Category Archives: SQL Server

Optimizing SQL Server Database Performance and Overcoming Unpredictable Challenges

This is a guest post from Tony Branson at ScaleArc.

With the explosion of digital data, achieving optimum database performance has become the primary concern of every database professional. For improving efficiency when managing a complex IT environment, DBAs must stay one step ahead consistently and learn about the best practices, proven strategies, and innovative approaches being applied to different DBA processes. Here are 5 key areas to consider for driving database efficiency even with an exponential increase in data:

1. Knowing What Needs Your Focus

It is important to have a good fundamental understanding of your IT infrastructure as a DBA. It’s critical to understand what’s working well and what’s not performing within the database infrastructure itself – e.g., if you’re having memory issues vs. I/O issues. It’s also critical that you understand how the database is reached – what network issues, application issues, VM issues could be impacting database availability or performance. Ensure your perspective is broad enough to understand the parts of the technology stack that need your attention.

2. Performing Periodic Health Checks

Database corruption hits without warning and has a devastating impact on your data if you are unprepared. Backups are essential but if you are backing up corrupt data, all your efforts are going down the drain. To prevent such a scenario it is important to perform health checks periodically using a standardized process. As a rule of thumb, DBAs should check and validate the consistency and integrity of a database frequently to make sure there is an accurate, valid backup always available in case the need arises.

3. Fine-tuning SQL Server Performance

The biggest challenge facing any DBA is how to improvise, optimize and maintain SQL Server database performance. When tuning a busy system, considering the full range of KPIs can get downright overwhelming. Use online guides to identify the metrics that actually matter and make improvements accordingly. For example, if you see a sudden fall in page life expectancy, it reflects an increase in your I/O requirements, which means you should be checking the processes running at that time.

4. Staying Compliant

Compliance can take a toll on compute resources, giving rise to on-going stress. While it may seem tempting to monitor every single transaction, it can kill your performance because it would need a large amount of storage space.

It is important to have an audit strategy in place with well-defined data and events before you can start. This approach will help you make any necessary adjustments over the time and track all the results for quarterly and annual audits.

5. Leveraging a Modern Database

The emergence of new generation applications that require both scale and speed to function at peak efficiency has exposed the flaws and gaps in existing database technologies. Scale up has reached full capacity, but scale out has historically been really tough. Modern databases support key features that can boost app performance and improve uptime, but taking advantage of these capabilities has required substantial application recoding.

Database load balancing software makes SQL Server management easy, avoiding the need for code changes to support features at the application tier. It enables geo-aware load balancing, supports app-transparent failover, transparently delivers read/write split, enables query routing, and performs multiplexing and connection pooling, enabling DBAs to tackle the challenges of an ever-growing pool of database servers. Deploying database load balancing lets you harness all the capabilities of SQL Server databases. By deploying database load balancing software, DBAs can efficiently address all the issues and problems that impact their ability to manage and optimize SQL Server databases effectively.

young man portrait, isolated on whiteAbout the author: A self-proclaimed tech geek, with a passion for ScaleArc’s disruptive technology innovation in database load balancing. Tony has a passion for dissecting tech topics such as transparent failover, centralized control, ACID compliance, database scalability and downtime effects. On his days off, he can be found watching sci-fi movies, rock climbing or volunteering.

Disclaimer: This post is not an advertisement. The owner of this blog has received no compensation for the placement of this guest post.

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SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook now live on Pluralsight!

My newest course, the SQL Server Reporting Services Playbook, is now live on Pluralsight! If you are looking to get up to speed fast writing reports in SQL Server Reporting Services, this is the course for you. In roughly two hours you will have enough information to start cranking out reports for your organization.

Playbooks though are a bit different than traditional Pluralsight courses. Playbooks are specifically designed so you can watch just one segment to gather that piece of information you need right now, and not have to sit through the entire course. For example, if you were comfortable with generating line item reports, but need a refresher on how to use charts in a report, you could watch just the 15 minute module on charts.

The playbook format is also great for times when, after watching a course, you need to come back and refresh yourself on one piece. The organization makes it easy to find the specific piece of information you need.

You’ll find the course at: https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-reporting-playbook

After watching this course, you may wish to go watch my previous course, What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. ( https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sql-server-2016-reporting-services ). This course is another brief one which assumes you are comfortable with Reporting Services and want to get up to speed quickly on the new features in 2016.

I for one really appreciate this style of course, as it doesn’t waste time teaching me what I already know about SSRS, and instead just focuses on the things that have changed since the previous version. And let me assure you, a lot has changed in SSRS 2016!

What’s that you say? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription but really want to view this course? Well no problem my friend, just email me <free at arcanetc.com> and I’ll be more than happy to send you a code that will give you 30 days free at Pluralsight to watch mine or anyone’s courses.

By the way, this is my 13th Pluralsight course, you’ll find the whole list at https://www.pluralsight.com/authors/robert-cain . My courses cover a variety of topics, Reporting Services of course, but also PowerShell, SQL Server Integration Services, and a nifty course introducing you to the concepts of Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence.

What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services–Now live at Pluralsight

So you want to see what’s new in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services? Well I’ve got just the thing for you. My 12th course just went live on Pluralsight, named appropriately “What’s New in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services”.

This course is designed specifically for those who are already familiar with SQL Server Reporting Services, and just need to come up to speed with the new features in the 2016 release. Even better you can do it during a long lunch (or two short ones), the course is just under an hour and a half so you can learn quickly.

The course starts with a look at the brand new Report Portal, the replacement for Report Manager. You’ll see how to create KPIs right in the portal, improvements to subscriptions, and how to custom brand the Report Portal so it can integrate right into your companies websites. After that you’ll learn about the new HTML 5 compatibility, something that makes SSRS integrate even better into your web apps and sites.

Some time is then spent on improvements to what Microsoft calls “Paginated Reports”, essentially the same reports you’ve grown to know and love. You’ll see improvements for embedded reports, as well as the two new chart types, sunburst and treemap. Finally, the long awaited ability to arrange parameters is covered.

Last, but certainly not least, the course covers what I consider to be the most exciting piece of the 2016 release, the Mobile Report Publisher. You’ll see how to use it to generate reports, and how they can be used on the web as well as mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

What’s that you say? You want to see it, but don’t have a Pluralsight subscription? Hey, no problem. Just shoot me an email, free at arcanetc.com. I can send you a code good for 30 days during which you can watch this and any of the over 5,000 (yes, FIVE THOUSAND) courses.

Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server–Precon at DevDataDay

{dev = data} DAY Birmingham 2016Are you looking to learn about PowerShell? Do you use SQL Server? Then boy have I got a bargain for you!

I’m doing a precon for our upcoming devdataday event. The precon will take place on Friday, August 19th, the day before devdataday.

This is designed to be a course for the PowerShell novice. No prior knowledge required! I’ll start the day with an introduction to PowerShell, basic usage and cmdlets. Next we’ll dive into programming scripts in PowerShell, starting with the basics of loops, conditional logic, and functions. We’ll move into advanced topics, including creating your own reusable modules and testing them.
The real meat of the day comes next, learning how to interact with SQL Server from PowerShell. Both the SQL Provider and SMO (SQL Management Objects) DLL library will be covered in full. Most importantly you’ll learn how to read the online SMO library documentation and how to convert the examples into PowerShell syntax. The day will culminate by building a reusable module for working with many SQL Server common tasks, such as T-SQL code generation, or performing health checks on your servers.
The day will wrap up with a look at Pester, the new open source PowerShell testing tool. You’ll see how to test all the code you generated during the day. Don’t be left behind, learn how to leverage the power of PowerShell in your SQL Server environment.

To register, just go to https://devdatadaypowershellprecon.eventbrite.com/

Simple Way to Fix SQL Server Page Level Corruption

I’ve decided to try an experiment, and allow the occasional guest blogger. This will give new bloggers additional exposure, and draw eyes to both our sites.

Our first guest blogger is Andrew Jackson. Andrew is a SQL DBA and SQL Server blogger too. He likes to share about SQL Server and the problems related to it as well as their solution, handling database related user queries, server or database maintenance, database management etc.

You can find Andrew online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Jackson/100008825676608

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackson-andrew-401147a5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacksonandrew32

Editor & Blog Contributor at: http://www.sqlmvp.org/

Without further delay, here is Andrew’s first contribution, Simple Way to Fix SQL Server Page Level Corruption.


 

Database corruption is the worst situation for any Database Administrator. The SQL database stores very crucial data, the occurrence of corruption make it inaccessible which causes huddle in workflow in any organization or business. Whenever the corruption issues are discovered, it must be resolved on time by the admin before the issue spread through the data infrastructure. Therefore, it is very necessary to take proper steps to protect the data from such damage. This article explains the causes, troubleshooting, and fixing SQL server page level corruption.

Page Level Corruption

Pages are the most basic unit of data stored in database, all .mdf or .ndf files in a database are logically divided into pages numbered from 0 to n. Whenever the pages of database file are infected by the corruption, DBA will repair each damaged page in isolation. Repairing and restoring the few pages individually is faster than repairing the entire file.

Causes:

· Hardware malfunction, most of database corruption occurs due to hardware failure.

· Issues in SQL server itself, sometimes when there are internal issues in SQL server results corruption

· Unplanned shut-down when database is opened

· Virus intrusion

· Updating the SQL server in newer version also results corruption

How to Fix Page Level Corruption

Moreover, Admin have their eventual plans to tackle SQL Server database corruption issue, there are strategies like replication, database monitoring, disaster recovery plans etc. However, there are the conditions when admin do not have such solution. In that case, admin need a solution to handle this problem, In SQL 2005 and later version there is a feature called Page Checksum that creates checksum value to detect the scale of the damage in database.

If the problem in SQL database is unreadable by SQL server, then it requires the complete restoration of the database. On other hand if damage is not that severe and lesser pages are infected then DBA can use DBCC utility.

DBCC CHECKDB Command for Handling Page Level Corruption

DBCC CHECKDB is a command that fix the corruption issue in SQL database. It fixes the inconsistency in SQL server database by performing Database Consistency Checks.

It is a combination of DBCC CHECKCATALOG, CHECKALLOC and DBCCCHECKTABLE.

The syntax of DBCC CHECKDB command is given below:

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Other Possible Solutions

There is also an alternative solution to handle Page level corruption in SQL database, user can opt a third party tool namely that can easily tackle this corruption. It can recover highly corrupted page from both primary and secondary database. It supports all the versions of SQL Database Server. Using these defined ways; user or DBA can easily recover the page level corruption.

 


Thanks Andrew for your contribution. If you are interested in becoming a guest blogger, just email me info <@> arcanetc.com.

SQL Saturday 498 Chattanooga

Do you like PowerShell? SQL Server? Are you anywhere close to Chattanooga TN? Then don’t miss this SQL Saturday, June 25th 2016.

I’m giving two sessions (yes two for the price of one!). The first session will be PowerShell 201. It covers advanced concepts you need to know, such as debugging, remoting, security, and code signing.

The second session will educate on using PowerShell with SQL Server. We’ll cover the use of the SQL Provider (SQLPS) as well as the more advanced SQL Management Object library (SMO).

You’ll find the full schedule here, as well as links to register, directions, and the like.

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/498/Sessions/Schedule.aspx 

Best of all, my demos are already uploaded, so you can download early and play along during the presentation!

I’ll mention Chattanooga is a great vacation town, so bring your whole family. There’s a huge aquarium, discovery museum, Lookout Mountain, and tons of attractions to keep them occupied while you’re having fun at SQL Saturday.

Chattanooga SQL Saturday June 27 2015–Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server

This Saturday, June 27 2015, I will be at SQL Saturday #410 in Chattanooga, TN. I’ll be presenting a session “Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server”, in which we’ll start with the basics of PowerShell, then move into working with SQL Server via the PS SQL Provider.

This is going to be an extremely fast paced session, so you may wish to download the code samples ahead of time. I have already uploaded the samples to the event site. Just go to the Sessions menu, Schedule, and you’ll see a bit download button under the session. As of right now I’m the last session of the day, in room 219, but that is subject to change so be sure to check the schedule upon arrival.

Be warned, there is far more code in the download then we’ll be able to cover in a one hour session. It is well commented though, and you should be able to understand it after the session.

If you are looking for even more PowerShell goodness, my friend Aaron Nelson ( @sqlvariant | blog ) is doing a PowerShell for Data Professionals just after lunch. Our two sessions should work well together for those interested in using PowerShell in the world of SQL Server.

Hope to see you there!