Deploying SQL Server 2005 with SAN #1
Prem Mehra and Mike Ruthruff
An often asked question is how to design and deploy SAN with SQL Server 2005. The question is frequently raised by installations that are either deploying SQL Server for the first time or are upgrading to SAN from direct attach storage.
This topic covers a wide area that includes several important considerations, such as:
virtualization of physical disks, RAID groups, creation and sizing of LUNs, alignment of sectors, NTFS format size, base lining of SAN throughput, dynamic and basic disks, sizing and allocation of Windows files, isolation of data, index and log objects, performance monitoring, etc.
We want to address most of these considerations starting with this blog and hopefully add to these recommendations in future. So far, we have not found any reason to alter our recommendations for SQL Server 2005 SAN configuration from those we have made for SQL Server 2000.
Three of the key things to think about before deploying SQL Server on SAN are 1) the core SQL Server requirements with respect to IO subsystem, 2) the complexity introduced by virtualization of the IO subsystem and 3) the type of RAID level to choose.
This abstraction can introduce challenges when troubleshooting a poorly performing IO environment, even more difficult when multiple servers share access to the same set of underlying physical disks. For this reason it is critical to understanding the underlying physical characteristics of your SAN before and during deployment of SQL Server. Some of the key ones include the following:
In the next blog we will address a few additional topics on SAN and SQL server deployment and focus on how best to assign SQL Server objects to LUNs to achieve good performance while keeping design simple.
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