Tools of the Trade.

Most DBAs have their own favorite set of tools and utilities they like to use and so do I. In this blog series, I’ll be introducing you to my favorite tools of the trade. Most of these utilities are made by the members of SQL Server community and all of these have one thing in common, they are free. While people often turn to commercial solutions (if they have the budget to do so), I would consider the following free tools essential for anyone working with databases or database servers.

(more…)

Microsoft releases SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3

Just a quick post about the fact that Microsoft has finally released the SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 (Build 10.50.6000.34) few days ago. This will be the last Service Pack to the SQL Server 2008 R2 version and it is mainly just a roll up of all the previously released Cumulative Updates, with few additional fixes.

(more…)

Database Design Tip: Involve the Production DBA

I was reading this blog post by Thomas LaRock (@SQLRockstar) about a database design mistakes and I’ll warmly recommend that anyone who is involved with database design should read it as well. It also got me into thinking about one database design issue which, in my opinion, is not taken into consideration often enough; Database Administration.

(more…)

Alternatives to KILL (SPID)

A few days ago there was a question in Twitter about options to KILL (SPID) with a long running transaction that was causing a lot of blocking in a mission-critical system. The person asking the question got some helpful tips on how to fix the problem, such as looking at the tables and the indexes and some tools were pointed out to him, like Adam Machanics Sp_WhoIsActive.

(more…)

SAN migration in Windows Failover Cluster

I recently did a migration from one SAN to another and decided to write a quick blog post about the procedure I used. In this particular case the difficult part was handled by the SAN administrator as we were moving from one manufacturer to another. He had the pleasure of trying to add disks from two different storage systems to two nodes, which required not a small amount of dismantling features such as MPIO. We did have some problems with disks showing up multiple times, but nothing we couldn’t work around with.

(more…)

Cluster Validation test fails on Windows Update check

Every once in a while I run into this little issue with cluster validation check that, while not a critical one, can lead to some confusion. When I deploy clusters to my customers one thing I keep telling them is that they need to update their cluster nodes regularly like any other Windows Server. The other thing I keep telling them is that once they’re all properly updated run the validation test that checks the Windows Updates. And yes, that’s a one way to use the validation tool after you’ve done the deployment 🙂

(more…)

Creating a basic performance baseline

What is a Performance Baseline?

One of the important things every DBA should have, is a performance baseline for their business critical servers. A good baseline is something that tells you how your server is performing under various workloads. This is also the reason why you should have multiple sets of performance data collected instead of just one. In a perfect world you should have one for the minimum load, one when the usage is “normal” and finally one for the situation where your server and databases are under a lot of stress.

In this post, I’ll be giving you some advice on when and why you should have a performance baseline and how you can create one.

(more…)