Nowadays I deal with some SQL Server consolidation engagements. Many customers have hundreds of SQL Server instances with many different versions (7.0, 2000 SPx, 2005 SPx) and they have some difficulties managing these due to the over-distribution fact.

The main idea is to consolidate these SQL Server instances to central servers so that

  • you have the ability to manage them easier
  • and have better utilisation of shared resources (cpu, memory etc)

Compared to OS Virtualisation I believe application consolidation (Database, Web application etc) have many advantages (maybe I should write another post for this as well)

We use some tools to make our lives easier

  • Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer - To locate the SQL Server instances (believe me many times they are more than you are told)
  • SQLH2 - To collect detailed information on these SQL Server instances
  • SQLH2 Performance Collector - To centrally collect performance counters
  • SQL Server Upgrade Advisor - To detect issues for possible 2000 to 2005 upgrades
  • A custom tool we created to to prevent some manual tasks (mostly editing config files, loading data etc)