Virtual Database Analytics

by Kevin Gilbert on June 8, 2010

Kevin Gilbert

Kevin Gilbert

Three years ago I predicted there would be two kinds of Network Administrators:  those who were familiar with virtualization technology, and those who were unemployed. Three years later, virtualization is everywhere:  from servers to appliances and even firewalls. How can virtual technologies impact database marketing and database analytics? Let’s look at how virtualization increases availability, saves money, and increases performance.

First, a simple definition of virtual technology. Virtualization takes advantage of hardware advances to run multiple devices, on a single device. From nearly every view, there will appear to be multiple devices even though there is only one.  Virtual technologies can bring superior performance to an environment.

A common misconception is that databases run better on physical devices rather than virtual instances. Advances in hardware and virtualization software have completely changed this mindset. In a properly configured environment, there is no reason to avoid virtualizing almost every server. Most significant performance increases comes from resource on-demand:  when a server needs additional resources, resources can be immediately applied without interrupting the server’s activities.  The advances in technology, plus the ability to shift resources around, aid in achieving greater performance.

Distributed Resource Scheduling can save money. Database servers tend to “sleep” most of the time, only to wake up when a heavy query or transaction is needed. During times of high utilization, you want the most power you can afford, but the rest of the time your investment sits idle.  A traditional environment will have a mix of old servers suffering poor performance and new servers with extra capacity.

With virtual environments, adding a new high-end processor will bring improvements to the entire aggregate as all servers take turns using the new processor. When a server needs high-end capability, the virtual infrastructure will move the server to the high-end processor. When utilization drops off, the server is returned to a smaller processor, thus freeing the high-end for others.  Adding virtualization is like upgrading every server to your highest performing server.

High availability on virtual server clusters can keep servers running when you need them the most. When a host server becomes unavailable, virtualization will automatically bring those servers online on available hosts. Hosts are designed to take full advantage of redundant devices, such as storage connections and network ports, so the servers keep running even during a failure. The virtual software can monitor servers and restart them if they become unresponsive, or automatically give them more power when needed.  Virtualization is also ‘green’ because it has the ability to shut off servers when unused (thus saving electrical and cooling costs), and is able to turn on systems sitting in reserve when they are needed. Virtualization’s high availability and power management prevents costly downtime.

Virtualization offers high performance through technology advancements and resources on-demand. Through high availability, clustering, and redundancy, environments reduce downtime. Database analytics and database marketing are tied to databases that, most of the time, “sleep.” Database marketers should thoroughly investigate how virtualization can increase capability and impact the bottom line for their solutions.



About the Author:

Kevin Gilbert is the Technology Manager at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Kevin headed the data center virtualization projects for four years and is a VMWare Certified Professional (VCP).  Connect with Kevin on .

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: