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TechEd Europe 2013 lessons learnt :SQL Server 2014,powershell,performance,automation

08 July,2013 by Jack Vamvas

TechEd Europe 2013 finished over a week ago. For those unfamiliar with TechEd : It’s a  5 day technical conference focused on emerging Microsoft technologies and related vendors.  There were sessions presented covering Architecture, Data Platform, Developer Tools, Security and Networking.

I’m back in the normal routine , but I’ve reflected on the sessions I attended and the various experts I met .

Most TechEd sessions were at an Expert and Advanced level, presented by either  MS Product developers, Senior Field Engineers and Architects.

My focus was Data Platform technologies , sql server tuning, automation and diagnostics techniques.

As well as an in depth exposure to experts and advanced skills , there are some interesting high level points for me  to think about in the near future.

1) Evaluate SQL Server 2014 . The new Database server version was announced  available for download.  The oltp in-memory component has potential for high IO bound applications with transient data – for example modelling applications. Memory optimised tables will allow calculation data and aggregates to complete faster – without new hardware purchases.

2) Upgrade from Powershell 3.0 to 4.0. I use Powershell for various reporting and automation processes ,(Powershell scripts).  SQL Server 2012 utilises Powershell and increasingly supporting technologies are dependant on Powershell.

It is an important DBA skill to utilise the Powershell technology effectively.

3) Evaluate current Powershell scripting library and expand. Consider how to delegate authority to Ops and other first line support for information gathering and repeatable fixes.

4) Automate more! Automation exists for the DBAs but consider more innovative applications beyond the SQL Server DBA Top 10 automation tasks

Some examples:

a)  Consider applying greater levels of automatic fixes – an example : SQL Server  Configuration – currently a report is generated every morning highlighting configuration deviating from the standard auditable builds.  Run a script automatically to reset configuration

b) Consider extending Powershell scripts for Ops check out and information gathering .

Increasing automation will free  time for increased root cause analysis

5) Performance and Monitoring framework . Think of ways to apply periodic reporting to pick up on performance  trends\issues . Work with the database server owners to improve on code efficiency and resource usage .

In a shared environment there is increased cache volatility – making query tuning critical to effective use of VM. Virtualization – and database servers

6) Writing code to maximise restrictive resources.  Increased quality control of sql code to maximise resource usage. Leading to less hardware purchase.

7) DevOps methodology – focus on:

a) more calculated – automated  method of deployment –  resulting in less impact.

b) Greater interaction between developers and DBAs (and by extension other adnministrators\Ops)

 Some practical situations:

Quicker deployment of servers

Fix pack upgrades

Version control

8) Redundant objects – monitor for redundant objects such as databases, tables and SQL unused indexes. Report on objects no longer used – as they add to processing time in management of these objects. Work with owners to report and manage the redundant objects

9) Improve diagnostics process – There is a minimal unified transaction based diagnostics process across the technology area . The individual technology areas have an insight into problems – but the dots are not joined.  This sounds abstract , but is a common problem in IT environments. Developing an end to end process could yield some good results.

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Author: Jack Vamvas (http://www.sqlserver-dba.com)

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