Production Database Administration

Availability Groups: More Planned Downtime for Less Unplanned Downtime

I often hear companies say, “We can never ever go down, so we’d like to implement Always On Availability Groups.” Let’s say on January 1, 2016, you rolled out a new Availability Group on SQL Server 2014. It’s the most current version available at the time, and you deploy Service Pack 1, Cumulative Update 4 (released…
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Breaking News: 2016 Query Store cleanup doesn’t work on Standard or Express Editions

If you’re using SQL Server 2016’s awesome new feature, Query Store, there’s a new bug with automatic cleanup. Books Online explains: Automatic data cleanup fails on editions other than Enterprise and Developer. Consequently, space used by the Query Store will grow over time until configured limit is reached, if data is not purged manually. If…
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Creating Tables and Stored Procedures in TempDB – Permanently

No, not #tables – actual tables. Here’s how: USE tempdb; GO /* This one is only available during my session: */ CREATE TABLE #myTempTable (ID INT IDENTITY(1,1), Stuffing VARCHAR(100)); GO /* This one is global, meaning it's available to other sessions: */ CREATE TABLE ##myTempTable (ID INT IDENTITY(1,1), Stuffing VARCHAR(100)); GO /* You can create…
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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 to Pick a Monitoring Tool

Step 1: Make a list of 5 problems you’ve faced in the last couple of months that you needed alerting on. If you’ve got a help desk ticket system, look at the ticket types that occur most frequently and cause the most outage times. For me as a DBA, that might be: SQL Server service…
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