Automating the Synchronization of RDS SQL Server Agent Jobs in a Multi-AZ Environment

Although Azure is the obvious Cloud service to host SQL Server, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for SQL Server is a good choice when your organisation uses AWS. RDS deals with maintenance and monitoring, and supports the use of PowerShell to automate routine tasks. What if a script needs to be triggered by an unscheduled event? Even in this case, RDS can be configured to run scripts to react when something like a failover happens. Laerte Junior shows how easy it is to set up Lambda functions and some PowerShell scripts to automatically synchronise agent jobs after a failover.… Read more

Monitoring Azure Cloud and Hybrid Environments

Cloud-based services and applications must still be monitored just like the on-premise ones. You still need most of your data center activities that ensure that your planning, budgeting, security and service-level obligations are met wherever the data and services are actually hosted. There is much to be said for an integrated approach to providing a unified view of entire application workloads on-premise. hybrid and cloud using the same tools wherever possible. … Read more

Statistics in SQL: The Kruskal–Wallis Test

Before you report your conclusions about your data, have you checked whether your 'actionable' figures occurred by chance? The Kruskal-Wallis test is a safe way of determining whether samples come from the same population, because it is simple and doesn't rely on a normal distribution in the population. This allows you a measure of confidence that your results are 'significant'. Phil Factor explains how to do it.… Read more

Getting What You Need From Azure Storage Disks

If you need persistent data disks for Azure IaaS VMs that are supported on both Windows and Linux then you will be interested in Azure Storage Disks. These can increase the storage capacity of your VMs by up to a terabyte per disk, and they not only allow several availability options, but also offer a range of performance in terms of I/O throughput and latency. With right configuration, you can create as much of the right sort of storage as you need.… Read more

Personal Data, Privacy, and the GDPR

Now that there have been well-publicised examples of the awful consequences of data breaches and data misuse, there is increasing public pressure for legislation on privacy and personal data that has enough clout to prosecute serious offenders. In the vanguard has been the EU data protection regulation, soon to be succeeded by the GDPR. It defines IT practices for data that are likely to extend worldwide. William Brewer gives a rundown of what he sees as the implication for IT practice.… Read more

Working with Windows Containers and Docker: Into your Stride

So far, in this series, Nicolas has shown how to get simple container instances up and running with just some basic background information. Now we need to understand the differences between Linux containers, Windows Server containers and Hyper-V containers. We can then define, create and run multi-container Docker applications, and port existing Windows Container VMs to Docker.… Read more

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

How to Secure Your Azure Storage Infrastructure

Azure storage is an essential foundation for the more sophisticated services that Microsoft Azure provides. It is therefore important to understand how to make access to your data in Azure storage secure, to control access appropriately, to log activity and to get metrics on usage. Security in Azure can be easily managed and controlled via policies. There are a variety of ways to achieve the types of control over access that your applications need, as Christos Matskas explains.… 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

Working with Windows Containers and Docker: Up and Running

Deployments can be made easier, in many different ways, by using Docker and Windows Containers; but how do you set about working with them? As part of his practical series on Windows Containers and Docker, Nicolas shows how to deploy a Container Host to the Microsoft Azure cloud. retrieve Images from Docker Hub, build your own container image, and push your images to the Docker Hub. … Read more

Introduction to Azure Logic Apps

LogicApps are a managed service that provides the Lego blocks of Azure serverless architecture that you can use to create, develop and deploy cloud-based integrations and workflows. The developer merely strings together off-the-self, ready-made components with as little effort as possible. The aim is to go from development to production in a few simple, reproducible steps. Microsoft are investing strongly in this technology, introducing many new connectors in line with the demands of the integration requirements of enterprises.… 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

Serverless Architecture with Azure

Azure provides an ideal platform for hosting microservices because it offers a number of managed services that allow developers to create microservices that can run reliably and at scale. The problem is in understanding how these managed services can help and which is most suitable for the task. Christos Matskas provides a useful summary for anyone developing cloud-based applications.… Read more

User Acceptance Testing and the Application Lifecycle

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is an important part of the development process. If carried out as early as possible and as regularly as possible, it not only alerts the development team to aspects that don't yet meet the requirements of the users, but also gives governance a better idea of progress. If UAT is delayed, defects become expensive and troublesome to fix. Sophia Segal gives an experienced summary view of UAT… Read more

Using AWS’s Simple Workflow Service (SWF) with C#

Amazon's Simple Workflow Service (SWF) in AWS provides a model of workflow that is simple to understand but is it simple to get a robust and durable workflow in place? Tom Fischer guides you through the bewildering early stages of your first SWF application, and concludes that workflows inherently take time and effort to get right, but SWF provides a formidable cloud-based solution … 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

Why Would I Ever Need to Partition My Big ‘Raw’ Data?

Whether you are running an RDBMS, or a Big Data system, it is important to consider your data-partitioning strategy. As the volume of data grows, so it becomes increasingly important to match the way you partition your data to the way it is queried, to allow 'pruning' optimisation. When you have huge imports of data to consider, it can get complicated. Bartosz explains how to get things right; not perfect but wisely.… Read more

How to Start Big Data with Apache Spark

It is worth getting familiar with Apache Spark because it a fast and general engine for large-scale data processing and you can use you existing SQL skills to get going with analysis of the type and volume of semi-structured data that would be awkward for a relational database. With an IDE such as Databricks you can very quickly get hands-on experience with an interesting technology.… Read more