Virtualizing SharePoint Components


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Virtualizing SharePoint Components

  1. 1. Michael Noel Convergent Computing michael
  2. 2.  Author of SAMS Publishing titles “SharePoint 2007 Unleashed,” the upcoming “Teach Yourself SharePoint 2007 in 10 Minutes,” “SharePoint 2003 Unleashed”, “Teach Yourself SharePoint 2003 in 10 Minutes,” “Windows Server 2008 Unleashed,” “Exchange Server 2007 Unleashed”, “ISA Server 2006 Unleashed”, and many other titles with over 250,000 books translated into 10 languages in circulation worldwide.  Partner at Convergent Computing ( / 510.444.5700) – SF Bay Area based Infrastructure/Security specialists for SharePoint, AD, Exchange, Security
  3. 3.  Why Virtualise?  What SharePoint components can be virtualised?  Memory Limitations and Guidelines for Guests  Virtualisation of Dev/Test/Prod  Virtualisation Software Options  Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V  System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008  VMware Products  Citrix XenServer  Microsoft Licensing for Virtual Servers
  4. 4. Understanding the need and rationale for Virtualising server infrastructure
  5. 5.  Reduce Costs  Direct Server over consumption / Utility Bills / “Greener” technology  Less Physical space to consume (smaller data centers = less rent)  Less cost to cool multiple servers
  6. 6.  Consolidate / Dedicate  Reduce number of physical servers  Get rid of legacy hardware  Make it easier to provision more dedicated specialty servers (i.e. Separate SharePoint roles onto multiple dedicated virtual servers instead of one ‘all-in-one’ server  Dedicated servers tend to have less issues as they run ‘without surprises’ that can be caused by bundling services
  7. 7.  Optimise Investment  Idle Servers free up their memory for other servers to use  No proliferation of disk volumes  Very large number of servers can run on a single box (key word is RAM and Procs here)
  8. 8. How does virtualisation help in a SharePoint environment?
  9. 9.  Production Database Servers are generally bad candidates for virtualisation  Good candidates include the remaining front- end roles, including:  Web  Query  Index (with caveats)  Application
  10. 10.  Test/Dev environments can potentially virtualise all components  In some cases, (such as if stress testing), Database role for test environments can use existing server or another physical server
  11. 11.  SQL Server I/O Ratio is generally quite high (it takes advantage of a higher proportion of its hardware) so less reason to virtualise from a cost perspective  High Disk and Network Activity – at large transaction volumes virtualisation layer tends to break down  Improved performance when on physical server
  12. 12.  Can easily provision multiple web role servers for redundancy and scalability  ‘Stateless’ servers, no real data stored on them  Can be quickly provisioned, taken in and out of farm  Be sure to keep all components, applications, and patch levels the same!
  13. 13.  Same concept as web role…can built HA into the Search service  Requires a secondary disk (virtual, but could be physical LUN on SAN) for Index Query propagation  Can be combined onto Web role server, good fit
  14. 14.  The ‘heaviest hitter’ of the SharePoint front-end roles  This role should get the lion’s share of the RAM if possible  If you had to choose which server would remain physical, this would be it  Also requires second disk to store the Index. Index quorum will be anywhere from 10% to 40% of total size of content being indexed.
  15. 15.  Moves the rather ‘busy’ application roles such as Excel Services and Infopath Forms Services off the Web role servers  If Excel Services or other app roles are heavily utilised, this can improve rendering performance fairly quickly
  16. 16.  Create separate farms for Development, Testing, and Production or even Demo or DR farms  Potential to host each farm’s databases on same physical SQL Box (potentially separate instances)  Creates logical separation…installation of solutions or applications in Test won’t affect Prod farm  In certain scenarios, where network connectivity doesn’t exist between environments, may require separate virtual SQL servers
  17. 17.  Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) Boundaries exist at the hardware level.  Virtual guests that are allocated more memory than exist within a single NUMA memory boundary have significantly impacted performance  NUMA boundaries vary by processor and motherboard vendor, but good rule of thumb to calculate boundaries is to divide the amount of memory in the system by the total number of cores.  i.e. Dual Quad-core host (2x4 cores = 8 cores) with 64GB of RAM on the host would mean NUMA boundary is 64/8 or 8GB.  In this example, allocating more than 8GB for a single guest session would result in performance drops.
  18. 18.  Keeping NUMA boundaries in mind, this means that you will get significantly better performance provisioning two SharePoint front-ends with half the amount of RAM as a single front-end with twice as much RAM.  This applies to any virtualisation platform, as the limitation is hardware specific.  Refer to MS Whitepaper on Virtualisation of SharePoint ( for more specifics.
  19. 19.  NOT Supported on Virtual PC  Supported MS platforms include Virtual Server 2005 R2 or Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (better)  Only MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 Supported (SPS 2003 and WSS 2.0 are NOT) What about 3rd Party (i.e. VMware, XenServer), you ask?
  20. 20. “…for vendors with whom Microsoft has established a support relationship that covers virtualization solutions, or for vendors who have Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) validated solutions, Microsoft will support server operating systems subject to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for its customers who have support agreements when the operating system runs virtualised on non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. This support will include coordinating with the vendor to jointly investigate support issues. As part of the investigation, Microsoft may still require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. Where issues are confirmed to be unrelated to the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software, Microsoft will support its software in a manner that is consistent with support provided when that software is not running together with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. “
  21. 21.  Cisco Systems, Inc.  Citrix Systems, Inc.  Novell, Inc.  Oracle, USA Inc.  Sun Microsystems  Unisys Corp.  Virtual Iron Software  VMware, Inc.
  22. 22.  SharePoint now ‘supported’ on VMware, Citrix XenServer, or others, with some caveats  Support still remains the most robust (i.e. no need for SVVP validation) for MS Premier Support clients  Less chance that MS will require you to reproduce problems in physical environment
  23. 23. Samples of real-world virtualised SharePoint environments
  24. 24.  Allows organisations that wouldn’t normally be able to have a test environment to run one  Allows for separation of the database role onto a dedicated server  Can be more easily scaled out in the future
  25. 25.  High- Availability across Hosts  All components virtualised  Uses only two Windows Ent Edition Licenses
  26. 26.  Highest transaction servers are physical  Multiple farm support, with DBs for all farms on the SQL cluster  Only five physical servers total, but high performance
  27. 27. Fully supported, robust platform for SharePoint server virtualisation. Addition of VMM 2008 for Management.
  28. 28.  Available as a free download for Windows Server 2008 (Be sure to update from the RTM version)  Can be installed on any 64bit version of Windows Server 2008 (Std, Ent, Datacenter)  Hypervisor based application, performance gains over Virtual Server 2005 R2 in the range of 30- 40%
  29. 29.  Uses Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) format for disks, which can be shared with Virtual PC or legacy Virtual Server 2005  Allows for re-hosting of legacy applications and OSes  x64 HOST and GUEST support  Supports clustering and NLB across guests
  30. 30.  Supports Intel-V and AMD-V Chips for improved virtualisation support  Integrates with Active Directory using Service Connection Points (SCPs)  Comprehensive Virtual Networking support
  31. 31.  One highly redundant scenario would be to deploy two Virtual Hosts, then distribute guests across the hosts.  Load-balance the guests across the two hosts, i.e. one SP Web server on each side, one Query on each side, etc.  SP Database would be physically clustered in this case  If a Virtual host fails, SP stays active.
  32. 32.  Virtualisation Host and Guest Management Platform  Part of the System Center Management Suite, which includes the following:  System Center Operations Manager 2007  System Center Data Protection Manager 2007  System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2  System Center Mobile Device Manager 2007  System Center Essentials 2007  System Center Capacity Planner 2007  System Center Service Manager (Beta)
  33. 33.  Released to Manufacturing in October, 2008  VMM 2008 has P2V and V2V (VMware Guest migration to Hyper-V) tools  For SharePoint, allows for creation of SharePoint template servers that can be quickly provisioned for test farms or for new farm members in production  Can manage both Hyper-V and VMware guests (though must ‘go through’ a Virtual Center server to manage VMware guests.)
  34. 34.  Licensed either ‘a la carte’, with individual VMM 2008 licenses for each managed Host machine, or you can purchase the following:  System Center Server Management Suite – Standard Edition  Provides for DPM, ConfigMgr, OpsMgr, and VMM 2008 Agents for a single guest  System Center Server Management Suite – Enterprise Edition (List $1497 USD)  Provides for DPM, ConfigMgr, OpsMgr, and VMM 2008 Agents for all virtual guests running on a single host server
  35. 35. Current Industry Leader for virtualisation
  36. 36.  VMware Workstation  VMware Server  VMware ESX Server  VMware Virtual Infrastructure  VMotion  Update Manager  Storage Vmotion  VirtualCenter  Converter (P2V)
  37. 37.  Low-cost tool that is designed to run on a desktop, can virtualise and run a few systems at a time  Not recommended for SharePoint, unless simply testing on a limited basis  Typically used to virtualise Desktop OSes or when testing Servers in a lab
  38. 38.  Free download  Typically used for stand-alone VMware host servers  Runs on a ‘host’ OS, such as Windows Server 2003/2008 x64 or Linux  Missing range of VMware tools such as VMotion, Virtual Center management, etc.
  39. 39.  Full function VMware Virtualisation platform running on Linux Host OS  Designed for enterprise environments, integrates with other Virtual Infrastructure components to provide HA, DR, and easy server provisioning  Very scalable, currently industry leader  Both versions of VMware Server support wide range of Guest OSes (Windows, Linux, etc.)
  40. 40.  Standalone version of ESX, uses same kernel and Linux OS  Positioned for remote and small offices  No-cost, though management requires licensing Virtual Center
  41. 41.  Can be used to failover sessions automatically from one ESX server to another (Virtual Disks on shared storage)  Can be integrated as one layer of SharePoint DR strategy  Only available as an add-on or if buying the whole VI3 Suite
  42. 42.  Very slick tool that can be used to scan a physical server and ‘export’ it to a virtual disk which can be then mounted.  Essentially converting Physical to Virtual (P2V)  Often used to get rid of older hardware that is running application software that can’t be retired  Free tool
  43. 43.  Centralized console for managing VMware sessions  Allows for quick provisioning of new Server OSes  Add-on component or part of VI3
  44. 44. Functional Citrix solution for SharePoint virtualisation
  45. 45.  Part of the Citrix Xen line of application, desktop, and server virtualisation products  Open-source virtualisation offering using Xen Hypervisor as base  Xen Hypervisor, developed at University of Cambridge, is slim, with only 50,000 lines of code. Xen performance is substantial.
  46. 46.  Simplified interface, quick setup and configuration  Includes ‘Xenmotion’ HA capability, similar to VMware’s Vmotion  Can be installed as part of a suite, including the popular XenDesktop (formerly known as Presentation Server/Citrix Metaframe.)
  47. 47.  Express Edition  No Cost – Single host, max 2 CPU  Standard Edition  Adds multi-host and multi-VLAN capabilities, unlimited CPUs  Enterprise Edition  Adds Resource Pools, XenMotion live migration, and QOS  Platinum Edition  Adds Dynamic Provisioning of physical and virtual servers
  48. 48.  Server License Options have been changed to allow for multiple Guest licenses per single license as follows:  One Standard Edition License = 1 Physical/Virtual OS License (Can be one physical host plus one physical guest if host is only used for virtualisation.  One Enterprise Edition License: One Physical (dedicated to VMs) and Four Virtual OS License  One DataCenter Edition License = One Physical Processor (socket) and UNLIMITED Virtual OS Licenses running under that host.
  49. 49.  Guests can run any combination of downlevel licenses (i.e. Datacenter host, Ent or Std edition guests)  Applies not only to OSes running virtualised with Windows Virtualisation, but it also applies to 3rd party virtualisation as well!
  50. 50. Virtual Windows VMware VMware Citrix Server Server Server ESX XenServer 2005 R2 2008 Hyper-V SharePoint Production * * * (Via SVVP) * (Via * (Via SVVP) Support SVVP) Hypervisor based, High * * * Performance 64 bit Guest Support * * * * Server Templates (with VMM (with VMM * * * 2008) 2008) Resource Pools * * (with Ent and Platinum editions) Intelligent Assignment to (with VMM Hosts based on Application 2008 and Performance Counters OpsMgr 2007) Automatic Failover between * * hosts
  51. 51.  VMware ESX  Mid to large size organisations  Organisations looking for automatic session failover with VMotion  Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V  Microsoft ‘friendly’ shops  Organisations looking for cost-effective virtualisation  Mixed VMware/Hyper-V/Virtual Server 2005 shops looking for central management  Citrix XenServer  Organisations heavily invested in Citrix Products  Open-source friendly environments
  52. 52.  Virtualisation is a key emerging technology that allows organisations to be able to cut costs, consolidate equipment, and take greatest advantage of hardware resources.  SharePoint 2007 Servers are supported in virtualisation environments (within limits), in Dev/Test and on the front- end roles in Production, use caution for DB role  KB897615 outlines MS Support for 3rd Party Virtualisation such as VMware and XenServer…support exists but has some caveats  Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V technology gives high performance and is a very cost competitive option  MS Licensing has new virtualisation support, and Datacenter edition will provide for unlimited guests under a single host.
  53. 53.  SharePoint 2007 Unleashed (SAMS Publishing) (  Windows Server 2008 Unleashed and/or Hyper-V Unleashed (  Microsoft ‘Virtualising SharePoint Infrastructure’ Whitepaper (  VMware Server Products (  Citrix XenServer Products (  Microsoft TechNet Edge Videos on Virtualisation of SharePoint:  
  54. 54. Michael Noel michael 510.444.5700