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  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2012 – Always On

    There have always been several ways to do high availability in SQL Server, but choosing the right one has always been difficult as each approach has obvious benefits coupled with unavoidable limitations: Clustering looks after a whole instance of SQL Server containing many databases and is completely...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server AlwaysOn in a virtual world

    Despite what I posted yesterday about clustering, mirroring is the preferred option for many DBAs in a virtual world although you can of course combine the two.  On the up side mirroring gives you one (and only one) copy of the database in another location which you can’t really use, and failover...
  • Blog Post: Guest Clustering–What is it and do you need it?

    I am pretty sure the term guest clustering is not a standard industry term nor is it official Microsoft speak, so what do I mean by it? I mean the business of creating a cluster out of a group of virtual machines – you might call this a virtual cluster but that might confuse it with clustering physical...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This – Hyper-V Replica

    In many of the screencast in this series I have moved a VM around my demo setup, however there has only been the one copy of it whether it was on a scale-out file server, in a cluster or both. In any production environment you would want to augment this with additional disaster recovery techniques including...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This – Hyper-V Server 2012

    Hyper-V Server is a free operating system specifically designed to just run Hyper-V so basically a cut down core installation of a paid for edition of Windows Server.  The cut down bit refers to the fact that only the roles and features needed to run Hyper-V are there. However Hyper-V itself is...
  • Blog Post: SQL Relay

    I am in the middle of SQL relay this week, but I just realised that you might like to have a copy of my Denali slide deck, which I have now posted to SkyDrive . You are welcome to have a look at it even if you couldn’t make one of the four venues I am presenting at this week, but there isn’t a lot of...
  • Blog Post: Notes from IT Camp, Leeds 28th Feb

    Simon and I did our first IT camp in Leeds on Tuesday, and I would like to say thank you to those that cam along as you were the beta testers for this new kind of event.  As you can see we had a much more informal setup of groups of 8 or 9 around tables with a lot more collaboration and interaction...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This–High Availability Virtual Machines

    Server virtualisation is all about decoupling the operating system form the hardware it’s running on, and one of the benefits of doing this is to ensure that a virtual machine (VM) can be made resilient to any underlying hardware failure.  In the world of Hyper-V this is achieved by building a Windows...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops Part 10–Scale Out File Servers

    In my last post I showed how to build a simple cluster out of two VMs and a shared disk.  The VMs are nodes in this cluster.. and the shared “quorum” disk is used to mediate which node owns the cluster when a connection is lost between them.. However this cluster is not actually doing anything;...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 9 - an Introduction to Failover Clustering

    For many of us Failover Clustering in Windows still seems to be a black art, so I thought it might be good to show how to do some of the basics in a lab and show off a few of the new clustering features of Windows server 2012 R2 in the process. Firstly what is a cluster? It’s simply a way of getting...
  • Blog Post: Gone Critical

    Many of us would associate the the term critical with the Register, so when I was asked by Tim Phillips their broadcast and commercial editor to join a discussion titled “Going Critical” I was a little nervous.  The title refers to some Register commissioned research by Andrew Buss at Freeform Dynamics...
  • Blog Post: SQL Relay 2012

    Four cities,  in four days makes for one tired evangelist, so why am I doing SQL Relay with the SQL community I hear you ask.  Well that’s your answer really -  I can’t hear you ask anything when I am sat in darkest Surrey blogging away so I am actually doing these events not so much to...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 at TechEd

    I have finally finished at TechEd after another round of interesting questions on the Microsoft SQL Server ask the experts stand. Virtualisation was the consistent hot topic  and the 2 FAQ’s are: Is it supported?   Yes fully in a variety of situations the chapter on verse for Hyper-V is here...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Hyper-V and high availability

    Imagine you have a windows 2003/SQL Server 2005 cluster (active-active) and your mission is to both virtualise and maintain high availability using Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008/SQL Server 2008.  This may sound odd but I was asked the question at TechEd and I wanted to do some research on it. Fortunately...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This–Collapsed Cluster

    19 March 2013 -  This post has been changed to reflect the best way to configure a cluster in a box In my last post I used two clusters; one to host a high availability (HA) file server where I stored a virtual machine and another cluster to run the virtual machine.  The file server cluster...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Mirroring in Standard Edition

    I opened the data management track at TechEd EMEA yesterday, to a full room and as ever if I am unsure of a question I research it and put it on this post the next day. I was pretty sure of the differences in the way database mirroring in standard and enterprise edition of SQL Server 2008 which are:...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Reporting Services–if it’s important look after it

    Before I can commit funds to a new project be it at work or at home I need to know I can afford it; specifically is there enough money in the budget and to find that out I need to run a report.  This is what’s meant by operational reporting and this distinction means that this report can be considered...
  • Blog Post: On the Seventh Day of Christmas an IT Pro sent to me...

    Seven SANs a Spinning If you have your SQL Server databases on a SAN, then please admire my cartoon and move along. However if you don't you might wish to know that mirroring in SQL Server 2008 is a little bit less painless than in 2005. The traffic is compressed, so it will take up less bandwidth...
  • Blog Post: Virtualising SQL Server - a second opinion

    I caught a really good presentation from Chris Kranz( www.wafl.co.uk and @ckranz),  Principal Solutions Architect responsible for Storage and Virtualisation projects at leading Systems Integrator, Kelway (UK) Ltd . at the Leeds VM user group last month.  Chris first encountered virtualisation...
  • Blog Post: Application Platform Knowledge Hub

    Albert Einstein once remarked that you don’t need to remember everything, you just needed to remember where to look.  When it comes to learning about Microsoft products this can sometimes be harder than it ought to be and what resources there are can be fragmented so you do have to remember where...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Redundancy

    When I saw SQL Server redundancy on a recent internal e-mail I wondered if it was about a replacement for SQL Server , DBA job losses, or the rise of the NoSQL movement.  It turned out to be nothing more than a general ask about the pros and cons of clustering and mirroring. If there are internal...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2012 and the private cloud

    Putting up a marketing slide that says SQL Server is a good private cloud citizen is good marketing, but what’s in the box to back the claim up? My top three would be: Windows Server core .  Patching is a major maintenance problem with lots of virtual machines, and server core cuts that in half...
  • Blog Post: IT Camps

    We aren’t all the same, we learn differently, we work in a wide range of business that have very different needs, and we learn at different speeds.  So spending a day being lectured to on technical stuff,  isn’t going to be the right answer for everyone and no matter how good the speaker is...