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Controlling Microsoft SQL Server sprawl

What steps can VARs take to help customers avoid Microsoft SQL Server sprawl? What benefits will consolidation have for the customer and VAR managing the service?

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SQL Server sprawl occurs when large numbers of Microsoft SQL Server is installed in an enterprise. Many of these machines are overpowered making them unnecessary. As a consequence, these installations are difficult to manage, waste hardware resources and licenses.

To avoid SQL Server sprawl IT departments should centrally manage their SQL Server installations. If a business unit requires database resources they should consult with the SQL Server team to deploy their database on one of the centrally managed SQL Servers. Properly managed, several hundred databases can be stacked on a single instance of SQL Server running on a multi-proc box, and offer better performance using this configuration than on a standalone server where SQL Server is the only database.

The advantages of consolidation are:

  • Central management
  • High availability
  • Conservation of resources and licenses
  • More efficient use of SQL DBAs as they have less SQL Servers to manage
  • Enforcement of best practices and standards
  • Easier maintenance – less servers to apply a service pack or critical hot fix to
  • Better overall database performance

This was first published in April 2007

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