Azure Load Balancers and SQL Server

Load balancing in Azure has more importance for the DBA, because it is essential for Windows Server Failover Clustering in Azure, whether it is for AlwaysOn Availaiblity Groups, Failover Clustered Instances, or any other highly-available solution. Azure load balancing works out the location of the availability group, and routes traffic there. The load balancer detects a failure, and routes traffic to the new primary replica. Joshua Feierman gives an overview of what is required.… Read more

Azure Networking for SQL Server DBAs

The network is important to any DBA because so much performance is dependent on I/O, because of the importance of security, and ensuring that everyone get the right access. DBAs generally need not become experts in Azure networks, but it helps to understand the concepts and language. If you are running a SQL Server Virtual Machine in Azure, then VNets, Subnets, Network Security Groups, VNet peering and VPN gateways are all worth knowing about in order to to keep SQL Servers running smoothly.… Read more

Exploring Azure Storage for SQL Server DBAs – Part 2

Managed Disks have simplified way that Azure storage interacts with the users' virtual machines, thanks to the way that it eliminates the need to deal with the Storage Account. It is now easier to add new disks to a virtual machine, either in PowerShell or via the portal. The Storage Spaces feature in Windows Server can be used to aggregate disks together and obtain higher levels of performance. Joshua Feierman explains how to do it all.… Read more

Exploring Azure Storage for SQL Server DBAs

If you need to run SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine, your choice of Azure storage will have a great effect on its performance. If performance is important, you are likely to discover complications and barriers in the storage options when you come to provision the server. If you get it wrong, you could end up with an expensive service. Joshua explains the value of using a lab environment to allow you to make well-informed VM storage decisions when the time comes to provision your production system. … Read more

How to Build Your First SQL Server Virtual Lab in Windows Azure

If you are a DBA who hasn't so far dived in head-first into using Azure, it is worth setting up an Azure 'Virtual Lab' environment the easy way, using a template. This will then allow you to experiment, try things out with SQL Azure, and get familiar with Resource Groups. Joshua shows how to build a virtual lab, from the ground up in the first of a series that aims to give you a grounding in Azure.… Read more

3 Built-In Technologies for Centralizing SQL Server Administration

DBAs can be more effective in managing their workload by centralizing their procedures. There are several features of SQL server that can be harnessed to this end: PowerShell is only part of the solution: there is also Central Management Server, Master /Target Agent and the Remote Server Administration Tools. It's time to work out your objectives and pick the most suitable technologies to meet them. … Read more

The Enterprise DBA Mindset as a Practical Problem-solving Approach

In order to keep the demands of the job under control, any DBA needs to automate as many as possible of the suitable tasks that their role demands. What makes a task suitable? How do you judge whether it is worthwhile? Can we take a 'managed', consistent, decision? Joshua Feierman explains the practicalities with a real example.… Read more

Checklists: A DBA’s Best Friend

Because so much of the work of the DBA involved doing things in the right order without missing steps out, checklists are a great way of ensuring that the chance of mistakes is minimised. DBAs generally create the sort of checklist style that suits their way of working, while making their work easier for them and as reliable as possible.… Read more

How DBAs Can Adopt the Craftsman Mindset

The job of a DBA requires a fusion of skill and knowledge. To acquire this requires a craftsman mindset. Craftsmen find that the better they get at the work, the more enjoyable the work gets, and the more successful they become. Deliberate practice, Specialization and an appetite for overcoming difficulty are good habits to deliberately adopt to successfully grow those craftsmanlike skills to the point that you become "so good they can't ignore you".… Read more

The Mindset of the Enterprise DBA: Delegating Work

A lot of the routine jobs demanded of a DBA can be automated, but a tougher prospect is to automate these jobs in a way that the requestor rather than the DBA can actually set of the job running themselves without compromising security and without risk. Is it true to say that some tasks can be made self-service? In the final part of his series, Joshua considers delegation.… Read more

The Mindset of the Enterprise DBA: 8 Ways To Centralize Your Work

Although it is possible to provide good service to small to medium companies as a DBA without putting in place systems and processes to manage the workload and the demands of teamwork, it isn't so in the larger enterprise. As well as standardizing and documenting, the enterprise DBA needs to centralize the management of systems. Joshua Feierman explains.… Read more

The Mindset of the Enterprise DBA: Creating and Applying Standards to Our Work

Although many professions, such as pilots, surgeons and IT administrators, require judgement and skill, they also require the ability to do many repeated standard procedures in a consistent and methodical manner. These procedures leave little room for creativity since they must be done right, and in the right order. For DBAs, standardization involves providing and following checklists, notes and instructions so that the results are predictable, correct and easy to maintain… Read more

On Adopting the Mindset of an Enterprise DBA

Although many of the important tasks a DBA has to perform should be done 'by hand', keying in commands or using SSMS, the canny DBA with a heavy workload will always have an eye to automating routine tasks wherever possible, or using a tool. Although the likely candidates for automation are often obvious, it is not always so. Time can often be saved in surprising ways.… Read more

Applying The Scientific Method to SQL Server Performance Tuning

Database administrators tend to rely more on science than intuition, and may therefore seem exasperatingly cautious to other IT people. A relational database is a complex machine, however, that is asked to deal with intricate problems. When things go wrong, it usually takes knowledge, deduction and a systematic approach to track down the root core of problems and to determine the best fix.… Read more

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