Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stop the SQL sprawl with the new SQL Server Appliance...

SQL Server Team Blog - Announcing the first Database Consolidation & Private Cloud Appliance

"First in the industry solution ready for database consolidation out of the box

We are very excited to be launching a new appliance to help customers consolidate thousands of databases, and at the same time enable IT to respond to business needs much faster through an elastic database private cloud infrastructure.

The new HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance, Optimized for SQL Server, was designed, tested and engineered jointly by Microsoft and HP and is available today.


How is this appliance an industry first?
No other solution in the market today offers all of these capabilities:

  • Consolidate thousands of databases with no application or database changes
  • Manage the entire stack, from OS to Database, from single, integrated tools
  • Runs on hardware designed for very high IOPs, a requirement for running thousands of databases
  • Consolidation via virtualization, offering highly elastic and agile responsiveness
  • Includes tools to consolidate databases, migrate databases, and manage databases, out of the box

What is the ‘elastic, agile, private cloud infrastructure’?
By consolidating databases into this new appliance, IT can be much more agile in responding to business needs, through a highly available infrastructure that is ready to scale:

  • Hardware growth - You can start with a half rack and grow to a single rack. As the needs of your business grow you can expand to up to 10 racks.
  • Enhanced tools - The new appliance includes technologies to have ‘zero downtime’ live migration, and real time database VM load balancing.
  • High Availability out of the box - Most in-market databases are not highly available. All databases running in this new appliance will now be highly available through fully fault tolerant and duplicate hardware, as well as software tuned to be resilient to hardware failure. For example, more than 20 hard drives can fail, and the appliance will continue to work with no impact.
  • Private Cloud capabilities optimized for SQL Server - Resource Pooling – Able to consolidate your database into a single appliance: from half rack to 10 racks and managed as a single resource.
  • Elasticity - Scaling your computing, network and storage resources efficiently; the VMs and SQL Server are ready to respond to resource changes, in minutes. Grow or shrink memory, storage and CPU for any instance.
  • Self-Service - Able to deploy resources on demand quickly, through technologies like the self- service portal, and prebuilt VM templates tuned for SQL Server.

What is inside the appliance?
Inside each rack, we provide 58TB of storage, 400 hard drives, 192 logical processors, 2TB of RAM, 60,000 sustained IOPs, and an integrated stack of more than 25 software components, all highly tuned and configured to work together seamlessly. This massive capability, and extremely high IOPs, are needed to support the hundreds or thousands of databases that will be consolidated into this appliance.

The main software components are:

  • Windows Server Datacenter 2008 R2
  • The new Microsoft Database Consolidation 2012 software, to manage the appliance. This software is built from System Center technologies, System Center Packs, and SQL Server technologies.
  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition, with Software Assurance, required for unlimited virtualization and mobility of the SQL Server VMs.
  • New Appliance Tools, including new software to configure and test appliance, as well as tools to simplify the consolidation process (e.g. MAP, a tool to inventory and analyze the databases for consolidation, or a new System Center Appliance pack to provide a unified health view of the entire appliance).As well as new tools to manage the appliance day-to-day, in addition to pre-defined highly tuned VM templates to rapidly deploy small, medium and large SQL Server instances.

Based on this configuration, the appliance can run any version and edition of SQL Server supported by Hyper-V, including older versions of SQL Server, as well as the upcoming SQL Server 2012.

What advantages does an appliance have over building a custom solution?
There are four benefits of acquiring an appliance vs. building a custom solution:

  • Very rapid deployment: Configured right out of the factory.
  • New software: Available only in the appliance, to accelerate deployment and consolidation, as well as simplify the management of thousands of databases.
  • Single phone number for support: Does not matter if it’s a Hardware or Software issue, a single support team will diagnose it remotely for you.
  • Proven capabilities: Hundreds of hardware components, tens of software components, thousands of software settings. All ready to go, integrated, pre-tested with real life SQL Server workloads.


HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance




Interesting. I like that it's available today, that it's expandable, not locked into a single SQL Server version, isn't just a huge mini but instead a heavy virtualized solution, and I think best of all, the "One Support Phone Number to Rule them All."

But as you would expect, it's not cheap (I don't think my wife is going to let me have one... lol), but it's worth looking at if you run allot of SQL Server. If you have racks and racks of SQL Servers, with people building servers, storage, installing OS's/SQL Server, etc, etc, etc, this might be of interest to you.

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