor platform can quickly detect a failure and reboot a VM on another server. the remaining servers are carrying additional workload.

C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . There is a difference between what can be virtualized and what should be virtualized. The more granular the reporting. —Mark Vaughn 1 3 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . in the end. but all must be given the attention that mission-critical applications deserve. the better. All that users will know is that you virtualized the application and now it is slow. With a well-designed virtual solution. Have before-and-after snapshots to defend against these attacks or to troubleshoot the valid issues that may emerge. it is very difficult for an organization to argue against virtualizing. the arguments against virtualizing mission-critical applications are simply losing their validity. However. most will be imagined.MISSIONCRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V acknowledge that the performance is normal during month-end processing. The advantages to virtualizing these applications are too great to overlook. Some issues will be real.

You can get creative with testing to generate the best performance. If a 1 4 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Some people consider it a science. don’t neglect user experience. Application performance testing is the best way to learn how virtual applications will fare in a virtual infrastructure and what the end-user experience will be like. But as you tinker with virtual applications. Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V PRE-TESTING FACTORS: SOFTWARE AND THE USERS Application performance testing is an essential part of any solid virtual application plan—particularly for tier-one and mission-critical applications. Virtual application performance testing is exactly that—testing. it’s important to test their performance. but it won’t replicate how your virtual applications will perform in production.PERFORMANCE TESTING 2 Home Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form Once you prioritize which applications to virtualize. By performing some quick load tests—with some willing users enlisted as guinea pigs—you can experiment with the hypervisor and the apps themselves to achieve the desired performance results. but I think of it as an art form.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S .

if an application is Virtualizing applicavisually intensive and is not a true client/server tions saves resources app. For example. though. it would no longer look the same on the user’s end. you might think twice about virtualizing an application if. some software manufacturers produce load-testing software from application vendors themselves to third-party providers. as a result. Virtualizing applications saves resources and benefit the user. Thankfully. 1 5 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N .C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . but rather a simple Remote Desktop Protocol and space—which is (RDP) session-accessed application.PERFORMANCE TESTING 2 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V virtualized application runs as well as it did on physical hardware (or better). Finally. In some cases. a user’s daily great for admins— interactions with the application are most imporbut it won’t always tant. VIRTUAL APPLICATION PERFORMANCE TESTING CONSIDERATIONS The following are some important factors to consider before you begin virtual application performance testing. you shouldn’t worry too much about users’ expectations. space—which is great for admins—but it won’t always benefit the user. remember that not everyone has the luxury of a full-blown testing lab or the available users for application performance testing.

PERFORMANCE TESTING 2 Home n  Host affinity. n  Shares and resource pools. disk. but you should consider resource quantities up front. You can fine-tune shares throughout the application performance testing process to see what’s best for each virtualized application. RAM. network interface cards and USB—to ensure the best performance and support for virtual applications. and in others it just makes good sense. To improve performance and management. if any? Can you run one application on the same host—or even in the same Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) or high-availability cluster—as another application? Host affinity is a requirement in some infrastructures. these resources don’t enter into the equation until the end of the process. With the ultrafast and capacity-heavy hosts that exist 1 6 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Again. n  Resource Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V affinity. What are the application vendor requirements. n  Application n  Dedicated stacking.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . Don’t leave the hypervisor’s resource allocation at the default amount. Determine the amount of resources your guest machine and its virtual applications will use. create a cluster with an isolated set of servers that host common or interacting applications. clusters. In my experience. is this a vendor requirement? It may be necessary to dedicate quantities of the core five resources—CPU.

you’ll find some creative ways to boost performance. But it’s not advisable with bigger applications. but it can also be problematic if virtual applications don’t cooperate with one another. If you think of application performance testing as an art. From the physical server world. Stacking can be a great thing. n  Inter-application Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V cooperation.PERFORMANCE TESTING 2 Home today. Some virtualized applications won’t interact well with others on the same guest. It’s not always possible to test virtual applications with 100% accuracy. it’s possible to stack two or three applications on one virtual server. As you begin virtual application performance testing. And some just cannot be virtualized at all. keep in mind that some problems might emerge only after testing is done and you compare the data. but you should be able to get close. host or cluster. create a baseline of servers and a load that’s as similar as possible to what’s on the physical server. —Mike Nelson 1 7 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N .C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . Also. we know all too well that some applications just don’t play well with others in the sandbox.

SQL SERVER 3 Home The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Virtualization is a hot trend in the computing world. we can host multiple virtual database servers on the same physical machine while maintaining complete isolation at the operating system level. Production SQL Server environments can benefit from server consolidation with virtualization because it can drastically reduce the number of physical servers and minimize the administrative workloads through centralized management. many organizations are interested in virtualizing SQL Server. The benefits of virtualized environments increase business continuity and allow database administrators (DBAs) and IT professionals to build an agile IT infrastructure. As a result of this trend. and for a good reason. This 1 8 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . reduced power consumption and the effortless creation of virtual development and test environments. Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V ADVANTAGES OF VIRTUALIZING SQL SERVER n  Reduced data center footprint with database server consolidation. With Hyper-V technology.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . But many DBAs are unsure if the benefits of virtualizing SQL Server are worth the risks. offering businesses substantial cost and performance benefits that include server consolidation.

By reducing the number of physical servers. It also gives us the flexibility to run multiple operating systems on the same hardware. As a result of this approach. reducing the number of physical database servers also reduces data center operational costs because of reduced power and cooling requirements. n  Reduced 1 9 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. as required by specific applications. This means we can virtualize multiple underutilized physical SQL servers on a single powerful physical server. security.SQL SERVER 3 Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V allows us to manage performance. For example. We can reduce the license cost even further by taking advantage of premium edition licensing. by virtualizing SQL Server environments. because the number of licenses required is reduced. each physical server requires licenses for the operating system and utility software. we end up managing a small number of physical servers. For instance.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . maintenance and hardware costs. reduces operational. As mentioned. we can make significant license cost savings. we ensure we do not need these additional licenses. we can eliminate the need to purchase separate virtualization software. For example. Furthermore. manageability and business continuity for each virtual application server independently. License costs are also dependent on the software and technology used for virtualization. and saves data center space. licensing and operational costs. which simplifies the administration.

We may also use database mirroring to protect our critical SQL Server environment from a shared-drive failure. and then use those physical servers to run as many instances of SQL Server within virtual machines (VMs). back up our Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) or implement guest OS clustering using the SQL Server AlwaysOn feature.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . A virtualized SQL Server environment provides improved high-availability and disaster recovery features. The virtualization of SQL Server environments simplifies administration because we can manage these VMs from a single location using such tools as Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or  System Center Virtual Machine Manager. we can cluster our physical hosts running Hyper-V. n  Better Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V manageability through centralized administration. For example. n  Improved high-availability and disaster recovery solutions. which help DBAs and IT professionals manage their physical and virtual infrastructure from a central location. This will ensure that our environment is protected against virtualized infrastructure failures such as SQL Server instance failure. we can host only three VMs on a Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition licensed physical server and an unlimited number of VMs with a Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition licensed physical server. 2 0 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N .SQL SERVER 3 Home we can purchase licenses for our physical servers. though. Remember.

Security is also a concern in virtualized SQL Server environments. In addition. This problem can be eliminated by clustering hosts.SQL SERVER 3 Home DISADVANTAGES OF VIRTUALIZING SQL SERVER n  Scalability Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V and performance. since hardware failure on the host will also bring down all guests running on that host. Properly benchmark the performance of SQL Server in the virtual environment and test the solution carefully before implementing it in the production environment. but the problem is that it’s almost impossible to estimate in advance how many additional resources will be needed. it is not ideal to virtualize CPU. the security of all guests running on that host will also be compromised. Fault tolerance  is another issue with virtualizing SQL Server environments. n  Software support. it is not always the right solution. n  Security. some SQL servers can experience performance degradation after they are virtualized. When you consider going virtual. n  Single-point failure. —Basit Farooq 2 1 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . keep all these concerns in mind. Many software vendors still do not support their applications if you are hosting their application databases in a virtualized environment. Also. virtualization requires additional hardware resources. If the security of your host is compromised.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . For example. Although virtualization is suitable for most situations.or memory-intensive SQL Servers.

a 250 Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V 2 2 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . use a virtual disk file. however.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . In other words. If you’re migrating to the newest version of Exchange and preparing for a virtual setup. The most glaring restrictions here are the storage requirements. which are critical to Exchange virtual machine (VM) mailbox databases and transport queues. Like many hypervisor and VM products. For example. Microsoft Hyper-V lets you create virtual disks that will dynamically expand up to a predetermined size. Virtual disk size for all Exchange instances must be fixed. Fixed-size virtual disks. the corresponding dynamically expanding virtual disk file will be only 100 GB. many companies will examine virtualizing Exchange 2013 on Microsoft Hyper-V. Restrictions remain. but you’re only using 100 GB. if you designate a virtual disk with a 250 GB maximum size.EXCHANGE SERVER 4 Home Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V The Exchange Server virtualization scenarios available today are much broader than those of a few years ago. This year. you should know exactly how virtualized Exchange 2013 storage will work. Virtual disk files pre-allocate all the space required for the virtual disk. but they are far less obtrusive. Here are the five most important aspects to keep in mind: 1.

which is often spread out across multiple storage devices at once. which in turn lets a VM directly write to a storage device instead of to a virtual-disk file on said device. exposing a NAS to the hypervisor. NAS doesn’t expose enough low-level functionality for Exchange. Block-level storage is required for all direct-attached devices. The problem with snapshots and differencing VHDs is that they never completely capture the entire state of a given Exchange installation. Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V 2 3 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . any such direct-attached devices must use block-level storage. 3. Fixed disks will help eliminate the performance issues you may see with dynamically expanding disks. However. they can be iSCSI. 2. This increases performance. For Exchange 2013 storage to function properly. and then sharing it out to Exchange 2013 as a storage medium doesn’t work. However. Fibre Channel over Ethernet or another storage area network (SAN)-type device. Additionally.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . Hyper-V allows for direct-attached storage (DAS). This is especially true for snapshotting and differencing Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs) in Microsoft HyperV. Exchange needs low-level access to the device because of how it works with its databases. The reason for this is simple.EXCHANGE SERVER 4 Home GB virtual disk will use a 250 GB file. Avoid using differencing storage mechanisms. they can’t be network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

When prepping for Exchange 2013 storage.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . For each instance of Exchange to be virtualized. If you can throw more space at the problem.” Therefore. 4.EXCHANGE SERVER 4 Home Snapshotting an Exchange installation and then attempting to roll it back might create inconsistencies across the various databases. 5. a VM with 32 GB of RAM would need at least 47 GB of disk space for the OS. it’s just the minimum amount of space required for Exchange 2013 plus the OS. the paging file and Exchange 2013’s own files. If you still have the storage calculator numbers you used to plan your Exchange 2010 setup. Databases should always be on a separate volume anyway. This space does not include Exchange’s databases. with a broken Exchange installation as a potential end result. Microsoft recommends allocating disk space using the following formula: “15 GB plus the amount of virtual memory allocated to the VM in question. go for it. Allocate enough space for each virtualized instance of Exchange. Your Exchange 2010 storage plans should still work. Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V 2 4 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . Until Hyper-V’s snapshotting becomes application-aware—which I don’t foresee for a while—you should avoid using differencing VHDs or snapshots in virtualized Exchange 2013. but this is the bare minimum. remember that Microsoft recommends roughly the same planning requirements that were laid out for Exchange 2010.

C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . think of multiple iterations of the same setup to gauge differences between them. That said. —Serdar Yegulalp 2 5 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N . the scenarios where this functionality would be useful don’t involve Exchange itself but are experiments involving Exchange indirectly. The most important takeaway here is how Hyper-V could be made application-aware to allow snapshotting of Exchange instances. especially if you’re performing a physical-to-virtual migration. That said. Hyper-V supports more than enough of the functionality you need to create and maintain a solid instance of Exchange 2013. as long as you keep in mind the rules for allocating storage for both the hypervisor and Exchange Server itself. any plans devised under earlier editions of Exchange Server should be revamped.EXCHANGE SERVER 4 Home they should still prove useful. Right now. For example. Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V FINAL THOUGHTS The points discussed above indicate a number of possible future changes for how Exchange 2013 storage will be handled when virtualized on Hyper-V.

Midwest. and Europe.S. including Windows Magazine.com e-publication.techtarget. No part of this publication may be transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. our social community. More than 100 focused websites enable quick access to a deep store of news. Vaughn is a recipient of the 2009 vExpert award and has delivered several presentations at VMworld and BEAWorld conferences in the U.S. trainer and technical author.ABOUT THE AUTHORS MARK VAUGHN (MBA. is a lead database administrator.mvaughn. has been in IT for more than 20 years. BASIT FAROOQ has been writing about personal computing and IT for more than 15 years for a variety of publications. Newton.us. data warehouse and business intelligence projects. Read his blog at http://blog. products and processes crucial to your job. technical training and database administration on Microsoft SQL Server platforms. VCP. At IT Knowledge Exchange. Nelson is a senior analyst at a Fortune 100 company in the U. Margie Semilof | Editorial Director Lauren Horwitz | Executive Editor Phil Sweeney | Managing Editor Eugene Demaitre | Associate Managing Editor Laura Aberle | Associate Features Editor Linda Koury | Director of Online Design Neva Maniscalco | Graphic Designer Rebecca Kitchens | Publisher rkitchens@techtarget. SERDAR YEGULALP 2 6 V I RT UA L I Z I N G M I S S I O N .com TechTarget 275 Grove Street. BEA-CA) serves as Home Editor’s Note Designing a Mission-Critical Infrastructure Virtual Application Performance Testing: An Art Form The Pros and Cons of Virtualizing SQL Server Environments Exchange 2013 Storage Considerations When Virtualizing on Hyper-V an enterprise architect for a multinational corporation. MA 02466 www. IT manager and enterprise architect. InformationWeek and the TechTarget family of sites. Our live and virtual events give you direct access to independent expert commentary and advice. Web hosting administrator. developer. advice and analysis about the technologies. with exposure to a diverse field of technologies and solutions. Farooq has authored numerous SQL Server technical articles. Vaughn has more than 14 years of experience in IT as a Unix administrator.com © 2013 TechTarget Inc. He has more than a decade of IT experience in development.C R I T I C A L A P P L I C AT I O N S . He has also developed and implemented many successful database infrastructure. He has devoted more than half a decade to virtualization and server-based computing. About TechTarget: TechTarget publishes media for information technology professionals. TechTarget reprints are available through The YGS Group. Currently. you can get advice and share solutions with peers and experts. MIKE NELSON Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications is a SearchServerVirtualization.