SQL Server with Mr. Denny


May 30, 2012  2:00 PM

Time to vote for vmworld 2012 sessions

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

For those that are interested in the VMware product line and the VMworld conference, it is time to begin the community voting for sessions that will be given at VM World 2012 in both San Francisco, CA USA and Barcelona, Spain.

You’ll need to register in order to vote, so create an account and get signed in and vote for the sessions that you would like to see.  Now don’t worry, you don’t need to register for the conference to vote (it looks like you do on the site), you only have to create an account on the website in order to get your votes in.

There are a lot of really good looking sessions up on the list, including three of mine, so hopefully I can count on your votes for my sessions.  The three sessions that I have up for vote are:

1331 Optimizing SQL Server Performance in a Virtual Environment

In this session we’ll look over some of the things which you should be looking at within your virtual environment to ensure that you are getting the performance out of it that you should be. This will include how to look for CPU performance issues at the host level. We will also be discussing the Memory Balloon drivers and what they actually do, and how you should be configuring them, and why. We’ll discuss some of the memory sharing technologies which are built into vSphere and Hyper-V and how they relate to SQL Server. Then we will finish up with some storage configuration options to look at.

1332 SQL Server for the VMware Admin

One of the biggest issues in database performance is the storage, and one of the largest consumers of storage is databases. Because of an unfortunate disconnect that often occurs between database administrators and storage engineers troubleshooting performance problems tricky at best. In this session we’ll work to demystify the database so it can run at the best possible speed.

During this session we’ll look at how databases work from the database side, how the DBA should be laying out the database on the storage, what questions the DBA should be asking the storage admin, and most importantly what questions the storage admin should be asking your DBA when allocating storage for a new database server.

1717 SQL Server 2012 High Availability Without Shared Storage

In this session we will look at the features which are provided with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 as part of the “Always On” features including site to site configurations to allow of a large scale high availability solution without the need for any high end SAN storage solution.

Additionally we will be looking at the ability to have redundant servers which can be used for reporting or for taking your backups reducing the load from the production database. We will also look a unique use case using SQL Server 2012′s Always On feature to scale out the reads to synchronous read only copies.

I hope that I can count on your votes so that my sessions get picked for vmworld 2012.

Denny

May 28, 2012  2:00 PM

Know your app when migrating your data

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

One of the projects that I’m working on at the moment is moving a data center from being hosted in Dallas Texas up to New Jersey so that it’s closer to the companies corporate office in New York City.  As a part of this data center migration the Microsoft SQL Server databases must be moved to the new data center (dugh).  The company who’s data is being moved is a medical billing company, and their system is pretty busy, most of the time.  However at night the systems aren’t all that busy and on the weekends there is next to nothing going on.

I bring this up because moving 13 Gigs worth of transaction log files per day isn’t exactly something which can be done all that quickly, during the week.  However when I look at the transaction log backups for a Sunday each of the log backups for the largest database are just a few megs every 12 minutes where those same log backups during the day are hundreds of megs in size (or larger) every 12 minutes.

By waiting to do the data transfer of the full backups from Wednesday until Sunday I reduced the amount of data in the initial transaction log transfer by about 5 Gigs, for just this one database.  As the data is transferring at about 5mbits per second that’s a decent amount of time savings per database (there’s about 40 databases which have to be moved as a part of this solution).

This just goes to show that with a little knowledge of the systems that you are working with you can save yourself a decent amount of time.

Denny


May 28, 2012  2:00 PM

Figuring out how log shipping is doing

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

A lot of the time when doing data center migrations or system migrations I end up using Transaction Log Shipping to get the data from one SQL Server to another.  I do this for a few reasons.

  1. It’s reliable.
  2. It’s easy to do (I’ve got plenty of scripts sitting around to use)
  3. I can easily see just how far out of sync the databases are

When I’m using log shipping you’ll some times be asked how far behind the new system is from the production system.  There are all sorts of complex ways of doing this like bringing the database into standby mode and looking at some table to see the last value in the table.  However the method that I really like is to use the msdb database and simply query for the information using the dbo.backupset and the dbo.restorehistory system tables.

USE msdb
GO
SELECT database_name, max(backup_finish_date) DatabaseState
FROM dbo.backupset
WHERE EXISTS (SELECT * FROM dbo.restorehistory WHERE backupset.backup_set_id = restorehistory.backup_set_id)
GROUP BY database_name
GO

I then can compare the output from this query to the output from a similar query that you can run on the production server.

USE msdb
GO
SELECT database_name, max(backup_finish_date) DatabaseState
FROM dbo.backupset
WHERE database_name NOT IN ('master', 'model', 'msdb', 'distribution')
GROUP BY database_name
GO

If the output from these match then the destination server has all the log records that have been backed up.  If not then it doesn’t.  What ever the difference between those values tells you how much data is missing.

Denny


May 22, 2012  9:00 AM

Still time to sign up for SQLDay 2012 pre-con

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

There is still plenty of time to get signed up for my SQLDay 2012 all day session in Poland this week on Thursday the 24th of May. Below you’ll find a description of the session which I’ll be teaching.

This session will be a two part session in which we will be focusing on two of the biggest topics in the DBA field. How to properly design your SAN storage solution and how to properly design your virtualization solution.

The storage portion of this session will focus on SAN storage, but most of the material will apply to direct attached storage as well.

In the first half of the session we’ll be focusing on the storage array. Storage can be one of the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to database performance. It’s also one of the hardest places to troubleshoot performance issues because storage engineers and database administrators often do not speak the same language. In this session, we’ll be looking at storage from both the database and storage perspectives. We’ll be digging into LUNs, HBAs, the fabric, as well as the storage configuration.

After going over the components we’ll dig into some advanced storage configurations. This includes RAID groups, multi-pathing software, and proper redundant storage network design. We will also be digging into some advanced storage array backup techniques including taking storage level clones and snapshots. After going over these advanced techniques we will dig into how these can best be used to backup the SQL Server environment to provide maximum redundancy with no recurring tape costs.

In addition to theory, we’ll be looking at an actual SAN so that we can translate what we see in the Storage Array with what we see on the actual server.

In the second half of the day we’ll be looking into the pros and cons of moving SQL Servers into a virtual server environment. Specifically we’ll be looking into when it’s a good idea and when it’s probably not a good idea. Like everything in the database world there are no hard set answers as to if virtualization is a good idea or not, but there are some times when virtualizing a SQL Server is a good idea, and can save you some money. There are some other times when you will be shooting yourself in the foot and virtualization isn’t a good idea. We’ll be focusing on when how to make this decision, and how to gather the metrics that you need in order to come to this decision.

We’ll look into how tie the virtual platforms to the storage array so that you can maximize the storage performance for your SQL Servers and the virtual environment.

I hope to see you in Poland at SQLDay 2012 later this week.

Denny


May 21, 2012  2:00 PM

What to do when your Twitter account gets hacked

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

On occasion Twitter accounts get hacked and are used to send out spam to other twitter followers, usually via Direct Message. When your twitter account is taken over there are two different things that you need to do in order to get your account back under your control.

The first is pretty straight forward, change your Twitter password. This is done by going to the Twitter web site (www.twitter.com) and logging in. Then you’ll need to go to your settings page (by clicking the little person drop down in the upper right, then selecting settings from the menu) and select the Password tab from the menu on the left. You can also get there directly from this link.

The second thing that needs to be done is to reset the rights that all the applications have to use your account. If you don’t do this, and one of the apps which has access to your account is what is sending out the direct messages, it will still be able to send out the direct messages. You do this by logging into the Twitter web site (www.twitter.com) and logging into your account, then going into your account settings (by clicking the little person drop down in the upper right, then selecting settings from the menu), then selecting “Apps” from the menu on the left. You can also get there directory from this link. From this page you’ll want to revoke access to every application listed. Then as you come across the applications naturally add them back, but don’t assume that the app that currently has the rights to your account should.

Once you’ve done both of these things you’ll need to change the password for any third party applications like Tweet Deck which logs in to the Twitter website directly, and any apps which need access to your Twitter account will need to be reauthorized. This sounds painful, but it isn’t. Check the website for your Twitter client on how to change the password which the application uses to log into the website.

Hopefully you never need this information, but if you hopefully this helps fix any problems that you have,
Denny


May 16, 2012  9:16 PM

Time to Register for TechEd pre-cons

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So Microsoft TechEd is quickly approaching. If you wanted to sign up for a pre-con there is still time, and plenty of space left available at both the North America and Europe TechEd pre-cons. These pre-cons are full day long sessions, being presented in this case by Tom LaRock and myself.

In this session, learn about SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 performance tuning and optimization. Industry Experts Thomas LaRock and Denny Cherry guide you through tools and best practices for tuning queries and improving performance within Microsoft SQL Server. This session details real-life performance problems which have been gathered and tuned using industry standard best practices and real-world skills.

You can sign up for North America here, or Europe here.

I’ll see you in Orlando or Amsterdam,
Denny


May 16, 2012  2:00 PM

The only good thing about Java is bitching about Java

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So the other day I was having one of those days.  Nothing was going right, systems just didn’t want to work correctly, and Java had just pissed me off for the last time.  To put this into perspective Kris took her laptop into the living room to get some stuff done on it so that she wouldn’t have to deal with me.

So when EMC’s Unisphere didn’t want to load for me I posted online my love for Java.

I got a few responses that did brighten my day a little.  These include this one fro Mike in NYC:

This one from Wendy, with a following by Jonathan:

Another accurate response was from Geoff:

With I think the best being from Steve.

Denny


May 14, 2012  2:00 PM

Be careful which node you install a clustered instance from

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

While installing a clustered SQL Server instance recently I ran across a bit of an annoyance.  When I was going through the SQL Installation process I didn’t pay any attention to which node of the cluster currently owned all the disks that I was planning on using for SQL Server.  Because of this when I got to the Data Directories screen none of the drives would validate.  This was because all of the disks were owned by the other node of the cluster.

There’s a few different ways to solve this problem.

  1. Run the installer on the other node.
  2. Move the available storage to the node you want it on via the command line.
  3. Down the node which is hosting the storage.

Option 1 pretty much sucks as you are about 1/2 way through the installer by the time to figure out this is a problem, but it will work.

Option 2 is a great solution, but you can’t do it via the Failover Cluster Administrator in Windows 2008 R2.  You have to use a command line tool called cluster.exe.  The syntax is as follows:

cluster group “Available Storage” /move:{New Node Name}

Option 3 is the fastest.  Just right click on the node in the Failover Cluster Administrator and select more options, then “Stop Cluster Service”.  Everything will failover to another node.  If you have a two node cluster this works fine, if you have a cluster with 3 or more nodes this probably won’t work very well.

Hopefully if you run into this annoying little issue, this will help you solve it.

Denny


May 10, 2012  2:00 PM

Presenting is Actually Hard Work

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

As I’ve been going through the process of getting my slide decks for Tech Ed, SQL Server Day 2012 and SQL Rally I’ve recome reminded that this whole process of writing presentations is actually pretty hard work.  Writting abstracts and getting them submitted is the easiest part of the entire process.  After that comes the nerve racking step of waiting for the approvals to be sent out.

Once you have been approved it’s time to being the brutal part of preparing the slides and demos and getting them submitted to the conference for their approval.  While it may appear like there is lots of time between the session abstracts being submitted and the conference actually happening, you can’t actually wait all that long to get everything completed.  This is because the side decks are due long before the actual conference happens.  This is done to ensure that the slides are complete, correct, and are ready to be used at the conference.  Speakers are obligated to submit their slide decks on time, and basically complete on what ever date the conference has specified.

It doesn’t really matter what level of conference you are dealing with, or how much experience you have as a speaker you must, as a speaker, have your matterials done on time and ready to be completed.  While you can always make minor tweaks and changes to the presentation the bulk of the presentation shouldn’t be changing after it is submitted and approved.


May 7, 2012  2:00 PM

SQL PASS 2012 First Timers Webcast

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

As the SQL PASS 2012 Summit is quickly approaching I’m announcing, well in advance, that I’ll be doing a another First Timers webcast.  The web cast won’t be for a while, but I wanted to start getting the word out there now.  I’ll be giving a repeat of my very popular webcast from last year on October 17th, 2012 at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern.

You can sign up for the session here and get the meeting reminder and I’ll send out a reminder as the webcast gets closer as well so please use an actual email address.  Of course I won’t be giving anyone access to your information.

Thanks,

Denny


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