New whitepaper with ScaleArc

Heraflux is pleased to announce a new collaborative whitepaper with ScaleArc entitled “Improving uptime and performance of legacy apps on Microsoft SQL Server“.

Performance tuning inefficient legacy applications can be a tremendous drain on development resources in an organization. Handling availability of the database layer of these applications can be an even larger challenge. ScaleArc can help improve both challenges by improving the availability of the database layer and accelerating common repetitive database queries from the application.

The past five years or so has seen a shift in people’s expectations for application performance. As they’ve seen their personal apps deliver continuous uptime and high performance, they’ve grown more frustrated with the slower performers in business.

Despite these business apps being critical to corporate performance, users have “just dealt with it” for years whenever they’re slow and unreliable. One challenge, of course, has been that these enterprise apps are much more complex than the personal apps, making it harder to update them. Plus, making the necessary changes to “update” the application might be out of the hands of an organization when they don’t control the source code, or are costly and time prohibitive to update when they do. A compelling alternative has emerged. Rather than recoding apps for improved uptime and performance in a database environment, consider the benefits of database load balancing software. A pioneer in this technology, ScaleArc has set out to make business application platforms more highly available and perform better by managing the traffic into the database servers. The ScaleArc software acts as an intermediary between the application and database layers. Sitting in between, it buffers database outages from impacting application availability and transparently accelerates the application’s performance, all without code or usability changes. This whitepaper explains the benefits of the ScaleArc software and shows benchmarking results of one feature set – app-transparent caching. In our tests, the ScaleArc software enabled a 5x improvement in the operations processed per minute and a drop in CPU consumption from a peak of 100% to a peak of 60%.

Download this new whitepaper today!


Usenix LISA16 Wrapup

lisa16_button_neat_180On December 5th, Deji Akomolafe from VMware Corporation, and Cody Chapman and David Klee from our team at Heraflux presented at this year’s USENIX LISA16 conference in Boston, MA. The three of us presented a half-day workshop entitled “Designing Your VMware Virtual Infrastructure for Optimal Performance, Resilience and Availability – Straight from the Source”.

Session Details: 

Not very long ago, the very idea of virtualization production mission-supporting enterprise applications can be said to be so career-threatening that only the brave dare entertain it for longer than a few seconds. Fast forward to now, virtualization is so pervasive and well-accepted that the inverse is true—”Virtualize First” is now a standard corporate mandate in large enterprises, and no modern commercial application is exempted.

Sadly, embracing virtualization has turned out not be the panacea for everything that ails an enterprise. In fact, virtualization often contributes to sub-optimal performance, availability, recoverability, and agility of many applications in the enterprise—with lots of frustrations, heartburn, reduced productivity, and yes, interrupted personal lives. In a rush to be a part of the “cool crowd,” many enterprises fail to identify and account for the intricacies and requirements of the virtualization platform, relegating such considerations to the secondary or tertiary tiers on the “Due Diligence” scale.

If you have have adopted virtualization as a platform for your mission-critical applications, or if you are in the process of doing so, please be sure to attend this tutorial. The tutorial will provide a comprehensive and detailed knowledge transfer that enables you to avoid the common pitfalls encountered in a VMware vSphere virtualization project infrastructure. We will discuss and explain the considerations for successfully running your mission-critical applications in a vSphere-based infrastructure without loss of performance, availability, recovery, and resilience. The tutorial will go beyond the standard slide-ware and present an actual demonstration of the effects of certain configuration optimization strategies on the overall condition of the virtualized applications and the virtual infrastructure as a whole.

The slides have been posted for you to download and review. Thanks for having us present, and we look forward to next year!


VMware vSphere 6.5 breaks your SQL Server vNUMA settings

vmwareVMware’s latest release of the vSphere virtualization suite, version 6.5, changes how they handle vNUMA presentation to a virtual machine, and there’s a high likelihood that it will break your virtualized SQL Server vNUMA configuration and lead to unexpected changes in behavior. It might even slow down your SQL Servers.

Here’s what you need to do to fix it.

Read more


VMware Expert Database Workshop Wrapup

Two weeks ago, Heraflux was proud to be part of the next wave of the SQL Server Expert Workshop hosted by VMware Corporation in Sofia, Bulgaria. These sessions are driven from VMware Corporation’s desire to produce the best hypervisor for mission-critical applications. Periodically, VMware invites a number of SQL Server and Oracle experts from around the world to meet for a three day interactive workshop on all aspects of database virtualization. The goals are two-fold: to educate these individuals on where VMware is going with database virtualization, and to learn from them on the current challenges they face and their experiences with enterprise virtualization so they can improve the platform and features.

This session was held at the VMware Sofia Bulgaria office, where a number of the technical experts who build the various platforms and features that VMware users utilize every day.

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This session’s attendees come from the SQL Server community from all over the world, including Netherlands, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Kosovo, Norway, South Africa, and United States.

In addition to the attendees are a number of veterans of the class, including Michael Corey of Corey & Associates, Allan Hirt of SQLHA, Denny Cherry of Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting, and David Klee from Heraflux.

Many individuals from VMware Corporation push very hard for months to make these sessions happen, including:

  • Don Sullivan, Product Line Marketing Manager, VMware
  • Mohan Potheri, Senior Solutions Architect, VMware
  • Deji Akomolafe, Staff Solutions Architect, VMware
  • Niran Even-chen, Staff Solutions Architect & Double VCDX, VMware
  • Harry Girgorov, Events and Program Manager, VMware
  • Ralitsa Drumeva, Management Assistant, VMware

Michael Corey took some amazing photos during the event, and they are available here:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Twitter #VMWSQL

This event is Heraflux’s third iteration of this training session, and like previous sessions David Klee assisted in the class by giving multiple training sessions on the inner workings of the VMware platform and tuning for performance.

These sessions are world-class, and the knowledge transfer is bidirectional.

Heraflux would like to thank VMware for letting us continue to be a part of these sessions, and would like to thank the VMware staff in Bulgaria for their incredible hospitality and comradery.

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We look forward to the next one, wherever in the world it is held!


SQL Saturday Lincoln Wrap Up

sqlsat552_webThis past weekend our Solutions Architect Cody Chapman presented at this year’s SQL Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska on the topic “Ping! (No Reply)“.

Session Abstract: Oh! ASYNC_NETWORK_IO just went through the roof! What just happened?

Ever wonder how common tasksSolutions Architect such as how servers communicate, how cross-subnet Availability Group failover to your disaster recovery site work, or why ‘they’ always recommend a dedicated network adapter for your WSFC? De-mystifying the networking underneath your databases makes you a stronger database professional. This deep dive technical session will cover many of the critical aspects of enterprise-level networking and how your database servers communicate with the rest of the world. Topics and demonstrations include networking technologies, quality of service, VLANs, routing, monitoring, and trending.

By the end of this interactive session, you will be able to check your own networks for their performance and know how to converse with the networking admins to help improve the overall performance.

The slides have been posted for you to download! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!


SQL Server Infrastructure and Virtualization Boot Camp

Heraflux is proud to announce the availability of our new training offerings! We are launching a live web-based version of our one-day SQL Server infrastructure and virtualization master class. We are hosting an all-day training session before the end of the year to help you take advantage of quiet(er) times around the holidays. Select from one of the dates that works best for you and register today!

Tuesday, November 22nd – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Thursday, December 29th – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Looking to ramp up on the infrastructure and virtualization underneath your databases? Want to learn how to work effectively with the other silos in your IT organization? This live web-based training will help take you to the next level by understanding the architecture, performance characteristics, and performance tuning opportunities of the storage, physical server hardware, virtualization hypervisor, and VM layers underneath your critical SQL Server databases.

David KleeMicrosoft MVP and VMware vExpert David Klee leads this full-day introduction to getting the most out of the infrastructure underneath your SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with function and purpose of each layer of the architecture around their databases, and how this knowledge can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of infrastructure and virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to review and engineer the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

Intended Audience

The intended audience of this course is information workers (both business and IT-centric) involved with architecting an enterprise IT strategy for SQL Server.

Course Topics

The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • Datacenter Fundamentals
  • Infrastructure Stack Fundamentals
  • Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
  • Networking and Interconnect Topologies
  • Physical Server Technologies
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key infrastructure concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Review their own enterprise infrastructure for performance bottlenecks
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common infrastructure-related SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper capacity management techniques for long term management

Prerequisites

Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for strategic reference in working with SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath in their own environments.

Seats are limited in this training offering, so register now!

Tuesday, November 22nd – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern

Thursday, December 29th – 10:00am to 6:30pm Eastern


PASS Summit 2016 Wrapup

PASS_2016_WebsiteLast week, Heraflux was proud to present multiple sessions at this year’s PASS Summit 2016 in Seattle, WA. David Klee presented three sessions at the conference, including one all-day workshop!

20161025_081313On Tuesday, David presented an all-day training session entitled “The Complete Primer to SQL Server Virtualization” to a full house. This session covered a soup-to-nuts series of topics for all of the layers underneath the SQL Server databases, including storage, networking and interconnects, physical servers, virtualization, and the VM construction, and discussed critical topics such as performance tuning and availability for SQL Server VMs.

20161026_162913Wednesday, David presented a general session entitled “Virtual SQL Servers. Actual Performance” to a packed room of die hard attendees who stayed to the last session of the day. This session was designed to discuss all of the major performance tuning aspects of virtualized SQL Server, and to give the attendees the most information possible for a 1.25 hour presentation.

Thursday morning David sat on a panel session with Denny Cherry, Joey D’Antoni, and Geoff Hiten called PASS the Bacon, all sponsored by SIOS and SanDisk.

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20161028_091418Finally, Friday morning David presented with Argenis Fernandez and Lou Lydiksen from Pure Storage in a session called “Storage Testing for Database Professionals“, where they talked about real-world storage testing and how conventional tools are less accurate than you think.

Thanks goes to all of the attendees, sponsors, and volunteers for making this great event a must-attend cornerstone of any database professional’s training calendar. Special thanks goes to the PASS organization, who always go above and beyond to make sure this event is truly special.

We look forward to being a part of this event next year! Until then, keep learning!

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VMworld Europe 2016 Wrap Up

vmworld-2016This past week we had the pleasure of attending our first VMworld Europe conference, held this week at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. What a great experience!

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The key takeaways from the conference are quite interesting. The announcements from last and this week indicate some challenges in portions of their strategy going forward. This photo from the speaker room sums up our thoughts on the state of VMware right now – many of the important puzzle pieces are in place, but there are some significant holes that need to be addressed for a more complete picture.

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Sessions

20161018_103107-copyFirst up, I presented a session entitled “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” with Thomas LaRock from Solarwinds. We talked about the need to monitor each layer at and underneath the databases for becoming proactive in active performance troubleshooting and monitoring. We presented to a packed room and fielded a number of great questions afterwards.

A little later in the day, I presented a session entitled “Performance Perspectives” for the vBrownBag TechTalks, where I talked about how VM admins need to understand that measuring performance statistics only from the hypervisor presents only a portion of the actual performance of the system.

At the end of the day, I sat on a panel session with Patric Chang and Jonathan Flynn from SanDisk, and Jase McCarty from EMC entitled “Running Business Critical Applications and the Software Defined Data Center on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and VSAN” where we discussed the implications of business-critical applications and their intersection with hyperconverged and all-flash systems.

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Wednesday

20161019_104942-copyWednesday was also a day filled with presentations and meetings. I started with a fun and action-packed session with Michael Corey entitled “Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) Doing IT Right” where we gave a rapid-fire stream of useful tips and tricks on maintaining maximum performance of virtualized SQL Server and Oracle VMs.

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That afternoon I presented a repeat session of the “Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers” to another near capacity room. Thank you to all of the die-hard attendees that came for the repeat session when you could not get into the previous session.

Next, VMworld has a lounge area that they call “Meet the Experts“. Michael Corey and I chatted with numerous attendees about their unique challenges with virtualizing business-critical apps, especially databases, and hopefully our answers will help them go and solve some of their concerns!

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Announcements

At this conference, VMware announced the next version of their flagship virtualization suite, vSphere 6.5. The whole list of updates and improvements are found here. I feel that this release is a solid evolutionary step towards the future of the on-premises software defined datacenter. I am exceptionally happy about the new REST-based API for managing the environment. We’ve got some ideas that we’re working on where this will come in handy! VMware says general availability of this release is scheduled for later on this year.

However, the overarching buzz at the conference was from VMware’s announcement last week. VMware is partnering with Amazon AWS to provide the means to extend the on-prem VMware deployments to the Amazon public cloud in order to create a seamless hybrid cloud approach. The reaction from the attendees was mixed. I am going to save my thoughts on this announcement for an upcoming blog post. It does open a lot of questions about target platform performance, database licensing implications, and operational management.

Barcelona

I did get to venture outside of the convention center and briefly explore Barcelona on Monday with several other SQL Server presenters. Barcelona is an incredible city. I wish I had a full month to just go exploring!

Thanks for having me speak at the conference VMware! This was my first trip to VMworld Europe, but it will certainly not be the last!

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SQL Saturday Washington DC Preconference Training Session

Heraflux is pleased to announce that we are launching our next round of all-day precon training session at the upcoming SQL Saturday in Washington DC on Friday, December 2 called ‘The Complete Primer to SQL Server Infrastructure‘.

The focus of the course is to help those new to the enterprise server infrastructure concepts become familiar with the concept and purposes of each layer of the architecture around their databases, and how this knowledge can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of infrastructure and virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage all the way through to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to review and engineer the entire stack with a strong emphasis on SQL Server performance.

The following topics will be addressed during the course:

  • Datacenter Fundamentals
  • Infrastructure Stack Fundamentals
  • Storage and SAN Concepts and Design
  • Networking and Interconnect Topologies
  • Physical Server Technologies
  • The SQL Server Virtual Machine
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Performance Investigation and Tuning of the Entire Stack

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for strategic reference in working with SQL Server and the infrastructure underneath in their own environments.

We are really happy to be delivering this precon training session, and are looking forward to seeing you all there! Reserve your seat at this exciting event here. Tickets are available at just $175!


Heraflux Presenting at USENIX LISA16 in December

lisa16_button_neat_180Heraflux is proud to present that Deji Akomolafe from VMware Corporation, and Cody Chapman and David Klee will be presenting at this year’s USENIX LISA16 conference in Boston, MA, from December 4-9th!

The three of us are presenting a half-day workshop entitled “Designing Your VMware Virtual Infrastructure for Optimal Performance, Resilience and Availability – Straight from the Source” from 1:30p – 5:00p on Monday, December 5th.

akomolafe_deji_100x115  chapman_cody_100x115  klee_david_100x115Read more