Virtualization and Databases

In Chris Brown‘s Virtualization and ASE blog post, he brings up the question of whether Sybase’s ASE can be used in a virtual environment (VMWare, Xen, etc) but doesn’t answer it. I’ve been using various databases in virtual environments for several years, here is what I found out:

Running ASE, ASIQ, or SQL Anywhere under virtualization software such as Xen, VMWare, Parallels, etc is very useful under a number of situations:

  1. development of new applications – each developer group can have its own “db server” on the same machine
  2. testing new ebfs/releases with your applications
  3. reproducing problems either in the sybase software or in the application code – a ‘virgin’ instance that can be duplicated at will
  4. trying out new operating systems (moving from Windows to Linux or Windows to Solaris x86?) without investing in new hardware

The main caveat is that the performance stinks – databases typically require high disk i/o, memory i/o and cpu responsiveness. The virtualization software currently available, even with hardware help (newer Intel,AMD chips), are not up to the task of running a *production* database.  In a couple years… possibly.

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