Blog Archives

SQL Features Discovery Report

While going through my preparation for the MCSA exam I stumbled upon this gem that I always seem to forget about so I thought I would pass it along to you. For a quick an easy way to determine what is installed on an instance of SQL Server, run the SQL Server Installation Center and select tools. Then select Installed SQL Server features discovery report, as shown in Figure 1. This will produce a nice report as shown in Figure 2.

Enjoy!

InstallTools

Figure 1 – SQL Server Installation Center

DiscoveryReport

Figure 2 – Setup Discovery Report

Microsoft License Advisor

Looking to upgrade to SQL Server 2012 but you are not sure how much it costs or how the licensing works?  Try the Microsoft License Advisor.  Even if you are not upgrading, this is a fun little utility especially if you want to see what everyone else is paying.  If you want some real fun look at what charities and academia pays for their licenses.  Enjoy!

Corruption and Verifying Backups

This morning I had a conversation with a Subject Matter Expert and Application Administrator who asked me quite simply for a verified backup before he does an install on Saturday.   My response was that I could test it manually for them and I was willing to do so but currently with our infrastructure the nightly backups are not tested without manual intervention.  I have tried to change this policy for some time and unfortunately it may not occur until something bad happens.  With this in mind, I do the best I can to minimize the risk given that I cannot automate a solution to restore databases on a regular basis as I would prefer.  How can you minimize the risk?

  1. Use the WITH CHECKSUM option on your backup scripts.  Read Paul Randall’s The Importance of Validating Backups article on SQL Server Central for more information.
  2. Use the RESTORE VERIFYONLY command (although we use Ola Hallengren’s Backup Solution which is the verify option which runs the command).
  3. Use the WITH CHECKSUM on the RESTORE command to recheck the page checksums in the backup as well as the backup file.
  4. Automate or manually restore your databases from scratch on a regular basis.  (This is where we are lacking and where I want to take my servers).
  5. Once you have restored, then run DBCC CHECKDB against the restored database.

If you are not doing all five then you cannot say confidently that your backups are verified.  However, if you are doing all five keep in mind that there is no fool proof guarantee against corruption, this merely minimizes the destruction by having viable backups.  I hope this helps….Enjoy!

What’s New in SQL Server 2012

Since it is a holiday weekend, I thought I would give you something to chew on today.  Having just installed SQL Server 2012 Developer on my personal laptop, I am wanting to test drive some new features.  But what are they?  Follow this link to MSDN to find out What’s New in SQL Server 2012.

I hope you are enjoying this long weekend, I know I am.

Exploring SQL Server 2012: Code Snippets

One of the new features available in SQL Server 2012 is the Code Snippet Manager.  Previously this was available through third-party tools and add-ins.  The Code Snippets Manager is available through the Tools menu, along with some other nice built-in tools as well for this release.

Here you can see that there are many nice built-in code snippets included off the shelf.  The tool allows you to insert the XML formatted snippets (a la Visual Studio).   Click here for information on how to create your own snippets from the MSDN.  Personally I think the interface should have the functionality to just insert snippets of code like other add-in tools, however it is better than what we had previously off-the-shelf.

Figure 1 – Code Snippet Manager

 

This looks great but there is no insert button to put these snippets into my code, I tried.  So how do I enter the code into the query editor as I type?  Hold the control button (CTRL) and then press the K and then X to begin the insert, and yes I know this is an awkward key combination (what where they thinking).  See figure 2 and choose a category of snippets.

Figure 2 – Insert Snippet

After choosing a category then choose a snippet (see figure 3).

Figure 3 – Choose a Snippet

After choosing your snippet, it will be inserted into the query editor (see Figure 4).  At this point you can customize the snippet to fit your code and you are done!  Enjoy!

Figure 4 – The Finished Snippet

 

 

 

Updating SQL Server 2012 to SP1

With service pack 1 being released during SQL PASS Summit 2012, I did not get the chance to update my personal laptop.  This is great timing as I have just purchased developer on my laptop.  You can download the slipstream version or just the service pack separately.  Are you curious as to what is new in SP1, then check this link out?  It is also a good idea to read the release notes, which I always recommend but rarely do, unfortunately.  It is similar to reading the directions, men rarely do that.

Here is the visual upgrade guide, quite simple really, so much so that even I can do it.

The update completed easily and successfully.  Enjoy!

SQL Server 2012, Maybe?

On Wednesday of this week we spoke with Microsoft again about licensing for SQL Server 2012.  Apparently there was some confusion when we had the discussion back in March with management’s understanding of how it worked.  However, it still seems clear to me that reducing our Oracle footprint makes financially more sense.

In addition we are now being asked to prepare a proof of concept comparing the migration of ArcGIS SDE on Oracle currently to SQL Server or PostgreSQL.  I will be building a machine with each and running some tests.  Does anyone know any downsides to PostgreSQL compared to our beloved SQL Server that I can point out?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I Want My MTV, I Mean SQL Server 2012!

I would love to upgrade my servers to SQL Server 2012.  We’ve met with Microsoft and we discussed the licensing ramifications and I got really excited about upgrading after getting the OK internally.  That was a couple of months ago.  The one piece holding us up?  Vendors!

We do have some SQL databases developed in-house, but being predominantly an Oracle shop, most of our SQL Server databases are vendor provided.  We have set forth the initiative to do all new development solely in SQL Server for cost savings.  Additionally, we  have begun moving some of the vendor provided databases to SQL Server.  However, those are also at the mercy of vendors.  My latest project only supports SQL Server 2008, not even R2.  This is very frustrating from an enterprise DBA standpoint.  I want to move forward!  Enjoy!

Technology Days, SQL Server 2012

We interrupt my learning series on SQL Nexus to bring you my blog live from SQL Server 2012 Technology Days here at Microsoft Tampa with David Pless, Sr Premier Field Engineer.

If you are reading my blog regularly then you know all about my love for SQL Server learning, so obviously I had to attend this event. So far I have learned a few things to make this outing worth the drive for me. Oh who am I kidding, this is SQL Server training that in itself was worth the drive and a day out of the office.

Here are some things that I have learned today:

1. Server Core for 2012 is amazing and I am ready to deploy it when I return to the office!
2. PowerShell for 2012 will add functionality that makes it more attractive than the current GUI tools.
3. PowerShell is not the horrible tool that I thought it was….there is no reason for me not to use it more to be more efficient.

The day is not over yet so maybe there is still more awesomeness to come! Enjoy!

Confused About the Recent SQL Server 2012 Certification Changes? Me Too!

Are you confused about the recent changes to the SQL Server 2012 Certifications?  I loved the MSCE and MCSA certifications, so on  cursory glance I was stoked.  Yes these certs have name recognition.  Wait, there not the same?  Oh this is going to be fun.  Kendra Little (Blog | Twitter) demystified some of these changes in the following blog post: SQL Server 2012 Certification Changes Video | Brent Ozar PLF.  Enjoy!

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