Packet Pushers Podcast released

I am thrilled to have recently recorded a podcast with our friends over at PacketPushers. The podcast, "How an IT Specialist Chooses Adjacent Competencies", talks about how adjacencies in IT, as well as deeply intertwined technologies that compete and conflict with each other, can become a great means to specialize in multiple technologies to become an increasingly valuable asset to your organization and career.

General IT practitioners are incredibly valuable, as it makes you immensely adaptable to emerging and changing technologies. Specializing in one area gives you the potential to become the master at that topic. What is better - specializing or generalizing? I find that you can do both - and quite successfully mind you - but it takes your interest in multiple topics to make it happen. Listen in to learn more!

For those of you who read my blog, you'll find that I have an intense fascination with how large database servers (notably Microsoft SQL Server) play nice - or often enough do NOT play nice - with the infrastructure underneath, regardless of on-premises or public cloud placement. I've been virtualizing these systems and doing performance tuning of these platforms for over 20 years now. I'll never say I've seen it all, but I've seen a lot of how infrastructure and database systems often do not work well together, and knowing one side well makes you stronger at the other.

Coincidentally, I recorded this podcast with Scott Lowe, who authored the book "Mastering VMware vSphere 4", the book that I used to help start my VMware certification path many years ago back in 2009. I'm amazed at how I was able to connect to contribute so many years later! Thanks Scott for your great words of wisdom!


PASS Summit 2020 Precon Announcement

I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted to deliver a preconference boot camp called 'Amplify Your Virtual SQL Server Performance' at this year's PASS Summit conference, to be held the week of November 9th-13th. My precon is to be held on Monday, November 9th.

Description: Virtualization has been the norm in data centers for years. However, implemented incorrectly, your SQL Server performance can take a massive dive. Are you sure that your SQL Servers are running at optimal performance? This full-day boot camp covers all aspects of performance engineering for virtualized SQL Servers on all virtualized platforms, including VMware and Hyper-V.

We will review critical topics such as virtualization layers, VM construction, NUMA, resource scheduling, query parallelization and physical server alignment, “right-sizing,” and storage performance-oriented presentation. New features such as SQL Server containers and hybrid cloud architectures will be demonstrated. Backups, high availability, and disaster recovery guidelines will also be reviewed. Most importantly, this seminar informs you on methods and terminology to improve your collaboration with your infrastructure team in order to streamline your critical SQL Server performance.

PASS has commited to ensuring that the conference will take place, even with the pandemic still rampant at the time of this writing. They are going to make a decision on if the event will be held in-person or online hopefully by early June. So, register today for this outstanding event! Even if you decide that my precon is not for you, the precon offerings at this year's conference are stellar! I can't wait to see you all there, either virtually or in-person!

Scene from PASS Summit 2019

Why you need SQL Server Acceleration Services during COVID-19

So what can really help you and your business succeed during these challenging times?  Your SQL Server and infrastructure teams need to work better together and make the most of the data platform that your business depends on. Performance, availability, and system efficiency are paramount to your business operations, and making sure everyone is on the same page on these topics is critical to squeeze the most from your databases.

Microsoft SQL Server, similar to other relational databases, is a significant cost to your businesses including software licenses, maintenance, support, and the associated on-prem and/or cloud platform.  These are the expenses that companies have been trying to reduce spend for many years.  During this time where you and your company are trying to strategize how to deal with the indirect impact of Coronavirus to financial projections and lost employee productivity, Heraflux can produce results in a short amount of time at a very reasonable cost.

Our high-level approach and focus for a successful project are to deliver both a SQL Server platform review and training package in less than two weeks.  Cost savings identified after our Capacity Management review are often more than the cost of the training.  The training is accomplished throughout the interactive systems review.  Since most businesses have stopped traveling, our remote training is delivered while working on your systems.  A much better alternative to traditional classroom training even without the current world challenges.

If your company has SQL Server in the cloud, planning to move to the cloud, or running SQL Server on-prem and you don’t feel like you “right-sized” the correct resource requirements, I encourage you read more about what we can do with our SQL Server & Platform Skills Acceleration Bundle.

Let us know if these boot camp training services can help you and your organization! Contact us to learn more.


Omaha SQL Server Users Group Presentation - Dec 4

I'm proud to announce that I'll be presenting an updated session entitled "Level Up Your Cloud Infrastructure Skills" for the Omaha SQL Server Users Group tomorrow on December 4th at 6pm.

Abstract: Think infrastructure in the cloud is still just for sysadmins? Think again! As your organization moves into the cloud, infrastructure skills are more important than ever for DBAs to master. Expert knowledge of cloud-related infrastructure will help you maintain performance and availability for databases in the cloud. For example, know what an IOP is? How many does your database consume during a given day? Properly sizing a cloud database depends on your knowledge of this metric. Failure to properly configure storage performance at the time of deployment will slow down your SQL Server considerably. Come learn many of the key cloud infrastructure points that you should master as the DBA role continues to evolve!

RSVP for this free event here, and I look forward to seeing you all there!


David Klee presenting at PASS Summit 2019

Heraflux is proud to announce that the founder David Klee is presenting at this year's PASS Summit conference, to be held in Seattle WA from November 5th to 8th at the Washington State Convention Center.

David is presenting a full-day preconference training session called "Advanced Virtual SQL Server Performance" as part of the Architecture stream.

Session Abstract: Virtualization is the new norm in datacenters. Even the ubiquitous “cloud” is nothing more than virtualized servers in someone else’s datacenter with advanced automation on top of it. However, just because it’s everywhere doesn’t mean it is implemented and managed correctly. Done incorrectly, your SQL Server performance can take a massive dive. Are your SQL Servers running at their best possible performance?

This full-day boot camp covers all aspects of performance engineering for virtualized SQL Servers. We will review critical topics such as virtualization layers, VM construction, NUMA, resource scheduling, query parallelization and physical server alignment, “right-sizing,” and storage performance-oriented presentation. Availability and disaster recovery guidelines will also be reviewed. Most importantly, this seminar informs you on methods and terminology to help you work better with your infrastructure team to streamline your critical SQL Server performance. You will understand how to review your critical SQL Servers for both their performance and availability as they relate to the virtualization and physical compute layers underneath, and work with your infrastructure team to implement and streamline any of your findings.

In addition to the preconference training day, David is presenting an abridged technical fire hose session on key topics in a session called "Virtual SQL Server Performance Deep Dive".  This session is designed to ramp up attendees on critical (and silent) performance killers in both cloud and on-premises virtual SQL Servers.

Session Abstract: Your business-critical SQL Servers should not suffer from virtualization-related bottlenecks. When properly architected and managed, the principal bottleneck of performance of these SQL Servers should be only limited by code. However, if not properly constructed, silent and seemingly random performance killers can strike and significantly hurt your database performance. Items such as CPU scheduling, storage queueing, and memory overcommitment can all penalize database performance, and are tough to identify.

This session is packed with many live examples of tips and tricks gained from years of experience in getting the most performance from your virtual SQL Servers. The major roadblocks to performance will be discussed, and tools, techniques, and processes will be demonstrated to help you measure and validate the system performance of the key components underneath your data.

If you've never attended the PASS Summit before, we urge you to go. This conference is the best Microsoft data-platform-centric conference there is, and the information you will gain is second to none. The people you meet networking lasts a lifetime. The content is guaranteed to improve your data platform operations. We won't miss it, and we hope to see you there!


Live360 2018 Conference

Heraflux is proud to contribute to this year's Live360 conference, to be held in Orlando Florida at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal from December 2nd to 7th.

David Klee is presenting two sessions at this conference. The first is Thursday in room SQH01 called "Cosmos DB for SQL Server Pros" at 8:00am.

Microsoft's Cosmos DB is the first globally distributed database service, allowing low-latency scalability across multiple geographical regions. As a SQL Server pro, why does this matter? SQL Server is a great multi-function database that can handle many of your tasks with ease. However, it's not the only tool in the toolbox, and Cosmos DB is a tremendous alternative for some use cases. This introductory session explores Cosmos DB and walks you through the similarities and differences in the two platforms. We explore how to provision and design your database, insert sample data and query for specific records. We'll review the scalability and throughput settings, and help you ramp up your DBA and development skills on this compelling new platform.

You will learn:

  • The core concepts of Cosmos DB and the reasons to consider it for data requirements
  • Key concepts around data design, placement and document construction
  • How to query for data and process client-side

Just after this session completes on Thursday, the next session is called "Level Up Your SQL Server Cloud Skills" in room SQLH05 at 9:30am.

Think infrastructure in the cloud is still just for sysadmins? Think again! As your organization moves into the cloud, infrastructure architecture skills are more important than ever for DBAs to master. Expert knowledge of cloud-related infrastructure will help you maintain performance and availability for databases in the cloud. For example, know what an IOP is? Should you use a Database as a Service or provision a cloud-based virtual machine? How many compute resources does your database consume during a given day? Can you secure it properly? Come learn many of the key cloud infrastructure points that you should master as the DBA role continues to evolve!

You will learn:

  • To identify key concepts around database platform selection, such as Azure SQL DB versus Infrastructure as a Service, and make educated recommendations for the appropriate platform
  • To identify key performance metrics, such as storage performance, vCPU/DTU requirements and so on, that help with properly sizing the destination resources
  • About Identifying and recognizing the key reasons to migrate databases to the cloud versus keeping them on-premises

Register for this exciting conference today! We look forward to seeing you there!


PASS Summit 2018

What a whirlwind year this has been! I’m thrilled to invite you to my sessions at this year’s PASS Summit, happening this week in Seattle WA.

Tuesday 11:30am to 1:00pm I’m part of the cloud availability panel over lunch at the SentryOne Data Day precon at the Summit. I hope you already registered for this exciting opportunity to learn more about performance and availability-related topics in this whole-day discussion.

Next, for those of you that still have your mission-critical workloads in your on-premises datacenter (or even for those who have them in the cloud, because almost all of the topics directly apply!), come to my session Wednesday morning at 10:45am entitled “On-Prem SQL Servers, Interstellar Performance“. This deep-dive on virtual SQL Server performance will help you squeeze the most performance from your virtualized SQL Servers, and will help you communicate with your infrastructure team on things that matter the most to performance-oriented SQL Servers. You’ll be sure to have quite a bit of real-world tips and tricks to take back to the office as soon as you return from the conference.

Thursday morning I’m part of the SIOS PASS the Bacon breakfast panel, where we’ll get a good chuckle while we discuss a number of topics pertinent to today’s DBA, such as availability both on-prem and in the cloud, disaster mitigation and preparation, and other availability topics. Come register here, get a great breakfast on the house, and learn while you laugh!

Next, Bob Pusateri and I have a session Thursday afternoon called “SELECT STARS: A SQL DBA’s Introduction to Azure Cosmos DB”, where we discuss and present Microsoft’s new Cosmos DB offering on the Azure platform. This platform is a completely different model of databases than what most SQL Server professionals are accustomed to, and we’ll give you the details you need to expand your horizons and learn about this exciting platform. This session is more of the ‘what’ session to get you amped to learn more about the platform on Friday.

Friday my final session of the conference is entitled “Cosmos DB for SQL Server Pros”, designed to give you more of the ‘how’ when continuing your exploration of Cosmos DB. Bob Pusateri and I will share more of the use cases, scalability details, and live code demos of how to access and alter data in a Cosmos DB database.

I hope to see you at the show! If you want to sync up and talk geek, make sure to ping me to set up some time over your favorite form of caffeine.


Did VMware Just Reinvent Itself?

I was fortunate enough to speak at and attend this year's VMworld USA conference in Las Vegas last week. I caught a small announcement there that I found absolutely intriguing, and feel it could be a revolution in the world of VMware and on-premises virtualization.

Last week, they quietly announced that Amazon Relational Database Services (RDS) will soon be able to be used on your on-premises VMware environment. Very few other details were released, but the RDS web page has a signup form for preview program.

The power of the cloud is largely in the automation that it provides. Our experience has shown that most organizations have fantastic on-prem virtualization but lack the automation to provide a solid end-user self-provisioning platform. The automation in the cloud is one of the primary drivers for cloud adoption.

Did VMware Corp. just expand to become the on-premises extension of Amazon to allow corporations to gain the power of Amazon cloud automation but on their existing on-prem IT investment?

Is this the first service of many to be offered?

Microsoft Azure Stack was an absolute game changer when it launched. I love every bit of it, and we use it in a number of shops to contribute to DevOps initiatives to help IT move as fast as the business. The only downside to Azure Stack is that it must be deployed for production purposes on certified hardware, and that list is small and rather pricey. Consistent hardware is a bonus when keeping the experience constant and predictable, but most organizations are not able to leverage their current IT platform investments to deploy Azure Stack because it is not completely certified for Azure Stack. The expense of a new investment in equipment is most likely hurting adoption.

I've been thinking about this for years now. I actually thought that this would happen in a daydream over two years ago. What if the Amazon automation deployment doesn't require special hardware to run when on-prem? What if it will run on a certified and supported VMware deployment, of which there are millions of such deployments worldwide? How does this change the private cloud game?

Only time will tell. We're eagerly watching this one. I can't wait to see if anything new will be announced at Microsoft Ignite in a few weeks!


Heraflux and CRN at VMworld 2018

Heraflux is proud to have contributed to a few news releases from CRN at this year's VMworld conference in Las Vegas. David Klee was there presenting on SQL Server on VMware related topics, was interviewed by CRN for his thoughts on the current state of VMware, and contributed to the conversation around networking.

Networking has been historically fragmented,” he said. “So, if you can turn it around…lock it down better, make it more streamlined and more automated, especially around NSX, then we can be closer to a more secure environment.

Read more on this release here.

Next, the interview talked more about networking here.

Finally, David spoke about the announcements that came from this year's conference.

This was an exciting conference, and we are thrilled to work with CRN on these announcements!


VMworld 2018 USA Direct Playback Links

VMware has prepared and released the video recordings from this year's VMworld 2018 USA conference that was held in Las Vegas last week in an incredibly short time. William Lam (@lamw) has prepared the links into one consumable format at GitHub so you can watch them as you find the time. Check them out!