Take a week off, and sometimes you come back and things are a mess, sometimes things are better than when you left :-) I'm a little more tanned, a lot more relaxed, and have a sore set of muscles after a week of windsurfing. But, as happy as I am about that (and a week with my wife and kids!), I'm more happy about something else.
Thank goodness for the Server Virtualization Validation Program. http://windowsservercatalog.com/svvp.aspx?svvppage=svvp.htm
One of the bugaboos in what is undoubtedly one of the best things to happen to IT in the x86 space (ahem, virtualization generally, and VMware specifically if you didnt' read the title of my blog) has been ISV support. It's also hard to find a larger ISV than Microsoft.
For the longest time, the grey question of Microsoft was such a consistent refrain, I memorized the governing KB article: KB897615. You have to trust me that I'm not looking it up - but trust me - I just typed it from memory :-)
It didn't say "NO!", but it didn't exactly say "YES!", or say "NO/YES!" (like Oracle's Metalink articles which are "Yes" to Oracle SE or EE single instance ,but "No" to RAC). What it said was that they would provide best effort support for Premier customers, but reserved the right to repro in a physical.
So, what's changed, what does this mean, and what are funny pictures that make the point? Read on!
OK - so what does this mean?
The SVVP program is a validation program - not a broad-brush approval mechanism. I knew this was coming shortly after the Hyper-V release, but didn't think it would be as broad as it is. Conspiracy theorists/Microsoft haters = 0; realists/Microsoft =1. It's not perfect, but pretty darn good. There's a good dialog about what EXACTLY this means here:
Another good posts on it one of my usual suspects:
Some product groups (like the Exchange team) - made the step immediately, and embraced the change, stating their guidelines for both Hyper-V and other virtualization platforms in one fell swoop (way to go Matt Gossage and team!). These are here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794548.aspx
It does mean, however, that the default is yes, and there is a program for validation and support escalation. Lots of details to work on but man, what a huge step forward. The only other bolder step was the one that SAP took. Now we just need Oracle to take the same stance with RAC :-)
So, what's the funny story? (or at least you know what I think is funny? :-)
Well - you know that my view (and practical experience) has shown that most tier 1 app workloads can work extremely well in VMware. We've shown it for Exchange, for SQL Server, for Oracle, Sharepoint, and SAP. For EMC customers and partners, you can find detailed docs on Powerlink, under Solutions->Microsoft/Oracle/SAP. There are hundreds of configs with applied technology guides, each with validation testing results as well as general best practices. Here are a few (ha!) samples: (links are on powerlink)
Validation Test Report: EMC Solutions for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 — EMC Celerra NS20 over iSCSI
This Validation Test Report provides a detailed summary and characterization of the tests performed to validate the Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 applications with an EMC Celerra NS20 over iSCSI Solution developed by the EMC NAS group. The goal of the testing was to characterize the end-to-end solution and component subsystem response under a reasonable load.
Reference Architecture: EMC Solutions for Microsoft Exchange Virtual Exchange 2007 Using Replication Manager Clones
This document provides an overview of the architecture of the EMC Solutions for Microsoft Exchange 2007 Virtual Exchange 2007 SP1 using Replication Manager clones for e-mail recovery.
Reference Architecture: EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server EMC CLARiiON CX3 Series FCP
This reference architecture shows a recommended method for implementing a CLARiiON CX3 series storage array with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 running on a virtual machine using ESX 3.0.1. The SQL Server workload that was used to test the solution is an Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) workload, using TPC-C as the representative workload.
Reference Architecture: EMC Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware ESX Server EMC Celerra NS20 over NFS
This document describes the architecture of an EMC Solution for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 on VMware. Implementation instructions and sizing guidelines are beyond the scope of this document.
Validation Test Report: EMC Solutions for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 EMC Celerra NS Series iSCSI
This document provides a detailed summary and characterization of the tests performed to validate EMC Solutions for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 NS Series iSCSI developed by the EMC NAS Product Validation group.
Validation Test Report: EMC Solutions for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 on VMware ESX Server EMC Celerra NS Series over NFS
This document provides a detailed summary and characterization of the tests performed to validate this EMC solution for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 NS Series over NFS developed by the EMC NAS Engineering group.
Validation Test Report: EMC Solutions for Oracle Database 10g/11g for Midsize Enterprises — EMC Celerra NS40 NFS (Pure NFS Physically Booted Solution)
This document provides a detailed summary and characterization of the tests performed to validate an EMC Solution for Midsize Enterprises. This report documents the results of testing of the store, basic backup, advanced backup, and resiliency solutions that were performed. The goal of the testing was to characterize the end-to-end solution and component subsystem response under reasonable load, representing the commercial and midsize enterprise market for Oracle RAC 10g on Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 with a Celerra NS40 over NFS.
You get it - this is a a SHORT list.
I feel pretty strongly about it, and will jump happily when someone says "don't virtualize workload ". My team of VMware Specialists shares that view.
So, we're at a VMUG in Greensboro, NC, and lo and behold the Microsoft guy says: "don't virtualize SQL Server". First of all kudos for Microsoft for going - you folks have heard me say it before - I'm not anti-msft - they are a great company, with great people, and great products. Not everything is perfect, heck, some of their stuff is outright bad - but this is true of any really large enterprise. But in this case, the guy was flat out wrong :-)
Now, had he said "virtualizing SQL Server just for the sake of consolidation of the database tier doesn't make much sense - just use multiple SQL instances" - that would have been one thing. But, there are a ton of reasons to virtualize beyond consolidation:
- grouping the application, presentation, and database layers in to a bundled pacakge
- while DB mirroring is great for the database tier, its an additional simple option for end-to-end DR
- simplified test/dev processes
So, Chris Horn - one of our EMC VMware specialists on the scene did the only honorable thing - he challenged him to a fight to the death:
That's Chris on the left in red, Microsoft guy in the blue. So, how did it end up?
Moral of the story? Well, there's three:
- let's get to work virtualizing tier 1 app workloads - there's one less excuse!
- Never start a land war in Asia (always a good one, along with: "never bet against a Sicilian when death is on the line!")
- Don't bet against an angry EMCer when someone impugns VMware :-)