Considerations for Virtualizing SharePoint 2010 Database Server

May 31, 2012

As part of continuing coverage of Robert Schifreen’s SharePoint 2010 series, we’re looking at his seventh installment, “To Virtualise or not to Virtualise.” Schifreen explains the practical, detailed decisions about configuration and resources, starting with virtualization.

While virtualization provides for the ability to consolidate multiple virtual guests within a single physical server by sharing the physical resources across the virtual machine, experts have differing opinions on virtualizing the SharePoint database server. But in Schifreen’s experience, the advantages outweighed any potential downfalls. He has this to say about the process:

In addition, some experts suggest that any more than two virtual CPUs is actually a bad move, since the server spends too much time waiting for CPUs to become available. This is something we’ll need to watch. We also took on board a widely held opinion that, on a virtual database server, you should not use auto-growing, thin-provisioned databases because it’s too easy for the hypervisor to lose track of how much free space you actually have. You’ll need to change some of the defaults in SQL Server because they’re not suitable for SharePoint.

Virtualization may be the path you want to take with your farm. It can reduce hardware costs, increase server utilization, lessen environmental impact, improve service levels, and extend the life of legacy systems. Schifreen’s article may be worth the read if you’re considering virtualization. And while you’re looking to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency, consider a powerful search feature to help you get the most return on your SharePoint investments. An IDC Study found that Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise gains each employee two weeks per year through focused finding of data, “an invaluable competitive advantage in business as well as providing employee satisfaction.”

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Philip West, May 31, 2012

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