The Rise of SQL Server Virtualization

published: 2013-07-04 00:00

As you know from many previous posts, we support thousands of production SQL Server databases (over 11,000 at the time of writing) for many customers across all industries and markets. This gives us interesting insights into how SQL Server is being used.

In this post we are looking at the rise of the use of Virtualization as a platform for hosting SQL Server. And I must admit, the results actually surprised me.

The following graph shows the % of SQL Servers that were installed on a virtualized platform, by year of installation.

SQL Server Virtualization

Now as we know SQL Server has a very long tail in terms of years of usage before upgrading, so this does not necessarily correspond to the physical:virtual split that is currently deployed. But it does give us a clear picture of the future and it is all virtual baby – well almost!

~20% remains physical, why? Well speaking with the DBAs it is clear that most clients are happy to deploy virtualized servers for running SQL Server for the bulk of their “mid-range” requirements, where database applications are not pushing the limits in terms of resource usage. The top 20% of database applications are those which are performance sensitive, resource hungry, mission critical. Still many customers prefer to deploy these on physical servers.

It will be interesting to revisit this one in a couple of years.

The usual disclaimers about statistics and the margin of error etc when we extrapolate this out.

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