One of the main strengths of the Microsoft platform has always been the tight integration of product lines. This trend has certainly continued with the recent release of Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012. Let's look at some of the ways in which Windows Server 2012 works better with SQL Server 2012.
Higher Capacity SQL Server Virtual Machines
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V offers big improvements when running SQL Server in a virtual machine (VM). One of the most important improvements is the ability to let SQL Server use up to 64 virtual processors and 1TB of memory, for running more resource-intensive workloads in the VMs.
Increased SQL Server VM Density
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V also supports a higher number of concurrently running VMs thanks to big increases in host scalability. It supports up to 320 logical processors and 4TB of memory on the host. In addition, clusters have been dramatically expanded, with support for clusters of up to 64 nodes, with 84,000 VMs per cluster.
Higher Performance SQL Server VMs
Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) optimization in Windows Server 2012 provides better performance for SQL Server VMs. NUMA support helps VMs optimize thread and memory allocation by aligning VM threads and memory with physical RAM. Other performance improvements include the ability to allow SQL Server VMs to connect directly to Fibre Channel SANs. Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V’s virtual Fibre Channel feature supports N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), virtual SAN, and multipath I/O (MPIO).
Windows Server 2012 provides several options for improving the availability of SQL Server VMs. It supports the simultaneous migration of multiple SQL Server VMs and can utilize up to 10GB of network bandwidth for the live migrations. In addition, Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V also supports live migration of SQL Server without the requirement of a cluster or a SAN.
Improved Network Utilization
Windows NIC teaming is another new feature built in to Windows Server 2012. NIC teaming provides load balancing to increase bandwidth for SQL Server network traffic as well as failover support to maintain network connections even if a NIC or network connection fails. SQL Server also takes advantage of Windows Server 2012’s improved Quality of Service (QoS) support. QoS lets you set minimum and maximum bandwidth management for multiple SQL Server services over a network adapter. This ensures that SQL Server can always get the network bandwidth that it requires.
Improved Storage Utilization
Data deduplication has also been added to Windows Server 2012. This increases storage capacity while using less physical storage space. It can be particularly useful for saving space for large FILESTREAM objects. SQL Server can also be installed on SMB 3.0 file shares to take advantage of their improved performance and availability.
New Disaster Recovery Option
The new Hyper-V Replica feature is built in to Windows Server 2012, providing asynchronous disaster recovery for SQL Server VMs. Hyper-V Replica doesn’t require SAN storage, and it can keep VMs synchronized across geographically dispersed sites.