In addition to being one of the world’s leading experts on SQL Server operations, Mark is a fine human being, a guitar player of exceptional panache and taste, a wonderful writer, and an exceptionally creative guy. He was also my first manager in my current gig, a “distinction” I’m pleased to see hasn’t unduly hampered his career.
What you’ll find is the material from Mark’s article in The Architecture Journal, augmented with some serious nuts-and-bolts details on Microsoft’s SQL Utility provision concept, as designed and supported by Mark and his team.
In this day and age, this stuff is cool in so many ways. The basic idea is that there typically is a cohort of underutilized servers in most IT shops:
”Rightsizing” involves classifying the load of a series of servers, as the above chart from Mark’s Journal article does for a group of servers in MSIT. Once the concepts discussed in the article are instantiated in an orderly manner (as described in the white paper, for instance, where the following charts appear), you get some compelling before-and-after pictures:
Compelling? I told Mark the first time I saw this series of graphs that they were absolutely mind-blowing; I think they should’ve been on the cover of the Journal with the headline Can Your Database Infrastructure Do This? Probably! Look what happens at 6:1 consolidation (a ratio representing the savings experienced by MSIT through resource consolidation):
- you’re saving rack space (which saves you money by reducing hardware spend and the size of your data center – less space to manage could be construed as “green” in many places)
- you’re reducing your power consumption for the servers themselves as well as cooling (which saves you money, and is, I trust, clearly about as green as it gets)
- your recycle cost is reduced (again, a green alternative; reducing the waste stream at the source is a Holy Grail of green process management), and
- your annual operating costs are halved (“green” in a different context, but it’s all good, right?)
Is there a catch? Of course there is. The primary consideration is that database servers and their load need to match certain characteristics to be good candidates for virtualization. Not every application will benefit from this approach, but our research shows that a huge percentage of them probably can.
If you’ve got some database server iron running at permafrost, you’ve got to read these articles. If you can save money and go green, what’s not to like?.
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