Contributor
Contributor

32 or 64-bit SQL server for vCenter 4.1

Hi everyone,

We are planning a vSphere 4.1 fresh upgrade from 3.5. On the new vCenter server, we will be running Windows Server 2008 64 bit (regular edition, not R2). I am wondering if there is any advantage to going to 64-bit MS SQL 2005 server over 32-bit? We don't have a huge environment, and run the SQL DB on the same server as the vCenter.

Looking at the compatibility chart, 32 and 64 (with the appropriate service packs) are both supported for both 4.1 Server and Update Manager. The server is configured with 4Gb of memory, so there is not any real advantage for the memory usage. Our current DB is about 2GB, but we will be starting with a fresh database. Has anyone experienced any gotchas while running 64-bit MS SQL, or is it a solid platform for running vCenter?

Thanks,

Tim

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Tim,

We rebuilt our vCenter Server and Update Manager servers when we went to vSphere 4.0 last year. We went with Windows Server 2003 R2 64-bit and MS SQL Server 2005 (SP3) 64-bit. It has been stable with no performance issues. It handled the Update 1 and Update 2 installs fine as well.

But with regard to your setup, I wonder whether you can install the 32-bit version of SQL 2005 and run the 64-bit SQL Native client to connect to your vCenter database. I know Windows 2003/2008 64-bit will have both a 32-bit ODBC and 64-bit ODBC data source utilities, but the vmware documentation says:

"Any database drivers (such as the SQL Native Client) need to be installed with their 64 bit counterpart. That is, the driver must be a 64 bit driver. You can install 32 bit drivers on 64 bit Windows, but these are no longer compatible for vCenter Server 4.1."

So aren't the 64-bit SQL Native client drivers included on the SQL Server 64-bit installation? Or can you just download them from Microsoft somehow?

There are no gotchas or performance issues I'm aware of and since your OS platform is already 64-bit you are already dealing with the 32-bit/64-bit ODBC data source confusion.

64-bit ODBC = c:\windows\system32\odbcad32.exe

32-bit ODBC = c:\windows\sysWOW64\odbcad32.exe

I know it looks like it's backwards but it isn't. The 32-bit version is in SysWOW64 directory. Also, a Microsoft KB article I read states:

"When you run these {32-bit SQL Server} tools on 64-bit operating systems, the tools run in the Windows on Windows (WOW) environment. Under certain conditions, you may experience slow performance when you run these tools."

So I would recommend you go for 64-bit MS SQL 2005.

Jon

Contributor
Contributor

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your input. Our current VC environment is all 32 bit, so we have not had to deal with the ODBC issues yet. I think we will go with 64-bit SQL as well, to avoid mixing versions and complicating future upgrades. Based on your experience, and some other things I've read, I'm expecting it will be a fairly smooth experience.

Thanks,

Tim

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