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MIS Systems Thread, Serco Facility & ePortal and Virtualisation in 2011 in Technical; So it's 2011, and more of us are running fully virtualised. Anyone got recent experience to share about CMIS and ...
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    Serco Facility & ePortal and Virtualisation in 2011

    So it's 2011, and more of us are running fully virtualised.

    Anyone got recent experience to share about CMIS and ePortal in a VM?

    How about in a VM with the SQL server?

    How about in a VM with the SQL server in another VM?

    An earlier thread indicated performance issues with having the SQL server in a VM? For those that have tried it, what storage do you have underpinning your environment?

    Cheers
    P.

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    NorthernSands's Avatar
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    I count vouch for Serco products, but I can answer your concern re. SQL in a VM. We run SIMS in a VM, using MSSQL 2008 R2 on Windows 2008 R2. The VM backend is 4 servers giving 16 CPU Cores and 192GB RAM (I think). The storage runs on a SAN with 18 spindles. The SIMS VM has 8GB RAM and just 2 CPU cores at the moment. Despite a minor CPU shortage at registration time, the set-up runs very well indeed.

    What I will say is, before we installed the SAN, the entire school was trying to run from a 5 spindle RAID5 array. SIMS would quite often appear to grind to a halt.

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    We have Eportal running on Windows 2008 r2 HyperV server. Getting eportal running on a 64bit OS required Serco support, as Eportal is not yet officially supported on Windows 2008 r2. It seemed to involve change file permissions as much as anything! Facility also runs from a share on a VM server.

    We have had no issues since virtualising Eportal and Facility.

    We have not virtualised our SQL server, as we need a VM server connected to a SAN/NAS to give us the required throughput on our SQL server.

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    psydii (4th May 2011)

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    NS, what mix of spindles (SATA vs SAS, rpm etc)?
    How many other SQL instances are running in from the SAN? is the SQL Server instance supporting the MIS supporting any other systems?

    MonkeyX thanks. I was just about to ask you for perfomance stats of your CMIS/ePortal/SQL setup, but then I realised getting my own would be better
    What makes you feel that you need to improve your SAN throughput before considering virtualising SQLServer?
    Last edited by psydii; 4th May 2011 at 12:40 PM.

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    We are fully virtualised and run Facility, ePortal and SQL on virtual servers and all works really well, in-fact Serco commented that it was quite nippy doing some work the other day, its all on 2008 32bit as we don't want to be running it in an unsupported way or risk having any reason to have problems blamed on me by running it on the wrong tin as such but its been fine and never caused any issues for either us or Serco and its been much faster and stable since we did it this way.

    Upgrades are also a quicker thing, do the facility backups as normal, take a snapshot of the VM when its all shut down, start her up then upgrade away all is good hopefully but if it goes all Pete Tong, just shutdown and restore back to the snapshot job done

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    psydii (13th June 2011)

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    Hi all,

    We have found issues in the past with people running SQL in a virtualised environment. Usually only when the disks are not adequate, to the correct RAID, or overloaded. Unfortunatley, this is all based on opinion, so to be sure, it is usually best not to run SQL on a VM box. Doing so is fine as long as you are confident of your disks.

    The rest of it is sound.

    Just to add a bit of recent activity - as of 11.1, and the new hardware spec available, we now fully support 64bit environment, including Windows 2008 R2.

    Regards
    Mic @ Serco

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    psydii (13th June 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael2k6 View Post

    Just to add a bit of recent activity - as of 11.1, and the new hardware spec available, we now fully support 64bit environment, including Windows 2008 R2.

    Regards
    Mic @ Serco
    Oooh thanks Mic No-one told me that one yet! Then again being a tester for 11.1 and early release I haven't actually got round to reading the actual release notes yet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    NS, what mix of spindles (SATA vs SAS, rpm etc)?
    How many other SQL instances are running in from the SAN? is the SQL Server instance supporting the MIS supporting any other systems?
    It's an HP SAN rack with 7200RPM SAS drives. Currently there's only one SQL instance running, with two DBs (SIMS and Discover). Soon there will be a second school (again with SIMS and Discover) in a second instance. When we roll out SOLUS3 it might have to go in a third instance (as it will need to feed both schools).

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    psydii (13th June 2011)

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    We run SQL server 2008 on an ESX host. It's supporting CMIS, 2 instances of ePortal (we run a separate instance for parents currently as a VM and we plan to virtualise the main instance over the summer), cashless catering and a number of other databases. This is a large school (2500 pupils) and we have no performance issues.

  14. Thanks to pcstru from:

    psydii (13th June 2011)

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