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.

VMs

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.

VMs1

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.

Installing SQL Server 2014 CTP1 – Step by Step


Great news !!! SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is out and the wait is over. Drop everything(Except the databases !) and download your fresh copy from here.

SQL2014Install16

Here is the official announcement with some high level details.

In this post we will do a quick step by step walk through of the whole install process and see if there are any changes from the prior installs.

* Note  – The below point from the download page should be noted

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is pre-release software and should be installed only on a clean machine. It does not support upgrade from or side-by-side installations with any previous version of SQL Server, including SQL Server 2012.

Below is the step by step install process –

[Please click on the images for a better resolution]

Step 1 –  

We will run the setup.exe to get the regular install screen.

SQL2014Install1

Step 2 – 

We will choose stand-alone install and the wizard will do the initial checks

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Step 3 – 

We will specify the product key and accept the terms

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Step 4 – 

The wizard will now do some real checks and will provide you with a list of details which are either passed or failed.

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Step 5 –

We will proceed with Feature install selection once the check phase is completed.

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The wizard will do couple more checks as we proceed

SQL2014Install

Step 6 – 

In this step we will do the Instance configuration,Server configuration and the Database Engine configuration.

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Step 7  – 

Wizard will do one final round of checks before doing the install

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And finally we are ready to do the install

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Its always a pleasure to get the below set of messages once the wizard completes its work

SQL2014Install15 Thats it and SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is all yours.
/* Microsoft SQL Server 2014 (CTP1) – 11.0.9120.5 (X64)
Jun 10 2013 20:09:10 
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation
Enterprise Evaluation Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.1 <X64> (Build 7601: Service Pack 1) (Hypervisor) */

Conclusion

SQL Server 2014 installation wizard doesn’t have any major changes,and everything looks just same as the earlier version.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for some real fun with SQL2014.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

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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.