Journey of an On-Premises DB to Azure VM – SQL Server 2014 makes it easier!


SQL Server 2014 is deeply integrated with Windows Microsoft Azure and moving an On-prem database to a Microsoft Azure VM is much easier and seamless now.

This post talks about the journey of a database named “MoveMeToCloud” which is hosted on SQLServer 2014 RTM on-prem instance to a SQL Instance which is hosted on an Azure VM.

Here are the steps (Can’t get easier than this)  –

1. Right click database “MoveMeToCloud” and choose tasks and then Deploy Database to Windows Azure VM (Oops, that named needs to be changed too!)

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2.  As soon as we complete the first step, we will get the intro screen. Pretty straight forward information made available here.

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Once we go pass the intro screen we will get the option to connect to the local SQL Instance.  We can then choose the db which we want to move, and also a location for the backup files.

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3. Next up will be security related settings. We will need a management certificate to proceed here.

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By using the Sign in option we can get the required certificate. This is a smart wizard and it will pull the certificate details for you.

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We will proceed by clicking next.

4. Next up is the deployment settings part. This part is little tricky as we will have to do some authentication.

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As you can see in the above screen the Cloud service name, Virtual Machine name and the Storage acct is already available as we have done a sign-in in the earlier step.

We will need to access the settings button to do an authentication again. There should be a VM end point for the specific port for this to work.

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Once the authentication is done, we will get the target database details which will be automatically populated.

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5. Final step is to check the summary and initiate this by saying finish. The wizard will do rest of the job for you.

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If we check the SQL Instance on Azure we can see the database is available there, Viola !

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Conclusion

This is a very smart wizard and I’m really happy that Microsoft have made great efforts to make this simple to ensure that cloud movements are seamless.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more !

Windows Azure Service Dashboard – Checkout the health of Azure Services


Windows Azure Service Dashboard is an excellent way to know the health/availability of your Windows Azure Services.

Azure Doctor

You might always want to know if any of the service is down or having some performance degradation, and with windows azure service dashboard this information is just few clicks away.

All you need to do is access http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/

This portal is available to all, irrespective of your account availability.

To me this is a great initiative by Microsoft to report service availability details as this is super useful from user perspective.

The portal is really impressive with the amount of information it provides. It will help you understand if

1. The service availability is normal

2. There is a performance degradation

3. There is a service interruption

4.There is any specific information(FYI type) regarding a service

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You can drill down each of the service and see what’s the status for each region

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Incase there is a problem, then drilling down the problem description will help you understand what is the current status of the fix, and how the support team is acting on the problem.

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I’m really impressed with this level of details. This will come handy when you have production deployments in azure and you need to keep your business users informed when there is a problem.

Now comes the icing of the cake –

Historical data ! Yes, you have the flexibility to see historical data and understand if there was a problem

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Conclusion

These are cool facilities made available to you by the Azure team and this will definitely prove helpful to you.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more !

Windows Azure pay per minute – Time is money !


One of the most exciting news which got announced yesterday was related to Windows Azure. When Scott Guthrie mentioned that billing model for Windows Azure is going to be per minute basis from now on, then there was a great cheer from the crowd.

Time is money

This is indeed a game changing announcement. I definitely foresee great amount of Windows Azure usage in the future, and this announcement is a great deal for the cloud adopters.

Earlier if I had used my cloud service for 20 minutes,and then turned that off I was charged still for the full hour. Lot many cloud providers still operate with this policy.

Going forward I will be charged for what I useI will be charged for just 20 minutes, no questions asked.

Another super news which was really exciting for me was related to no charge for stopped VMs.

Think about a situation –

Your Dev/Test folks works from 9 AM – 5 PM window. On premise Dev/Test boxes sits idle after 5PM utilizing all the power and other compute resources in your data center. This is sheer waste of money and resources, and in 2013 you should definitely think about moving these to the cloud.

Dev/Test environments can be easily moved to Windows Azure VMs and you can just stop them after 5PM and just don’t have to pay for anything. This is a big deal isn’t? I have no second thoughts about it.

Cloud is the future and these great announcements are making it more affordable to the public.

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 !)