One of the first questions my customers ask when considering virtualization is “Is SharePoint supported in a virtualized environment?” This question breaks down into two questions that need to be answered.
- Is SharePoint technology supported in a virtualized environment at all?
- Is my chosen virtualization vendor’s technology supported?
The SharePoint and windows product team announced support for virtualization of SharePoint on Windows using a number of virtualization products. From a Microsoft perspective, Virtual Server 2005 and Hyper V are fully supported. Third party products, such as VMWare, are also supported via the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP). This is fantastic news for the enterprises with existing investments in virtualization products, such as VMWARE ESX virtualization stack. Here are links to the official statements on Microsoft websites:
- Hardware virtualization support for SharePoint products and technologies
- Support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software
- Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) (A full list of certified virtualization vendors is available here.)
Real World Support Caveats
- Microsoft may require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non Microsoft hardware virtualization software (KB897615). This means that Microsoft will still support you, but if the issue is due to the virtualization vendor, you will need to approach them first.
- The snapshot feature of Hyper V and other virtualization products are not supported for SharePoint farms; See : Using SharePoint Products and Technologies in a Hyper V environment. Snapshots in farms with more than one server may cause inconsistencies when rolling back to a previous snapshot on one of the servers in the farm which may result in data corruption.