Architecture

What Is a Staging Environment and How Do You Build One?

Architecture, SQL Server
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If you’re a full time production database administrator, you need a staging environment. This is where you test infrastructure tasks like failing over mirroring, doing a disaster recovery role swap, cluster quorum changes, log shipping configuration, and patching. You need to test this stuff repeatedly so that when you’re under pressure in the production environment, you…
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Why RPO and RTO Are Actually Performance Metrics Too

Most companies come to us saying, “The SQL Server isn’t fast enough. Help us make it go faster.” They’re kinda surprised when one of the first things we fill out together is a variation of our High Availability and Disaster Recovery Planning Worksheet: Download the full PDF in our First Responder Kit They say things like, “Wait,…
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Many Masters, One Truth

As businesses grow, many teams start considering scale out database solutions but they’re cautious – they want to know how to keep data up to date in multiple places. In theory, you can use log shipping, mirroring, or AlwaysOn Availability groups. While this answers the literal question, what people really mean is usually very different.…
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Saving Session State (video)

Architecture
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Session state frequently ends up on a busy SQL Server. What seemed like a good idea in development turns into a problem in production. While there are valid business reasons for persisting session state to permanent storage; there are equally valid reasons to avoid using SQL Server as the permanent storage. We’ll investigate why session…
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Databases Five Years from Today

Architecture
35 Comments
Five years from now, in March 2018, what will be different about databases?  I’m a Microsoft SQL Server guy, so keep that in mind when reading my thoughts. Looking Back at 2008-2013 The big story here for me was virtualization.  In mid-2008, Microsoft added support for SQL Server running under Hyper-V, and later they added…
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The Trouble with Keys

Architecture
22 Comments
Scaling up is hard: big hardware gets expensive fast. Scaling out is equally difficult; interesting design problems creep in to scale out solutions. One of the more troublesome issues architects face when scaling out is the issue of distributing identity. It’s often advantageous for object identity to be unique and portable across all database instances…
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Understanding Database Choice

Architecture
3 Comments
Everyone needs a distributed database right? Wrong. It’s easy to get so excited about trying out a new technology that you close your eyes to the problem you’re trying to solve. I came across a question on Stack Overflow where the poster was asking what kind of distributed database they needed. Rather than jump right…
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Which Database Is Right for Me?

Architecture
14 Comments
When you start developing a new application how do you pick the database back end? Most people pick what they know/what’s already installed on their system: the tried and true relational database. Let’s face it: nobody is getting fired for using a relational database. They’re safe, well understood, and there’s probably one running in the…
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I can tell when someone's been surfing dirty web sites.

NoSQL Basics for Database Administrators

Architecture
37 Comments
Most SQL Server DBAs don’t even like MySQL, let alone NoSQL.  They cringe when they hear people say things like, “I don’t need transactions” or “The data will eventually be consistent” or “Indexes will be supported in the next version.” SQL Server and Oracle people are constantly trying to out-feature each other, and the abject…
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Mirrors aren’t backups

Are you using any of these technologies as a method of database protection? Database mirroring (keeping two database servers synchronized with the same data via SQL 2005/2008) Replication (copying records between databases) Log shipping (copying log files to another server and restoring them immediately) SAN-based mirroring (storing two copies of your database on two different…
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