In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in virtualization technologies. This interest is generated by the fact that virtualization can lower overall IT costs. Companies of all sizes are looking at ways to use this relatively new technology to cut IT costs and increase server and application performance.

Virtualization, virtual environment, and virtual operating environment (VOE) are all synonymous terms used to describe the concept of hosting software in an emulated environment. To achieve virtualization, application software must be installed onto a physical server and configured to run one or more virtual environments, called virtual machines (VMs). Many applications which store data in a Microsoft SQL Server database can benefit from virtualization; therefore, virtualizing SQL Server is an important topic for nearly all organizations.

There are many ways virtualization can benefit an organization, including:
• Server Consolidation
• Licensing Savings
• Higher Utilization
• Power Savings
• Disaster Recovery
• And Much More

To determine if virtualization can benefit your organization, you must consider all aspects of the overall environment, including hardware performance, licensing costs, deployment, administration, maintenance, and more. As most applications use an underlying database, virtualizing SQL Server is a compelling scenario.

However, you have to be careful what you’re putting into a virtual-type environment, and you have to be aware of the types of applications and services that make more, and less, sense as virtual configurations.

Many companies have discovered a very disappointing disadvantage of virtualizing SQL Server. They are reporting that the throughput to the disk subsystem suffers greatly, and as one writer put it, “There is nothing about Virtualization that makes up for the loss of server performance.”

Certain applications and tasks are natural fits for virtualization, ones that run mostly with processor and memory resources. It is also good for servers where the resources can be dynamic. According to reports, SQL Server is not a candidate under either facet.

Virtualization is a good tool within the boundaries of its applicability, beyond that it is like “trying to hammer in a nail with a Phillips head screwdriver.”