Creating a Performance Monitor Black Box

One thing that we always set up on a new server is a Performance Monitor “black box”. The black box is basically a PerfMon collector that starts when the server does and runs continuously on the background, gathering performance data from number of vital counters. It has minimal performance overhead and is great at giving you a good idea on what has been going on in your servers during the last several days.

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Managing shared folders in Windows Failover Cluster with Powershell

I’ve been using Powershell more and more lately, most of the time the motivation has been to do repeatable tasks much more quickly and efficiently but there has also been other cases where Powershell has been the only way to accomplish something. Most often this is due to lacking GUI or Windows issues that have prevented me from using the GUI in the first place. This post describes the latter scenario and the Powershell workaround.

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Poor results in I/O tests due to Windows Task Scheduler settings

Not a long ago I was doing a database cluster delivery to one of our customers and as a part of that process, I scheduled our regular set of test runs for the storage. The results of the tests we ran were bad and none of the changes we did at the SAN weren’t helping. After a while we figured out that the issue was not in the test software or at the SAN but in the scheduled tasks we used to run the different test!

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Windows Firewall and antivirus software configurations for SQL Server.

One of the more important duties of a DBA is to make sure that their databases and the data is secure. In this post we’ll be looking at two utilities to increase the security of your server, the Windows Firewall and an antivirus software. Like with about everything else related to servers, you can’t just switch these on (well, you could, but…) and forget about them to get the best possible experience. They need to be properly configured for servers running Microsoft SQL Server. If you’re a DBA you might not be doing the configuration yourself, but you still need to tell your Windows administrators what they need to do.

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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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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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Microsoft provided training

When it comes to finding information or learning more about the SQL Server and it’s features, the professional community around the product is one of the best ones I’ve ever seen. I personally have a score of SQL Server blogs in my bookmarks, I visit SQL Server forums and follow a bunch of world-class experts in Twitter. Basically, there’s a wealth of information out there and unlike many other things in this world, it’s completely free.

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