Jul 12
7-10-14: Manage Your Shop with CMS and Policy Based Management

The session recording for our JUly 10th meeting is now on YouTube.  In this 90 minute session, Ryan spoke about how to set up a Central Management Server for SQL Server, and how to implement policies.

"​In this SQLRally #3 rated session I will talk about Central Management Server and how it can help you manage a disperse environment.  I will also cover what Policy Based Management is and how you can leverage its power to better manage your environment.  With PBM we'll see what it can and cannot do to help you enforce standards in your enterprise.  I will demonstrate PBM from creating and evaluating policies to receiving alerts on policy violations."


Slides are available here:​

Jun 23
6-12-14: What's New in SQL Server 2014

Hi All,

Unfortunately, the session recording for "What's New in SQL 2014" ​did not turn out.  Guy Glantser did share his slides, however.  Click the link below to download.


May 13
5-8-14: Windows 2012 R2 Clustering for SQL Server

​Sven Aelterman delivered this great presentation on Windows 2012 R2 Clustering for SQL Server: "With the increasing adoption rate of virtualization, creating SQL Server clusters is now within reach of many more DBAs. What do you need to know about Windows Server 2012 (R2) virtualization and high availability to set up your first cluster? What's needed for geo-clustering? Come learn from a Windows Server admin and (accidental) DBA who's been building SQL Server clusters since 2000 (the year and the version!). We'll discuss initial planning, the process and the maintenance best practices. There will be demos too, so if you want to see a multi-node SQL cluster run on a Lenovo X230 tablet, come see (it's pretty cool!)"



Slides are available here.

Apr 21
4-17-14: Designing Stored Procedure Solutions

Guest speaker Jen McCown (Midnight DBA) delivered this excellent presentation on Stored Procedures: "In this session, you'll learn about SQL Server stored procedures (SPs): what they are, when and why you'd use them, and how you'd go about developing a solution with one. We will address common SP myths and learn about planning for performance. Most of all, we'll walk through examples to explore the process of solution building in SQL Server. "


​Downloads: Designing Stored Procedure Solutions – Demo Code

Mar 03

When I create a blog post, it should be posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Feb 14
SQL 2014 and Backing Up to Azure

SQL 2014 Backup to Azure.JPG

I have been watching some of the SQL 2014 courses over at Microsoft Virtual Academy.  The first video of the "Platform for Hybrid Cloud with SQL Server 2014 Jump Start" series talks about "Backup to Cloud".  Now, if you're like me, you treat "The Cloud" with suspicion, especially when it comes to SQL Server.  How can you guarantee performance?  How do you keep your data safe?  Doesn't it cost an arm and a leg?

But the idea of backing up your databases to an offsite location is still a compelling case, because you have to plan for the worst case.  If a fire could destroy your company's office, your data will go up in smoke too, and there goes your livelihood.  Many companies use the very manual method of a staged backup (backup to share, then back up the share to a tape) which you then take offsite.   But tapes wear out, people forget to do it, or someone stores the tapes next to a magnet... then you're back in the same boat. 

A better, automated way, would be to use a service that will consistently back up your databases in a way that makes it easy to retreive the data if needed.

Full disclosure, I work for a tech company that offers this kind of service.  We call it "Cloud DataSafe", which backs up entire servers, files and databases. Click here if you want to know more.

In SQL Server 2012, as of Cumulative Update 4 (for Service Pack 1), you can now "Back up to URL" in addition to specifying a tape drive and a file share location.  The URL is, of course, an HTTPS endpoint for the Azure Blob Storage cloud.  Currently, you have to use TSQL or PowerShell to provision the storage, set credentials, specify a container in the cloud, and then trigger the backup.  All scriptable, of course.

The Azure Blob Storage subscription seems pretty reasonable: you get 5GB free per month, with $.050 per each additional gigabyte.  For a small business this might be just about right. 

When SQL 2014 is released, this Backup to URL capability will be available in the GUI. 

But what if you aren't using SQL 2012 or 2014?  Well, Microsoft has a free tool called "SQL Server Backup to Azure Tool", which installs itself as a service.  The way it works is, you back up your databases to a file path, and the tool will automatically grab the backups, compress them, encrypt them, and stream them up to Azure. 

If you wanted, you could just compress/encrypt and then save them back to your file system. 

Another interesting feature is the Managed Backup capability: this is where you set up a plan to back up to URL.  The job only runs when data has actually changed, thus simplifying backups and restores.  This is essential for a cloud backup, where you might otherwise be streaming gigabytes every day.  So rather than having these regimented backups (e.g. Daily full + Houly transaction logs), the backup only runs if transactions have occurred.  Similarly the restore process simply selects the backup set, and gives you a timeline view to choose your restore point. 

If you'd like to learn more (and why wouldn't you?) then you should check out these free SQL 2014 courses at MVA:


Jan 11
Video for 1-9-14 Meeting is Online!

I've posted the recording for the January 2014 user group meeting (embedded below).  ​The topic was Introduction to High Availability in SQL Server, which ties in to the blog post I wrote earlier.  After the presentation, there was a Q&A, but the audio didn't turn out very well (it just sounded like I was talking to myself).  I've edited that part out. 

Jan 01
Optimizing SQL Server in a VM

While I was on vacation, I did some training on SQL Server (doesn't everyone spend their vacation that way?) -- In my experience, virtual SQL can run very well (and very reliabily) but there is an extra layer of complexity involved.  But I find it fascinating.

SQL MVP Denny Cherry tells you what you need to know about virtualizing SQL Server.   

The video below is from TechEd 2012 but it's more or less the same lecture:


Click here if the video doesn't embed properly for you.

Want more? SQL MVP Brent Ozar, who also covers best practices for virtualizing SQL Server, here:

Here's a Q&A he did in May 2013 on the subject:


You might also be interested in shelling out a little money for this course on SQL virtualization, over at PluralSight:

SQL Server Virtualization - Jonathan Kehayias
Learn how to properly configure, control, and monitor virtual machines, and troubleshoot problems when running SQL Server in a virtualized environment using VMware or Hyper-V, applicable for DBAs, VM admins, and any other IT admins responsible for SQL Server and/or virtualization

PluralSight is high-quality training, and it starts at $29/month, which grants you access to their entire library. 
Dec 07
Alaska SQL User Group Meeting Video is online

Hi All,

The session video for the 12/5/13 meeting is now posted on Youtube.   View below:


Dec 05
Code and PDFs for SQL Server Security Session

Update 5:28PM: The link is fixed.

Update 11:57AM: The link isn't working yet...Greg is working on the problem.​

I've uploaded the code files and PDFs that I showed and talked about at the inaugural Alaska SQL Server user group meeting on 12/5/2013 in Anchorage. It contains way more code than I showed, as well as some articles and course materials that I've development for Learn Now Online (formerly AppDev). 

You can find the files here.

Thanks for letting me visit the group!

​Don Kiely

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