Facing SQL Server Consolidation Challenges and Issues

October 1, 2013
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SQL Server ConsolidationOrganizations usually use consolidation to dramatically minimize capital and operating expenses while increasing and enhancing the availability and scalability that are associated with their SQL server infrastructures. It may seem natural for many organizations to do consolidation but database administrators are not taking full advantage. The reason is the lack of basic understanding of consolidation. We will examine some of the reasons why organizations are not taking advantage of consolidating their SQL sever and databases.

  1. Migration of database. Database migrations are important in consolidating SQL server instances and databases into fewer server hosts. This involves moving the SQL server databases and all objects associated with the existing database. Some organizations are reluctant in conducting migration of SQL server data from a source SQL server instance that targets a consolidated server instance. The reluctance is caused by the Its familiarity and knowledge with the databases, connections, applications and other SQL server packages. It can also be caused by security identifiers that are involved in the process of SQL consolidation. In the end, the said organizations will now go forward and consolidate because they will see a high risk of failure when they don’t understand a large scale data migration.
  2. Hardware and budget concerns. New hardware is a necessity in most cases when it comes to moving and changing underutilized SQL server instances and databases to a consolidated system. Most SQL  server administration people want the servers to scale to accommodate larger SQL  server loads. But in the present state of the economy, most IT departments do not have the financial means to acquire new hardware and enterprise licenses in scaling up their systems. Because of the budget challenges organizations face, most of them place their SQL server consolidation on hold indefinitely.
  3. The learning curve and technology. Many SQL server administration professionals and IT departments have known the benefits of virtualizaion but there is still an overwhelming reluctance because they feel that they don’t have the needed knowledge to take the challenge of SQL server consolidation plus a lot of IT professionals are not familiar with the failover clustering technology. Failover clustering is usually practiced when consolidating a number of databases and instances into a single and the high availability database.
  4. Compliance, regulations and database independence. Regulatory compliance gives regulations and rules on how data should be saved, stored and managed within any organization. Example, mission critical databases that host sensitive information are usually required to remain autonomous for safety and management reasons. These databases are isolated from all the other existing databases and are not usually candidates for an SQL consolidation.
  5. The TempDB resource contention. This is  a shared global resource for databases that resides on SQL server instance. It stores and saves temporary workloads from all databases that are within an instance. You have to note that each of the SQL server instance is a single tempDB database.
  6. The resource governor boundaries. It is a good tool and should be implemented whenever consolidating databases. It prevents any runaway queries to make a negative impact on database performance within the SQL server instance.

With the proper training, planning and understanding the possible challenges of SQL server consolidations, database administrators and organizations can reap the advantages of SQL server consolidations in reducing the overall cost or ownership that is associated with managing and running their infrastructures.

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