Virtualization and SQL Server can go hand in hand, but this is not a combination you should rush to adopt blindly without first thinking about why it makes sense for you and how to best approach it.
Here is a look at the key factors involved in making this decision so that you can embrace a virtualized server environment without running into common complications.
Advantages on offer
There are a number of benefits to glean from SQL Server virtualization, chief amongst which is server consolidation. This is a process by which you can pare back your use of costly hardware resources without making compromises on server capabilities, capacities or performance potential.
Another perk which pushes plenty of companies to virtualize servers rather than running them natively is the improved overall resilience of such a setup, making it easier to backup data, prevent downtime and recover from whatever disasters may occur over time.
Enhanced support for integration and sustaining legacy applications, along with a swifter way to build environments for testing and development, round out the advantages that virtualization brings with it.
Drawbacks to scrutinize
The aforementioned benefits are appealing, but it is necessary to be realistic about whether a virtualized SQL Server ecosystem is right for you, and there are some downsides.
For example, additional costs will be generated by licensing requirements, and administration duties will become increasingly intricate, while keeping a perpetual eye on server performance and tuning it to iron out inconsistencies will be essential.
If you have determined that implementing a new virtualized SQL Server is sensible, then you next need to plan how to achieve this in an effective and cost-efficient way.
Firstly, look into the workloads that the server will be expected to shoulder and use this to plot out the extent of the resources it will need at its disposal to perform as desired. In turn this could lead you to decide that existing hardware will be adequate to encompass a degree of the virtualized environment, or whether more is needed for this to succeed.
Secondly, investigate the steps you will need to take to ensure that those who will be responsible for managing the server, as well as the users who will rely on it day to day, are up to speed with how to leverage this effectively. Training is another initial overhead you will have little choice but to encompass.
The final thing to consider when approaching SQL Server virtualization is that you will likely need to add third party tools to your arsenal of resources if you want to make the most impactful and well-orchestrated use of such a setup.
In particular the integration of performance monitoring solutions will serve you well, especially because of the increased administrative complexities that come with moving to a virtualized ecosystem, as mentioned earlier. With enough planning and forethought, implementation should run smoothly and the long term prospects will also be positive.