How Virtualized?

I went to a talk recently where I saw this statistic: “50% of all workloads were virtualized in 2009. That number is 72% today.”

That’s a really big number, at least in my mind. That implies the vast majority of all servers, file, print, database, email, etc. are virtualized. Inside of companies that have their own data centers and machines, they must be heavily virtualized. I’m sure that all those instances in the “cloud” also count, but still, 72%? That’s big.

However I’m sure that’s skewed towards those machines that don’t require a lot of resources, like file and print servers, DNS hosts, etc. This week, I thought I’d see what the percentage is inside of your organization.

What percentage of your SQL Servers are virtualized?

Give us numbers of physical v virtual if you can. I’d combine all instances, from development to test to production, not worrying about size or workload. If you have a single guest on a host, using almost all the resources, that’s a virtual server.

My suspicion is that the percentage of SQL Servers is much lower than that of other workloads, but I’m curious. With the low overhead of modern hypervisors, and the free (or low) cost, it makes sense to virtualize servers. If for no other reason than to remove any weird hardware dependencies for DR purposes. However I’m sure that there are large workloads that require more resources than the current hypervisors can expose, at least for some database instances, and those need to remain on physical machines, but my guess is more often than not, it’s the human concerns or lack of confidence that prevents virtualization.

Let us know this week how your organization is doing in the trend towards virtual servers.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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5 Responses to How Virtualized?

  1. Hi,

    I’m working as a DBA for an international outsourcing company. We’re hosting about 300 sql servers with abount 3.500 databases. Only 20 sql server are real hardware the other 280 sql servers are virtualized.

    For a normal “data sink” or normal application storing config data, historical data oder only meassuring data it might be a good choice to be virtualized. If the application is bigger (workload) and or with much more (dynamical) data it might be the better choice to set it up with hardware.

    I think it only depends on the “IT strategy” of the company, i’ll prefer hardware 😉

    Best regards


    • way0utwest says:

      Thanks, and that’s quite a bit of virtual servers. Makes sense for outsourcing as it saves some $$.

      Why do you prefer hardware? I assume you mean SQL on bare metal..


    • Yes, i mean bare metal.

      Hardware/Bare Metal might be something like gut feeling. VM are acting like real machines and sometimes they’re easier to maintain (resizing/adding ressources) but (at least in my/our environment) if you wanna build some stable cluster/HA/DR you need bare metal.

      I’m more with building Failover/AG-Cluster than StandAlone-VMs.


  2. Brian K says:

    According to a (somewhat up-to-date) SharePoint inventory, we have 340 physical servers and 211 VMs. I actually thought those numbers were switched by accident but that’s the reality.


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