Category Archives: Database Administration Tasks

SQL Server Migration Assistant Problem Solved

Risk the Game of Global DominationHaving used SQL Server Migration Assistant for a major Oracle conversion project over the last year, I quickly grew aggravated with its project limitation involving a single database.  In other words, if you setup the project file in SSMA for staging and then you are unable to point it to an acceptance environment to migrate to that environment.  That can be very frustrating especially if you have customized many of the project settings.  I have discovered two workarounds to resolve this problem.

  1. Backup (or copy) the project folder (c:\Users\<<Username>>\Documents\SSMAProjects\<<Project Name>>).  Close SSMA and then delete the target-metabase.mb file in the project folder.   Now open SSMA and now you can connect to a new SQL Server and/or database.  You would want to copy the folder if you want to retain the settings for a different environment such as staging, acceptance, production, etc.  If you rename the folder for a different environment, make sure to rename the *.o2ssproj file to match the folder name.  This is the file that opens inside of SSMA.
  2. The second option is to create a new project using SSMA and then copying in the object-containers.mappings, project-container.mappings, and finally preferences.prefs.  These are the project settings that you have painstakingly setup in your original project.

I hope this helps.  Enjoy!

Are Those Transaction Logs Empty?

Ever wonder what your usage statistics are for your transaction log files without opening each individual one in the SQL Server Management Studio shrink file dialog.  DBCC SQLPERF is a neat little utility that can tell you the size of the log file and the amount of the space occupied by transactions inside the file.

DBCC SQLPERF

DBCC SQLPERF

You can also use this utility to clear the sys.dm_os_wait_stats and sys.dm_os_latch_stats statistics, in such a manner:

DBCC SQLPERF(“sys.dm_os_wait_stats”,CLEAR);

SQL Server Domination Plan: Two Weeks After

A few weeks ago, I let loose a rebel yell and issued a command directive: Death to Oracle!  Then I delivered the death knell as we migrated all of the data to SQL Server over Memorial Day weekend.  Today, I am proud to announce that after two weeks of the Finance SQL Servers being in production, the users are happy and productive.

Most would say that is how it should be, but the Oracle DBAs told me that the users would complain daily.  They were happy to rid themselves of those users and now I know why.

Hopefully I did not jinx myself but it looks like the domination plan is working!

Initiatives

We had a meeting this morning where our Director talked about initiatives and people bringing forth new ideas to help streamline our department.  Therefore, soon I will be bringing forth a new initiative to eliminate Oracle altogether and replace it with SQL Server.  It will ultimately be denied because of the cost involved with the conversion but they will have to discuss it and think about it.  Take that Oracle, SQL Server Global Domination plan is gaining traction.

Enjoy!

SQL Server Domination Plan Phase One Has Completed

Last week I let loose a rebel yell and issued a command directive: Death to Oracle! Today I am proud to announce that I dealt a death knell to one of our Oracle servers by migrating our finance applications from Oracle to SQL Server. This was a year-long project that culminated in one really, really long weekend of SQL Fun. I survived and Oracle bit the dust. My plan for SQL Server World Domination has completed phase one.

My part of the project included a 27-hour marathon involving migrating the data using SQL Server Migration Assistant and then numerous scripts and comparisons to day-zero databases from the vendor while upgrading the application across five different product upgrades using RedGate SQL Compare (which worked beautifully). It was a day full of Starbucks triple espressos and five-hour energy shots before I crashed and the testers took over. We then rounded out the weekend with a 33-hour ETL process which all completed successfully before the application went live at 7am this morning. Mission accomplished.

This project has great visibility in my organization and its success will open the flood gates to future migrations in showing our world that SQL Server is an enterprise level database. I am not stopping here, I want their 100 terabytes of production data! It will be mine, oh yes it will be mine.

SQL Server Domination Plan Has Begun

Today signals the end and the beginning for a year-long project.  My project for SQL Server Domination.  Our shop is primarily an Oracle shop with dot net developers.  Although I do have almost 300 databases across all levels, the bulk of mission critical applications are written for Oracle.

A little over a year ago we began a plan to migrate our financial applications to SQL Server in order to retire the oldest Oracle servers on site and reduce our massive licensing footprint.  This was all part of my plan for SQL Server World Domination (said in a maniacal voice, imagine that).  We knew that if this mission critical migration was a success that we could leverage our product against the Oracle servers in-house and begin the destruction of their infrastructure in favor of my glorious SQL Servers!  (Hear the trumpets heralding the new king?)

This project, if successful, will be the Oracle death knell.  Over the last year I have prepared diligently with one goal in site:  this migration weekend.  The weekend of my birthday seems apropos to give me the present that I so desire, SQL Server Domination.  You may have noticed that the number of blog posts recently have been limited especially after blogging every day last year.  For the last few months, I have had one purpose and one purpose only:  ensuring the success of this migration!

Let the trumpets herald the coming of a new dawn.  Long live SQL Server.  I will blog again next week on the other side of this project to declare that the Queen is dead and a new King has ascended the throne!   Until then queue the Imperial March, hello Starbucks and massive four day working weekend with little sleep migration project here I come!

 

Auditing Revisited, Makes No Sense To Me

Back in January, I did a series on simple auditing which walked through setting up an audit and creating a simple SSRS report.  I actually used the report and the query that I demonstrated for a couple of servers in my stack that require auditing.  The basis of this revolves around the following line of code:

SELECT * FROM fn_get_audit_file (‘g:\auditing\*’, DEFAULT, DEFAULT)

This line of code runs great for my login and I never gave it much thought because I am running it from a sysadmin account.  When asked for users to be able to run this report that is when things are getting sticky.  I cannot fathom why a simple query for log data cannot be attributed to a read-only account.  In order for you to run this select statement you either need a sysadmin level account or the CONTROL SERVER permission which pretty much gives you the keys to the kingdom.  Why would they do that?

I am sure there is a great technical reason, but why not allow it to filter down to read-only access to simply view the data?  With those permissions whoever is in charge of running the audit can manipulate the data however they see fit.  That makes no sense to me but then again who am I in the grand scheme of things?  Shortly I will post a few different scenarios in how to solve this problem.  Enjoy!

Online Restores

I was doing some mentoring today with online restores, so I thought I would share it with my blog readers.  The most important thing about online restores is that it is only supported in SQL Server 2005 and later versions.  In addition, for the bulk-logged recovery model the following conditions must be met in order to complete an online restore:

  1. All of the log backups must have been taken and completed before you start the online restore.
  2. If you have bulk changes in the database, the files must be online.
  3. All of your bulk changes must be backed up before starting the online restore process.

In addition, I have seen it recommended that you switch your bulk-logged recovery model to the full model before starting the online process and then switching it back afterward for smoother recovery.  Enjoy!

Weird Problem with SSAS Not Starting

After building a new cluster to replace a 2005 cluster here in the office, I discovered Analysis Services would not start.  Usually I do not put Analysis Services on the same box however one of our vendors requires SSRS, SSAS, and the Database Engine to be on the same instance.  Frustrating, I know.

When I installed the cluster, everything was operational.  However after I applied service pack two to the 2008 R2 Enterprise nodes, Analysis Services would not start.  I didn’t notice the first time that it was after the service pack was applied until I removed everything and started over fresh.

The logs were not much help and I could not find much on the internet until I eventually found a friend who suggested that the service running SSAS needed to be in the local administrators group.  Problem solved.  Now my lesson learned is here for you as well.  Enjoy!

Backup and Recovery Documentation

Today I began documenting my backup and recovery strategy for my servers.  If you have not documented your strategy, take my advice and do it.  This should include the following items:

  • Retention schedule
  • Recovery models
  • Disaster recovery plans
  • RPO and RTO or SLAs
  • Identify your backup schedule
  • Identify your recovery schedule
  • Identify offsite storage options and retention
  • Identify your compression strategy
  • Identify any third party vendor tools

I hope this helps.  Enjoy!

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