Hello Andrew Fryer here, I have hacked into the UK TechNet blog and I notice that this week’s TechNet On is focused on SQL Server upgrade and migration. I think this is a very comprehensive list of resources but I wondered how virtualisation changes things?
The answer depends on where you are starting from and which part of the upgrade process you are working on:
SQL Server is running on a physical server with directly attached storage (DAS) – so the databases are on disks in the physical machine. If it’s only running one database you can simply backup the database and restore to it to a virtual machine to begin testing. If it’s a lot of databases back up the disk(s) using windows backup (the SQL Server needs to be stopped during that process) and you will end up with a .VHD file for each disk which can be attached to a Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) as a second disk. You can than start up the latest version of SQL Server and attach each of those databases one at a time.
Once you have tested everything you can use the same technique to move the database for the last time if you are going to virtualise it. However if you want to stay physical and your base OS is Windows Server 2008 R2 then you can boot to the VHD as though it were a real volume. If not throw away the VM and use the environment for your next bit of dev/test and copy/backup the database to your new server as discussed in the TechNet On resources.
SQL Server is already running on a VM. For testing you simply take a backup of the VHDs (I am assuming here you back up your VM’s with something like System Center Data Protection Manager or an equivalent third party tool), on to a test server and then you can do an in place upgrade on that virtual machine to test, and repeat when you are ready to go into production. If you are using pass through disks ( essentially a point to a LUN on a SAN) then use your SAN to create additional copies of the relevant LUNs which can then be attached to a new VM.
SQL Server Clusters. A SQL Server 2005 cluster can be upgraded to SQL Server 2008 without taking it down by upgrading each node in turn (as described on TechNet here) however you will want to test that and so you can use virtual machines to point to a copy of the shared storage used in the production cluster.
I should also add that one of the key advantages of using virtualisation as part of your upgrade is that you can ensure your new SQL Server has the same server name as the old machine, removing the need for any client configuration works or DNS fixes to see the new server from existing applications.
Which reminds that one problem with SQL Server is that it hasn’t worked with sysprep, the business of making Windows Server anonymous which is used to create copies of servers in virtualisation scenarios. This has been addressed in SQL Server 2008 R2 with the image prepare installation option so you can make a copy of a prepared Windows Server/SQL Server VM and then fire this up repeatedly to make copies of SQL Server installations. The TechNet On guys have used my video of how to do this here.
So as well as checking out all the TechNet On resources for SQL Server upgrades my top tip would be to skill up on what virtualisation can do for SQL Server and how to use it particularly if you are working with or for smaller businesses.
Finally I have quite a few posts on migration and upgrade on my own blog
Ok, deep breath – long sentence coming up…
This free, yes, free 400+ page ebook Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions: From the Desktop to the Datacenter, 2nd Edition is the book for IT professionals who want to learn more about the latest Microsoft virtualization technologies, including Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, and Microsoft’s private and public cloud computing platforms including Windows Azure.
Stuck for something to do with your little ones this week? Why not pay a visit to Chessington World of Adventures and try out controller-free gaming with the Kinect folks. Until 31st October you’ll find them situated next to the Black Buccaneer, opposite Canopy Capers.
The Kinect Tour continues this week and into November in Scotland, Leeds and Newcastle – find Kinect on Facebook for exact locations and dates.
Get the lowdown on Kinect here
Hot off the TechNet press, so to speak, you can now download the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate. Here’s the blurb:
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), includes previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer and partner feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC will help you:
You might decide you were better off not knowing what we look like, but we thought it was about time we showed our collective UK TechNet face. Here we are hanging out on the balcony in our office…what a line up.
From left to right: Sam Taylor, Simon May, me, Andrew Fryer and Georgina Lewis.
And here’s the alternative view…
Following last week’s Windows Phone 7 launch I stumbled across this little gem in the Microsoft Download Centre.
The new Windows Phone 7 Enterprise Mobility Kit helps you to find out how Windows Phone 7 can enhance mobile productivity in your business while working with your existing set up. Take a look here.
If you’re more interested in exploring the development side of Windows Phone 7, check out the App Hub for all the tools and guidelines you need to get involved. You can also get a more general ‘we all love a new gadget’ view just here.
This week we have mostly been rambling about…well, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, actually. Take a look for yourself in this week’s wrap up. See you next week.
Simon May’s put out a good post about how you can manage and monitor what’s going on in the cloud with the Microsoft Online Services Dashboard. This whizzy little tool gives you current status for every part of BPOS as well as historical information. Head over to Simon’s blog for the science bit.
The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) is a comprehensive evaluation of the evolving threat landscape and trends. The information can help you make sound risk-management decisions and identify potential adjustments to your security posture. Data is received from more than 600 million systems worldwide and internet services.
Grab a cuppa and have a read.
These are useful resources for IT professionals responsible for installing software updates on Project Server 2010. Over and out!