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VMware Exchange/SQL Server best practices

<span class="Forum_Normal"><div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Thanks to hghsdave over at www.storevaulthelp.com for these tips!

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange 2003 and 2007 and SQL.

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">1: Multicore processors and abundant amount of RAM on your VI3 hosts

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">2: Intel EMT64 with VT support/AMD Opteron Rev E CPU if possible –for 64 bit guest OS support

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">3: Understand caveats to using this hardware assisted virtualization right now

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">4: Here are some links to determine if your CPU will support 64 bit VMs:

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Intel:[http://www.intel.com/products/processor_number/chart/xeon.htm]

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">AMD:

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">5: Read and understand VMware KB 1901

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">7: Use Processor Check Utility Boot CD to determine 64 bit capability.

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Networking

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">1: Use VLAN trunking (802.1q) and static link aggregation (802.3ad) when possible – this helps to keep the networking infrastructure highly virtual and scalable.

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">2: If you have two gigEports on the motherboard and two gigEports on a PCI card, bond one port from each source in order to maximize redundancy

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">3: Use two separate physical HBAs in each VI3 server, if possible

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Use DRS

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">1: Use VI3 Enterprise and configure DRS clustering

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">2: Use Rescource pools and shares to give exchange/SQL servers first dibs on resources

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Miscellaneous

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">1: Create your VI3 cluster with an adequate number of VI3 hosts

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">2: Start with 1GB of RAM and add accordingly

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">3: Don’t immediately use two-and four-way virtual SMP until you have had an opportunity to test without it

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">4: Use the same PAE boot.inisettings for Exchange/SQL as you would with physical servers

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">5: Keep mailbox servers separated using the DRS affinity rules

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<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">6: “Home”Exchange mailbox servers/SQL servers to specific ESX hosts if desired

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Re: VMware Exchange/SQL Server best practices

One big thing about Exchange or SQL under VMware would be to correctly align the disk. improperly aligned VMDK's don't make themselves apparent on web servers and other low task servers, but when you load SQL or Exchange or other database applications performance issues are more apparent.

Netapp best practices the starting offset must be divisible by 4096. The recommended offset offset value is 32768. You can find this information by running msinfo within your VM and looking at the Storage>Disk>Partition Starting Offset. usually you will se a VM setting of 32256 which is incorrect.

information on correcting the offset and improving performance on Netapp based storage systems can be found in this PDF.

http://media.netapp.com/documents/tr_3428.pdf

Re: VMware Exchange/SQL Server best practices

Good call Dave. LUN alignment in general (physical or virtual servers) is definitely key for performance in an Exchange or SQL environment. If you use SnapDrive (5.0 and later...supported on ESX), it will properly align any LUNs it creates.