Jun 192017
 

I am very proud to contribute to a new webinar with Rubrik on Thursday, June 22 at 8AM PT / 11AM ET where we talk about the trials and tribulations of living as a Database Administrator and the challenges when handling SQL Server backups with the same tools as a VM-level backup. We support Rubrik with their backup strategy for their product, as it is built for not only VM admins to utilize in their day-to-day operations, but for DBAs to leverage to do proper SQL Server backups and transaction log management.

If you’re a SQL DBA, you know that protecting and restoring your databases is critical. Plus, there are a lot of related items – ad hoc queries, test/dev queries, etc. – that the business needs but can be very time-consuming and/or expensive to handle. With the Alta Release, Rubrik is proud to announce SQL Live Mount – simply put, a very cool feature but also very powerful in day-to-day usage.

Join Andrew Miller, Technical Marketing Manager at Rubrik, Mike Fal, Database Solutions Engineer at Rubrik, and me, SQL Server MVP and Founder and Chief Architect of Heraflux Technologies, as they walk through the simplicity of using Rubrik’s Cloud Data Management platform to protect, secure, and manage your SQL Server workloads. With demos throughout, we’ll cover:

Protect

  • Using Rubrik to protect SQL Overview
  • Creating + Applying SLA policies
  • Protection best practices from Andrew and David

Restore

  • Classic Restore Options – In Place Restore & Export
  • SQL Live Mount – Specific Use Cases & Demo
  • Restoration best practices from Andrew and David

When: Thursday, June 22 at 8AM PT / 11AM ET

Presenters: David Klee, Heraflux Technologies | Mike Fal, Rubrik | Andrew Miller, Rubrik

Register for this exciting free webinar today!

Jun 132017
 

PASS has just announced this year’s precon sessions for the PASS Summit in Seattle this October, and I am humbled to announce that my session, “Virtual SQL Servers – Right to Ludicrous Speed” has been selected for one of the Tuesday precon slots. This topic is near and dear to my heart, and I’m thrilled to be able to present to the group advanced SQL Server VM tuning techniques learned from over 16 years of performance tuning.

If you are less interested in SQL Server infrastructure than other topics, I urge you to check out the other precons being presented at this conference. The topics and presenters are world class, and if I was not presenting this precon on Tuesday, I’d be in one of the other precons!

I hope all of you can attend what I consider the best SQL Server ecosystem conference in the world. I’ll never miss it, and I look forward to meeting you all there!

Session Details:

Join this full-day introduction session focused on managing and boosting the performance of a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization, infrastructure, and cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, no matter if on-premises or in the cloud, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

Intended Audience
The intended audience of this course is information workers (both business and IT-centric) involved with architecting a virtualization strategy for SQL Server, or managing business-critical SQL Servers that have already been virtualized.

Course Topics
The following topics will be addressed during the course:
• The Physical Infrastructure Underneath the VM
• Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
• Virtualization and Infrastructure Fundamentals
• The SQL Server Virtual Machine
• Networking, Support, and Licensing
• SQL Server Infrastructure in the Cloud
• High Availability and Disaster Recovery and SQL Server
• Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for strategic reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

Register today! Seats are sure to fill up for these precons!

May 302017
 

SQL Server administration, once installed and running, doesn’t vary too much based on your operating system, but the differences in the operating systems are pretty significant. To properly administer a production SQL Server on Linux, an administrator needs to understand the core basics of the Linux operating system.

I’m going to limit the scope of these discussions to the currently supported (as of CTP 2.1) operating systems for SQL Server on Linux, namely Red Hat / CentOS, SUSE, and Ubuntu. Most of the images in the screenshots will be from Ubuntu, my preferred distribution of choice, but the core concepts are very similar across all distros. If you’re looking for production systems, you should want to pick a distribution where you can purchase production-grade support.

First, installing Linux is pretty straight forward.  Similar to Windows, an installable image is downloaded, usually in the form of an ISO. Go to their respective web sites, download the ISO image, and follow their installation guides to perform the most minimal installation possible of their distro.

Red Hat Linux installation guide

CentOS Linux installation guide

SUSE Linux installation guide

Ubuntu Linux installation guide

Just do a basic installation with nothing else but an SSH server installed. One of the primary benefits of Linux is that the installable footprint is tiny, keeping the security and maintenance as small as possible. I personally don’t even want a GUI installed, as I’d just use it as a front end for a terminal anyways.

Once installed, now what?

Use SSH to get access into the console of this new server. Log in with your login and password that you created when you installed the operating system. To make things even more secure, you can use certificates to streamline your login process.

Now, let’s explore some of the commands that we need to use to get around the operating system. This is just a short list of the main commands you need to know when navigating the console of a Linux system.

The primary ones are ‘cd’ to change directory, ‘ls’ to list folder contents, mkdir and rmdir to make and remove folders, ‘rm’ and ‘mv’ to remove or move a file. ‘pwd’ tells you your present working directory.

You’ll want to learn the syntax for one of the console-based text editors. My personal favorite is ‘vi‘. It’s quick, streamlined, but does have a significant learning curve. Emacs is another editor that works great. Many others are out there, and your options open even more if you’re using a GUI. You’ll need an editor to edit configuration files.

The folder structure of Linux is one of the biggest changes. Whereas Windows is based off of an arbitrary drive-letter assignment system that dates back to the DOS era, Linux is is based off of a tree structure. All folders and files are based on a single point, ‘/’ or the root folder, and everything is based off of folders from this point. Certain folders from Windows, such as C:\Windows, C:\Users\username, or %WINDOWSTEMP%, are mapped to certain folders within the Linux operating system.

Your home directory is at /home/yourusername. SQL Server for Linux installs at /var/opt/mssql, at as of CTP 2.1 cannot be changed.

But… as you start to poke around the operating system, you’ll start to notice that some folders state ‘access denied’. Everything that you normally execute runs in a minimal least-privilege level of access.

Elevated Access

The biggest concept of Linux is the concept of ‘root‘.

We’ve all seen this in Windows:

This prompt is so that you are running your normal commands without elevated privileges, so that any significant system change cannot be made without an additional layer of authorization. The ‘root’ user in Linux is essentially a full-access account, similar to ‘sa’ in SQL Server.

Issuing a command that requires elevated privileges usually ends with an error like this.

You start with the ability to issue a single command with ‘sudo command’, or super-user do this. You can execute one of these elevated commands as follows to execute this single command with elevated privileges.

Use sudo sparingly, just as you would with Windows and good security principals. If you need to run a series of commands as the elevated user, issue ‘sudo su –‘ to switch to the root user for the session. Type exit to exit this level of elevation and switch back to your normal user account.

You’ll want to explore the system logs at /var/log, as these are a significant source of information about how your operating system is running.

Use ‘cat file’ to view these files to the console, and ‘tail -f file’ to see the changes to these files as they occur.

Things you’ll want to do before you continue to installing SQL Server:

  • Patch and get the operating system up to date
  • Set a static IP address
  • Verify and set your hostname
  • Specify your DNS servers and DNS entry
  • Verify your security to ensure that the operating system is locked down. Your respective operating system distribution is sure to have hardening documentation for you to follow.

One tip – want to visually manage the system remotely and quickly? Install Webmin! Follow the directions specific to your operating system. Browse to your server with a web browser at https://servername:10000/ and log in with your credentials.

Poke around, install, configure, and explore your new operating system’s basics! (Admittedly, it’s not too exciting at the moment. You’ve got a console. Woohoo!)

Next stop – installing SQL Server on Linux!

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May 292017
 

Recently I contributed my thoughts in a new ebook from ScaleArc called “Industry Perspectives: Upgrading to Modern SQL“. Modernizing the datacenter is an ongoing struggle for those of us in the operational trenches, and a number of us in the industry contributed our thoughts to ScaleArc to help administrators sift through the options and learn how to make these upgrades easier. It’s a great read, and learning from the great contributors is fun! Check it out!

May 162017
 

 

I am extremely proud to announce that we’re holding the second SQL Server workshop at this year’s VMworld US in Last Vegas on August 27th. If your SQL Servers are running in a VMware environment, this course is critical to your success!

This business critical applications and databases pre-conference workshop will cover all pertinent aspects of best practices for deployments and ongoing management of MS SQL Server running in virtualized infrastructure. This deep-dive full-day workshop will be delivered by VMware technical SQL Server specialists working in concert with world renowned external SQL Server and Virtualization experts, including me! The attendee will experience a workshop rich with technical content to include subjects such as SQL Server availability, performance tuning, disaster recovery, and SQL Server VM construction. The content will be focused on best practices for design, implementation and management augmented with anecdotes of successful customer implementations.

SQL Server professionals, listen up. If your infrastructure admins are attending VMworld this year, please let them know about this course. Training them in the intricacies of the VMware platform as it relates to SQL Server, and having the training come from SQL Server professionals, is going to make your virtualization experience better.

Register for VMworld here! This event is going to sell out, so if you or anyone from your organization are going, register soon!

May 152017
 

If you are attending this year’s SQL Saturday in Atlanta, GA, on July 15, I urge you to attend my preconference training session – “The Complete Primer to SQL Server Virtualization & Cloud“. The architecture of the infrastructure underneath your mission-critical SQL Servers is vital to the well-being of your databases, and if any little component underneath is not running at its peak potential, your SQL Servers are artificially bottlenecked and your performance suffers. For any DBA out there who claims the infrastructure underneath the data, no matter if it’s in the cloud or your own datacenter, is someone else’s job, this session is going to show you just how important a working knowledge of these layers is to your livelihood.

This event is almost a homecoming, as I grew up not far from the event!

Session Details
Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to enabling and managing a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization and/or infrastructure concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

Intended Audience. The intended audience of this course is information workers (both business and IT-centric) involved with architecting a virtualization strategy for SQL Server, or managing business-critical SQL Servers that have already been virtualized.

Course Topics
The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • The Physical Infrastructure Underneath the VM
  • Virtualization and Infrastructure Fundamentals
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • Networking, Support, and Licensing
  • Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack
  • Similarities and Differences with Cloud versus On-Prem

Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key virtualization and cloud concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common virtualized SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper virtualized capacity management techniques for long term management

Prerequisites
Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for strategic reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in your own environments.

I look forward to seeing you all there! Registration for this event is located at EventBrite.