Microsoft SQL Server has long been one of the most popular applications for running on vSphere virtual machines. Last year there was quite a bit of excitement when Microsoft announced they were bringing SQL Server to Linux. Over the last year Microsoft has had quite a bit of interest in SQL Server for Linux and it was announced at Microsoft Ignite last month that it is now officially launched and generally available.
VMware and Microsoft have collaborated to validate and support the functionality and performance scalability of SQL Server 2017 on vSphere-based Linux VMs. The results of that work show SQL Server 2017 for Linux installs easily and has great performance within VMware vSphere virtual machines. VMware vSphere is a great environment to be able to try out the new Linux version of SQL Server and be able to also get great performance.
Using CDB, a cloud database benchmark developed by the Microsoft SQL Server team, we were able to verify that the performance of SQL Server for Linux in a vSphere virtual machine was similar to other non-virtualized and virtualized operating systems or platforms.
Our initial reference test size was relatively small, so we wanted to try out testing larger sizes to see how well SQL Server 2017 for Linux performed as the VM size was scaled up. For the test, we used a four socket Intel Xeon E7-8890 v4 (Broadwell)-based server with 96 cores (24 cores per socket). The initial test began with a 24 virtual CPU VM to match the number of physical cores of a single socket. Additional tests were run by increasing the size of the VM by 24 vCPUs for each test until, in the final test, the VM had 96 total vCPUs. We configured the virtual machine with 512 GB of RAM and separate log and data disks on an SSD-based Fibre Channel SAN. We used the same best practices for SQL Server for Linux as what we normally use for the windows version as documented in our published best practices guide for SQL Server on vSphere.
The results showed that SQL Server 2017 for Linux scaled very well as the additional vCPUs were added to the virtual machine. SQL Server 2017 for Linux is capable of scaling up to handle very large databases on VMware vSphere 6.5 Linux virtual machines.