Putting up a marketing slide that says SQL Server is a good private cloud citizen is good marketing, but what’s in the box to back the claim up?

My top three would be:

Windows Server core.  Patching is a major maintenance problem with lots of virtual machines, and server core cuts that in half.  Getting the most out of the physical server is also important and with windows server core being the bare minimum of windows needed to run SQL Server then that leaves more resources for SQL Server.  If you want to check this out I have a series of posts on getting it going.

Always On which combines clustering and mirroring to create a highly available set of databases (an Availability Group), without the need to muck about with shared storage which is not recommended by Vmware and only works with i-scsi storage on Hyper-V.

Contained Database Security, means that moving databases around doesn’t also require digging out the associated logins from the instance and then stuffing them into the instance where you are moving the database to.

This is on top of two other private cloud friendly features in SQL Sever 2008 R2:

Image prepare and Image complete allow SQL Server to be installed (prepared ) on a VM which can then be used as a template for example in System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Part of creating these templates is sysprep so that when a new VM is created from it it will have a unique SID for Active Directory.  SQL Server doesn’t like sysprep but image prepare gets around this by doing a preinstall which can then be completed from a script once the VM has been sysprepped, named and joined to a domain.

Data Tier Applications.  This allows the design of a database to be abstracted from SQL Server, and allows the database to be moved as part of the new Server Application Virtualisation feature in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and to move the database to SQL Azure i.e. the public cloud.

I will be going into these into more detail in the coming weeks, now I am back from my travels, but in the meantime, if you want to do your own evaluation, there are three things you’ll need to get started, exploring these features.