Customers are saving lots of money by virtualizing theirdatabases on VMware vSphere.  A study conducted by Forrester Research in January 2011 found that customers who migrated 1000+ Oracle databases from physical to VMware vSphere enjoyed an ROI of 888%, with a payback period of 4 months, and a discounted benefit value of $2M+.  However, databases require special handling when deployed on VMs.  For example, vSphere offers snapshot capability that allows the user to restore the VM to the current state at a later time. In order for that feature to function properly for the database, there are a few necessary steps to ensure consistency: e.g., restore the database in crash recovery mode.  The reason for the manual steps is that vSphere is not treating the database differently from any workload.

Enter VMware vFabric Data Director (vFDD) – the software layer that adds database-awareness to vSphere.  vFDD  extends the capabilities of vSphere to address the specific needs of the Database workload.  In the case of snapshot, it understands the commands that need to be run within the database before and after the VM operation is performed.  Another common scenario is HA.  vFDD extends vSphere HA such that it will trigger a failover not only when there is a hardware failure but when the database software stops responding.  It is also smart enough to do the right things that correspond to the database type.  Oracle, Sybase ASE, and MySQL handle snapshots and HA monitoring differently, and vFDD takes care of the complexity and exposes the abstracted capabilities. The smarts of how to perform each of the tasks is in the Data Engine Plugin.

SAP and VMware are now collaborating on the development of the Sybase ASE plugin for vFDD (stay tuned for more details and delivery dates). The plugin will give unprecedented operational efficiency and agility to the Sybase DBA teams.  We have shown that Sybase ASE delivers great performance on vSphere.  The vFDD plugin will make it even more attractive for customers to operate their Sybase ASE systems in that environment.  For more information, please visit the Data Director product page.