End of Lifecycle for Windows 2003 R2 and SQL Server 2005

Just a friendly reminder to everyone that just like all good things come to and end so does the extended support for these two Microsoft products. First will be the Windows 2003 R2 with the end of lifecycle date set to July 14 2015 and soon after that SQL Server 2005 with it’s end of lifecycle date set to April 12 2016.

You can still run these products after these dates of course but it’s definitely not recommended and the reason is simple. End of the extended support means that neither of these products will be receiving any patches or security updates, ever. So if you’re not already working on upgrading them, now would be a good time to start.

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Review: Ola Hallengrens Maintenance Solution

SQL Server offers out-of-the-box solution to create a workflow of tasks that can be used to optimize, backup and run consistency checks on your databases. These workflows, commonly known as Maintenance Plans, are actually Integration Services packages that are run either by scheduling them as SQL Server Agent jobs or manually. While I wholeheartedly recommend that you run regular backups and other maintenance routines to your databases, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using Maintenance Plans for this. In fact, I’d probably never recommend using Maintenance Plans, unless it’s the only thing you have.

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What the Cluster Validation Test doesn’t tell you.

When I’m dealing with a problem on a Failover Cluster (not very often, but sometimes) one of the first steps I do is to run the Validation Test. It’s a great tool that’ll usually show what might be the problem, but apparently not always…

For the last couple days I’ve been busy wrecking havoc on a cluster with a Microsoft Cluster PFE on a Cluster Disaster Recovery workshop. Among the scenarios we’ve gone through causing, fixing and then documenting there was one that had a small surprise in store for both of us.

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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.

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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.

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Introduction to IPSEC with SQL Server.

A first post of 2014 and it sure took me awhile to write it up. I was hoping to return to this subject much sooner, however my work schedule has been just plain crazy. Just this week I’ve spent two nights migrating databases to new database clusters. The situation should fix itself in a couple of weeks though, with few bigger projects coming to completion.

But to return to the actual subject of securing SQL Server network traffic.. I previously wrote about using SSL for this purpose, a method that was quick and simple to implement. This was done in my Azure demo environment, which allowed me to take few shortcuts in the implementation. When dealing with production environments, you’ll naturally need to test, test and test it once more before actual implementation.

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