PolyServe helps consolidate SQL Server systems

PolyServe released on Wednesday a utility for SQL Servers to more effectively manage growing armadas of databases within enterprises.

PolyServe has released a utility for Microsoft's SQL Server that aims to make it easier for enterprises to consolidate their database servers and cluster them for better performance and availability, it announced Wednesday.

SQL Server is relatively inexpensive, so companies haven't hesitated to add more databases when they need them. But adding databases that are underused is costly and time consuming for maintenance, PolyServe said.

Businesses have so avoided stacking multiple database instances on servers, because of the risk that a server running multiple database applications might crash, said Chris Gomersall, PolyServe's general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

PolyServe's software Database Utility for SQL Server helps companies to consolidate multiple databases onto a server cluster, and transfer the functions of one server to another quickly when a server fails. It does this by mounting a shared file system on all of the servers, Gomersall said.

The shared file system contains all of the application images, so "no data needs to be shipped" when closing an instance on one server and transferring it to another, Gomersall said.

The utility has a function called the Matrix Manager, through which an administrator can organize storage capacity and how server functions would be moved in a crash, PolyServe said. If there's a failure, PolyServe claims its software can shift the workload to another server within 30 seconds.

"We are attacking the SQL Server problem because it's the one that most big businesses see a significant amount of pain with at the moment," Gomersall said. "Most business now are doing large-scale server consolidation projects."

Virtualization technology from VM Ware works well, but has not been widely used for critical applications that require faster performance, Gomersall said. PolyServe sees organizations that run hundreds of SQL Servers but many of them only at 10 percent utilization as its potential customer base, Gomersall said.

The number of databases run on a machine depends on how intensely those databases are used, as the throughput is the highest concern, Gomersall said. If an organization wanted to run 10 SQL Server databases on a machine, they may opt for a four-processor, dual-core server with lots of memory, he said.

The tool is compatible with Microsoft's Server System, including SQL Server 2000 and the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of SQL Server 2005, PolyServe said. The Database Utility for SQL Server can support 16 SQL instances per server and 240 instances in a cluster.

The software is sold in packs of 16 or 32 licenses. A license is needed for every CPU (central processing unit). Sixteen perpetual licenses are priced at US$96,000, Gomersall said. A support package is available that includes upgrades, he said.

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