Foreword in HPE and ScaleArc Performance Whitepaper

Heraflux is proud to have contributed an industry perspective to a recent whitepaper highlighting scale-up architectures using HPE’s Superdome X and ScaleArc. Sometimes database-specific workloads do not scale out well because of years of legacy design and engineering, and in those occasions you need to scale up. Scaling up a business-critical applications, just like scaling them outwards, is not a trivial task. Leveraging modern scale-up technologies such as the HPE Superdome X servers and ScaleArc’s database acceleration and availability solution can help you scale your applications up without dramatic and costly modifications to your code.

Check out this reference architecture for Superdome X and ScaleArc here!


Prevent Presentation Disasters by Pausing Windows Updates

It’s no secret that Windows 10 likes to forcibly apply updates, and occasionally these forced updates can occur at very inopportune times. I’ve heard tales of forced updates ruining demonstrations and presentations not only at SQL Saturdays, but also at this year’s PASS Summit.

What most people don’t seem to realize is that this type of disaster can be prevented rather easily. Here’s how to prevent surprise updates in Windows 10:

Have The Right Version

All the settings shown here first appeared in the Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1703. By this point you probably have it on your machine (in fact, as I write this, the Fall 2017 Creators Update, version 1709, is now being pushed out to users.) But if you’re unsure of your windows version and want to check, right-click on the start button and choose “system” to bring up information about your PC.

 

So long as you have version 1703 or later, you’re good!

Advanced Windows Update Options

Navigate to this menu by clicking on the Start button and searching for “Advanced Windows Update Options”.

Once this window opens, you’ll see several options that can be configured:

(click to enlarge)

Towards the bottom is the silver tuna: the “Pause Updates” switch. As the very helpful description states, pausing updates stops their installation for up to 35 days (unless you un-pause it sooner). Once those 35 days are up, you must bring your device up-to-date before you are allowed to pause again.

Moving up from the Pause Updates switch are two drop downs that allow deferment of updates. “Feature updates”, which are released semi-annually, can be delayed for up to a year. “Quality updates”, the cumulative monthly updates, can be deferred by up to a month.

Moving up again, you will find the Windows servicing channel. The channels available to you depend on which edition of Windows 10 you are running, and a matrix is available here. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Microsoft is changing the names of the channels in the Windows 10 Fall 2017 Creators Update (version 1709).

The Current Branch is considered appropriate for home users, and receives updates as soon as they are available. Beginning in version 1709 this will be renamed to “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)”.

The Current Branch for Business receives updates a few months after they are made available, and is directed towards business users. Beginning in version 1709 this will be known as the “Semi-Annual Channel”.

Thank you, Microsoft, for taking some pretty straight-forward names and changing them to be nearly identical and way more confusing.

My Recommendations

Here’s what I do: if I have a presentation or other important event coming up, I pause updates a week or two beforehand. This gives me adequate time to test everything in a stable environment as well as the peace of mind that unexpected updates won’t occur. I also allow my feature and quality updates to be deferred by up to 15 days. That way, if an update does pop up out of nowhere, I’m not forced to install it immediately.

This post is syndicated from Bob’s personal blog site at bobpusateri.com.


PASS Linux for the SQL Server DBA Webinar - Dec 13

Join David Klee for a session on Linux administration for the SQL Server DBA as part of the PASS SQL Server on Linux webinar series marathon on December 13th!

Times are certainly changing with Microsoft’s recent announcement to adopt the Linux operating system with the SQL Server 2017 release, and you should be prepared to support it. But, what is Linux? Why run your critical databases on an unfamiliar operating system? How do I do the basics, such as backing up to a network share or add additional drives for data, logs, and tempdb files? This introductory session will help seasoned SQL Server DBAs understand the basics of Linux and how it differs from Windows, all the way from basic management to performance monitoring. By the end of the session, you will be able to launch your own Linux-based SQL Server instance on a production ready VM.

Register now for this exciting webinar series!


MSSQLTips Webinar with SIOS - Thursday 1p Eastern

Come join SIOS and Heraflux for an exciting webinar discussing the inherent challenges with infrastructure problems, database performance, and bridging the silos within the IT organization.

  • Learn why legacy tools fall short in helping you fully solve SQL Server problems
  • Comparison: Step through how to troubleshoot the cause of a SQL Server problem vs. using Machine Learning
  • Get answers you need to help prevent future SQL Server performance challenges

Attend this webinar to learn more.

Webcast Date

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:00 PM UTC | 1:00 PM EST

Register for this webinar here.


VMworld 2017 Recap

Heraflux was proud to participate in both VMworld USA and EMEA over the last month, and our enterprise SQL Server content stole the show!

Our VMworld USA experience was simply amazing.

First, David Klee from Heraflux, along with Deji Akomolafe from VMware Corp. presented an all-day boot camp the Saturday before VMworld on SQL Server virtualization, where we presented an incredible amount of tips and tricks on SQL Server-on-VMware performance, availability, and scalability topics.

Both of our general session presentations made the VMworld USA best-of-the-day list for Tuesday, August 29th! They are now available for you to watch and learn from out on YouTube.

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right [VIRT1309BU] with Michael Corey

Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers [VIRT1430BU] with Thomas LaRock

Our panel session with Argenis Fernandez from Pure Storage, Thomas LaRock from Solarwinds, Allan Hirt from SQLHA, and Niran Even-chen from VMware Corp. was also a smash hit.

Thanks Argenis for the great photo!

Special thanks goes to Don Sullivan from VMware Corp. for championing the enterprise database content at these conferences!

Heraflux also announced a partnership with SIOS Corporation for an upcoming add-on for the SIOS iQ product for advanced SQL Server state collection into the iQ machine-learning platform to boost the advanced performance anomaly detection into the application layer in a virtual environment. Stay tuned for more details regarding this exciting development!

David Klee and Sergey Razin, PhD., from SIOS Corporation demonstrating the SQL Server enhancements in SIOS iQ

David Klee and Jon Shields at the SIOS booth in the exhibition hall

David also presented with Argenis Fernandez from Pure Storage in the Pure booth in the exhibition hall on SQL Server storage benchmarking fallacies.

Heraflux also met with our good friends at Rubrik to discuss the impressive state of their SQL Server-integrated backup platform, who won both the VMworld 2017 Best of Show and Gold awards for their incredible platform.

Argenis Fernandez of Pure Storage, David Klee of Heraflux, Biswaroop Palit from Rubrik

Argenis and David also presented in the Intel booth on modern CPU architectures and VMware vNUMA for enterprise SQL Server workloads.

As you can see, our VMworld USA conference was quite the show.

Just one week later, Heraflux participated in VMworld EMEA in Barcelona, Spain.

Just like in Las Vegas, all of our SQL Server content made the featured videos list! They are now available for you to watch and learn from out on the VMworld EMEA featured videos list.

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right [VIRT1309BU] with Michael Corey

Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers [VIRT1430BU] with Thomas LaRock

David also presented a session for the vBrownBag TechTalks series called vNUMA and You.

We even held an impromptu SQL Server architect open Q&A in the VMvillage to help folks successfully improve their SQL Server virtualization experience.

The announcements from VMware at both of these shows were a bit mixed, in our opinion. The announcement of the general availability for VMware Cloud on Amazon AWS is an interesting shift in strategy. Pivotal Container Service shows VMware’s commitment to containers and workload portability, which to us is a sign of the direction of VMware Corp. On-premises virtualization is generally seen as the new beige at this point, and the unified direction of VMware, based on the messaging from these shows, demonstrates that VMware is shifting to attempt to be the conduit between the various platforms for on-prem virtualization and public cloud providers. The jury is still out on how well the industry will adopt and embrace this shift, but we at Heraflux are quite interested to know your thoughts!

We’ll see you at the next one!


Q&A Session with SQL Server on VMware Experts at VMworld EMEA

Greetings everyone! We had so many people stay after our SQL Server on VMware sessions at VMworld USA to ask great questions, I thought I’d extend an offer to everyone at the European show coming up in a week! Let’s talk SQL Server! We are going to crash the VMvillage hang space on Tuesday, September 12 at 3pm local time to hold an open-ended SQL Server on VMware Q&A session. This unscripted and unofficial session is for you, has no official agenda, and marketing is strictly off-limits.

Our illustrious experts include:


Michael Corey, Founder – Corey and Associates

Thomas LaRock, Head Geek – Solarwinds

Argenis Fernandez, Principal Architect – Pure Storage

Niran Even Chen, Double VCDX, VMware Corp.

… and me!

Mark your calendars, and bring your questions, specific challenges, or discussion points, and let’s do this! Anything goes – performance, availability, setup and configuration, conflicts between best practices for SQL Server and VMware, anything!


SQL Server on VMware VMworld USA Videos Now On YouTube

We just saw that our two SQL Server on VMware sessions that David Klee co-presented on Tuesday at VMworld USA, both of which made the top 10 sessions of the day list at the conference, are now on YouTube! They are free to watch for everyone!

For those of you with virtualized SQL Servers, regardless of platform and cloud or on-premises, we urge you to watch these two sessions at your convenience.

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right (VIRT1309BU) (co-presented with Michael Corey)

Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers (VIRT1430BU) (co-presented with Thomas LaRock)


VMworld EMEA SQL Server Sessions

This trip to Barcelona for Heraflux to the next VMworld EMEA conference next week will be our second trip to this conference in two years. David Klee from Heraflux is presenting on SQL Server performance, scalability, and monitoring in three sessions at this conference.

Tuesday 11amMonster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right (VIRT1309BU) with Michael Corey

Wednesday 12:30pmPerformance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers (VIRT1430BE) with Thomas LaRock

Wednesday 5:30pmvBrownBag session – vNUMA and You (VMTN6680E)

We are also going to hold at least one impromptu SQL Server experts open Q&A session in the VMvillage at some point early in the week, so stay tuned to this blog for when and where to meet up!

If you want to schedule some time to meet, please contact us and schedule some time. We look forward to meeting with all of you at the show!


VMworld 2017 USA SQL Server Sessions in Top 10 of the Day

Heraflux is proud to announce that both of our SQL Server on VMware sessions that David Klee co-presented on the Tuesday of the VMworld USA conference have made the top 10 sessions of the day list! These sessions were recorded and are now available for the general public to watch. For those of you with virtualized SQL Servers, regardless of platform and cloud or on-premises, we urge you to watch these two sessions at your convenience.

First, go to the top sessions page here. Scroll to Tuesday, and look for the following sessions:

Monster VMs (Database Virtualization) with vSphere 6.5: Doing IT Right (VIRT1309BU) (co-presented with Michael Corey)

Performance Tuning and Monitoring for Virtualized Database Servers (VIRT1430BU) (co-presented with Thomas LaRock)

Stay tuned for our sessions at VMworld Europe next week, and our wrap up post once the dust clears from the next conference. Thanks to all of the attendees to our sessions.


New Whitepaper - Capture Production Error States

System administrators of the world, if a VM experiences a problem that takes down business-critical application, your job is to get minimize the impact to the business. You are caught in a difficult decision.

Do you repair the VM as quickly as possible, but possibly lose traces of what went wrong. In doing so, that loss of evidence might mean that this outage returns at a future point in time.

…or…

Do you prolong the outage and continue to impact to the business to investigate and get to the root cause of what actually happened so that it does not happen again?

The business almost always pushes you to perform the former, which puts you in a bad position if the VM issue returns.

Now you can do both.

For those of you on VMware vSphere platforms, the latest revision of VMware’s PowerCLI PowerShell extensions contain a little publicized feature that allows you to capture the production server’s error state and preserve it for later investigation so that you can repair the VM as fast as possible to minimize the impact to the business.

Read more about this exciting new feature and how you can leverage the power of this feature to capture the production error state in our new free whitepaper!