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July 20, 2008


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Arno Nel

Hi there

I am the editor and creator of SharePoint Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to the world of SharePoint and related Information Worker Technologies.

Would you be keen to guest author some articles? I specifically liked this post and would be keen on you to futher explore...



Reason why not to virtualise with ESX ?

MS do not provide any support for MOSS running on VMWare infrastructure, only using MS Virtual Server. Sucks but reality.


Please see this document:

7. For customers who purchase VMware products directly (or from an authorized reseller) and who have a Microsoft Premier-level support agreement, Microsoft will provide “commercially reasonable efforts” to support its software running within VMware virtual machines. However, after such efforts are exhausted, Microsoft support specialists may request that customers replicate the issue on a physical machine to proceed with the investigation. This request to replicate issues on alternative hardware (physical or virtual) is used to verify that the problem exists in the Microsoft software rather than in the underlying platform.



On MS support, which is non-trivial, there are other routes besides Premier-level support. OEM licenses of VMWare ESX from HP, IBM, Dell and others provide another avenue to Microsoft support.

For instance, from the same page linked above:

For customers who purchase VMware products bundled with HP hardware and/or HP Services (Consulting & Integration & HP Outsourcing) and have a current HP support and subscription agreement on VMware and Microsoft, HP provides end-to-end support — including the VMware software and any licensed Microsoft software that is run within virtual machines.


If I read this article correctly these are the products that are now supported by Microsoft on VMWare. The list does include sharepoint.

Damian Jauregui

Firstly, I heavily disagree with the findings and can back this up with 4 weeks in the Dell scalability labs in Limerick, with both MS and VMWare guys there.

We were there to do a like for like comparison between Dell blades (2* dual core Xeon, 4GB RAM, 2* 36GB SCSI disks and SAN attached) * 20, and a bunch of VMs loaded on to Dell 6950s (4 * quad core Xeon, 32GB RAM, 5 * 73GB local RAID 5, SAN attached for VMs).

Using more realistic user scenarios, rather than just browse, search, modify, we studied how it stacked up with proper upload/download, check out/in, etc. thrown in to the mix, in other words, one heck of a lot more network based traffic to and from user to VM, VM to SQL, and back again.

We found that we suffered a 90% reduction in user count loaded on to each VM, from 5,500 concurrent connections per blade to only 500 concurrent users per ESX host before the dreaded '500 - Internal Server error' showed and the load injectors backed up.

During this period there was much reconfiguration of the hosts, con calls with the US VMWare teams, etc. No change.

With that said, we found 1:1 success on virtualising the SQL platform, which provides resilience through V Motion, but in regards to MOSS, don't bother unless you only have to deal with small workloads, or just casual browsing of basic content.

Regarding MS supportability for MOSS virtualised environments; there's a lot of shouting about it by MVPs and clever consultants, but MS will just tell you that you have to repeat the issue in a supported structure before they can help you. Not the end of the world really.

Chad Sakac

Damian - any chance you're going to be at VMworld Europe?

We're doing a joint VMware/EMC session on this topic (AP02).

I'd like to compare notes, as your findings do NOT jibe with what we found (including all the use cases you describe). We found the opposite... that SQL CPU utilization sometimes was VERY high to unnecessary complex and expensive SQL queries during document modification, check in/check out and recursive “listitem" operations (another reason why we didn't virtualize the backend, in this case it was a 16-way SQL Server config.

There's been even more since, and we're ramping up to do the same test with the next major release with 8vCPU and 256GB support with a virtualized SQL Server back-end.

Werner Ladders

Are they supported by Microsoft???

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