At one point late last week I had a 4 bedroom house in the happiest place on earth, Orlando, Florida. It was a nice two story home, with a swimming pool and game room, new appliances and two large oak trees out front and a fertile rose bush whose yellow roses bloomed 40 or more at a time. I could grill steaks or ribs whenever I wanted to. Over time though, we realized this was too much home for two people. It was expensive and time consuming to maintain. So we decided to down size and now we are homeless for a week, staying with relatives and in hotels until we move into our new, smaller condo, where grilling is banned but the vistas (no pun) and deep natural springs are sensational. It has been a stressful couple of months and while we feel upside down right now, we know that in the long run this will have been the best decision for us.
As I thought about how to make this story interesting to DBAs I could not help but to see the correlation of down sizing a home to migrating a large SQL Server physical environment to a smaller virtual one, work that I have been doing quite a bit of lately. Over time DBAs often see that their SQL Server footprint has grown almost out of control due to ad hoc requests for special projects (often described as “temporary” but never are), departmental compartmentalizing, or other requests for staging, development, production, pre-production, isolated environments, DMZs, testing and upgrade pathway servers. It is expensive and time consuming to maintain.
So the best option is to go through the pain of analyzing where you are at, what it would take to get you out of where you are at and move everything to where you really want/need to be. If done correctly your new home will be just as comfortable, provide all of the necessary space and be half the cost. Yes, I am speaking now about both the home and the SQL server farm.
Now I only wish I were moving to or from a farm as it would have made this analogy a little tighter and more interesting. However, I did hit the goal of using “departmental compartmentalizing” as a phrase and was able to make a seaworthy title to this post. It reminds me of the domain name I purchased when I had what I thought was a good idea for helping the homeless. It was called Homelessismore.com. So with that, I will go back to being temporarily (yes I mean it) upside down and go size up my SQL Server farm.