Oct 132014
 

Coming soon is the SQL Saturday #332 in Minneapolis, MN on October 25th, with my preconference training session on Friday, October 24. I am really looking forward to attending these events!

Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs Precon

There are just a few seats left for the precon! Register today!

Session Information:

Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and SQL Server performance expert 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 the focus on SQL Server performance. 

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 

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 prospective reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

SQL Saturday

At this SQL Saturday event, I’m going to be presenting a highly interactive session called “How to Argue with your Infrastructure Admins – And Win!” at 10am in Rapson 31. I can’t wait to see you all there!

Abstract: Do you feel like you spend hours going round-and-round with your system, storage, and virtualization administrators over SQL Server best practices? Are their application-agnostic requirements hurting your SQL Server’s performance, or worse, their reliability? David Klee (@kleegeek) will discuss valuable insight into how to start and work through the common conversations with them on the SQL Server infrastructure practices that matter to you the most, and how to succeed in getting what you need while keeping everyone happy.

Session Level: Beginner

Oct 082014
 

PASS_VC_VirtualizationToday I presented the final ramp up session entitled “Virtualization for SQL Server DBAs 499” for the SQL PASS Virtualization Virtual Chapter. It’s the last session in a four-part where the goal is to take the DBA from knowing nothing about infrastructure and virtualization technologies up to where they can identify specific issues with performance and availability and work directly with the VM administrators – in their nomenclature – to get the VMs stable, highly available, and tuned for maximum performance. This last session worked on common performance troubleshooting scenarios and the quick hits for remediation from both perspectives. The previous session recordings (101-301) are available on my videos page here.

The slides from this session are available for you to download and review. Tom Norman has this 499 session recorded so watch away!

Special thanks goes to Matt Penny (@salisbury_matt) for an absolutely awesome SketchNote!

salisbury_matt sketchnote from twitter

Next it’s on to special topics! In January I will be working with the chapter to present an updated version of my Summit 2014 session – “How to Right-Size Your SQL Server VMs“, and after that, I’m going to be working on a session to demonstrate configuring and using cluster and Availability Groups in a virtual environment. If you have any special topics that you’d like to learn more about and/or see demos of, please let me know! I’m always looking for new ideas for topics, and if it matters to you, it’s guaranteed to matter to someone else, and I’m willing to get a webinar put together to make it happen.

Oct 042014
 

We hope you have enjoyed your summer and are ready to get back to learning all things SQL Server related! We are starting out our fall in Omaha with a great session.

Our October meeting takes us back to Farm Credit Services of America, where we will have Alex Yates of Red-Gate Software joining us talking about building an automated database deployment pipeline.  This is a subject that I know is an oft-discussed topic in the industry currently, so this will surely be a night you don’t want to miss.
We will be meeting next Wednesday, October 8th, at 6PM.  Food will be served approximately 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.  Our sponsor is Farm Credit Services of America. Please RSVP so we have an accurate head count for food, and it makes you eligible for the swag giveaways!
We can’t wait to see you there!
Bio
Alex Yates (@_AlexYates_) has worked with database change management tools for four years, collaborating closely with users and dev teams along the way. As a pre-sales engineer, he gets to see a huge variety of server and dev environments, and helps folks solve their database development and delivery problems in whatever way works well for them. Ever the sharer, he also blogs about the lessons he learns: http://www.workingwithdevs.com.
Abstract
The pace of business accelerates fairly continuously and application development moves right with it. But we’re still trying to deploy databases the same way we did 10 years ago. This session addresses the need for changes in organizational structure, process and technology necessary to arrive at a nimble, fast, automatable and continuous database deployment process. We’ll use actual customer case studies to illustrate both the common methods and the unique context that led to a continuous delivery process that is best described as a pipeline. You will learn how to customize common practices and tool sets to build a database deployment pipeline unique to your environment in order to speed your own database delivery while still protecting your organization’s most valuable asset, its data.
Sep 302014
 

If you are working on a VMware vCenter Server v5.5 in an environment that has multiple segregated VLANs designed to isolate certain types of traffic, and find that the web client for your admin-facing interfaces keeps redirecting to an internal isolated IP address – and therefore fails – here’s the solution.

Edit the file C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\proxy.xml and update the vim.ProxyService.RedirectSpec entry at ID 21, on approximately line 93. It’s the hostName value, and it will be set to one of the isolated IPs. Just change it to the new value and restart the VMware VirtualCenter Server services. Use a tool like Textpad because of the typical carriage return concerns with non-Windows-sourced files.

vcenter_proxy

Voila! Problem solved.

Sep 162014
 

vmwareThis past week I was fortunate enough to attend a three-day special session at VMware Corporation’s corporate campus in Palo Alto, CA, specifically designed to help educate and inform SQL Server MVPs with some of the most detailed training on the convergence of the VMware ecosystem and SQL Server. This was not a vendor wine-and-dine, dog-and-pony show. This was the deepest, most technical training session that I have ever had since I attended the SQLskills Immersion Events. It’s everything that I need out of a technical training environment, without any of the persuasion or marketing that you usually expect with vendor-sponsored training.

The criticality of the convergence between the infrastructure and the database is evident with today’s converged and hyper-converged virtual infrastructures. Businesses depend on the data that these systems are delivering, and if the system has an inefficiency or misconfiguration in any one of the layers in the stack, everyone suffers. If the issue is large enough, the business can fail. The education of this group of individuals is key, as this is the group that is in the position to share the knowledge with the SQL Server communities.

Attendees

The DBAs attending this event are among the best technologists in the world, and have incredible skill and years of experience with maintaining their customers systems. However, virtualization and the infrastructure around it is usually a black box and inaccessible. What VMware is trying to do is educate the people in the SQL Server space with the nuances of the VMware ecosystem and its direction, who can then share this knowledge with the community. Education is key to removing the mystery and unknowns around the virtualization technologies, and VMware did an incredible job bringing together the right people and topics to make this event a complete success.

The attendee list for this inaugural event is simply amazing. VMware recruited a select list of folks from the SQL Server community who are hands-on and neck-deep in infrastructure technologies.

Technical Hands-On Experience

Not only was it a large number of technical deep-dive sessions with key VMware leadership and technical staff members, but we also had hands-on labs. VMware used a specialized set of packages around their HOL platform to provide us customized content targeted to this audience. No explicit directions were given for any of the labs. It was more along the lines of an end-state and a technology to explore, and we were left to our own devices to get there.

I loved it. I felt like I was back in my home lab exploring a new technology over a weekend, except their equipment was a LOT faster and we had teams to facilitate group learning.

Discussions

Again, these sessions were incredible. From a candid and quite frank with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger (and thank you for a wonderfully insightful and candid response to the blunt question that I asked that has been in my head for years) and Pure Storage CEO Scott Dietzen and VP Matt Kixmoeller, to the key internal teams responsible for some of the features that I use in all of my mission-critical virtualization initiatives, the speakers were from all over VMware’s ranks and represented the best of breed from the company.

grant fritcheyThe discussions were not only centered around educating the attendees on the technical abilities and limitations of the core vSphere features, the speakers were also actively questioning us on how their products and technologies were being used, and each and every one of them wanted feedback on the features we wish could be improved and directions for future development. They wanted to know how things were being used in the field, what our primary observations were, and the scale of the systems being virtualized. I think we shocked them with the scale of some of the systems that we work on.

We also had a few outings at the end of the first two days, such as supper on the VMware campus front lawn, and then a SF Giants baseball game. Nice touch!

att park

Amazing

Now you all know by now that I am a huge proponent of complete SQL Server virtualization. I have attended and spoken at a number of SQL Saturdays, webinars, conference sessions, and post a lot of blog posts on this topic. This class has taught me even more about the inner workings of the platform and products that I have come to embrace and endorse. The fast pace of the sessions, the energy from the coordinators and other attendees, and the rush of knowing that you are helping to guide and improve one of the most important technologies on the planet, kept a smile on my face the entire week.

Thank you VMware. Your commitment to the platform and the applications that make your platform shine has never been more evident to me. I’m excited for the directions that your products are going, and am eager to continue to show the world that virtualizing mission-critical applications should just be an assumption instead of a point of contention.

Sep 102014
 

vmworld2014_thumbA few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend VMware’s VMworld 2014 conference in San Francisco, CA. The show was simply amazing. I spent the show mostly meeting with the different technology vendors and other consulting groups, and feel that the relationships created at this event will last a lifetime.

With regards to database professionals worldwide, I feel that the most important announcement of this event for the upcoming release of vSphere 6.0 (no announced release date at this point) is the enhancement of multiple vCPU Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT). Previously, the fault tolerance feature within the vSphere suite was limited to one virtual CPU per VM. For SQL Server, this essentially prohibited the use of this feature. Now, vSphere 6.0 will have up to four vCPUs and 64GB of RAM available for use with VMs configured under VMware Fault Tolerance. I claim that this is one of the most significant developments of the year. Consider a SQL Server Availability Group configuration architected with each synchronous VM built with Fault Tolerance configured. Your most important business-critical database platforms, when constructed and managed properly, might actually achieve a 100% uptime for unplanned hardware failure outages.

That’s tremendous.

Yes, the four vCPU and 64GB of RAM maximum is a limitation for DBAs, but I claim that a good number of business-critical SQL Server workloads could be made to fit within these constraints. Four is definitely better than one! It presents one more very viable option for building hardened and resilient platforms for your critical systems.

From a data professional perspective, the other announcements from VMworld are a bit less vital. For VMware administrators, the announcements are great and will save us all quite a lot of time for routine administration in the future.

  • Cross-cluster and cross-vCenter vMotions are to be supported, which helps to improve a hardware upgrade by allowing you to move VMs between dissimilar clusters without downtime.
  • A calculator called the vSphere Replication Calculator was announced that can help you determine the RPO, number of virtual machines, and the replication network bandwidth that is required to appropriately size a DR project.
  • Performance of the vSphere Web Client is supposed to get better, part of which I have already addressed here for existing installations.

Otherwise, additional details on the upcoming release are pretty slim at this time, but I have high hopes for this next revision!

FYI – the vSphere 6.0 beta is open to everyone, but specific details of the implementation any other features not publicly announced are all under NDA, so keep this in mind if you explore this beta. I can’t wait to get this fired up in the lab so I can explore this upcoming release!