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  • Blog Post: Microsoft Windows Azure Disaster Recovery Options for On-Premises SQL Server

    One of the use-cases for a cloud solution is to serve as a Disaster Recovery option for your on-premises servers. I’ll explain one particular use-case in this entry, specifically using Windows Azure “IaaS” or Virtual Machines as a Recovery Solution for SQL Server (more detail here:...
  • Blog Post: Bug-Out Bags and Cloud Architecture Considerations

    I served in the U.S. Military for a while, and as part of my training we had to maintain a “Bug-Out Bag”, which was a large duffle-bag full of certain items that we could live on/fight with in an emergency. I’ve carried the spirit of that idea forward with me into civilian life, in Florida and especially...
  • Blog Post: SQL Azure Use Case: Shared Storage Application

    This is one in a series of posts on when and where to use a distributed architecture design in your organization's computing needs. You can find the main post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/buckwoody/archive/2011/01/18/windows-azure-and-sql-azure-use-cases.aspx Description: On-premise data will be a part...
  • Blog Post: The “D” in HADR

    HADR is an acronym that stands for H igh A vailability / D isaster R ecovery. Although you can think of these two concepts individually, I prefer to think of them on a continuum. If your system is spread out across multiple locations, for instance, it can be both highly available and able to quickly...
  • Blog Post: Backup those keys, citizen

    Periodically I back up the keys within my servers and databases, and when I do, I blog a reminder here. This should be part of your standard backup rotation – the keys should be backed up often enough to have at hand and again when they change. The first key you need to back up is the Service Master...
  • Blog Post: Cluster Nodes as RAID Drives

    I'm unable to sleep tonight so I thought I would push this post out VERY early. When you don't sleep your mind takes interesting turns, which can be a good thing. I was watching a briefing today by a couple of friends as they were talking about various ways to arrange a Windows Server Cluster for...
  • Blog Post: Have you backed up your keys lately?

    Did you know that you already have a Server Master Key (SMK) generated for your system? That’s right – while a Database Master Key (DMK) is generated when you encrypt a certificate or Asymmetric Key with code, the Server Master Key is generated automatically when you start the Instance. So you should...
  • Blog Post: Plan and Prepare or Just Do It? How about Both!

    I'm kind of a type "A" person. OK, I'm a VERY type "A" person. I even cook by setting things up ahead of time. I'm definitely more in the "Plan and Prepare" camp than the "Just Do It" camp. But I do realize that there are times when you just can't stop and prepare. Sure, it would be great to know...
  • Blog Post: The Dark Sides of Consolidation

    Consolidation, as it applies to databases, is simply putting more databases or SQL Server Instances on less hardware. This is a good thing, normally, because it allows you to save on hardware costs and use what you have at it’s highest capacity. It also saves on energy costs, floor and rack space, and...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 does not always script out all tables

    I teach my college students to periodically script out their databases so that they can run the script to create the entire project on any system. I use this to check their homework, and to teach them about source-code control. We use the scripting wizard in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and select...
  • Blog Post: Knowledge is how you break the rules

    Last night I had to do something on a production system that you're not supposed to do. It's not important what I did or where I did it, but I will explain why I did it. A friend was in a situation where it was either "break the rules" or lose the system. So I did what I had to do, with lots of caveats...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft Does IT - Updated

    I’ve pointed out this link before, and I’ll definitely bring it up again. Microsoft is one of the few companies I know, especially the big ones, that explains how they run their IT. We have a fantastic, I mean really fantastic site that you should definitely check out. Can save you lots of time, and...
  • Blog Post: Learning New Tech on SQL Server Virtualization – From Vendors

    I’m at PASS this year, and one of the things I’ve learned this time is that I can learn from – the vendors!  Most of the “big” names are here, like Idera, Redgate, Quest, and more, but I ran into some folks yesterday I hadn’t spoken with before – XKoto. I’m actually surprised I hadn’t run into them...
  • Blog Post: Disaster Response and the Physical Plant

    Near our home is a Dam about to break. It was built long ago, and even though millions were taxed and spent for it, little to none of that money ever got to the actual shoring up and maintaining the dam  over time (don’t get me started). Anyway, it’s in sad shape, and an entire valley is about to...
  • Blog Post: Great new Whitepaper on High Availability

    Paul Randal, he of SQLskills.com fame, has published a new whitepaper on High Availability with SQL Server. If you follow any SQL Server news or blog sites, you’ve probably already see the announcement for it, but I wanted to mention it here in case you haven’t seen it yet. There are certain references...
  • Blog Post: Test your Restores, or, a Cautionary Tale

    The other day I rebuilt a test system, and as a result I wanted to restore a few of my test databases. I've done a lot of customization in those, fuzzed some of the private data and so on, that they've moved dangerously close to a "production" database, at least for me. So I grabbed the media, popped...
  • Blog Post: Bad Flights and Customer Service Lessons

    I am in Atlanta, Georgia today, which is normally around a 7-hour flight from Seattle. I won't go into all the details, but after almost every issue you can face on an airplane, it took my 21 hours to get here. Needless to say, I'm a little sleepy as I type this! Now I don't blame the airlines for the...
  • Blog Post: Is Your Infrastructure Crumbling?

    I watched a documentary (of sorts) last night called "Crumbling America" that talked about America's infrastructure issues. They detailed how roads, bridges, electrical grids and water systems are having serious issues and are basically falling apart. I think they were sensationalizing a bit...
  • Blog Post: Compressed Backups Restore - Faster?

    There's been some chatter on a few of the newsgroups I subscribe to about backup compression in SQL Server 2008. It seems that some folks are noticing that restoring from a compressed backup actually restores faster than an uncompressed one. This might not make any sense on the surface - after all, the...
  • Blog Post: Should You Auto-Start SQL Server Services?

    It's a fairly common practice to set the SQL Server Services (Engine, Agent, OLAP, RS, etc.) to automatically start when the server does. But is this a good idea? I don't set my services to start automatically. If the server is unexpectedly rebooted, I want to know why before I start SQL Server. Sure...
  • Blog Post: Check that database before you restore it...

    I'm on my way to the city of Seattle this morning on the train and I ran across an issue with a database restore. I've been working with Service Broker and then put it out of my mind. I then backed up said database and restored it the same instance as a test. Then things started going awry... Then this...
  • Blog Post: PASS 2008 Conference – Day One

    Yeah, I’m at another conference – but I didn’t have to travel far for this one! I’m at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference here in Seattle, Washington. OK, I did have to take a train and a bus to get to the convention center, but this time I didn’t have to take a passport. ...
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