Tech Ed 2011 (India) – Day 03 – For the DBAs – Contained Databases, Extended Events, Virtualization, Wait Stats, Wait Queues &am


As you know, I am documenting my experience at the Tech Ed 2011 (India) held from March 23-25, 2011 at Bengaluru, India.

You can find the summary of my experiences on Day 01 and Day 02 at:

Day 01 – http://beyondrelational.com/blogs/nakul/archive/2011/03/28/tech-ed-2011-india-day-01-connect-learn-explore-evolve.aspx

Day 02 – http://beyondrelational.com/blogs/nakul/archive/2011/03/30/tech-ed-2011-india-day-02-ie-9-india-launch-fast-is-now-beautiful.aspx

Today, as India celebrates it’s win into the cricket World Cup 2011 finals, I will take you through the final day in the wonderful journey of Tech-Ed 2011.

A day for the DBAs

Day 03 was very special – it was a day which had a full track dedicated to the DBA community – guaranteed to attract all DBAs – accidental or not like – bees are to honey.

Hands-on Lab on Contained Databases by Jacob Sebastian

After the keynotes, the day immediately picked up speed as the DBA community got to participate in a hands-on lab on Contained Databases – a long awaited feature, and now part of SQL 11 (Code named “Denali”). The lab was conducted by none other than renowned SQL Server MVP and leader of the Ahmedabad SQL Sever User Group, Jacob Sebastian! His trademark style of explaining difficult concepts by telling a story made this concept a breeze to understand.

I will be taking everyone through the entire hand-on session in a series I am planning for the next week. Stay tuned, and I am sure you will find it useful.

Understanding SQL Server Behavioural Patterns – SQL Server Extended Events by Pinal Dave

Extended Events are not new to SQL Server 11/(“Denali”), but not many know how to efficiently use them. Pinal Dave, the renowned Microsoft Evangelist, demonstrated how to use Extended Events to execute a couple of common database administration tasks. What I liked the most were the demos on:

  1. Detect long-running queries
  2. Detect page splits

One of the most interesting items of the session was how Pinal demonstrated the concept of what events and extended events are by co-relating them to the human heart and a scenario wherein a hypothetical elephant needs to be taken to the hospital after collapsing during the Tech-Ed. That’s what I call – fun with learning!

You can download the scripts used during this demonstration by visiting Pinal’s blog at: http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2010/03/29/sql-server-introduction-to-extended-events-finding-long-running-queries/

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Data Recovery with Backups by Vinod Kumar

Vinod Kumar was back after Day 01 – this time to show the audience the immense value a good backup strategy can have. Vinod demonstrated how to recover from the following situations from a backup:

  1. Recovering/Restoring to a point in time
  2. Recovering/Restoring to a named transaction
  3. Recovering from a page corruption

Quite frankly, I did not know that one could “mark” a transaction and that this can be used during recovery – just as a point-in-time restore. As a proof of the importance of this feature, Vinod discussed one of the practical implementations that have been done using this feature. In the interest of privacy, the exact nature of the project was not disclosed to the audience.

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SQLCAT: SQL Server Consolidation – Using Virtualization & Lessons Learned by Prem Mehra

Prem Mehra is a Program Manager with Microsoft at Redmond and works for the SQL Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT). This team is comprised of solution experts that regularly engage in the largest, most complex and most unique customer deployment engagements worldwide.

In this session, Prem discussed some of the consolidation projects that the SQLCAT team has done in a virtualized/cloud based environment. The audience had some great things to learn from him, and my biggest take-away was the following:

“If a SQL Server is not performing well, the problem is either in the application or in the underlying hardware platform – in the order mentioned.”

Also, Prem demonstrated the ideal approach in moving towards a cloud based deployment (which is shown here as a picture captured of his slide) and how the upcoming SQL Server 11 (“Denali”) will help in the journey.

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(Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee819082.aspx)

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SQL Server Waits and Queues – Your Gateway to Performance Troubleshooting by Pinal Dave

Do you really know how to remove SQL Server bottlenecks when a server seems to be really, really slow? Yeah, of course! Look at the wait statistics and queues – how difficult can it be?

Not much. So, are CXPACKET waits bad? Can we eliminate LOGBUFFER waits? What are Signal waits?

Pinal did it once again – with a simple example of a group of people awaiting a cab and then stopping to withdraw cash from an ATM, Pinal very beautifully explained Signal Waits. He then went on to demonstrate and explain what CXPACKET waits are and how they will always be there, and that they might sometimes be good. Finally, in an power-packed demo, he demonstrated how moving the data file of a database to his portable USB drive can reduce LOGBUFFER waits. (Yes, you read me right – Pinal moved the data file of a database to his portable USB drive)

Here’s where you can read Pinal’s series on Wait stats & queues – http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2011/02/28/sql-server-summary-of-month-wait-type-day-28-of-28/

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SQL Server AlwaysOn: The next generation high availability solution by Balmukund Lakhani

High Availability is one of the key requirements of any SQL Server deployments. Who better than the Technical Lead in the SQL Server support team with Microsoft India GTSC to demonstrate how simple it is to setup a cluster, configure a high-availability solution, and demonstrate a failover – all LIVE and within the hour!

Balmukund demonstrated the High Availability “AlwaysON” features which will be made available in SQL Server 11 (code named “Denali”). The solution will definitely make the lives of all DBAs and IT administrators easier because combined with the power of Windows Server 2008 R2, setting up a cluster (or an Availability Group) is a breeze. The cluster can have one automatic fail-over partner, with other manual fail-over partners. The best benefit of this solution is that it is similar to mirroring – but without the drawbacks of mirroring.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started on HADR: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlserverfaq/archive/2010/12/17/sql-server-denali-alwayson-hadr-step-by-setup-setup-guide.aspx

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Closing Keynote – Visit by Anil Kumble!

Finally, the time came to close the Tech-Ed 2011 (India). With a heavy heart, all participants submitted their feedback forms for the last sessions of the day and proceeded towards the keynote hall for the closing keynote.

The final attraction of this year’s Tech-Ed was that we had a very special guest with us. None other than the star cricketer – Anil Kumble! None other than Gaurav Kapoor, who hosted the live sessions of Tech-Ed, introduced Anil Kumble on stage and the entire group erupted in cheers! Hands went-up all the way to catch a snap or two of Anil Kumble in person. So high was the excitement, that nothing could distract the audience. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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A full-house awaiting the start of the closing ceremony.

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What’s next?

My next post will be a deep dive into Jacob’s session on the worst T-SQL practices on Tech-Ed Day 01. Next week, we will continue the series on the Underappreciated Features of SQL Server, and also explore the “Contained Database” feature of SQL Server 11 (code named – “ Denali”). Contained Databases is based on the hands-on lab conducted on the same topic by Jacob on Day 03 of Tech-Ed 2011.

Watch out for some exciting new and exciting reading material hot off the presses!

Until we meet next time,

Be courteous. Drive responsibly.

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