VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat - vCenter Server Heartbeat for SQL Server

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About vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in

The vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in is provides protection for Microsoft SQL Server. It configures vCenter Server Heartbeat to protect the files and registry used by SQL Server, and it provides monitors to ensure availability of the application.

Supported Versions of Microsoft SQL Server

x86 Platform (32-bit hardware)

  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, and Express Editions on
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Express Editions up to SP2 on
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2005 up to SP4 Standard, Enterprise, and Express Editions
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • SQL Server 2000 SP4 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2003
  • MSDE 2000 SP4

x64 / Intel 64 Platform (64-bit hardware)

  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise, and Express Editions on

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Express Editions up to SP2 on
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 Standard and Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2005 up to SP4 Standard, Enterprise, and Express Editions
    • Windows Server 2008 SP2
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2

Note: The IA-64 Itanium Platform is not supported

x86 versions running on x64 platforms

  • Support for the 32 bit versions of SQL Server 2005/2008 installed on x64 Operating Systems

Performance Monitoring

Each instance of SQL Server runs as a separate service. The default instance runs as MSSQLSERVER, and named instances run as MSSQL$<instance name>. Scheduling operations for SQL Server are controlled by the SQL server agent which can present itself as SQLSERVERAGENT for default instances and SQLAgent$<instance name> for named instances. vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in monitors these services, and can react when they fail. The user may configure this reaction through the user interface of the vCenter Sever Heartbeat Console under the Applications: Services tab.

Rules - The following Performance Monitoring 'Rules' are installed by vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in:

  • checkBufferCacheHitRatio
  • checkFreePages
  • checkTotalServerMemory
  • checkWorkingSet

Database File Monitoring and Replication

When the vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in is installed, it will determine all current instances of SQL Server and their default locations for database files (Primary and Secondary data files and Transaction log files). It will also query the instance of SQL Server to determine any additional locations for database files, which may have been configured, for example, through the SQL Server Enterprise manager. These files will be protected, i.e. their contents will be synchronized, and subsequent updates replicated to the passive server. During operation, administrators may add additional data and log files to existing databases, or indeed add entirely new databases to new file locations.

vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in will regularly (by default every two minutes) check for new database files or instances and add them to the set of protected files. This does not require any intervention by the user. The addition of new database files is likely to be an infrequent activity and thus the default time step that the vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in checks for such changes is deliberately set at a reasonably low frequency of 2 minutes. However, it may be necessary to alter the frequency of this check (while the application is stopped). This is achieved through the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console, by navigating to the Applications: Tasks tab. Expand the 'SQLServer' tree view, and selecting the 'File Filter Discovery' item and then clicking on the 'Edit' button in the 'Tasks' pane. The dialog that is invoked reveals the 'Interval' that the task will run in seconds. The default is 120 secs (2 minutes). This may be adjusted to suit, however it should not be decreased below about 30 secs, as this will create an unnecessary overhead, nor should it be increased greatly as this will increase the possibility of a failure occurring in the time window between new data files being added and vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in detecting and protecting them.

Tasks - The following 'Tasks' are installed by vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in:

  • File Filter Discovery
  • Protected Services Discovery
  • Registry Filter Discovery

Switchover and Database File Protection

During a switchover, all running services on the active server will be stopped. At that point, updates will have ceased for all SQL Server databases and there will be no transactions in progress. Once the queues of file-updates have been processed and the passive server has assumed the identity of the active server, all instances of SQL Server can be started.

Upon start up, the SQL Server engines will find that there were no transactions in progress, so they can continue without losing any transactions and without jeopardizing data integrity. Performing a switchover during the time period between the addition of new files to a SQL Server database, and their detection by the vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in, should be avoided since the new files will not have been discovered and consequently not synchronized across to the passive server. However, once the new files have been detected, then they will be automatically synchronized to the passive server. As with the initial synchronization during the auto-check phase, during any synchronization process, the option to switchover will be temporarily disabled.

Failover and Database File Protection

SQL Server commits transactions by writing a record into a transaction log-file. As the log-files are part of the protected file-set, these commit records will be transferred to the passive server. However, this is not an instantaneous process. Some updates may still be queued on the active server; others may be queued on the passive server. After a failover, all updates that have not been transferred to the passive server will be lost. Transactions that were received on the passive server can be in two states: a commit record has been received, or no commit record has been received.

When the SQL server engines are started, they will check the log files. Any updates that are found for transactions that have not been committed (i.e. no commit record was found in the log file) will be rolled back. This way database integrity is maintained.

Note: Some transactions that were committed on the active server prior to the failure may not be present on the passive server following a failover. Under normal circumstances, this should only affect a very small number of transactions.

Note: If the active server fails during this time interval between the addition of new database files to SQL Server, and their detection by vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in, then the passive server will not have synchronized the new data files.

Protected Services

This is a list of all services protected by this plug-in. Please note that where a plug-in supports multiple vendor versions, some services may not be present in a particular version.

  • Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)
  • Task Scheduler (Schedule)
  • Indexing Service (CiSvc) – SQL Server 2000
  • Search Service (MSSearch) - SQL Server 2000
  • SQL Server Integration Services (MsDtsServer)
  • SQL Server Browser (SQLBrowser)

Instance specific services

  • SQLAgent$InstanceName (SQLAgent$InstanceName) – SQL Server 2000
  • MSSQL$InstanceName (MSSQL$InstanceName) – SQL Server 2000
  • SQL Server (Instance) (MSSQL$Instance)
  • SQL Server Agent (Instance) (SQLAgent$Instance)
  • SQL Server Analysis Service (Instance) (MSOLAP$Instance)
  • Msftesql$Instance (Msftesql$Instance)

Default Instance

  • SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)
  • SQL Server Agent (MSSQLSERVER)
  • SQL Server Analysis Service (MSSQLSERVER)
  • SQL Server Reporting Service (MSSQLSERVER)
  • Microsoft Full Text Search Service (Msftesql)

When the vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in is installed, all protected services will be set to manual unless otherwise stated.

Protected Data

This is a description of the protected data set that was determined at plug-in install time. Please note that exact filters will be based on the configuration of the application plug-in when it was installed.

  • All registry data and program files
  • All installed SQL Server instances discovered at install time
  • All the databases for the protected SQL Server instances
  • Support for SQL Server 2008 file streams used for remote BLOB storage

Automatic Filter Discovery

This plug-in provides a filter discovery component. For detailed information about the Automated Filter Discovery in vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in, please refer to Knowledge Base article 1009519 (vCSHB-Ref-398) - Automated filter discovery in vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in .

  • The plug-in will automatically protect all newly created databases for SQL Server, independent of location (default or user defined).

Unsupported Components or Features

This plug-in does not protect the following application features or components:

  • Although Full Text Catalogue database protection can be enabled/disabled from the vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in, the default is disabled, as it is not recommended that these locations be protected because they contain unsupported features such as sparse files.
  • The Report and Analysis projects created with the Business Intelligence Development Studio are not protected by default. In order for them to be protected, a File Filter must be defined manually for the user location where they are saved. For more information on how to create File Filters from the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console, please refer to Knowledge Base article XXXXXXX (vCSHB-Ref-1687) - How to Create or Adjust Filters Manually .
  • Run-time filter discovery is not provided for the OLAP Services; the configuration will be determined at install time.
  • SQL Server VSS Writer (SQLWriter) as this service is started on demand.
  • The Mssqlserveradhelper service is not monitored or protected because this service is started on demand.
  • Jobs temporary directory - If you wish to have the Job Output files replicated between servers to protect the Job folder, refer to Knowledgebase article XXXXXXX (vCSHB-Ref-1687) - How to Create or Adjust Filters Manually .
  • Databases attached using SQL Server Management Studio are not protected by the filter discovery component. File filters have to be added manually for the specific locations. For more information on how to create File Filters from the vCenter Server Heartbeat Console, please refer to Knowledge Base article XXXXXXX (vCSHB-Ref-1687) - How to Create or Adjust Filters Manually .
  • vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in does not replicate the 'Backups' folder, to protect the folder, refer to Knowledge Base article XXXXXXX (vCSHB-Ref-1687)  - How to Create or Adjust Filters Manually .
  • vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in discovery does not support database names containing "{", "}", "(", ")", or " characters.

Applies To

vCenter Server Heartbeat SQL Server Plug-in


Related Information

None

KBID_2497

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