The Lowercase w

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SQL 2012 AAG/FCI added to VMware “Supported Configurations” KB

Just a quick post to note that VMware has added SQL 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups and AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances to their “Microsoft Clustering on VMware vSphere: Guidelines for Supported Configurations” knowledgebase article.  This is a KB article that I refer to frequently when speaking with customers about virtualizing business critical applications and clustered servers.  As expected, SQL 2012 AAGs are fully supported and have no vMotion/HA restrictions just like Exchange 2010 DAGs.  AAGs do not utilize shared storage and

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New in vSphere 5.1–Support for five node Failover Clusters

As has been the case with the last few vSphere releases, VMware has crammed vSphere 5.1 full of new features and functionality. I won’t try to go into all of the details since there are many blog posts out there already. Since virtualizing business critical applications is near and dear to my heart, one of the changes that immediately jumped out to me is a big change to the support for virtualized Windows Failover Clusters.  Since the first version of

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Microsoft removes SVVP Support Policy Wizard..and I think it’s a good thing

Microsoft first released the Server Virtualization Validation Program back in 2008 to help validate their products running on server virtualization technologies (both Microsoft and 3rd party).  Followed soon after that release was a tool called the SVVP Support Policy Wizard which made it very easy to simply plug in your application, OS version, and desired hypervisor and out would come a support statement. Recently Microsoft removed the SVVP Support Policy Wizard and replaced it with a more generic support stance

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2012 – The Year of SQL Virtualization

Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen me say this a few times – 2012 will be the year of SQL virtualization, specifically SQL on vSphere.  I figured it was about time to back that up with some facts and some opinions on just why I am so adamant about that statement. I spend a lot of time talking to organizations and helping them virtualize their mission critical applications.  In the last few years, many organizations

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Virtual machine snapshots and tier-1 apps: Not always supported

After seeing a discussion in the vExpert forums and in my own experience in talking to customers, I came to the conclusion that many people aren’t aware of some of the support restrictions around virtualizing tier-1 Microsoft applications. The one support requirement that many folks aren’t aware of is the use of virtual machine snapshots on Microsoft applications, particularly Exchange or SQL.  For both applications, Microsoft is explicit in stating that virtual machine snapshots of any kind are not supported.

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Guest clustering on vSphere: A familiar topic revisited

Yes, it’s 2012 and we’re still talking about whether or not organizations should consider running a Microsoft Windows Failover Cluster (sometimes referred to as MSCS clustering) in a vSphere environment.  I know this topic has been written about before by others but I wanted to share some of my own thoughts and experiences around this topic.  My focus these days is helping organizations virtualize their mission critical applications, and in that pursuit the topic of guest clustering comes up often.

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Storage DRS of Exchange 2010 Workloads

On September 15th, VMware released a new whitepaper entitled “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Performance on vSphere 5.”  If you are interested in virtualizing Exchange 2010 (or really any mission critical application) I’d recommend giving it a read. One of the interesting things they’ve done in this test aside from scale up/scale out testing is to formally test vMotion and Storage vMotion during LoadGen.  LoadGen, if you are unfamiliar, is a Microsoft tool used to simulate user activity in an Exchange

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Isolated clusters for mission critical applications?

I’ve seen a theme at several customers who are virtualizing mission critical applications on vSphere: The isolated vSphere cluster used just for that application.  I’ve seen organizations do this many times when virtualizing Exchange 2010, often dedicating two or three vSphere hosts just for Exchange and related components (domain controller, virtual load balancer, etc). There are several (understandable) reasons why organizations choose to go down this road.  The most common I’ve heard are: 1) “I don’t want my Exchange/SQL/SharePoint guys

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