Nov 292016
 

vmwareVMware’s latest release of the vSphere virtualization suite, version 6.5, changes how they handle vNUMA presentation to a virtual machine, and there’s a high likelihood that it will break your virtualized SQL Server vNUMA configuration and lead to unexpected changes in behavior. It might even slow down your SQL Servers.

Here’s what you need to do to fix it.

Continue reading »

Nov 202016
 

Warning! If you have added custom indexes to the VMware vCenter database, you will need to remove them completely before you can complete a vCenter 6.5 upgrade. If they are still present in the database, the upgrade wizard throws an error.

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The error file tells you specifically which indexes it does not like. The error file is found at:

C:\Users\(youraccount)\AppData\Local\Temp\vcsUpgrade\vcdb_req.err

You’ll find the error message towards the bottom of the document. My specific item was:

1 [42000](50000) [Microsoft][SQL Server Native Client 11.0][SQL Server]ERROR ! Extra indexes: VPX_EVENT.HFX_VPX_EVENT_Cover01; VPX_STAT_COUNTER.IX_VPX_STAT_COUNTER_STAT; VPX_TASK.HFX_VPX_TASK_Cover01;

Drop the indexes and retry the upgrade and it should get past this point without a problem.

Such is the risk we all take with modifying the databases underneath third party software…

Nov 012016
 

I am proud to announce the availability of our new training offerings! We are launching a live web-based version of our one-day SQL Server infrastructure and virtualization master class. We are hosting an all-day training session before the end of the year to help you take advantage of quiet(er) times around the holidays. Select from one of the dates that works best for you and register today!

Tuesday, November 22nd – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Thursday, December 29th – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Looking to ramp up on the infrastructure and virtualization underneath your databases? Want to learn how to work effectively with the other silos in your IT organization? This live web-based training will help take you to the next level by understanding the architecture, performance characteristics, and performance tuning opportunities of the storage, physical server hardware, virtualization hypervisor, and VM layers underneath your critical SQL Server databases.

David KleeMicrosoft MVP and VMware vExpert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to getting the most out of the infrastructure underneath your SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with function and purpose of each layer of the architecture around their databases, and how this knowledge can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of infrastructure and virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to review and engineer 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 an enterprise IT strategy for SQL Server.

Course Topics

The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • Datacenter Fundamentals
  • Infrastructure Stack Fundamentals
  • Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
  • Networking and Interconnect Topologies
  • Physical Server Technologies
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack

Course Objectives

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

  • Understand key infrastructure concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Review their own enterprise infrastructure for performance bottlenecks
  • 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 infrastructure-related SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper 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 SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath in their own environments.

Seats are limited in this training offering, so register now!

Tuesday, November 22nd – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Thursday, December 29th – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Oct 312016
 

pass_2016_websiteLast week I had one of the best experiences of my career – attending this year’s PASS Summit in Seattle. I felt like this event came up suddenly, as this last year has been a blur with the move to Maine, working and expanding our business, learning new things, and traveling all over the place. But… last week was both intense and calming at the same time, all while time felt like it stood still during this #sqlfamily reunion.

20161025_081313I was lucky enough to present three sessions to packed rooms. The first was an all-day precon on SQL Server virtualization, and we went until 6pm with questions! I learn so much from you all every time I present a precon, and hope I get selected for another precon next year!

I also presented a general session on SQL Server virtualization to a packed room of die-hards who stayed to the last session of Wednesday to hear the content. Thank you all for staying late, and we went almost two hours into the evening answering questions!

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I also sat on a panel session on Thursday with Denny Cherry, Joey D’Antoni, and Geoff Hiten called PASS the Bacon, all sponsored by SIOS and SanDisk.

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Finally, Argenis Fernandez and Lou Lydiksen from Pure Storage and I presented a session on storage benchmarking on Friday. We had a blast talking to folks about how synthetic tools are not what they are cracked up to be, and how real world workloads can do a much better job showing you what your storage underneath your SQL Servers can truly handle.

The networking and comradery does not have to end when the last session wraps up either. I put out a few tweets inviting folks to the Seattle Underground for a 6pm tour, and we ended up with over 50 people! The 6pm tour was sold out by the time the bulk of people arrived, but we were all able to squeeze into this tour and the one at 7pm. We had a great time touring the underground locations and learning more about the history of this attraction.

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Remember to keep your Friday night free if you’re staying over until Saturday, as I try to gather informal fun activities at this time each conference.

I will always attend this conference, no matter if I’m presenting or just attending. If you are a SQL Server professional, you should make it mandatory to attend. Take the time to network, get to know people, strike up conversations with random passersby, and learn!

PASS, as always, this was the best PASS Summit ever! Keep up the great work!

20161027_170749

 Posted by at 8:59 pm
Oct 212016
 

vmworld-2016This past week I had the pleasure of attending our first VMworld Europe conference, held this week at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. What a great experience!

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The key takeaways from the conference are quite interesting. The announcements from last and this week indicate some challenges in portions of their strategy going forward. This photo from the speaker room sums up our thoughts on the state of VMware right now – many of the important puzzle pieces are in place, but there are some significant holes that need to be addressed for a more complete picture.

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Sessions

20161018_103107-copyFirst up, I presented a session entitled “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” with Thomas LaRock from Solarwinds. We talked about the need to monitor each layer at and underneath the databases for becoming proactive in active performance troubleshooting and monitoring. We presented to a packed room and fielded a number of great questions afterwards.

A little later in the day, I presented a session entitled “Performance Perspectives” for the vBrownBag TechTalks, where I talked about how VM admins need to understand that measuring performance statistics only from the hypervisor presents only a portion of the actual performance of the system.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhYxiZPSvGE[/embedyt]

At the end of the day, I sat on a panel session with Patric Chang and Jonathan Flynn from SanDisk, and Jase McCarty from EMC entitled “Running Business Critical Applications and the Software Defined Data Center on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and VSAN” where we discussed the implications of business-critical applications and their intersection with hyperconverged and all-flash systems.

vmworld-sandisk-session_photo-small

Wednesday

20161019_104942-copyWednesday was also a day filled with presentations and meetings. I started with a fun and action-packed session with Michael Corey entitled “Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) Doing IT Right” where we gave a rapid-fire stream of useful tips and tricks on maintaining maximum performance of virtualized SQL Server and Oracle VMs.

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That afternoon I presented a repeat session of the “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” to another near capacity room. Thank you to all of the die-hard attendees that came for the repeat session when you could not get into the previous session.

Next, VMworld has a lounge area that they call “Meet the Experts“. Michael Corey and I chatted with numerous attendees about their unique challenges with virtualizing business-critical apps, especially databases, and hopefully our answers will help them go and solve some of their concerns!

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Announcements

At this conference, VMware announced the next version of their flagship virtualization suite, vSphere 6.5. The whole list of updates and improvements are found here. I feel that this release is a solid evolutionary step towards the future of the on-premises software defined datacenter. I am exceptionally happy about the new REST-based API for managing the environment. We’ve got some ideas that we’re working on where this will come in handy! VMware says general availability of this release is scheduled for later on this year.

However, the overarching buzz at the conference was from VMware’s announcement last week. VMware is partnering with Amazon AWS to provide the means to extend the on-prem VMware deployments to the Amazon public cloud in order to create a seamless hybrid cloud approach. The reaction from the attendees was mixed. I am going to save my thoughts on this announcement for an upcoming blog post. It does open a lot of questions about target platform performance, database licensing implications, and operational management.

Barcelona

I did get to venture outside of the convention center and briefly explore Barcelona on Monday with several other SQL Server presenters. Barcelona is an incredible city. I wish I had a full month to just go exploring!

Thanks for having me speak at the conference VMware! This was my first trip to VMworld Europe, but it will certainly not be the last!

20161017_144823 20161017_151920 20161017_110839

Oct 202016
 

I am pleased to announce that we are launching our next round of all-day precon training session at the upcoming SQL Saturday in Washington DC on Friday, December 2 called ‘The Complete Primer to SQL Server Infrastructure‘.

The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with the concept and purposes of each layer of the architecture around their databases, and how this knowledge can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of infrastructure and virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to review and engineer the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • Datacenter Fundamentals
  • Infrastructure Stack Fundamentals
  • Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
  • Networking and Interconnect Topologies
  • Physical Server Technologies
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • 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 SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath in their own environments.

We are really happy to be delivering this precon training session, and are looking forward to seeing you all there! Reserve your seat at this exciting event here. Tickets are available at just $175!