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!

Mar 152017
 

I hope you all can join me for an upcoming webinar as part of the Datacenter Madness webinar series, presented by ActualTech Media, Nutanix, and Intel. The Madness is moving from the basketball court to the cloud. It’s time for the ultimate data center showdown where opponents will go head-to-head debating the hottest methods IT pros are relying on to eliminate IT complexity and build the Enterprise Cloud of the future.

I’m dueling in Round #2 on March 28th at 2pm Eastern to discuss traditional RDBMS versus NoSQL databases and separate virtualization stacks versus integrated hypervisors. It’s sure to be a blast!

In the second round of March DC Madness, we’re all about applications. How will applications evolve in the age of cloud? How will they be run? Watch the referee for this one—it’ll be a heated match-up!

RDBMS vs. NoSQL:

How will enterprise applications evolve and what type of databases will hold the PBs of data generated in the coming years? Will RDBMS continue to rule the DC, or will the challenger NoSQL be the new king?

Virtualization Throwdown:

Now that the market has embraced virtualization as the norm for practically all workloads in the datacenter, does it make sense for applications and VMs to run on a separately deployed virtualization stack? Or has the hypervisor become another integrated feature?

Register for this exciting series of webinars today!

Sep 062016
 

I’m very excited to be presenting in the opening slot for this year’s 24 Hours of PASS – Summit Preview Edition – this Wednesday morning (September 7th) at 8am Eastern. I call it “The Complete Primer to SQL Server Virtualization“. The session is a one-hour preview to my all-day PASS Summit pre-conference training session to be held on Tuesday, October 25th ahead of the PASS Summit conference.

Session Abstract: Your SQL Servers are probably virtualized at this point, but do you feel you have lost that control over the infrastructure that you used to have when they were physical servers? Do the virtual SQL Servers “feel” slower after they were virtualized? When architected and managed with SQL Server in mind, this added layer will help improve the SQL Server’s availability and ability to change with the business, but only when executed properly.

Register for the 24 Hours of PASS – Summit Preview Edition – here!

PASS-24HOP_SummitPreview2016_624x93b_thumb

The expanded all-day session goes into 400-level detail on the hypervisors, how they work, and how to squeeze the most performance from every layer of your virtual environment.

If you are interested in the topic, check out the preview session! If you are intrigued after listening in, please register for my pre-conference session at the PASS Summit 2016 here.

May 292016
 

SQL-GG-Side-CoverThis coming week is packed full of fun events! On Wednesday, June 1st at 2pm Eastern, I’m participating in a webinar with ActualTech Media called ‘Modern Storage Strategies for SQL Server‘ where we will talk about key concepts from the recent e-book that we released together.

Session Details: Databases are wild! How can you successfully virtualize and provide storage for SQL Server? In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you! This brand new webinar featuring Gorilla Guide author and SQL Server expert David Klee will help you get up to speed on the latest advancements in SQL Server performance optimization and virtualization.  Discover everything you need to know to swing effortlessly through the modern database jungle!

Register for this free webinar here!

SQLSentry03-150Next, on Thursday June 2nd at 11am Eastern I’m joining Kevin Kline and Jason Hall from SQL Sentry for a fun webinar called ‘Performance Monitoring for VMs Running SQL Server‘ where we will discuss topics around performance monitoring for SQL Servers that are running inside VMs.

Join our panel of industry experts for a deep dive into monitoring VMware and Hyper-V environments running SQL Server. The panel includes David Klee (@kleegeek), Kevin Kline (@kekline), and Jason Hall (@sqlsaurus) for a discussion covering issues like what are the important performance metrics to monitor, how to maintain peak performance, and ways that SQL Sentry Performance Advisor take all the pain out of maintaining and monitoring your VM estate for peak performance.

Register for this free webinar here!

sqlsat_maine_2016Finally, this coming Saturday, June 4th, is the next SQL Saturday in our new home, Portland Maine. I’m helping with the event, and know it’s going to be a great one! I hope anyone in the region can attend!

May 012016
 

SQL-Server-2012As Bala Narasimhan from PernixData and I discussed in a webinar last week, SQL Server 2005 hit end of it’s extended support life on April 12th of this year. Any existing SQL Server 2005 instances should be first and foremost in an IT organization’s agenda for modernization this year. If you still have 2005 instances in your environment, the organization is now at risk. If undiscovered bugs or other issues come out of nowhere and cause trouble, your only course of action is to upgrade. So, why wait? Start the process now!

If you need ammunition to help convince your organization about the need to upgrade, just look at the lack of official support. That fact alone should be enough to push the organization to upgrade. If you need additional help, take a solid look at all of the new and compelling features included in SQL Server since 2005!

As discussed in the webinar, a thorough checklist should be developed and scrutinized to help an organization through the upgrade process. Following such a checklist can help you identify and remediate any challenges that might come from the upgrade process.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s my personal high-level checklist of things to watch out for, and feel free to add to this checklist anything that matters to you and your organization.

  • Migration process
    • Side-by-side migrations are generally better than in-place upgrades.
    • In-place upgrades leave few roll-back strategies other than VM snapshots, while side-by-side migrations give you the chance to practice the migration and explore test copies of the application to look for any functionality changes.
    • Older installations of SQL Server 2005 could be 32-bit, or the Windows OS version could be 32-bit as well. Migrations help you finally get to 64-bit stacks and leave 32-bit in the dust.
    • What is your upgrade path? Backup and restore? Detach and attach? Replication? Log shipping? Determine your SLAs and select a migration strategy that fits the available migration window.
  • Target instance
    • Is the new SQL Server instance going to be out of support soon? Is it as current as either the organization, licensing, or application allows? Is it fully patched?
    • Can the target hardware (and hopefully virtualization layer) handle the features you intend to use? For example, In-Memory OLTP has higher than expected hardware recommendations, and your target hardware needs to live up to these expectations or else it might artificially hold back performance.
  • Performance expectations
    • Do you have ongoing performance baselines and benchmarks from the current SQL Servers to use for a performance comparison of the target environment?
    • Have you stress tested the target platform to determine if it can handle your workloads? Synthetic workload testing is a great place to start, but real-world testing can help you validate or rule out that the target platform will suffice.
  • Code upgrade
    • Have you performed a high level check of the code with the SQL Server Upgrade Advisor? It helps you review the code for anything that it may find that could break as part of the upgrade process that you should fix ahead of the upgrade.
    • What about SSIS packages, SSRS reports, and SSAS process?
    • Do you have any unnecessary garbage inside the database that is being migrated? For example, look for unused indexes, log or temp tables, or anything else that could be cleaned up before you migrate the database.
  • Application changes
    • Read the release notes for the target version of SQL Server. Then read them again.
    • Have you read the ‘breaking changes‘ and ‘behavioral changes‘ sections of Books Online? These documents contain great insight into any behavioral or other expected functionality in the engine that could change as part of the upgrade.
    • Is the application able to use the latest version of the connection libraries? For example, do you need to upgrade the SQL Native Client or ODBC drivers to take advantage of new SQL Server features?
    • Are any items in the new instances changing expected behavior of items such as query execution plans, ETL processes, long-running tasks, etc.? These can be identified well in advance with the test instance and validation processes.
    • Verify that the application functions as normal after updating the database compatibility level to current. Beware the 2014 cardinality estimator improvements, as occasionally I find applications that respond poorly to the changes and should be set to 2012 compatibility to maintain performance.
  • Upgrade process
    • Perform the upgrade process as normal, and validate that things appear as normal.
    • Once completed, perform the following tasks:
      • Check all logs (SQL Server error log, Agent error log, cluster log (if applicable), Windows event logs, and any virtualization logs to ensure that nothing of importance is lurking.
      • Run DBCC CHECKDB WITH DATA_PURITY to help with any database that has been migrated forward since the bronze age by checking for values that are not valid for the table column datatypes.
      • Change the database compatibility level to current (or as high as you can go).
      • Rebuild all user database indexes and statistics. You may need to even go as far as updating statistics WITH FULLSCAN.
      • Execute a DBCC UPDATEUSAGE to correct any borked page and row counts.
      • Take a backup!

In addition to the technicalities of the migration process, step back a bit and look at the entire architecture around the data. Is it time to revisit any areas of the design? Is the HA architecture overly complicated and Availability Groups can help simplify the design and reduce management overhead? Do we look at consolidating databases or instances? Is it virtualized? Is it time to check out Azure SQL DB or an Azure VM for hosting this data in the cloud? What databases exist on these instances that have not been accessed in years?

Take the time to revisit these architectural decisions as part of the upgrade process. It will usually simplify your architecture, reduce the management overhead, improve availability, and increase agility in the datacenter. The business wins and you can sleep more soundly at night!

Apr 222016
 

Next week I am participating in two exciting webinars that I want to share with you!

ScaleArc WebinarImprove App Uptime: Tips from MVP David Klee + Customer Case Study with ScaleArc
April 26 – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern

Application availability is an “across the stack” problem – straddling the app tier, database, virtualization, and cloud infrastructure. DBAs, IT ops, and architects must do more to improve app uptime, particularly at the database tier, where failovers and maintenance cycles disrupt the app, impacting the customer experience.

Attend this webinar with Mouser Electronics’ Director of IT Operations Mark Price and me. Together, we’ll share their expertise on:

– Enhancements in clustering and Availability Groups
– Why these solutions can’t enable seamless failover
– How database-level buffering and acceleration improve app availability
– What IT can do across the stack to improve the customer experience

Get your questions answered on this live event – register here.

Next we’re going to talk about the reasons and challenges around upgrading to the latest versions of SQL Server with PernixData.

PernixLogo_smAvoiding Landmines when Upgrading to SQL Server vNext
April 27 – 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern

Upgrading to SQL Server 2014 and beyond gives you new levels of performance and flexibility. This is especially true if you are still on SQL Server 2005, which will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of April 12th, 2016.

But are you aware of the landmines that come with such an upgrade? Going in blind can cost you substantial time and money, which your business cannot afford.

Join this interactive video webinar where PernixData’s Bala Narasimhan and I will discuss how you can navigate the top challenges of a SQL Server upgrade, specifically:

– How to optimize storage to avoid database performance hits
– How to minimize SQL server licensing costs during (and after) an upgrade
– How to go virtual without sacrificing SQL Server performance
– Low cost options for in-memory computing

The webcast will feature a live Q&A. Register now or request an on-demand recording.

For more information, click here.

PASS_VC_VirtualizationAlso, on May 11th I’m presenting a new session called ‘Virtual SQL Servers, Actual Performance‘ to the PASS Virtualization virtual chapter.

Virtualizing your business-critical SQL Servers should not imply that they will run slower than if they were physical. When properly architected and managed, virtual SQL Servers should be equally as fast as their physical counterparts, if not faster. However, if not properly constructed, silent and seemingly random performance killers can strike and significantly hurt your database performance. This session is packed with many tips and tricks gained from years of experience for getting the most performance from your virtual SQL Servers. The major roadblocks to performance will be discussed and the knowledge gained will help you work with your infrastructure engineers so you can optimize the system stack for performance. Tools, techniques, and processes will be demonstrated to help you measure and validate the system performance of the key components underneath your data.

RSVP for this webinar today, and be sure to bring your questions!