Many new technologies have come on the SQL Server market in the past five years, but only two have had the ability to greatly affect SQL Server DBAs and how they manage SQL Server—virtualization and cloud computing. Virtualization was originally avoided by much of the SQL Server community because, at the time, it was more difficult to virtualize SQL Server and virtualized SQL Server instances didn’t provide the high level of performance necessary for production environments. However, the SQL Server virtualization market has greatly changed—virtualized SQL Server systems now offer great performance and provide incredible cost savings, since you need less storage hardware.
Cloud computing is the latest technology to come on the market that could change the way DBAs handle data and manage their SQL Server environments. “Cloud computing seems to be going through its incubation stage much as virtualization did in its early days,” said Michael Otey in his December 2010 editorial “Will the Cloud Kill Virtualization?” It’s interesting to hear what SQL Server experts have to say about cloud computing—most believe that cloud computing will eventually affect the way almost all DBAs handle their SQL Server environments. Why buy expensive hardware to hold your data when you can host it in the cloud instead? “The potential cost savings associated with cloud computing are simply too great to ignore. It has to work; therefore, people will find a way to make it work,” said Brian Moran in his SQL Server Magazine UPDATE commentary “Cloud Computing: It's Not Quite Ready, but You Need to Be.” Although it’s hard to say which cloud computing vendor will come out on top, it would be smart for you to start learning how to migrate, and manage, data to the cloud. You might not ever move all of your data to the cloud, but chances are pretty good that you’ll eventually have at least some of your data in the cloud.
SQL Server virtualization and cloud computing aren’t going away any time soon, so if I were you, I would take advantage of every opportunity to learn about these two technologies and how they’re going to affect you. A great opportunity to learn about these technologies is coming up—Virtualization Connections and Cloud Connections, two great events that are collocated in Las Vegas, April 17-21st. At Virtualization Connections, learn how to plan and implement a virtualized SQL Server environment. And at Cloud Connections you’ll learn some best practices for migrating to, and managing, a public or a private cloud environment.
And, of course, keep reading SQL Server Magazine for hands on, how-to articles that walk you through everything you need to know about virtualizing SQL Server, migrating data to the cloud, and your options for implementing both technologies in your environment.