These days I do a lot of testing with SQL Server. When I am testing new features or helping clients implement SQL Server High Availability solutions I want to have several tests including blue screens.
Simulating blue screens actually might be much easier than you think. For example, you can use Not My Fault from the system utilities to create blue screens whenever your heart desires.
Do you really want to push that Crash button?
Just remember, if you use Not My Fault and click on the Crash button, It Aint My Fault.
Instantly after clicking on the crash button you should see the following blue screen.
SQL Server Blue Screen on Demand
The Austin SQL Server User Group will host its third SQL Saturday on Saturday,
SQL Saturday Austin on January 30th, 2016
January 30th. SQLSaturday is a training event for SQL Server professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server. Admittance to this event is free ($15 for lunch), all costs are covered by donations and sponsorships. This all-day training event includes multiple tracks of SQL Server training from professional trainers, consultants, MCM’s, Microsoft Employees and MVPs.
Here are three reasons why I am excited to attend the SQL Saturday in Austin.
While the SQL Saturday is free, there is also two separate all-day classes on Friday, January 29th that are dirt cheap compared to the cost of attending these classes at your local training center.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make SQL Server go faster? In a single day, Robert Davis will show you Performance Tuning like a Boss.
Have you wondered how you can keep your data highly available when your servers go bump in the night? Ryan Adams will be teaching a class on Creating a High Availability and Disaster Recovery Plan. Having a solid recovery plan can make you a Rockstar DBA and also help keep your company in business.
In Austin we are blessed to have some of the best teachers come to town to share their knowledge. We will have Connor Cunningham from the SQL Server Product team talk about the new features coming in SQL Server 2016. We will have several MVP’s and MCMs sharing their knowledge. If you want to learn about SQL Server there is not a better venue to do so than a local SQL Saturday.
Are you the only DBA or data professional working at your company? If not, are you interested in meeting people who are as passionate as you are about data? If so, SQL Saturday is a great place to meet and network with some of the best data professionals. I will never forget my first SQL Saturday. I found some vendors that had tools that made my job easier. I also built some friendships that have helped me thought out my career.
Recently, I was tasked with making an 60TB database highly available by adding it to an availability group. The following, is how I successfully completed adding the very large database (VLDB) to an Availability Group that had two replicas in the primary data center and a third replica in another data center with no downtime. We wanted to utilize the least amount of time during the initial synchronization process so we leverage log shipping to prepare the database on each replica.
We will call the three servers DC1Server1, DC1Server2, and DC2Server3. We will have a pre-created AG called SQL2014AG1. We will say that the 60TB database is named VLDB.
Previously we did a side by side upgrade to upgrade VLDB from running on SQL Server 2012 to SQL Server 2014 on new hardware. Previously, we also leveraged the new hardware to upgrade a subset of the data and build out the Availability Group for testing and training purposes.
- Create Availability Group. This was created in advance to deliver a proof of concept and to provide training for understanding how to use and manage an Availability Group. Therefore, there was no reason to break this and recreate it. If needed, you could obviously create the AG as part of this deployment where we just Add the VLDB into the AG. Creating an Availability Group will not be covered here.
- Configure Log Shipping. The primary database in log shipping should be on the instance that is also the read/write replica for the availability group. In this case, VLDB already exists and is configured as primary on DC1Server1. This is also the primary replica for the SQL2014AG1 availability group. If you need examples on how to configure log shipping checkout my article on MSSQLTips.com.
- Identify the Log Shipping backup Job. This job usually starts with LSBackup_ for your database. This will be on DC1Server1.
- Execute the SQL Agent Job to take a log transactional log backup
- Disable the SQL Agent Job when the backup completes.
- On the secondary servers (DC1Server2 and DC2Server3) identify the LSCopy_ job for your database named VLDB.
- Execute the SQL Agent Job to copy the last log backup that you just created in step three.
- Disable the SQL Agent Job when copy backup job completes.
- On the secondary servers (DC1Server2 and DC2Server3) identify the LSRestore_ job for your database named VLDB.
- Execute the SQL Agent Job to restore the backups pending to be restored. This should include your backup taken in Step four.
- Disable the SQL Agent Job when the restore completes.
- Validate that the last log backups were copied and restored. This can be done using sp_help_log_shipping_monitor stored procedure on each instance. We would do this on DC1Server1 to validate the last log backup that was completed. On DC1Server2 and DC2Server3 we can validate that the backup was copied and also restored.
- On the primary server DC1Server1 add the VLDB to the existing availability group named SQL2014AG1. You can do this via the GUI.
- In SSMS under Availability Groups expand “SQL2014AG1” Availability Group and right click on Availability Databases and select “Add Database” to add VLDB.
- Select the “VLDB” database in the checkbox
- Select Join Only to start data synchronization as we used Log shipping to keep the VLDB in sync across all servers.
- Connect to all existing secondary servers (DC1Server2, and DC2Server3)
- Validate adding the Database to the Availability Group
- Add the Availability Group to your Availability Group named SQL2014AG1
- Validate that Adding VLDB was successful to SQL2014AG1
- Remove log shipping on DC1Server1 for the VLDB database.
- Enable your log backup process for all three servers. This would be used to replace log shipping for taking transactional log backups.
Recently, I was pulled into a gig to help troubleshoot an windows failover cluster service issue that was hindering an availability group. Just to give a little background information its a two node windows cluster with two replicas the availability groups are using synchronous mirroring. Once, this was resolved we had a critical database that was behind on synchronization because one of the two replicas (cluster node) was down. This lead to the following question. When will my replica by synchronized?
This question was easy to answer with database mirroring. We could pull up the database mirroring monitor. We don’t have an database replica monitor GUI tool built into SSMS. Lucky for us, its not that hard with availability groups. We just have to use performance monitor. You will see below there is an perfmon collection called “SQLServer:Database Replica” that comes in handy for us.
When will replica be synchronized?
Above, you can see that this secondary replica which is back online is synchronizing as its receiving log bytes and the Recovery Queue shown in the performance monitor is also reducing as the synchronization process is catching up. According to MSDN Recovery Queue is the Amount of log records in the log files of the secondary replica that has not yet been redone.
Whenever a disaster occurs it will be a stressful scenario regardless of how small or big the disaster is. This gets multiplied when it is your first time working with a newer technology or the first time you are going through a disaster without a proper run book. Today, were going to help you establish a run book for creating a planned failover with availability groups.
A Step By Step Guide for Unplanned SQL Server Availability Group Failover can be found here.