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2 Contents Overview...1 Key Implementation Challenges...1 Providing a Solution through Virtualization...1 Benefits of Running SQL Server with VMware Infrastructure...1 Solution Overview 4 Layers...2 Layer 1: VMware Infrastructure Components of the VMware infrastructure...2 Layer 2: EMC Celerra IP Storage System...5 iscsi Connectivity...6 Celerra NS20 IP Storage Server...6 Storage Architecture...6 Layer 3: Server and Systems...10 Server and Systems Architecture Network architecture Application Architecture Database Server Architecture Layer 4: SQL Server Deployment with VMware Infrastructure...14 Building a Highly Available SQL Server Environment Using VMotion to Maximize Resource Allocation Using Storage VMotion to Optimize Storage IO Performance Distributed Resource Scheduling and Multiple SQL Server Instances Rapid Deployment of Database Servers Using Virtual Machine Templates Replication of SQL Server Virtual Machines Disaster Recovery Simplified Managing Growth via Dynamic Resource Provisioning Backup Strategies Conclusion References...18 Contents i

3 Overview This document describes a reference architecture that provides a guide to the successful deployment of Microsoft SQL Server in a virtual computing environment. Implementing a VMware Infrastructure solution ensures that systems remain highly available, are scalable, and can be efficiently consolidated and centrally managed. VMware, in conjunction with EMC Corporation, has tested and validated a virtualization solution for SQL Server using VMware Infrastructure 3 software and the EMC Celerra NS20 IP Storage System and the benefits of both are applied to the successful deployment of SQL Server. Key Implementation Challenges Organizations are constantly looking for solutions that can provide a simpler, more cost-effective approach to managing midrange database deployments. In particular, organizations face these key challenges: Building a highly available SQL Server environment Keeping disaster recovery simple, yet effective Providing for rapid deployment of database applications and associated development servers Accommodating future growth Providing a Solution through Virtualization By virtualizing the SQL Server 2005 environment using the VMware Infrastructure 3 platform and EMC Celerra IP Storage Server, organizations can build a more flexible and reliable infrastructure with reduced complexity that keeps critical Microsoft applications running at peak performance. This solution also improves availability, simplifies disaster recovery, and provides for more rapid provisioning and allocation of new server and storage resources. VMware Infrastructure virtualization helps minimize the cost of database and information management through server and storage consolidation and provides centralized administration of both. This solution also helps organizations take full advantage of existing IT infrastructure by making it easier to repurpose existing servers for future growth, testing and development, or other needs. This document outlines a proven reference architecture design with thoroughly tested configurations that also take in account performance and scalability considerations. Benefits of Running SQL Server with VMware Infrastructure An inherent benefit of VMware virtualization is that it facilitates a distributed computing model in multiserver environments, such as those that may include a database server, an application server, and a web server. Using the virtualization features that VMware Infrastructure 3 provides, imagine managing the resources that support these systems as a pool, rather than as individual components. VMotion enables the live migration of virtual machines from one physical server to another, with no effect on the running applications. VMware High Availability (HA) clusters provide continuous service availability in both planned and unplanned system downtime situations. Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) dynamically load balances all of the VMware virtual machines across the entire pool of available resources. VMware Consolidated Backup offers a simplified virtual machine backup solution. EMC Celerra extends the value of the VMware Infrastructure by supplying shared storage that provides the flexibility to choose between storage devices with the characteristics best suited to the actual need. For example, VMware Infrastructure 3 can encapsulate system files for the database server, while database and log files can either be encapsulated along with the system files or they can use native device mappings. This gives users the option of virtualizing the database engine and system files into a virtual machine and taking advantage of the benefits of VI3 encapsulation, or perhaps, in the case of an existing database, providing the choice to leave the data where it is. Reference Architecture Guide 1

4 Solution Overview 4 Layers The solution described in this guide has been designed and optimized for organizations looking to deploy Microsoft SQL Server in a virtual environment. The solution is comprised of four layers: Layer 1: VMware Infrastructure 3 Layer 2: EMC Celerra IP Storage System Layer 3: Dell PowerEdge Servers Layer 4: Microsoft SQL Server Layer 1: VMware Infrastructure 3 The underlying platform for a dynamic, self-optimizing database environment is built on VMware Infrastructure 3. VMware Infrastructure 3 abstracts processor, memory, storage and networking resources into components that can serve multiple virtual machines, providing greater hardware utilization and flexibility. The VMware infrastructure approach to IT management enables system and database administrators to allocate these virtual resources quickly to the applications that need them most. Components of the VMware infrastructure ESX 3.5 VirtualCenter 2.5 VMware DRS/VMotion/Storage VMotion/VMware HA As depicted in Figure 1, hardware management can be completely separated from software systems management and physical resources can be combined into a single pool of processing, storage and networking power, to be allocated, and sometimes de-allocated, in real time, to the virtual machines that need it most. In a virtual infrastructure environment, guest operating systems see resources as if they were locally allocated, while the systems administrator manages and optimizes resources that are shared across the enterprise. Reference Architecture Guide 2

5 Figure 1. VMware Infrastructure Any VMware Infrastructure 3 deployment can automatically leverage the key components shown in the top layer of the figure: VMware HA, VMotion, Storage VMotion, VMware DRS, and VMware Consolidated Backup. VMware High Availability (HA): VMware HA is part of the native VMware Infrastructure 3 feature set. VMware HA provides high availability to virtual machines through automatic failover on a cluster of ESX Server hosts, as depicted in Figure 2. In the event of a server component becoming unavailable due to planned or unplanned outage, VMware HA will automatically restart all virtual machines on another available server, just like other clustered solutions. Figure 2. VMware High Availability Reference Architecture Guide 3

6 VMotion: VMotion allows processes and services executing in a virtual machine to continue operation uninterrupted throughout a migration of the virtual machine from one ESX Server host to another, as shown in Figure 3. The entire state of the virtual machine, including in-memory data structures, are migrated to the new server, while data storage remains in place in the original shared datastore. This capability also allows virtual machines to be migrated from a heavily utilized server to a server that may have excess capacity. Figure 3. VMware VMotion VMware Storage VMotion: VMware Storage VMotion enables the user to perform live migration of virtual machine disk files across heterogeneous storage arrays with complete transaction integrity and no interruption in service for critical applications. By implementing VMware Storage VMotion in a virtual infrastructure, you gain the ability to perform proactive storage migrations, simplify array refreshes/retirements, improve virtual machine storage performance, and free up valuable storage capacity in the data center. Figure 4. VMware Storage VMotion VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS): VMware DRS adds an intelligent scheduling mechanism to dynamically load balance all of the VMware virtual machines in a DRS cluster across the entire pool of server resources, as facilitated by the existence of VMotion and shared storage in the cluster. DRS monitors key metrics associated with virtual machines, resource pools, and hosts. When a virtual machine is powered on in a resource pool, DRS decides how many resources that virtual machine is entitled to and will automatically select the appropriate host for the task, as shown in Figure 5. If a new physical server is made available, VMware DRS automatically redistributes the virtual machines to take advantage of it. Conversely, if a physical server needs to be taken down for any reason, VMware DRS redistributes its virtual machines to other servers automatically. Reference Architecture Guide 4

7 Figure 5. VMware DRS VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB): VMware Infrastructure s storage architecture enables a simple virtual machine backup solution: VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB). VCB provides a centralized facility for agent-less backup of virtual machines. As shown in Figure 6, VCB works in conjunction with third-party backup software residing on a separate backup proxy server (not on the server running ESX Server), but does not require a backup agent running inside the virtual machines. The third-party backup software manages the backup schedule. Figure 6. VMware Consolidated Backup Layer 2: EMC Celerra IP Storage System Beneath the virtualization layer in the solution is the core storage, the EMC Celerra NS20 Storage System. EMC Celerra offers a native iscsi interface; no special hardware, software, or additional configuration of the ESX server is required. EMC Celerra also provides highly available RAID protected storage, n+1 power and cooling redundancy, and is designed for data-in-place upgrades that allow the VMware Infrastructure datastore to scale easily as the environment grows. Reference Architecture Guide 5

8 iscsi Connectivity VMware Infrastructure 3 supports iscsi connectivity using a number of different storage initiator options. Combined with the performance and reliability of the EMC Celerra NS20 storage devices, an iscsi-based solution delivers affordable, scalable, and reliable storage for SQL Server. It is important to note that the Celerra NS20 delivered more than satisfactory performance results when tested in conjunction with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 in a virtual infrastructure. Of course, just as in a physical environment, storage configurations should include use of appropriate RAID levels for database components such as log files and database tables. In addition, the VMware File System (VMFS) is designed to support very large files with ultra high performance, while also providing shared access across ESX Server hosts. Testing using Quest Benchmark Factory validates that Microsoft SQL 2005 can provide good performance in a VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 environment when deployed in conjunction with the EMC Celerra NS20. Note: For detailed test results achieved with the reference architecture solution described in this document, please refer to the EMC Powerlink website at where you will find the EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server Data Storage for EMC Celerra NS20 Validation Test Report document. Also, for detailed benchmark examples of testing performed by VMware, please reference the VMware Technology Resource Center website at where you will find the SQL Performance in a VMware Infrastructure 3 Environment document. In addition, since no significant bottleneck could be found from the analysis of test results, it can reasonably be expected that Microsoft SQL Server 2005 in a virtual environment is capable of scaling to still higher capacities with enhanced system and storage resource configurations. Celerra NS20 IP Storage Server The Celerra NS20 is a dedicated network server that is optimized for file access to data and delivers highend features in a mid-tier package. The NS20 leverages highly available and RAID protected back-end storage and industry leading availability, performance, and ease of management. Storage Architecture Setting up storage devices on the NS20 involves: Establishing the storage service level agreements, including appropriate RAID levels Creating disk volumes Creating file systems, which can subsequently be used to create iscsi LUNs Creating iscsi LUNs, which are then exported to Microsoft SQL Server Users set up storage using Celerra Manager software. The software provides the ability to view available disk devices, create metavolumes and RAID sets, and implement file systems to support specific database I/O requirements. In this solution, storage from the NS20 array is actually presented to the ESX server using both iscsi and NFS protocols. Users can perform storage setup using the Celerra Manager software. The software provides the ability to create disk groups, design file systems, and export those file systems via NFS and CIFS, or create iscsi LUNs to support specific database I/O demands. The storage architecture tested is described below: Reference Architecture Guide 6

9 Figure 7. Storage architecture overview This configuration is designed for high scalability and high resiliency. The guest operating system (OS) VDMK is stored in a NFS datastore while the SQL database, SQL logs, and tempdb are accessed over iscsi using the Microsoft iscsi Software Initiator. Figure 8 shows that the VMware guest OS, SQL database, and SQL logs have dedicated disk spindles in this configuration. Disk layout The RAID 1, 14-disk, one-shelf configuration is shown below: Figure 8. Configuration disk layout This particular configuration can support up to 9000 users in a TPC-C like environment. For detailed test results, refer to the EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server Data Storage for EMC Celerra NS20 - Validation Test Report document. Each database workload in the environment should be considered individually based on the workload. In some cases, tempdb will benefit from being placed on the dedicated spindles. For more information, refer to the EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 EMC Celerra NS Series - Applied Best Practices guide. Reference Architecture Guide 7

10 File systems There are several important file system areas in this configuration. The first is the area for the guest OS VMDK. Testing found minimal differences in placing this file in shared storage on NFS, instead of local storage on the ESX server. However, shared storage presents many additional features that are not available on directly-attached storage. As one example, with the running OS image on shared storage, it can be backed up by using the same array-based technologies that protect the other shared file systems in the environment. File systems for the database are created using AVM user-defined storage pools. AVM user-defined storage pools allow precise placement of file systems on particular disks. A separate AVM user-defined storage pool is created for the SQL database and SQL logs. For more information, refer to the EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server EMC Celerra NS Series and VMware Configuration Build document. iscsi LUNs iscsi LUNs are created within the file systems and are made available to the servers. A separate iscsi LUN will be created for the SQL database, SQL logs, and tempdb. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 perceives the LUNs as local disks where the database and logs reside. Important: Before a Windows signature is written to any iscsi LUN, it is important to align the disk partition using the Microsoft DISKPART utility. When a Windows partition is created, it starts at the 64th sector, which misaligns the partition with the physical disk. The result is that I/O operations can straddle cylinder boundaries, resulting in a significant reduction in performance. However, using the DISKPART utility fixes this problem. For more information on DISKPART, refer to the VMware white paper on this subject referenced later in this document. Celerra NS20 Data Movers The EMC Celerra NS20 contains two Data Movers. The Data Movers can operate independently, or they can operate in the active/passive mode, with the passive Data Mover serving as a failover device for the active Data Mover. In this solution, the Data Movers operate in active/passive mode. Reference Architecture Guide 8

11 The NS20 Data Mover has four network ports. Figure 9 shows the ports on the rear of an EMC Celerra NS20 Data Mover. Figure 9. EMC Celerra NS20 Data Mover ports Ports cge0 and cge1 maintain the storage traffic. Ports cge2 and cge3 are left open for future growth. The Data Mover supports several types of link aggregation for IP traffic. However, in this configuration, no Link aggregations or Ethernet channels were configured, because Celerra also supports iscsi Multiple Connections per Session (MC/S), which is recommended by Microsoft. Note: As a best practice, the Data Mover network ports connected to the iscsi storage network should be dedicated to iscsi traffic. Reference Architecture Guide 9

12 Layer 3: Server and Systems Server and Systems Architecture The solution architecture has the following general characteristics: Database files, database log files, tempdb files, and other system database files reside on separate physical disks. iscsi LUNs are designed to satisfy the I/O demands of individual database objects. IP [Gigabit Ethernet and virtual local area network (VLAN) iscsi] connections are designed to balance or distribute disk I/O. The Microsoft iscsi Initiator provides storage network communication with the database files. Figure 10 shows the logical architecture of the NS20 over iscsi solution for the SQL Server virtual infrastructure design. The solution includes the following components: Figure 10. Logical Architecture of the NS20 over iscsi Solution Reference Architecture Guide 10

13 Network architecture For the SQL Server virtual solution, EMC recommends that network switches support Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections and that the ports on the switches support copper-based media. In this configuration, the VMware Infrastructure virtual switches are set to connect physical network cards directly to their logical equivalent in the virtual machine. Virtual local area networks This validated solution uses VLANs to segregate network traffic of different types to improve throughput, manageability, application separation, high availability, and security. A client VLAN network supports connectivity between the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 server and the client workstations. The client VLAN also supports connectivity between the EMC Celerra NS20 and the client workstations to provide network file services to the clients. Two storage VLANs provide connectivity between the ESX server and storage. The ESX server is connected to both storage VLANs and has one network interface card (NIC) dedicated to each storage VLAN. In addition, a management VLAN supports connectivity to the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 virtual servers for server administration, and the EMC Celerra NS20 storage system for storage management. The physical server running VMware ESX has six network interfaces. One interface is connected to the management VLAN, two are connected to the iscsi VLANs, two more are connected to the client VLAN, and the sixth is unused. The virtual server running Microsoft SQL Server 2005 has four network interfaces. Two interfaces connect to the storage VLAN, one interface connects to the management VLAN, and one interface connects to the client VLAN. Table 1 lists and describes each interface. Table 1. Application server network interface configuration ESX Server interface port ID Virtual machine interface port ID Description Vmnic0 IF0 Control and administration Vmnic1 N/A Not used Vmnic2, Vmnic3 IF1, IF2 Storage connectivity Vmnic4, Vmnic5 IF3 Client connectivity Application Architecture This section describes the application server architecture. This includes the Microsoft iscsi Software Initiator and connections to storage as well as redundancy provided to protect against failures of different storage, interface, and host layers of the virtual solution provided for SQL Server. Microsoft iscsi Software Initiator Each application server uses the iscsi protocol to connect to external storage. Microsoft iscsi Software Initiator manages the iscsi connections. The iscsi initiator provides the ability to establish redundant paths for sending I/O from a source disk to a target disk. Redundant paths facilitate high availability of the target disk. EMC recommends using separate NICs and/or iscsi HBAs on the source for each I/O path, separate network infrastructure (cables, switches, routers, and so on), and separate target ports. High availability and failover The validated solution provides protection at the storage layer, the connectivity layer, and the host layer. Reference Architecture Guide 11

14 Storage layer The Celerra can have multiple Data Movers to provide high availability and load balancing. In the SQL 2005 NS Series solution, primary and standby Data Movers provide seamless failover capabilities for the Celerra storage. This minimizes the end-user disruption during routine Celerra maintenance such as upgrading the DART OS. The RAID disk configuration on the Celerra back end provides protection against hard disk failures. Connectivity layer Multiple connections per session (MC/S) provides high availability, failover, and load balancing. MC/S supports multiple TCP/IP connections from the initiator to the target within the same iscsi session. If a connection fails, another connection can continue processing I/O without interrupting the application. In the validated solution, MC/S also provides Round Robin load-balancing capabilities. The solution configuration also includes separate NICs at the source of each I/O path, a separate network infrastructure (cables, switches, routers, and so on), and separate target ports. Host layer The application hosts have redundant power supplies and network connections to reduce the impact of host hardware failure. In the validated solution, the application host is clustered, providing further redundancy. Virtual Host layer: Several native VMware Infrastructure features described in the following Database Server Architecture section protect the virtual host. Database Server Architecture The Microsoft SQL Server 2005 binary files are installed on the application servers. Database files, database log files, and other system database files reside on EMC Celerra NS20 file systems. The file system and LUNs for the system database files, and optional Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC) files reside in the same RAID 5, five-disk storage pool. The On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) database is divided into four database files (based on the best practice guideline of one database file per processor). Each database file resides on a separate LUN. All of the LUNs reside on the same Celerra file system. The file system is striped across five RAID 1 sets (ten disks). The database log files reside on a single LUN. The LUN resides on its own Celerra file system. The file system is striped across a pair of RAID 1 sets (four disks). The tempdb database and its log files reside on a single LUN. The LUN resides in the same file system as the OLTP database. Reference Architecture Guide 12

15 Table 2 lists each file or activity type and indicates where it resides or is recorded. Table 2. Application file or activity types and locations File or activity type Database log files Database files tempdb files VMware datastore type N/A (accessed via MSI) N/A (accessed via MSI) N/A (accessed via MSI) RAID level RAID 1 RAID 1 RAID 1 Application server guest OS NFS RAID 5 Celerra Storage Pool Logs (user-defined) Database (user-defined) Database (user-defined) VMDK (user-defined) Total number of physical disks Four Five From the view of the Windows 2003 Server management interface, iscsi LUNS appear just like any other attached disk. Figure 11 shows the NTFS formatted disks SQL Server is using. Figure 11. Windows 2003 Server Management Interface Reference Architecture Guide 13

16 Layer 4: SQL Server Deployment with VMware Infrastructure A SQL Server environment that runs on VMware Infrastructure virtual machines has many of the same characteristics as one that runs on physical machines. However, in a virtual environment build Virtual Infrastructure 3, all servers automatically become highly available and solutions built using VMware Infrastructure can take advantage of capabilities such as those provided by VMware HA, VMotion, and DRS. Building a Highly Available SQL Server Environment In a physical server environment, most organizations will typically only cluster their most mission-critical systems because traditional host-based clusters require more server hardware and clustering can increase management complexity. As a result, other essential systems in the environment are left without a high availability solution. VMware HA protects against application outages by automatically restarting virtual servers, applications and services on hardware that is unaffected by the outage, just like other cluster configurations, and the protection automatically applies to all servers in the same environment. Using VMotion to Maximize Resource Allocation VMotion provides real value in the database server environment by allowing organizations to maximize utilization of available resources. VMotion also adds the capability to patch and update server systems with no planned downtime. In a SQL Server deployment, VMotion can relocate databases and all other dependent files and resources, from existing in-memory data structures to IP addresses, allocating and releasing resources from a pool on any neighboring server. No connections are broken, nor are any IP addresses reassigned during operations. As with all load-balancing operations, however, organizations need to make sure that spare capacity exists on a server that will be the destination of a virtual machine. Multiple SQL Server installations that run inside a virtual environment are completely separated from one another, as if each were running on a separate physical server; this provides isolation at the operating system level. A virtual environment also allows the system administrator to perform hardware maintenance without scheduled downtime and can proactively migrate virtual machines away from failing or underperforming servers. Using Storage VMotion to Optimize Storage IO Performance Managing storage LUN allocations to support dynamic virtual machine environments can be a very timeconsuming process that requires extensive coordination between application owners, virtual machine owners and storage administrators, often resulting in downtime for critical applications. All too often, IT organizations are force to over-allocate precious storage resources in order to deal with I/O bottlenecks resulting from unusually active virtual machine I/O or poorly configured LUNs. Storage VMotion gives you a better way to optimize storage I/O performance through non-disruptive movement of virtual machine disk files to alternative LUNs that may be better designed to deliver the required performance as conditions change. Inadequate storage allocation for a virtual machine is likely to create application performance issues but, until now, there has been no efficient way to reclaim unused or stranded storage capacity. Furthermore, increasing or decreasing storage allocation requires several manual steps, resulting in significant service downtime. Storage VMotion enables efficient storage utilization to avoid performance problems before they occur by non-disruptively moving virtual machines to larger capacity storage LUNs as virtual machine disk files approach their total available LUN size limits. Unused storage capacity can be reclaimed and allocated to more deserving virtual machine applications. Distributed Resource Scheduling and Multiple SQL Server Instances SQL Server 2005 provides the capability to install multiple instances, and manage each SQL Server instance independently of the other. Combined with the ability of DRS to assign resources such as memory and processing power, if each instance is installed in a virtual machine, organizations can almost automatically Reference Architecture Guide 14

17 achieve the appropriate service levels for each instance dynamically and intelligently, with little or no user intervention. Rapid Deployment of Database Servers Using Virtual Machine Templates VMware Infrastructure 3 enables enterprises to build a set of common server images that can easily be cloned and subsequently updated, reducing the time required to provision and deploy new servers. The traditional method of deploying a new server generally consists of ordering new server hardware, installing the operating system, along with any updates, installing other required software, and then performing subsequent testing of the entire system. With VMware virtualization, new servers can be quickly and easily deployed from a pre-built template. VMware Infrastructure 3 can also virtualize other Windows servers such as Domain Controllers, Global Catalog, DNS, and DHCP servers to further leverage hardware investments and reduce overall costs for infrastructure deployment, maintenance, support, power, cooling, and space in the datacenter. Another inherent benefit of virtualization is that it streamlines the testing and development process for rolling out deployments. For example, with the virtualization solution provided for SQL Server, database server, application server, and web servers all live on ESX hosts, provides easy replication and cloning in support of test and development efforts. Replication of SQL Server Virtual Machines VMware Infrastructure 3 snapshots create a point-in-time copy of a virtual machine, while clones create an identical copy of a virtual machine that can be completely independent of its source and may easily be repurposed. There are a number of uses for clones and snapshots when working with SQL Server deployed on virtual machines. For example, test and development environments can be re-configured or rebuilt quickly and consistently using clones and snapshots, and they can provide an extra level of protection when testing patches or service packs. Snapshots and clones are also helpful in troubleshooting virtual machines, or when developing or integrating new SQL Server features, as you can perform all these operations in an environment that is identical to, but completely isolated from, the production environment. Disaster Recovery Simplified Most disaster recovery (DR) solutions require enterprises to maintain identical server hardware at the recovery site location to prevent issues with hardware and device driver compatibility when servers are brought online after a disaster. A virtual infrastructure eliminates this traditional requirement and systems can be brought online on any supported VMware ESX host that is running anywhere. Each virtual machine is stored in a unique folder in the datastore as a set of files, which include the virtual machine disk files themselves, a configuration file containing metadata, and potentially a redo log file, if virtual machine snapshots are employed. Since each virtual machine is encapsulated as a distinct set of files, replication to a DR site is simplified and systems can be back up and running quickly. Moving a running virtual server from one place to another can be as simple as copying the files, without requiring any changes to configuration, since the underlying virtualization layer remains the same at the source and target locations. Any ESX server can be ready and waiting to act as a DR server to support systems that are affected by an outage, so that dramatically improves recovery time. For example, as shown in Figure 12 below, there is a virtual machine disk file associated with each of the iscsi LUNS presented to servers in the SQL Server virtual solution. These files represent the entire contents of the disks themselves, including system files, registry entries, network mappings, and user preferences. Reference Architecture Guide 15

18 Figure 12. System and database disks stored as VI3 vmdk files Managing Growth via Dynamic Resource Provisioning A virtual machine can have additional RAM or CPU allocated at any time. This allows a virtual machine to be sized accurately based on current requirements and grow easily if performance demands increase, or more users are added. For example, as shown in Figure 13, allocation of new resources to a guest operating system is as easy as adjusting settings on the object s properties page. Figure 13. Virtual Machine Properties page Reference Architecture Guide 16

19 Backup Strategies Backups can be performed in two different ways; either using traditional methods, whereby your favorite backup software agent is deployed within the virtual machine, just as in a physical environment; or second using VMware Consolidated Backup, where the entire server environments is backed up. Using this second method may be more desirable (and perhaps even more in line with your existing backup and recovery policies), since the backup can be created in a single step without having to back up individual files or components. This also allows for faster recovery since the entire server environment is restored in a single step. Also note that backups can be restored to any machine running VMware ESX. Using Traditional Backup Methods With the traditional backup methods, you deploy a backup agent on each host where data needs to be secured. The backup agent scans the file system for changes during periods of low system utilization and sends the changed information across the network to a backup server that writes the data to a backup medium, such as a robotic tape library. VMware Consolidated Backup Overview VMware Consolidated Backup helps you perform backups from a dedicated physical host (VCB backup proxy) using the VMware snapshot technique and industry-standard backup software. Consolidated Backup integrates with most major backup applications providing a fast and efficient way of backing up data in virtual machines. You can use Consolidated Backup with a single ESX server or with a VirtualCenter Management Server. Consolidated Backup offers the following features: Offloads backup processes to a dedicated physical host (VCB proxy). Eliminates the need for a backup window by using VMware virtual machine snapshot technology. Does not require backup agents in virtual machines. Works with industry leading backup applications that allow you to take advantage of their advanced scheduling and backup management features. Consolidated Backup supports both virtual machine image-level backup and file-level backup (for virtual machines running Microsoft Windows operating systems). Image-level backup: Makes a copy of all the disk and configuration files associated with a particular virtual machine, which allows restoration of the entire virtual machine. This type of backup is suitable for restoring virtual machines in the event of a hardware failure or a system administrator error, such as the accidental deletion of the virtual machine. File-level backup: Makes a copy of individual files contained on the disks within a virtual machine. This can include all files (a full file backup) or only selected files, such as those that have changed since a previous backup (differential or incremental file backups). File-level backups allow files or directories to be restored individually. Use the file-level backups to prevent data loss due to errors, for example, accidental file deletion. Reference Architecture Guide 17

20 Conclusion Planning a new database implementation or an upgrade from a previous version of SQL Server presents the opportunity to use the VMware-EMC virtualization solution and move onto a highly reliable and disaster tolerant infrastructure. By virtualizing SQL Server, organizations can realize benefits that are not possible when deploying SQL Server on physical servers. These benefits include Dynamic resource optimization Live migration across physical servers Simplified and reduced evaluation and deployment cycles Better leverage of high-performance systems and storage Simplified disaster recovery These benefits provide reduced IT costs, better use of IT resources, and increased reliability of the database environment. References Additional information related to this solution is provided in the following documents: EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 EMC Celerra NS Series Applied Best Practices Guide EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server EMC Celerra NS20 over NFS Reference Architecture EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Data Storage for EMC Celerra NS20 Validation Test Report EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server Data Storage for EMC Celerra NS20 Validation Test Report VMware HA, DRS, VMotion and Storage VMotion: Recommendations for Aligning VMFS Partitions: Reference Architecture Guide 18

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