When Always On Isn’t: Handling Outages in Your Application

Today’s brief Stack Overflow outage reminded me of something I’ve always wanted to blog about: Stack Overflow is in limp-home mode There’s a gray bar across the top that says, “This site is currently in read-only mode; we’ll return with full functionality soon.” That’s not a hidden feature of Always On Availability Groups. Rather, it’s a…
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How to Download the Stack Overflow Database

I use a Microsoft SQL Server version of the public Stack Overflow data export for my blog posts and training classes because it’s way more interesting than a lot of sample data sets out there. It’s easy to learn, has just a few easy-to-understand tables, and has real-world data distributions for numbers, dates, and strings.…
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Update on Stack Overflow’s Recovery Strategy with SQL Server 2014

Back in 2009 (wow, seems like only yesterday!), I wrote about designing a recovery strategy for Stack Overflow. Back then, I wrote: With these answers in mind, Stack Overflow’s decisions not to do transaction log backups, offsite log shipping, database mirroring, and so on make good business sense. Us geeks in the crowd may not like it,…
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Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Always On AGs at StackOverflow

I recently finished helping the StackExchange team migrate their SQL Server 2008 infrastructure to SQL Server 2012. These servers power StackOverflow, DBA.StackExchange.com, the new AskPatents partnership with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and hundreds of other Q&A sites that together form one of the biggest web site networks. It’s one of the most visible…
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StackOverflow VC, SQL Server, and Whuffie

Yesterday StackOverflow announced that they’d accepted $6 million in venture capital funding.  Joel Spolsky held a quick public chat to discuss it, and there were some interesting questions from the audience.  I’m going to paraphrase some of the questions and give my own answers. Q: Now that StackOverflow is going to be big, will they…
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New StackOverflow database server coming

Stack Overflow
SQL Server for StackOverflow Today, Jeff Atwood blogged about StackOverflow’s new SQL Server hardware: a Lenovo RD120, the artist formerly known as an IBM x346.  Notice the big heart on the box.  Servers run faster with love. Next, I’m aiming to do log shipping from the box pictured here over to Amazon S3.  The StackOverflow…
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StackOverflow’s SQL 2008 FTS issue solved

Whew – the Microsoft folks really came through on this one and tracked down the problem pretty quickly.  I want to personally thank Denis Churin, Nikita Shamgunov and Sundaram Narayanan for their detailed investigation into the issue and helping us get it fixed. I’m going to explain the issue to help anybody else get through…
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A little ninja work before breakfast

Mornings like this, I can’t believe I get paid to do this stuff: That’s Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror and Stack Overflow, whose blog I’ve been reading for years.  I actually bought a t-shirt with his site’s logo way back in 2006.  Jeff effing Atwood.  If I saw him, I’d ask for his autograph on…
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