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 !)

Have you configured Database Mail to utilize multiple SMTP Accounts ?


Lets start discussing about this subject by closely looking at the term Redundancy.  What is redundancy all about ?

Wikipedia defines redundancy as “In engineering, redundancy is the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the case of a backup or fail-safe.”

Technically this is redundancy too  !

Redundency

That’s a very nice and to the point definition isn’t? Well, very true.

What’s this hype all about redundancy in database mail ? Lets closely look database mail for more details.

When you create a new database mail profile, you have an option to add multiple SMTP accounts. If an account fails when sending an email, the profile uses the next account in the priority list.

Yes, this is some level of redundancy for database mail.

SMTP Red

You can set the priority of accounts by moving them up and down.

Adding a new account is a simple process and can be done easily with the GUI.

SMTP Red2

The ability to configure multiple SMTP accounts comes really handy when your enterprise infrastructure is having multiple SMTP servers as part of redundancy plan.

Conclusion

Incase you do have an opportunity to add multiple SMTP accounts for database mail, then dont think twice. Its always good to have a backup account which will ensure that you will never miss that important alert/email.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

SQLSaturday Redmond(SQLSat212) – A quick recap !


That was indeed a great day at Redmond. I had a great time talking to some of the best SQLServer minds and learned something new.

It all started with a wonderful keynote by Buck Woody(B/T),and he delivered quite an interesting talk on SQLServer history. A journey way back from 1989 to 2012.

SQLSat2121

The first session which I attended was AlwaysOn – Finally, A usable ‘mirror’! by Jim Murphy(B/T). This was a beginner level session and Jim delivered it really well. I/m sure anyone who is new to Always ON AGs had lot of takeaways from this session. Jim spoke quite a lot about VNN  – Availability Group listener and gave some good demos on how flexible Always ON AGs fail-over is.

SQLSat2122

Attending the 2nd session was really a challenge for me. There were 3 sessions happening at the same time and all 3 were interesting to me. This is when things gets really tricky.

Finally I decided to attend the session Being the DBA of the future – a world of on-premise and cloud by Dandy Weyn as I’m focusing on a lot of things related to cloud these days, and eventually will move lot of things to the cloud.

This was an intermediate level session and I had lot of take away’s from this session. Dandy was a great speaker and he gave some cool demos by setting up a virtual machine in Windows Azure platform and showed some real networking concepts to connect that VM to your domain. This was something which I was really looking for.

SQLSat2123

After a yummy lunch(Yep, SQLSaturday offers great food too) I was all set for the big one.

This was one session I was eagerly waiting for, Machine Learning for Mere Mortals by Dev Nambi (B/T).  The session was super exciting and everything was new to me for this one. Machine learning is all about building predictive models from available data. Dev gave multiple real life examples and gave some good demos explaining the concept from a high level perspective. Lot of learning for me and I’m looking forward to read/explore more on this.

SQLSat2124

Next up was Windows Azure SQL Database – your cloud database by Scott Klein . This was a Windows Azure SQL Database 101 talk and Scott was a real good speaker. There were couple of good demos explaining the whole SQLDatabase concepts and he was kind enough to answer my multiple questions offline via an email after the event.

The final session for the day was like icing on the cake. I have no words to describe how useful was the session Why I Won’t Be Hiring You by Nicholas Cain(B/T). The session was all about how good you need to present your resume to a recruiter. The session was really interactive and there were lot of great questions. Nicholas is a super nice speaker and he really knows what he is talking about. Kudos to him !

SQLSat2125

I had a great time meeting and talking to wonderful #SQLFamily members and my first SQLSaturday experience was indeed memorable.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

SQLSaturday Redmond(SQLSat212) is almost here…Will you be there?


sqlsat212_web

This is my first SQLSaturday and I’m super excited to attend this event.

SQLSaturday’s are always a great opportunity to learn something exciting, and shake hands with those people who are really passionate about SQLServer.

SQLSat212 has got some good sessions and I’m looking forward to have a great time out there.

I’m sure SQLSat212 keynote will be interesting as its been delivered by none other than Buck Woody(B/T).

There are a lot of cool sessions lined up for the event and you can get the complete list here.

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/212/schedule.aspx

PASS always does a great job by providing all the required details for folks who are attending the events, and all the required/valuable details regarding this event can be found here –

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/212/eventhome.aspx

I’m really looking forward to meet and say a big hello to the lovely #SQLFamily members.

I will be writing about my first SQLSaturday experience after the event and will be posting whole lot of pictures.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

CU3 for SQL2012 SP1 – Couple of interesting hotfixes.


Here comes CU 3 (Build 11.0.3349.0.) for SQLServer 2012 SP1. You can download the same from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2812412

Similar to CU2 there are some interesting hotfixes which are included in this CU release, and its worth testing it out.

The ones which attracted my attention are –

2800013

(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2800013/  )

FIX:   Access violation when you put a FILESTREAM-enabled database offline in SQL   Server 2008 R2 or in SQL Server 2012

 

2803529

(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2803529/  )

FIX:   Poor performance in SQL Server 2012 when you run a SQL Server trace

 

2807974

(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2807974/  )

FIX:   Error 3456 after you add new file groups to the principal database in a SQL   Server 2012 asynchronous database mirroring environment

 

2813214

(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2813214/ )

FIX:   CPU spike when there is no load on a server after you install SQL Server 2012   on the server

 

2819662

(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2819662/  )

SQL   Server 2012 experiences performance issues in NUMA environments

The last 2 fixes attracted me a lot, however these are type of issues might not occur for all the environments. The CPU spike fix has a situation like a server with 64 or 128 cores +NUMA and 256GB – 1TB of Memory.These specifications are beyond imagination for small environments and majority of the enterprise(As of now !),so these might not even be a concern for the admin’s.

Conclusion

The decision to test or deploy CU3 for SQL2012SP1 varies from environment – environment and your approach towards CUs.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

Apply CU2 for SQL2012 SP1 – Fix for Windows Installer starting repeatedly and causing CPU spikes !


CU2 for SQLServer 2012 SP1 is one key update which you should review and deploy if found necessary. I have found this very much needed for all my SQL2012 SP1 deployments. This CU contains a very important fix(KB2793634).

Note – The choice to deploy CU2 or just the fix (KB2793634) depends on your environment needs.

Here is why you need this fix –

As soon as you deploy SP1 for SQL2012 the Windows Installer (Msiexec.exe) process is repeatedly started to repair certain assemblies. Additionally, the following events are logged in the Application log:

EventId: 1004 Source: MsiInstaller Description: Detection of product ‘{A7037EB2-F953-4B12-B843-195F4D988DA1}’, feature ‘SQL_Tools_Ans’, Component ‘{0CECE655-2A0F-4593-AF4B-EFC31D622982}’ failed. The resource”does not exist.

EventId: 1001 Source: MsiInstaller Description: Detection of product ‘{A7037EB2-F953-4B12-B843-195F4D988DA1}’, feature ‘SQL_Tools_Ans’ failed during request for component ‘{6E985C15-8B6D-413D-B456-4F624D9C11C2}’

Source  – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2793634

Here are the screenshots of the application log. These are shown as warnings, and could easily be missed.

InstallerIssue2

InstallerIssue1

When this occurs there is a spike in CPU.

This process is repeated every 2 minutes and can cause heavy registry usage issues.

Registry issues can cause multiple failures and a sample one is

InstallerIssue3

Note – Again, this varies from environment to environment.

Conclusion

Deploying the fix or the CU will resolve the issues related to the installer process.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.