The Second Wave is Cresting…

The Second Wave is Cresting…

...and this time your options aren’t as limited as they were last time. What you don’t know, however, can hurt you this time around. Let me explain.  A couple of years ago, all the IT managers and server admins we know were rushing to get their Windows Server 2003 boxes upgraded (or get everything off of them) and either:  Moved onto 2008 boxes ~ GOOD Moved onto 2012 R2 boxes ~ BETTERFinally rewrite this dang ColdFusion app ~ PROBABLY OVERDUE Remember those excel sheets with the lists of servers and the apps / databases installed on them? I know these kids do Back then Office 365 was still something “new and shiny” and no one was sure that if it was around to stay yet or not. Most people didn’t even know who Satya Nadella was. Satya Nadella Bill Gates Fast forward several quarters, and that Win Server 2003 wave seems like a distant memory. But now the clock is ticking on Win Server 2008 R2, and a new wave is cresting. Just like before, IT organizations have choices that include...
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3 Reasons To Modernize Your Data Estate

3 Reasons To Modernize Your Data Estate

There are major benefits awaiting organizations that modernize their data estate, including enhanced security and compliance, significant cost savings, and the ability to empower employees with business insights and advanced analytics capabilities. With an out-of-date data platform, you could be... Missing out on game changing cost benefits Opening your business to potential vulnerabilities Falling behind without modern analytics capabilities What does it mean to 'modernize'? Modernization means taking advantage of the latest technologies to create transformational business benefits. With Microsoft, you have the flexibility to modernize your data estate in the way that’s right for your business: Upgrade to SQL Server 2017: Move to a database with industry-leading performance and security—now on Windows, Linux, and Docker containers. Modernize in the cloud: Move to Azure to get greater cost efficiencies, state-of-the-art security, and powerful data and analytics services - with fully-managed database-as-a-service (DBaaS) solutions.Take a hybrid approach: Deploy across on-premises and the cloud to extend your infrastructure and improve business continuity. Why modernize now? Reduce...
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We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary. If you've been running the same operating system for many years, a large-scale overhaul is understandably intimidating. However, with service ending for SQL and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, now is the time to make the switch to Azure and experience the latest in innovation and security. If you are still running either of these, don't panic! Microsoft has put options in place to give you the time you need, and we at Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., are here to assist you with a smooth transition. Almost any business using technology is producing enormous amounts of data. Unfortunately, much of this data comes in a wide range of formats and most businesses don’t have the tools or know-how to fully utilize it.   This is exactly what SitePro observed in the oil and gas industry, where large amounts of data were being generated but not used to their fullest extent. Using Azure, SitePro was able to compile this data and channel it all through a single, user-friendly application available to their customers.  Suddenly,...
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When Was the Last Time You Upgraded SQL Server?

When Was the Last Time You Upgraded SQL Server?

Upgrade your SQL Server.  But how?  It's kind of like that college class you hated but was necessary to take in order to graduate. The homework was awful so you kept putting it off until the last minute.  In the case of SQL Server, you may have systems that are 5 or even 10 years old.  There are various reasons why you don't upgrade them. Maybe the software they run won't work on newer versions, maybe the hardware won't run the latest edition, or maybe there is no reason to upgrade because no one complains.  Be wary, complacency can be an expensive trap.  The dangers of not upgrading can be both highly visible but also hidden.  Hidden costs include higher maintenance, lower productivity, or higher turnover. Upgrade Your SQL Server Of course, this is all easily avoidable. Upgrading SQL Server does not have to be a major chore.  Two things are needed: coordination and planning.  Upgrading SQL Server falls mainly into two categories.  The...
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Broken SQL, Broken Company:  A Client Story

Broken SQL, Broken Company: A Client Story

Everyone has heard about SQL Server.  We share client stories in the hope that something will spark something, cause someone to take some action, or otherwise turn on a light bulb to alleviate some sort of corporate darkness (ha), and this story is, frankly, filled with corporate darkness - the type of darkness we see all too frequently. In fact, Rob Helvey wrote an article recently that ties right into this: The Problem with Infrastructure Operations Managing Applications. This story proves out his position. Broken SQL Environments - A Client Story Our client has a large, mission-critical SQL Server running their ERP system, but, over the years, has not followed best practices nor performed regular maintenance on the SQL environment. They've been able to get away with this for some time due to the reliability and ease of use of SQL Server, but, well, it can't last forever, now can it? Here's the situation we walked into: The database environment was in terrible shape....
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SQL Server: To Compress or Not to Compress, That Is the Question

SQL Server: To Compress or Not to Compress, That Is the Question

Are you ready to have some fun with SQL Server compression?  Come on, let's party!  As with all things in life, you seek solutions based on a need SQL Server is no different.  That said, compression is no different than anything else in life – a solution based on a need. Welcome to SQL Server data compression. I hope you enjoy the ride! Compression So what does table compression do?  It decreases your storage requirements on disk by compressing your data.  “So it saves disk space?” you may be asking.  It sure does!  But it also means that more data fits on a page both on disk and in memory.  It helps you squeeze more space out of that buffer pool.  One other cool thing about compression is that it is pretty darn flexible in terms of being able to pick and choose the objects to compress. So here are the steps you’ll take. First, you’ll need to find out if you would...
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Best Practices for SQL Server in Azure

Best Practices for SQL Server in Azure

Most of the typical items that DBAs will hit in tuning out a server for SQL Server hold true in Azure. The three major spots you will usually focus on are OS configurations, storage configurations, and SQL Server instance configurations.  These are generalizations and, as your workload demands, there may be variations that are necessary, but those are best-covered case by case and out of scope for this post. OS Configurations When configuring an OS for SQL Server, these are the items that you should hit: Provision separate service accounts for all SQL Server services (database engine, SQL server agent, Integration Services, etc.). This is a security best practice and may be considered domain level work if you need the accounts to have the ability to hit domain locations. Add the database engine service account to the following user rights: Perform volume maintenance tasks – this enables instant file initialization, which can yield 4-5x performance improvements on tasks such as data file growths (it has...
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SQL Memory Internal Clock Hands

SQL Memory Internal Clock Hands

Let's talk about SQL Internal Memory.  OK, not your favorite subject but I have something interesting to share.  I had an issue recently that required me to be digging quite heavily into the memory internals, specifically to leverage clock hands to identify memory pressure. This is a topic that has very little around its specifics but can be dead useful at times. To explain a little about why it’s dead useful, I’ll explain why the scenario that caused me to start digging.Where Is The Value?After some planned upgrades to a SQL Server AlwaysOn environment – including some changes to the max/min memory settings and other instance level configurations – I noticed extremely poor performance. I looked at the sqlservr.exe process, whose memory footprint was steady at around 10GB, which was where it should be. Since all other resource utilization statistics appeared to be in normal ranges, I decided to investigate if there were long-running queries. Nope! It was then I thought to myself,...
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Gartner Calls Microsoft a Leader in Database Management

Gartner Calls Microsoft a Leader in Database Management

Check out this brief Microsoft video and see why SQL Server outshines others in the database management space.SQL Server Outshines Others Benefits• Affordability, with everything built-in • Security—most secure six years in a row • Performance, at a fraction of the costDatabase Management ConclusionDon’t just take our word for it. Read Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems and see how Microsoft ranks against Oracle.Gartner ReportRead the report.Next StepsReview our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.About OakwoodSince 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong....
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