availability groups

An Expensive Reason To Avoid AGs In Azure

Cash Rules Most people, when they get through paying for Azure, and SQL Server Enterprise Licensing, are left with a hole in their wallet that could only be filled with something that says “Bugatti”, and has a speedometer with an infinity sign at the end. Recently, while working with a client, I found out that…
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Direct Seeding: I’ve Got A Wizard And You Don’t

A commenter commented That the “New AG Wizard” in SSMS 2017 had surfaced the Direct Seeding mode for AGs. I was pretty psyched about this because I think it’s a great feature addition to AGs that can solve for a pretty big hump that people run into when they create databases regularly. It used to…
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New White Paper: How to Build an Always On Availability Group in Google Compute Engine

You’re a database administrator, Windows admin, or developer. You want to build a Microsoft SQL Server environment that’s highly available, and you’ve chosen to use Always On Availability Groups. Our newest white paper – download In this white paper we built with Google, we’ll show you: How to build your first Availability Group in Google…
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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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Availability Group Direct Seeding: Mind Your Backup Jobs

I’ll get right to the point While you’re Direct Seeding, you have to be careful with any other full or differential backup jobs running on the server. This is an artifact of the Direct Seeding process, but it’s one you should be aware of up front. In the screencap below, courtesy of sp_whoisactive there’s a…
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Availability Group Direct Seeding: TDE’s Frenemy

From the Mailbag In another post I did on Direct Seeding, reader Bryan Aubuchon asked if it plays nicely with TDE. I’ll be honest with you, TDE is one of the last things I test interoperability with. It’s annoying that it breaks Instant File Initialization, and mucks up backup compression. But I totally get the…
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Availability Group Direct Seeding: Extended Events and DMVs

As of this writing, this is all undocumented I’m super interested in this feature, so that won’t deter me too much. There have been a number of questions since Availability Groups became a thing about how to automate adding new databases. All of the solutions were kind of awkward scripts to backup, restore, join, blah…
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Availability Group Direct Seeding: How to fix a database that won’t sync

This post covers two scenarios You either created a database, and the sync failed for some reason, or a database stopped syncing. Our setup focuses on one where sync breaks immediately, because whatever it’s my blog post. In order to do that, I set up a script to create a bunch of databases, hoping that…
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SQL Server 2016: Availability Groups, Direct Seeding, and You.

One of my least favorite things about Availability Groups Well, really, this goes for Mirroring and Log Shipping, too. Don’t think you’re special just because you don’t have a half dozen patches and bug fixes per CU. Hah. Showed you! Where was I? Oh yeah. I really didn’t like the backup and restore part. You…
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Synchronous Always On Availability Groups Is Not Zero Data Loss

In theory, when you configure AlwaysOn Availability Groups with synchronous replication between multiple replicas, you won’t lose data. When any transaction is committed, it’s saved across multiple replicas. That’s the way it works, right? I mean, except when you restart your synchronous replicas, or patch them, or they just stop working for any number of reasons.…
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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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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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