What is SQL Server Consolidation and the Benifits of it

What is SQL Server Consolidation?
Consolidation is a process where we combine various units into more efficient and stable larger units. We here talk about Database(SQL Server) consolidation, which is one of the important components in the IT environment. Databases are used in many business systems and in different departments, so it is possible that we may easily lose control of the number of databases that need to be maintained, because each group may simply create their own database for their requirement alone. This leads to many servers, many database instances and databases. Thus databases are one of the prime candidates for consolidation.

Benefits of SQL Server Consolidation
Reduce cost – Consolidation reduces the cost greatly on Hardware, Software, labor time, licenses, hosting, etc.

Reduce management overhead – It reduces the overhead of maintaining and managing activities like server, SQL Server Patching, taking care of security, Performing and maintenance of backups, etc.

Increase resources utilization – It is possible that some machines with higher configuration are under utilized and are almost idle, so it was logical to just move the instances/databases. Upgrading to fewer machines and newer hardware allows for reductions in rack space, power, and cooling needs and allows utilizing the resources more efficiently.

Upgrade – In IT industry, on periodic basis old hardware is retired and replaced with newer hardware. Consolidation should come into picture during those time to bring efficiency.

Compliance – During the consolidation, documenting the process and reviewing the security will get the systems under compliance. Using new software features will bring environment to more unification.

Bring things under control – There are many clients who are unaware where their data is stored, used by whom, managed by whom, etc. Consolidation will get things under control with fewer machines and documentation.

What are the levels of SQL Server Consolidation?
SQL Server consolidation can be done at various levels as mentioned below

Database – At Database Level, multiple databases used by different application will be moved/hosted on a single SQL Server Instance.

Disadvantage with this approach would be managing security issues at instance level where users of one application should not be able to access data of other application, need to ensure that all applications use the shared resources like tempdb, hardware and software resources efficiently.

Instance – At Instance Level, multiple databases used by different application which are part of separate instances on their dedicated servers are moved/hosted on a single Server with multiple SQL Server Instances.

Disadvantage with this approach would be managing Security at OS and Network level. Need to ensure that each instance does not use all the available hardware resources, causing problems to other instances.

Virtualization – In Virtualization level, multiple physical servers are removed and are hosted on a single physical machine as Virtual Machine and share the Hardware resources.

Disadvantage with this approach would be managing Virtualization like ensuring that all VMs are granted appropriate hardware resources.

All these three levels can be mixed to get optimal SQL Server Consolidation for your environment.

Happy Reading,
SQLServerF1 Team


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