SQL Server Consolidation: What You Need to Know

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Technician Working on a Server

Many SQL Servers suffer from wasted licences and hardware, uncoordinated installations, security holes and lack of standards. But could consolidation really help with these issues? It is important to know what consolidation is and how it could help.

DBA Services and any experienced Microsoft SQL Server support specialists share some information to help you understand how consolidation works.

What Exactly is SQL Server Consolidation?

SQL Server consolidation is the practice of reducing the amount of physical servers through moving or migrating different SQL databases that operate on various servers into a single, high-performance and faster server machine. This could be achieved primarily through the following strategies:

  • Multiple Instances – Using one machine for hosting several SQL Server instances.
  • Virtualisation – Using one physical machine for hosting a couple of VMs or virtual machines that run data management software.
  • Multiple Databases – Using one SQL Server instance for hosting multiple databases.
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Each of these approaches offers different benefits and drawbacks related to compliance and security needs, disaster recovery and high availability requirements, as well as benefits of resource management, manageability compromises, and consolidation density level. Nevertheless, many enterprises choose to go ahead with consolidation projects to obtain particular goals, including decreasing their operating expenditure and making more room for new SQL Servers.

These Objectives Could Be Grouped Broadly into These Project Categories:

  • Boosting Efficiency and Lowering Costs – Hardware will operate closer to expected capacity, which in turn allows for fewer machines and reduces inefficiencies.
  • Insufficient Space Requirements in the Data Centre – Reduces the needed physical space for hosting applications.
  • Centralisation and Standardisation – Places multiple databases in a central system for improved management and audit control.
  • Eco-Friendly IT – Fewer computer systems and idle machines would result in reduced cooling requirements and consequently, reduced power consumption.
  • IT Responsiveness – The applications that would be migrated into newer hardware would benefit from new technologies and enhanced machine performance.
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Consolidating SQL Servers could provide many benefits, which include significant savings in hardware, licensing, administrative, and monitoring costs. However, you have to be careful when determining resource requirements for individual SQL databases to identify which ones are appropriate for consolidation. Whilst consolidation brings improved up-time and reliability, the consolidated server would require more thorough and regular monitoring, as well as a clustered solution.