Tomorrow I will be flying off to beautiful Madison, WI to attend SQL Saturday #118. I’m really looking forward to this event, as this will be my 1st SQL Saturday of 2012. I will be presenting on Upgrade Roadmap: Let’s Delve into SQL 2012. For lunch we will be having birds of a feather tables, and I volunteered to lead one on professional networking. Should be a good day and I hope to see you there.
If you are attending the upcoming PASS SQLRally event, one thing you will want to bring with you is business cards. You’ll be meeting lots of interesting people and in order to better connect with them, you should have a supply of business cards with you at all times.
If you don’t have a business card, now is the time to get moving and have some made. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself “I already have my work business cards” . Yes, that’s true. You really should have a personal/professional business card in addition to your work card. Head on over to Vistaprint and you can get 250 printed up for free. All you have to pay is the shipping. They also have other options and deals if you don’t like the canned cards.
Another source that you may want to look at is MOO. MOO cards are very unique. They let you do more and better customizations. What’s even better is that you can upload your own picture or personal graphic and that will be printed on the back side of the card. I highly recommend MOO cards. Yes, they cost a lot more. But I think it’s worth it in terms of personal branding and impressions. Remember the old saying? You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Go and order some business cards right now.
Last night I had the pleasure of presenting to the CBusPASS SQL Server user group for the 1st time. I arrived a little early, not knowing what the Columbus traffic was going to be like. So I helped chapter leader Dave Schutz (Twitter) set up a little. The presentation went well, with lots of good questions from the audience of about 20 people. Below you will find the link to download the slide deck.
I originally took the day off today to work on my SQLRally presentation, among other things. I ended up cleaning the basement, going to the recycling center, spraying for weeds, throwing out some old junk and other things unrelated to SQL Server. I guess I needed it. So do you. Take a day to declutter your life, both physical and mental. I feel more refreshed, able to focus better, and I am ready to tackle upgrading SQL Server now. The presentation will come soon enough.
The Ohio North SQL Server user group held it’s April meeting on 4/3/2012. As usual, we had a pre event PASS video from 5PM to 6PM. At 6PM our leader Allen White (blog | twitter) welcomed everyone and reviewed upcoming events. Our guest speaker was Chris Umbaugh (blog | twitter) who presented on BI Fact table modelling. Myself having minimal data warehousing experience, I felt that Chris did a great job of making the subject matter understandable to non-BI pros. The talk was pretty generic, so as to be applicable to many different environments. He also mixed in some real world lessons learned which is always good. We had 37 people in attendance. Not a record, but not bad for a nice spring day. Afterward, about 12 of us headed over to Mavis Winkle’s for beer and fellowship. Thanks to Brian Livaich (linkedin) and WIT, Inc. for sponsoring the event.
This is the second post in a series on Upgrading to SQL Server 2012. Tips, tricks, hazards, pitfalls, and real world experiences.
Your Upgrade Strategy
A big part of the upgrade strategy should be how we do it. There are three basic approaches to the problem. There is no right answer, as it depends on where your company is at in terms of hardware refresh cycle, SAN infrastructure, OS version, and HA/DR posture.
In Place Upgrade
This is the simplest approach. When you execute this upgrade, you will replace an instance of SQL Server 2005,2008, or R2 with a running copy of SQL Server 2012. The instance can be default or named. Think of it as a Hail Mary pass. You get one shot at it and if it fails, rollback can be ugly. That’s why you always need to do your homework and plan carefully for each upgrade, with multiple fallback positions. The big pro is that it is a lot simpler than the other approaches. The big con is that you cannot upgrade cross platform. This means if you are running any version of 32bit SQL Server, you cannot do an in-place upgrade to SQL Server 2012 64bit.
Side by Side upgrade
This approach can be also referred to as Build-out-new or migration. I am using the term migration to move databases to a new instance of SQL Server, as opposed to migrating to or from another RDBMS platform like Oracle or DB2. The Side by Side approach can take on two flavors:
- A new instance of SQL Server on the same server.
- A new instance of SQL Server on a new server.
If you take the side by side strategy, you will then test and move your databases in small chunks or groups over time to the new instance. Note that if you install a 2nd instance on the same server, it will have to be a named instance (assuming of course, that the 1st instance was the default instance). Some applications don’t like / can’t handle a named instance of SQL Server. Check with your ISV.
So what are the pros and cons of the side by side approach? Obviously if your hardware is more than a few years old you are probably going to be migrating to new hardware. If you are already on newer hardware, you will want to go side by side on the same box. Personally, I prefer side by side on new hardware. Long term, it’s a cleaner strategy. Big pro of this side by side approach is that your DBA team can move at their own pace and move databases slowly via the backup/restore , detach/reattach or by using the copy database wizard. The big con of this approach is that it’s more labor intensive.
Do Your Homework
An upgrade is 75% project planning, and 25% execution. Take the time upfront and plan it out correctly and you won’t have any problems.
The next 2 months are looking to be very busy for me. On April 12th, I will travel to Columbus to present to the Columbus CBusPASS chapter on Upgrading Server Server to 2012. I was in Columbus for the SQL Server Special Ops tour and the CbusPASS folks are great people and I’m happy to be going back.
This is going to be my 1st SQL Saturday for 2012. I’m getting off to a slow start this year, after having spoke at 9 SQL Saturdays in 2011. I’ll be presenting my Upgrade Roadmap talk.
April IT/Security Security Summit – Cleveland, OH
I’ll be speaking on SQL Server 101 for IT Pros. This presentation is squarely aimed at systems administrators and small to medium businesses who don’t have or can’t afford a full time DBA on staff. I will go through many issues and problems that you may see in the field and hope to provide resources on where beginning DBA’s can learn the craft.
SQLRally 2012 – Dallas, TX
I was selected to present on Upgrade Roadmap: Let’s Delve into SQL Server 2012 at the 2nd ever SQLRally on May 10-11, 2012. I will be going over upgrade and migration strategies, Upgrade Advisor, and testing for Deprecated features.
I submitted 2 abstracts for the spring classic in Chicago. Hopefully, I will see you there.
I submitted 2 abstracts to that event. Hope to see you there.
The SQL Server 2012 Upgrade Advisor has a poorly
undocumented prerequisite. If you go and try and install the Upgrade Advisor off of the SQL Server 2012 RTM media, you will get the following error:
The installer is looking for the SQL Server 2012 Transact-SQL ScriptDom component which is found as part of the SQL Server 2012 Feature Pack.
After you install the ScriptDom package, you will be able to install the Upgrade Advisor.
I attended the Special Ops Tour (AKA the SQL Server 2012 Launch Event) in Columbus earlier this week. I was really looking forward to the event. The Columbus user group (CBusPASS) partially hosted the event. I got there a little early so I could help out setting up but there wasn’t really anything to do. So I chatted with some of the CBusPASS folks. I am going to be presenting for them next month and I wanted to get some details on location, timing etc. Chapter Leader Dave Schutz (Twitter) kicked off the event welcoming everyone. The theme, of course, was secret agents. It was funny to see the Microsoft people acting in specially made spy videos. The keynote speaker was Dandy Weyn(blog | twitter), a senior Product manager for Microsoft. He showed us many cool new features of SQL Server 2012. My friend Brian Davis (blog | twitter) was a guest speaker, presenting for around 10 minutes on installing SQL Server 2012 on server core. The big hit of the event was the discussion and demos of the new Always On availability groups. Great stuff! Unfortunately, I didn’t see very many Cleveland people there. There were about 125 people in attendance. Not as extravagant like I remember the SQL Server 2005 launch event was, but those were different times. All in all, it was a good event.
This is the first post in a series on Upgrading to SQL Server 2012. Tips, tricks, hazards, pitfalls, and real world experiences.
As with any piece of software, we need to weigh the business benefits against the time, effort and cost associated with an upgrade. I believe the most compelling reason to upgrade is the Always On availability groups. This is going to be a major paradigm shift for many businesses approach to high availability in the SQL Server space. Why? The traditional approach to high availability has been clustering, coupled with either log shipping or replication. Starting in SQL Server 2005 (a similarly disruptive release of SQL Server as my friend Andy Leonard mentions here) we had Database Mirroring – a great piece of technology that we have been using since it was turned on in SP1.
DB Mirroring is great but it has it’s flaws. Most notably, you cannot query a mirrored database. Yes, you can create snapshots but that approach is clunky and not real time. So you can’t use a mirrored database for reporting easily. Now that we have Always On and read only availability groups, a true way to mix High Availability and read only reporting is really a possibility.
Take some time and rethink your HA/DR and reporting strategy with Always On in SQL Server 2012.