In early 2001 I worked @ a start-up company with about 150 people. I call it a start-up because it had no revenue but did have free breakfast, lunch and dinner. @ the company there were five people named Michelle and six named Dan (including yours truly). One day the VP of operations got confused about which Michelle and Dan he was talking about; he followed it with the following comment – you can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting a Dan or a Michelle. Ok, I apologize to all cat lovers – I’m one myself and I for sure don’t condone the swinging of dead animals, or live ones for that matter. But I feel the same way about virtualization and consolidation. Hardly a days goes past when I’m not in a conversation about these topics. It’s important to remember that while virtualization has a coolness factor I recommend you approach it as an enabler to meeting business objectives and not the silver bullet that’ll solve all your woes. Also, while virtualization and consolidation are often mentioned in the same breath they’re not the same thing. A couple of guys on my team put together the following graphic to discuss SQL Server consolidation options:
As you move left to right across the picture you move from Higher Isolation (which equates to higher cost) to Higher Density (which equates to lower costs). High isolation refers to resource and security isolation. Obviously you could take this to the extreme and have each application (instance of SQL Server) reside on its own hardware sitting in its own data center residing in its own building on its own power grid. But that’s crazy, right? Higher density means the greatest sharing of resources.
Here’s a brief explanation of each lane:
The main point here is there is no one size fits all solution or technology and virtualization is just one of the ways to meet consolidation needs. You will likely employ multiple solutions within your environment with the key being to chose the right technology to meet the business requirements of the application. As an IT professional it’s your job to understand the technology and how to apply that technology to solve business problems.
There are several different models out there for approaching consolidation. The high-level steps that resonate with me are:
Finally, I couldn’t end this article without mentioning my favorite virtualization related features in Win7 and Win2K8 R2:
Virtualization and consolidation are concepts that have been around for at least 30 years. With the ever increasing pressure on IT to do more with less they are realities that can no longer be ignored. As I mentioned in my opening blog post, one of the challenging aspects of my job is I’m always thinking one to two releases out and I’m talking these days a lot about consolidation and virtualization… The first of this wave of capabilities sees the light of day with SQL Server 2008 R2 Application and Multi-Server Management.