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Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing it Right (Vmware Press Technology) [Paperback]

Michael Corey , Jeff Szastak , Michael Webster

Price: 27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 July 2014 0321927753 978-0321927750 1

The start-to-finish guide to virtualizing business-critical SQL Server databases on VMware vSphere 5


By virtualizing business-critical databases, enterprises can drive far more value from existing IT infrastructure. But squeezing maximum performance out of a virtualized database instance is an art as much as a science. This indispensable start-to-finish guide brings together all the techniques, tips, and insights you need to succeed.


Drawing on unsurpassed personal experience, three leading experts share complete best practices for deploying business-critical database servers in virtualized vSphere 5 environments. They cover the entire project lifecycle, bridging technical and communications gaps between SQL Server and VMware professionals that often make database virtualization more difficult than it needs to be.


You’ll find specific guidance for architects and administrators responsible for systems, storage, databases, applications, or VMware virtualization. The authors also present detailed, start-to-finish coverage of performance baselining and testing: all you need to make your virtualized databases as fast as they are cost effective. Although this book focuses on SQL, the authors’ proven guidance for enhancing performance can be leveraged by any IT professional virtualizing a demanding Tier 1 application.


Coverage includes


  • Business cases for database virtualization: consolidation, Database as a Service (DaaS), efficiency, and “SLAs on steroids”

  • Using the redundancy inherent in virtualization  to improve availability

  • Constructing a careful, conservative implementation plan

  • Balancing disk, CPU, memory, and network for superior performance

  • Mastering the five key principles of database storage design

  • Leveraging memory: SQL MAX, page locking, NUMA, reservations, swapping, large memory pages, and more

  • Ensuring responsiveness by providing a fast, reliable, low-latency network

  • Supporting advanced AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances and Availability Groups

  • Baselining physical systems and properly determining resource requirements

  • Configuring performance tests from beginning  to end

  • Migrating existing SQL Server databases  onto a vSphere platform

  • Avoiding traps and pitfalls in virtualizing production databases

  • Managing and monitoring virtualized database instances and resources



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Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing it Right (Vmware Press Technology) + Essential Virtual San (VSAN): Administrator's Guide to VMware Virtual San (Vmware Press Technology)
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More About the Authors

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About the Author

Michael Corey (@Michael_Corey) is the President of Ntirety, a division of Hosting. Michael is an experienced entrepreneur and a recognized expert on relational databases, remote database administration, and data warehousing. Microsoft named Michael a SQL

Server MVP, VMware named him a vExpert, and Oracle named him an Oracle Ace. Michael has presented at technical and business conferences from Brazil to Australia. Michael is a past president of the Independent Oracle Users Group; he helped found the Professional Association of SQL Server, is a current board member of the IOUG Cloud SIG, and is actively involved in numerous professional associations and industry user groups. Michael currently sits on the executive committee for the Massachusetts Robert H. Goddard Council for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.


Jeff Szastak (@Szastak) is currently a Staff Systems Engineer for VMware. Jeff has been with VMware for over six years, holding various roles with VMware during his tenure. These roles have included being a TAM, Systems Engineer Specialist for Business-Critical Applications, Enterprise Healthcare Systems Engineer, and a CTO Ambassador. Jeff is a recognized expert for virtualizing databases and other high I/O applications on the vSphere platform. Jeff is a regular speaker at VMworld, VMware Partner Exchange, VMware User Groups, and has spoken at several SQL PASS events. Jeff holds a Master of Information Assurance degree as well as the distinguished CISSP certification. Jeff has over 13 “lucky” years in IT and is passionate about helping others find a better way to do IT.


Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001) is based in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX #66), author of longwhiteclouds. com (a top-15 virtualization blog), and a Top 10 Vmworld Session Speaker for 2013. In addition, he is a Senior Solutions and Performance Engineer for Nutanix, vExpert, MCSE, and NPP. Michael specializes in solution architecture and performance engineering for Unix-to-VMware migrations as well as virtualizing business-critical applications such as SQL, Oracle, SAP, Exchange, Enterprise Java Systems, and monster VMs in software-defined data centers. Michael has more than 20 years experience in the IT industry and 10 years experience deploying VMware solutions in large-scale environments around the globe. He is regularly a presenter at VMware VMworld, VMware vForums, VMware User Groups, and other industry events. In addition to this book, Michael was technical reviewer of VCDX Boot Camp and Virtualizing and Tuning Large-Scale Java Platforms, both published by VMware Press.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
143 of 144 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this book. 20 Aug 2014
By Brent Ozar - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is simply not factually correct on a large number of issues.

Page 309 - the high availability chart shows pre-SQL-2012 clustering and SQL-2012+ clustering as having different recovery point objectives. (They don't - they just have different marketing names.) It says database mirroring, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and failover clusters fail over in less than three seconds - that's just not realistic. It says you can do vMotion on a database mirror - that's not realistic either, because synchronous mirrors often fail over during long vMotions.

Those errors are all on just one page, in one chart, and it just keeps coming.

Page 111 says that if you put your log files on local SSDs, you should "have an additional copy on SAN." That's just not even physically possible with SQL Server - you can have two log files, but if either of them fails, your database is down. This concept is possible in Oracle, and the authors' Oracle background keeps showing up throughout the book. They recommend things that work in Oracle, but not in SQL Server.

Page 111 also says that Microsoft recommends 1 data file per CPU core and .25 to 1 user database. That was true in 2005-2006, but Microsoft has since released multiple knowledge base articles like KB2154845 that have better guidance.

I could go on and on (and in my book review on BrentOzar dot com, I do) but the bottom line is that you should wait for the next revision of this book. The first edition has too many technical problems.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money 21 Aug 2014
By AKamble - Published on
I was reading this book before Brent Ozar put out his review and I whole heartedly agree with his remarks. When I started I thought it was me; but I now know it's not me. My suggestion for working with this book, do a read along with your resident VMWare / SAN expert sitting next to you. Some of the technical stuff is a bit questionable and it would be nice to have a expert point out the flaws first hand. The book is peppered with too many vendor URLs to read for my taste, after a while I thought I was reading a blog posting, not a authored and edited technical book.

VMWare Press you have a book in the works detailing on how to setup Oracle on VMWare, I am hopeful your team does a better job on that edition.
0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 Aug 2014
By Scott Hummel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great product
7 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "all-in-one" SQL on VMware book at the time of this review. 6 Aug 2014
By Jose - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Few years ago, there were little or no resources out there if you wanted to deploy MS-SQL on VMware. The VMware experts were not DBAs or the DBAs did not know too much about VMware. Information about how to configure SQL on VMware was limited to online blogs or one or two chapters in a book.

"Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware" closes that gap. And while it is NOT a VMware training book per se (VMware and SQL are too complex for 500 pages ) the book "married" both concepts beautifully and provides tons of tips for the experienced MS-SQL DBA.

The book focuses on the design phase. It explains the importance of proper SAN and disk configuration, RAM settings and how VMware handles all that.

You won't find tips to tune up queries or to troubleshoot VMware if things go wrong. The author also assumes that you have some basic knowledge of Windows operating system, networking and SQL 2012 internals like memory management.

To me, the two most interesting chapters are the one for Storage and Memory configuration. The author explains how VMware handles memory , which is totally different from a physical machine, and why and how certain SQL server settings memory may affect or improve performance when running a database on a virtual environment.

If you have no previous exposure to VMware, I do recommend you to read Virtualization Essentials by Matthew Portnoy and Mastering VMware by Scott Lowe. The 1st one is an intro book to Virtualization; the second one is a cert. book and goes more in detail about VMware setup, settings and management.

Avoid this book if you are an entry level MS-SQL DBA or if you need to setup VMware from scratch. Those initial setup steps are no mentioned here and you will need additional resources if you intention is to learn that.
4 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great technical resource for virtualizing SQL server with concepts to be applied to all tier 1 apps 10 Aug 2014
By Frank Buechsel - Published on
I just finished reading the book and I am very positively impressed by it. The target audience is described as follows.

"Our goal was to create in one book—a comprehensive resource that a solution architect, system administrator, storage administrator, or database administrator could use to guide them through the necessary steps to successfully virtualize a database. Many of the lessons learned in this book apply to any business-critical application being virtualized from SAP, E-Business Suite, Microsoft Exchange, or Oracle, with the specific focus of this book on Microsoft SQL Server. Although you don’t have to be a database administrator to understand the contents of this book, it does help if you are technical and have a basic understanding of vSphere."

This goal has definitely been met. I did like the writing style which remembers me very much of the same approach Chris Wahl is taking in Networking for VMware Administrators. It is not the dreadful reference textbook style that gets you bored after reading the 5th line on the first book page. Yet the technical content is very detailed but still easy enough to grasp as it is presented with lots of illustrations, screenshots and examples.

The authors take a structured approach of introducing virtualization concepts in a very rough overview so that the reader who has only worked in the physical world so far can still get the content but no pages are wasted for the actual book content as well.

The next couple of chapters then build a business case on why to virtualize a tier 1 application like SQL server, the benefits and differences to an approach used in the physical world, some general design concepts and common pitfalls.

The nitty gritty stuff happens in chapters 5 to 9, taking each of the major performance food groups and showing best practices and design decisions to keep in mind when virtualizing SQL server. Each reason for every decision is explained in detail enabling the reader to actually make his or her own decisions on the specific use case themselves.

One fear I had before reading the book was that one of the authors works for a major vendor and that references to that specific vendor and the hardware would be all over the place. This is the case in one chapter only and serves as an example on a very specific theme being covered, it is only a couple of pages long and even if you don't like vendors being called out in technical books you won't mind this part at all, as it is really short, can easily be skipped in the worst case but should still be read as it contains valuable information. This is definitely not a marketing brochure but a technical resource.

The last 2 chapters then concentrate on why one should baseline tier 1 applications and go through the whole set up of how to do so in the very last chapter. Really good material that I do not see to be done very often when dealing with performance issues. The description usually is "it is slow" rather than "we baselined this and now it is performing x amount slower than it used to be".

What I really liked was that the authors not only concentrated on the virtualization admin part of the book but also on the db admin part, pointing out changes to mantras that are not true anymore in a virtual world until they really sunk in when finishing the book.

I really would like to see one improvement if there is a second edition of this book and that would be to have all the hints, notes and tiny text boxes with advanced settings in a single place in the appendix, so that you don't need to search for a hint you remembered that was written out but could look it up in one single place.
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