Always On Availability Groups

How to Configure Always On AG Backups with Ola Hallengren’s Scripts

With SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups, you can offload backups to a replica rather than running them on the primary. Here’s how to do it: 1. Install Ola Hallengren’s utility scripts on all of the replicas. During the install, it creates a laundry list of SQL Agent jobs, but doesn’t set up schedules for any of them.…
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How to Set Up Standard Edition Always On Availability Groups in SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 adds Availability Groups in Standard Edition. While the licensing details can obviously change right up to release date, here’s what was announced at the Ignite conference: Limited to two nodes only (a primary and a secondary) Like mirroring, you can’t read from the secondary, nor take backups of it But like database…
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“Breaking” News: Don’t Install SQL Server 2014 SP1

Yesterday, Microsoft announced availability of Service Pack 1, saying: As part of our continued commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2014 deployments via the download links below. Yeah, about that commitment to software excellence. This morning, the download is gone: Notice: The SQL SSIS…
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The Hard Truth About Patching SQL Server Availability Groups (Hotfixes, Cumulative Updates, and Service Packs)

Whoa, be careful with that fix As a DBA, you’re responsible for identifying necessary updates to keep your SQL Servers healthy. Your business may have some mandates about the frequency of patches, but even if they don’t, you have a duty to look out for Cumulative Updates, Service Packs, and out of band hotfixes that can prevent…
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Urgent AlwaysOn Availability Groups Bug

If you’re using AGs, don’t apply these patches: SQL 2012 SP2 CU3 SQL 2012 SP2 CU4 SQL 2014 CU5 until you read this Microsoft post about a breaking bug. Your AG may stop synchronizing due to blocking between user queries and a system session. The fix is to disable automatic failover, restart the primary, and…
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How Would You Change Always On Availability Groups?

SQL Server 2012 introduced AlwaysOn Availability Groups, a way to achieve high availability, disaster recovery, and scale-out reads. SQL 2014 brought some improvements around higher uptime and more scale-out, and all signs point to continued improvements in the next version of SQL Server, too. (I love it when Microsoft brings out features like this and…
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Careful Adding Indexes with Always On Availability Groups

In theory, you can add indexes online with SQL Server Enterprise Edition. In theory, with AlwaysOn Availability Groups, you can add and drop indexes on the primary replica whenever you want. In theory, you can perform read-only queries on the secondaries whenever you want, and nobody gets blocked. In practice, these things don’t always add…
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Auto-Scaling SQL Server Always On Availability Groups with Virtualization

Time for a thought exercise. Thought exercises are hard. You’ve got a database application that has bursty and unpredictable loads. Out of nowhere, you’ll suddenly get socked with a large amount of SELECT queries. Due to the way the app is written, you can’t cache the query results – the queries keep changing, and the business…
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Always On Availability Groups, Backup Checksums, and Corruption

The latest version of sp_Blitz® alerts you if you haven’t been using the WITH CHECKSUM parameter on your backups. This parameter tells SQL Server to check the checksums on each page and alert if there’s corruption. But what about corrupt backups? Books Online says: NO_CHECKSUM – Explicitly disables the generation of backup checksums (and the validation…
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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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Common SQL Server Clustering, AlwaysOn, and High Availability Answers

Our live webcast topic this week was Q&A – you could bring any HA/DR questions, and we could avoid your answers. Just kidding. Here’s the webcast – we apologize for the audio, WebEx is still getting their act together. It cleans up after the first couple of minutes. And here’s the questions we couldn’t get…
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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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Why Your SQL Server’s Network Connection Matters

If you’re using SQL Server 2012’s hot new AlwaysOn Availability Groups feature, your databases will go offline when your network connection does – even if you’re using asynchronous replication. This is not a bug.  This is working as designed – and it’s important to understand the underlying concepts. Nothing to see here, I'm just going…
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