SQL Server 2008 SP3 is now available!

A few customers requested updates in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP3 are:

  • Enhanced upgrade experience from previous versions of SQL Server to SQL Server 2008 SP3. In addition, we have increased the performance & reliability of the setup experience.
  • In SQL Server Integration Services logs will now show the total number of rows sent in Data Flows.
  • Enhanced warning messages when creating the maintenance plan if the Shrink Database option is enabled.
  • Resolving database issue with transparent data encryption enabled and making it available even if certificate is dropped.
  • Optimized query outcomes when indexed Spatial Data Type column is referenced by DTA Database Tuning Advisor.
  • Superior user experience with Sequence Functions e.g Row_Numbers in a Parallel execution plan.

Go get it!

Traditional SQL DaaS or NewSQL

September 23rd, 2011

Mike Hogan uses the following to suggest a move to NewSQL: Lack of Business Visibility Cripples Traditional SQL DaaS, Drives NewSQL.

the shift to a database as a service (DaaS) severely reduces the DBAs visibility into the business, thus limiting the ability to hand tune the database to the requirements of the application and the database. The solution is a cloud database that eliminates the hand-tuning of the database, thereby enabling the DBA to be equally effective even with limited visibility into the business and application needs

I agree with the problem positioning, but feel strongly that NewSQL is not a requirement to address the problem here, you can equally work a little services layer and put all the control into the hands of the user, essentially replacing (a lot of) the DBA tasks with automation and APIs.

What NewSQL gives you though, and we see that with Xeround and supposedly also ScaleDB, is the elasticity and transparent sharding that’s difficult to achieve with the more traditional Oracle, Sybase or SQL Server databases that are still often required in the enterprise space.

Good 28 page whitepaper on NoSQL for SQL Server developers, first familiarizing the reader with NoSQL, then showing what NoSQL options there are in the Microsoft and Azure stack. Also a fair bit of positioning and what are appropriate use cases for NoSQL.

A nice howto on AlwaysOn, the combined Mirroring and Clustering HA/DR solution in SQL Denali, the next version of SQL.

Check this blog by MS evangelist Andrew Fryer: Farewell old friend–time to say goodbye to SQL Server 2005. On April 12, 2011, SQL Server 2005 will transition from Mainstream Support to Extended Support, meaning UBS will have no more free support for specific fixes. Or as Microsoft puts it (click the 2005 tab on that link), we will still receive:

  • Paid support (charged on an hourly basis per incident). Customers  will no longer receive no-charge incident support and warranty claims,  and won’t be able to request design changes or features.
  • Security update support at no additional cost

A good one, if you want to make your application future proof, as MS is working hard to bring stand-alone SQL Server in line with SQL Azure for future releases, and therefore is giving up on some of the concepts available in SQL Server today:

Comparing SQL Server with SQL Azure.

SQL Azure Database is a cloud based relational database service  from Microsoft. SQL Azure provides relational database functionality as a  utility service. Cloud-based database solutions such as SQL Azure can  provide many benefits, including rapid provisioning, cost-effective  scalability, high availability, and reduced management overhead. This  paper provides an architectural overview of SQL Azure Database, and  describes how you can use SQL Azure to augment your existing on-premises  data infrastructure or as your complete database solution.

Get ready for the cloud!

SQL Server 2005 SP4 RTM

December 22nd, 2010

One thing I completely forgot to report is that SQL Server 2005 SP4 RTM [is] Now Available for Download. Go get it while it’s hot, but also don’t forget to keep planning for your SQL 2008 R2 migration – after all the useful life of SQL 2005 is coming to an end soon.

SQL In the Cloud

November 30th, 2010

CloudBzz has a little intro to SQL In the Cloud, and with that they mean the public cloud. Good overview of existing offerings, and the suggestion that

Cloud-based DBaaS options will continue to grow in importance and will eventually become the dominant model. Cloud vendors will have to invest in solutions that enable horizontal scaling and self-healing architectures to address the needs of their bigger customers

I can only agree. What I wonder, though, is how much these DBaaS is based on traditional RDBMS such as MySQL, and what kind of changes we’ll eventually see to better support the elasticity requirements of cloud DBs. E.g. I hear anecdotically that in SQL Azure, every cloud DB is just a table in the underlying SQL Server infrastructure (see also Inside SQL Azure), and the good folks at Xeround are also investing heavily in their Virtual Partitioning scheme.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) sounds like a good tool to have. Check out the new release at Database Discovery Made Easy with MAP 5.5.

The Windows Azure blog has a long and good interview with Jonathan Ellis about Cassandra and a lot of other relevant topics. Take a break to read Thought Leaders in the Cloud: Talking with Jonathan Ellis, Co-Founder of Riptano. When asked about Cassandra vs. RDBMS, this following is interesting:

I think relational databases are going to stay important. They solve some important problems, and there’s a very rich ecosystem of tools around them, which keeps time to market low. I see Cassandra as particularly appealing to companies that started on something like SQL Server and then reached the point where favorable price/performance to buy larger machines isn’t there anymore. The pain they’re feeling from the pressure to scale is greater than the pain of learning a new technology like Cassandra.

[...]

So people using relational databases are looking to move to Cassandra, mostly because of the scaling aspect, also sometimes for the reliability aspect. Cassandra deals very well with multiple data centers, in terms of preparing for one or more of them failing and clients having to access a different one.