Data Collector in SQLServer 2014 – What’s New !


Today I noticed couple of changes(Neat changes !) for Data Collector in SQLServer 2014. This post is a detailed walk-through of setting up Data Collector in SQL2014. In the walk-through if there is a new feature or change which is specific to SQL2014,then I will highlight that.

As soon as you right click Data Collector and choose Tasks you can see 3 options(This is a change in SQL2014) –

  • Configure Management Data Warehouse
  • Configure Data Collection
  • Cleanup Data Collectors (This is a change in SQL2014)

Lets talk about each option in detail now.

Option 1

The first option will create and configure a Management Data Warehouse.

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We will proceed by clicking Next and it will take you to the screen which will help you to create/choose the MDW database. I have already created a blank database, so I will select that db in this walk through and will proceed.

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Next up is to grant permissions to users. Reader role is for reports, writer is for uploading data and admin has all these rights.

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Final step is to finish the operation.

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Option 2

Configure data collection option helps you start data collection and store collected data to the MDW.

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This step lets you choose the MDW db,a directory to store the data before its uploaded to the MDW and the collection sets. There are 2 collection sets –

  • System Data Collection Sets
  • Transaction Performance Collection Sets (This is new in SQL2014)

The above selections will create 2 new data collector sets called Stored Procedure Usage Analysis and Table Usage Analysis along with regular 3 data collector sets which was available in the previous versions.

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Complete the wizard by clicking finish.

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Now that we have configured a MDW and started Data Collection, lets see what happens in the cached folder C:\MDW_Temp

There you go,lot of CACHE files out there and its getting loaded/cleared very fast.

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 Option 3 – (This is new in SQL2014)

Cleanup Data Collectors is an option which will be enabled after you enabled data collection and this wizard will help you the clean up the collection set.

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So as the 1st phase of configuring data collector is now over, we will drill down little more.

If you collapse the Data Collection tree you can see 2 new data collection sets( This is new in SQL2014)

  • Stored Procedure Usage Analysis
  • Table Usage Analysis

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These data collectors are integrated with data collector for a purpose. The data which is collected will provide you with valuable insights on tables and stored procedures which are good candidates to migrate to In Memory OLTP(Hekaton).

I would recommend you to read a great blog post by Benjamin Nevarez(B/T) on this very topic.

Regular data collection sets which were there in the previous versions are also available and its under System Data Collector Sets

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Lets have a quick look at the reports which data collector offers. These are pretty cool out of the box basic reports and they will help you understand some level of trending.

Query Stats History Report –

This report will give you details of Top 10 TSQL queries and you have the option to rank queries on the basis of CPU, Duration, Total I/O, Physical Reads, Logical Writes. There is also an option to do play back.

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You also have an option to drill down to particular queries to get more details.

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Server Activity History Report –

This is one of my favorite reports. Its tell you about CPU, Memory, Disk, Network usage trends. The report also gives valuable insights about Wait Stats and Server Activity. Again you have the option to drill down for some of the graphs.

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Disk Usage Summary Report –

This is a great source to know the growth trends.

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Data Collector is a great feature, and In Memory OLTP being the buzz word, the data it collects can provide you with valuable insights.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more ! (Next up is some cool things about WindowsAzure(Oops !) Microsoft Azure !!!

Checkout SQL Server 2014 CTP1 and Windows 2012 R2 preview up in the cloud


You must be really busy spinning up VMs to test SQL Server 2014 CTP1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 preview.

If your on-premise desktop computer/laptop is running low on resources and if you don’t want to take the pain of handling multiple VMs locally,then you have an option to test them out right up in the cloud.

Yes, You can always spin up a Windows Azure VM and do all your testing and shut that down once you are done with your work to save some money.

Sounds like a deal right? Yes, its pretty easy and fast. It takes less than 10 minutes to provision a Windows Azure VM.

Lets look at the options we have in Azure for the test VMs –

1. SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Evaluation Edition on Windows Server 2012

This image will setup SQL2014 CTP1 for you on Windows Server 2012. Once the VM is provisioned and is in running state, you can connect it via RDP to see that SQL Server is ready to test.

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2. Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

This image will provision a VM for you with Windows Server 2012 R2 preview. You can spin up multiple VMs to do your hardcore testing with Windows.

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Conclusion

This is indeed a great way to test the latest builds with minimum efforts and you always have the option to shutdown the VMs after use to avoid a heavy bill.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

SQL Server 2014 – A new and exciting journey !!! “Into the cloud”


Today Microsoft announced their next major version of SQLServer, SQL Server 2014 at Tech-Ed NA 2013.

This version of SQLServer is indeed a reflection of Microsoft’s vision towards the future computing. A bright and colorful “In to the Cloud” future !

The journey of SQLServer from SQL2000 – SQL2014 is just amazing. On a related note,Its worth reading this post by Quentin Clark which explains this journey with the help of a neat diagram.

So when can I start exploring the new features? Where can I download the same to evaluate it ?

Thinking boy

Here is the answer for you  –

Go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/sql-server-2014.aspx  and choose option Get-Notified >

You will be asked to enter few details and you can sit and wait for that “email” which will eventually allow you to download the bits and do some testing.

What’s new in SQL2014 that I am excited about ? Lets do a quick walk through of my favorite features –

Note- This is not an extensive list of features which SQL2014 will provide you.I will write about that altogether in a different post.These are some of the features which I really like about.
  • In Memory OLTP(Code named Hekaton) – 

This is one of my favorite features that I’m really looking forward to work with. This feature will be called as SQLServer In-Memory OLTP Engine for SQL2014.

SQLServer In-Memory OLTP Engine will boost  OLTP workloads to perform remarkably better. The beauty of this feature is you can now pick tables and define it as memory optimized and these tables are fully transactional.

Anytime I will suggest you to download and read the white paper ‘SQL Server In-Memory OLTP Project “Hekaton” Internals Overview for CTP1’ by Kalen Delaney(B/T) to understand this feature really well.

  • 8 Readable Secondaries –

With SQL2014 we will have the ability to add up-to 8 readable secondaries for our read-only workload(Mainly reporting queries).

  • Always on to Windows Azure Virtual machine – 

This is one feature which I’m really looking forward. This will enable us to add a secondary replica directly in Windows Azure Virtual Machine. This is one feature which the CIOs would love, as you pay per use for Windows Azure VMs.

  • Buffer pool extension using SSDs – 

This can improve query performance by allowing the use of non-volatile solid-state drives to reduce SQLServer memory pressure with no risk of data loss.

Brent Ozar(B/T) has a great post explaining this and you can read it here.  He also have provided a great deal of information about other SQL2014 features too. Always a great read.

  • Performance Data Collector – 

I’m also looking forward for the enhancements which Performance Data Collector module will come with. The details are not yet out on what is new, but I definitely hope that there will be some good changes here and there will be deep integration with SSMS for this module.

Conclusion

With SQL2014 I’m pretty sure that your move towards the cloud will be more easy and a nice experience and I’m really looking forward for it.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more(Lot of SQL2014 for sure !)