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In the latest of a seemingly continuous stream of enhancements, we are pleased to share Microsoft SQL Server Cluster support on vSAN.  This support has been added in the latest release of the VMware Cloud on AWS Service (1.6) and adds SCSI-3 Persistent Reservation (SCSI3-PR) support to vSAN. Initially released to the VMware Cloud on AWS Service with On-Premises support to follow.

This integration empowers customers to bring their clustered SQL workload directly to the VMware Cloud on AWS Service without the need to rearchitect to an Availability Group and or replatform to an alternative cloud service.

 

How does it work?

In order to build a SQL Server Cluster, we need to share a disk resource between multiple guest VMs.  The underlying guest OS will then control ownership amongst themselves moving the device as needed.  The mechanism they use to do this with modern shared storage solution is known as a SCSI-3 Persistent Reservation.

To enable SCSI3-PR support on a given Virtual Disk:

  1. Set the Disk Mode to Independent – Persistent.
  2. The Hard Disk will also need to be attached to a SCSI Controller configured with the SCSI Bus Sharing set to Physical.
  3. Finally, any data important enough to configure Persistent Reservations probably deserves a dedicated Storage Policy to ensure manageability down the line.

 

What is Supported?

Initially, this support has been released within the VMware Cloud on AWS Service and is limited to SQL Server Clusters 2012 and newer. Running on Windows 2012 or newer.   We will support up to six application nodes per cluster and up to 64 shared virtual disks per node.

 

Since this feature hand off responsibility for direct disk access to the underlying Guest OS Storage vMotion, snapshots, and cloning operations are not supported when using a Shared Disk with Microsoft SQL Server.

 

Putting it all together

To get started, deploy Windows just as you normally would.  When ready to provision the Shared Storage begin by creating the Virtual Disks on the first node in the Cluster.

 

Next, attach the existing Hard Disks to the remaining nodes in the cluster.

 

Repeat as necessary across as many Hard Disks and or SCSI Controllers as your particular deployment would require per Microsoft SQL Server Workloads and VMware Cloud on AWS: Design, Migration, and Configuration. Once the storage has been presented to every node. The cluster is ready to be validated before creating the Cluster Management Point.

 

With a fresh cluster and shared storage, finish deploying SQL per usual.

 

Conclusion

We are excited to share that our existing VMware Cloud on AWS customers can leverage this new integration to deploy their highly available Microsoft SQL Server workloads within the service.  Customers who prefer the operational simplicity of a Clustered solution are now able to combine the proven availability of a Microsoft SQL Server Cluster with the flexibility and manageability of the VMware Hybrid cloud and vSAN Storage Policy-based management.

 

Availability

To view the latest status of features for VMware Cloud on AWS, visit https://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws/roadmap.

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