Enterprises are usually reluctant to commit their most critical applications to a new piece of infrastructure. Most begin the virtualization journey with test and development servers. Later, critical databases are virtualized. On the other hand, when you deploy a hyper-converged solution, like SimpliVity’s OmniStack, the greatest benefit comes from having everything on the platform.
Over time, virtualization has shown itself to be a great place for mission-critical applications, such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server. Many enterprises are also finding that SimpliVity provides a great platform for these virtualized applications. In a survey of its customers, SimpliVity found that 80% are running SQL Server VMs on SimpliVity. In fact, some customers are finding that SimpliVity has allowed them to virtualize SQL Servers that previously needed to remain on physical servers.
For example, one SimpliVity customer had a physical SQL Server for its data warehouse. The 3.4TB database had been tested on the company’s previous virtualization platform and was found to perform poorly. This SQL Server running on its own servers was an exception to the customer’s virtual-first policy. When the customer deployed a SimpliVity platform, they were ready to try again.
The physical server was converted into a VM on the SimpliVity platform, and performed better than the dedicated physical server. The built-in data efficiency enables great storage performance for VMs and great SQL Server performance. SimpliVity’s deduplication and compression don't just save space, they also improve performance by removing duplicate writes and allowing more data to be held in fast RAM and SSD. But application performance is only one aspect of the SimpliVity value. The same data efficiency is applied to backups and replication.
SimpliVity VM backups do not require any interruption to the application, nor any performance degradation. Unlike VM or storage snapshot-based backups, SimpliVity backups are instant, full backups. With SimpliVity’s policy-driven backups it is easy to have an SQL Server backed up every 15 minutes, all day every day. Like any journaled system, SQL Server can be restored from crash-consistent backups. SimpliVity backups are all VM consistent as the backup policy is applied to the VM, not individual disks. The 3.4TB data warehouse VM can be restored in seconds.
While SimpliVity backups are transparent to the SQL Server and the DBA, the backups can be controlled by the DBA. The previously mentioned customer integrated the SimpliVity command line into their SQL Studio backup tasks. The SQL Studio task backs up the database to a separate hard disk, attached to the VM. As soon as the SQL Server has completed its backup, the same script triggered a SimpliVity backup. The same script can also trigger a SimpliVity replication of the whole VM to a disaster recovery site. The replication only requires newly created unique data to be copied across the WAN. Even if the entire data warehouse is reloaded, only new unique data is replicated rather than every block that has been written.
Data efficiency, data protection, and high performance make the SimpliVity platform an ideal place to run SQL Server databases. SimpliVity customers also run other critical applications on their SimpliVity clusters. Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, as well as Oracle databases, are commonly virtualized on SimpliVity. Most customers also run their main line of business applications on the same platform. One customer even has its 911 call system on SimpliVity.