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2014 SQL Server Editions – Overview

Microsoft-SQL-Server 2014 is the latest edition of SQL Server available[/caption]

SQL Server 2014 was officially released in April 1st, 2014. You can download the 120 day Enterprise edition trial version here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/dn205290

As with previous version of SQL server, there are three primary editions of SQL Server 2014 available.

Enterprise Edition

This is the whole kit and caboodle. Every feature of SQL Server is included in the enterprise edition. Consequently, enterprise edition, also has the highest licensing costs. Enterprise edition is only available under what is called the the core-based licensing model. This means you pay per core wherever you have enterprise edition installed. Some features are only available in enterprise edition, such as always on instance clustering and always on availability groups. Enterprise edition can scale up to 640 logical processors on a physical machine. Basically, the computing capacity and memory utilization can be the operating system maximum. On a virtual machine it can scale up to 64 logical processors using up to 1 TB of RAM. The largest database size is 524 PB. SQL Server 2014 Enterprise edition is designed for today’s most demanding enterprise applications with built in mission-critical capabilities to ensure applications and data are up and available, scalable and secure. You can download the 120 day trial version here.

 

Standard Edition

Standard edition is designed for serving as a back end for internal applications, or even powering a dynamic website. It offers basic subset of database, reporting and analytic capabilities. The SQL Server database engine, as well as analysis services, reporting services are limited to the lesser of four sockets or 16 cores with respect to computing capacity. Memory is limited to a maximum of 64 GB and the largest database size is 524 PB. SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition is available under core-based licensing as well as server/CAL licensing. Standard edition provides basic availability and disaster recovery with up to two node fail-over clustering, log shipping, and peer-to-peer replication. As basic availability and disaster recovery with two node failover clustering, log shipping, and peer-to-peer replication.

 

Business Intelligence Edition

Business Intelligence Edition bridges the gap between standard and enterprise for companies wishing to build and deploy secure, scalable and manageable BI solutions. It has the same features and limits as Standard Edition, except when it comes to the computing capacity and memory utilization of business intelligence features. The compute capacity and maximum memory for the SQL Server database engine is still limited to four sockets or 16 cores and 64 GB respectively. If when using analysis services or reporting services both the compute capacity and memory utilized restrictions are removed and can operate up to the operating system maximum. There are a few other features that you do not get that standard has such as the distributed replay. Client or the distributed replay controller. You do gain features and analysis services such as scalable shared databases and synchronize databases, perspectives, writeback dimensions, linked measures and dimensions, proactive caching, push mode processing and measure expressions. You also gain the BI semantic model which is normally an enterprise only feature along with power pivot for SharePoint and Excel 2010. You also gain more data mining and reporting services tools and features.

 

Other Editions

There are additional editions of SQL Server also available, that are not really considered a full part of the main offerings. Still they are very useful and functional when used in appropriate environments.

 

Developer Edition

Developer Edition has all the features of enterprise edition, but is designed for developers to use to effectively build and test and demonstrate applications. It is licensed per user and is not to be used in production environments.

 

Express Edition

Express edition is a free version of SQL Server that is limited in its functionality and size. Is limited to one socket with a maximum of four cores for CPU power, 1 GB of memory, and a database size. No larger than 10 GB. If using the reporting features. The maximum memory is raised to 4 GB. Express edition is compatible with all other editions of SQL Server. Express edition has a few different versions that can be downloaded:

  • Advanced Services

    The Express Edition with Advanced Services download contains the full set of features in SQL Server Express. It contains the database engine, express tools, reporting services, fulltext search, management tools, and all the components of SQL Server express

  •  
  • Tools

    Express edition with tools contains only the core SQL Server database along with tools to manage SQL Server instances, including SQL Server express, local DB, and SQL Azure.

  • LocalDB (SqlLocalDB)

    This is a lightweight version of express that has all his programability features that runs in user mode. It has a fast zero configuration, installation, and no management tools are included. It provides a simple way to create and work with databases from code. It can be bundled with application database developer tools in Visual Studio are embedded with an application that needs local databases.

Web Edition

Web Edition is limited to four sockets or 16 cores, 64-bit GB of maximum memory and can have a database up to 524 PB. It is designed for Internet facing workloads, and enables organizations to rapidly deploy webpages, application websites and services. It is only available through an SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) for organizations that offer hosted software and services such as web hosting, hosted applications, messaging, collaboration, and platform infrastructure to customers.

 

Compact Edition

Compact Edition is a free, embedded SQL Server addition for ASP.Net websites and Windows applications. It is integrated with Visual Studio and WebMatrix. It provides a consistent set up, and a small download. Is easily deployed with an application. It uses SHA_2 algorithms to secure data and provide high-level security. The latest addition added T–SQL for offset and fetch use for paging queries.

 

Previous Editions

Previous versions of SQL Server, had many different editions. The main one Continued as above others have been discontinued. If you are running a discontinued edition one you upgrade, you will need to change to one of current editions. The previous editions that have been discontinued are:

  • Workgroup
  • Small Business
  • Datacenter

 

Why a Boot Camp?

Why a Boot Camp?

Boot Camp LogoAs a some of you may already know, I am now offering SQL Server boot camps with the first one being this July in Washington DC. Over the last couple of weeks since I announced this I’ve had a few questions as to why I am offering a boot camp and more importantly, how is it different from what anyone else offers?

It was a great question, and really got me thinking as to how this would be different and worth going to instead of a “Big Box” boot camp. Well, let’s go over a few things that will hopefully help clear those questions up some:

Why are you now offering training instead of letting all the others just do it?

I have invested a lot, I mean thousands, of hours and dollars on training over the years. I bought books, went to boot camps, took online courses, pretty much, you name it I may have tried it. I did learn from them, but it was all sort of dis-jointed. What I discovered was a lot of training opportunities would advertise focusing on the fact that they would teach you what you need to get through the Microsoft’s SQL Server certification exams, to then help you do “your job”, whatever that happens to be. This is fine, and I used to think the certifications were very important. After years of being in the field and managing teams, I learned that there are a lot of people with certifications that can’t really do the basics that the job demands. For me, this led to a lot of frustration. Frustration in the inability to find people that could do the job required, and also in why this was more common than I ever thought it could be.

When I decided to create a boot camp I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to make it about the certification, or the test. I wanted it to be about being able to do the job to the best of your ability. This is why I am taking what would normally be covered in a 6 to 9 day course and condensing it into just four days of training. I am not making it an easy, get away from work training session. This is being designed to push you to your limits and make sure you know what you need to know to do the job. It is no easy task to condense that much and make it all work, but by trimming out a lot of the excess and focusing on what is really required to do the job I know I can make the attendee a stronger candidate at their current, or any future job. I am even going further to develop some other retreat type of training events to allow people to really focus on the learning, while having a good relaxing time so the learning sinks in deeper and stick stronger.

 

I want to share my passion for SQL Server

Over the last 18+ years I have done a variety of jobs and tasks involving SQL Server in one way or another. That 18+ years ago is when I actually made a conscious decision to eventually become a DBA. Last year I was asked to report some training courses for LearnNowonline.com. This introduced me to the art of building training and courses, which I’ve done in the past in some way or another, but now for broader audience. After receiving great responses from the people who took the online courses I created, along with getting great responses from my presentations at SQL conferences and various user groups, I felt it was the time to venture into the training of SQL Server users. I spent years working my way from being an end user of data through the development of systems that use data, business intelligence done upon that data, and finally as a database administrator. This is giving me a unique view of how systems and data work along with the skills to communicate between various users of that data. Be it an end-user, report writer, developer, or even management. I have found I can bridge that gap to get common understanding. Using this ability I am creating the boot camps to be flexible enough to adapt to who is attending to learn how SQL Server works.

 

I want to do something different when it comes to a boot camp

There’s a lot of things I have on my personal checklist that I wanted to make sure were included in any training I offered.

  • I want the attendee to not just have a printout of the presentation slides like many training courses offer. I wanted them to have an actual handbook that covered everything done in the class as well as some extra exercises and information. It should be a true reference book and encourage the attendee to continue their education on their own. That is why each attendee with get a physical copy of the handbook I am creating, as well as a digital copy.
  • I want to provide a copy of the software, SQL Server, to the attendee to they continue their studies on their own and explore the tools. Right now I will be providing a copy of the evaluation edition of SQL Server 2014, good for 6 months. I am working to find a way that I can provide a fully licensed version of Developer edition for the attendees.
  • I want to provide the free scripts and tools that I have found useful over the years. There are a lot of tools and scripts out there, and I have created many of my own over the years and will include those that I have found helpful in dealing with being a SQL Server user.
  •   I want to train in environments that the attendee can do hands on training as well. I have partnered with a company that will give me a complete virtual lab to work in. Attendees can bring laptops, or use the systems provided to perform hands on learning. Time is being allotted in the 4 day intensive boot camp to allow everyone to get hands on experience. I have not experienced a lot of training that offers this depth on in lab on hands training. I know it makes a difference versus just hearing and seeing the work being done. The venues chosen also offer us the option to truly focus by providing breakfast, hot catered lunches, snacks and beverages all day long.

The first boot camp is coming up this July in Washington DC. You can get more information here.

As an added bonus, since the venue I have partnered with provides a virtual environment, there are thousands of locations around the country in which I can offer a more local boot camp if you are unable to travel to Washington DC. If you are interested in having a local boot camp, contact us and we will see what can be done. If you are interested in having a private boot camp or other training for your company, contact us and we can discuss the options we have available.

 

What the Hekaton ?!?!

I was playing around some with SQL Server 2014 CTP2 this past weekend, just before the real release today, and noticed something odd when I was playing with the new in memory OLTP feature, named Hekaton.

While I was at SQL Saturday #262 in Boston things worked fine. Same goes for my being at the hotel and even at Boston Logan airport while I waited for my multi-hour delayed flight home.

It was only once I got on the plane that I found Hekaton wasn’t working correctly anymore.

I went nuts trying to figure it out what was going on and get it working. We started to land, so I quit trying until I got home. Then everything worked fine again, in fact it was working really well. I even got better performance from Hekaton than I did before. I dug in a little deeper and found out it was my internet connection making a difference. I just got a new insanely fast router (NetGear NightHawk AC1900) at home and coupled with my business grade high speed internet connection Hekaton was working really fast!

It was the only difference between everywhere that I had it working, and the plane, where I had one of the ones still in existence without internet connectivity.

Now, as a side note:  I was shocked and mildly amused when I heard about this a few weeks ago:

Did you know you can get Oracle to run in a Microsoft Azure environment.

No, it’s true! Here’s the link to verify that as of 3/12/14 you can do that! http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/campaigns/oracle/

Considering the long time rivalry between Oracle and SQL Server I didn’t expect this at all. Then I started to put it all together.

Hekaton is using an Azure based Oracle instance to store the SQL OLTP data in ‘memory’!

It makes perfect sense! Oracle has always been said to be faster and better than SQL Server. Just ask any management level person working in the government sector or at a large business.

This has to be why it won’t work for all applications immediately and some ‘recode’ is required to make ‘applications more tolerant’ of the data in memory.

Sneaky, sneaky Microsoft. Slowly letting the enemy infiltrate the ranks to get better performance and boost market share with new ‘Hekaton’ features.

index

Ok, I know this is a touchy subject to think about today. After all, it is April Fool’s day.

But it is the official release date for SQL Server 2014 and this just seems to be too big of a coincidence.

Chew on that for a bit.

 

When Data Should Walk Out The Door

When Data Should Walk Out The Door

Data Walking

What would you do?

What would your reaction be if, one day, all that old data you’ve been holding onto for years suddenly got up and walked out?

I’m not talking about unsecured data being hacked, personnel issues, malware in your network, or even HVAC systems with too much access to the network.

I’m talking data that suddenly, somehow, becomes self aware and rather than sitting around rotting away while you do nothing with it, decides to leave.

I recently read an article about toasters that act this way.

Yes, toasters.

Those devices that produce either charred lumps of what is presumed to have been bread or lukewarm bread that soft butter easily tears apart. Basically, a series of toasters were networked together if one was not being used, it would complain and want to go somewhere else. You can read the article here.

Now, I’m not suggesting you try to make you database and data self aware, though that would be very interesting; but I am suggesting you take a serious look at what data you are holding onto that you really don’t need.

If you are holding onto years of old data, and customers, clients or users only ever look at the last 12 months, do you still really need it all?
Maybe you need it for compliance with some regulation. We all know there are a ton of those out there, but does that regulation state it must be sitting in your live production database and immediately available? Odds are no, it doesn’t. It probably states that the older data has to be accessible in a reasonable amount of time. What’s that mean? Well, it depends on how “reasonable amount of time” is defined. If you have a couple of days you can probably restore a backup with the data from a tape that was sent offsite. This means you can get a good backup specifically with the old data, then purge it from your production system. Then you can sit back and marvel at the lack of expense required to gain a fair amount of performance & storage because you have much smaller data sets to work with.

An alternative is to archive old data out to a data warehouse environment, if you really need it. Even then, look at the warehouse and figure out just how much of the data you have there that is really required. The odds are that you have a lot more data than you will ever find useful. Just saying ‘It’s a warehouse, it’s designed for holding all the old stuff’ isn’t a really valid justification for holding onto worthless, old data. Cleaning up the warehouse leads to more important data being able to be stored, and retrieved more efficiently.

If you insist on keeping the data around in your primary database and you are lucky enough to be using Enterprise edition of SQL Server, you could look into file groups and partitioning your tables. This way you can direct your more recent, active data onto faster hardware and focused indexes to help with performance.

If you are not running Enterprise edition, you can apply for the TV show Hoarders, here.

And Then There Were Two

And Then There Were Two

And then there were Two. Years that is.

Two years ago WaterOx Consulting, Inc. was founded and has been growing ever since.WaterOx Logo

The concept of WaterOx Consulting, Inc. started many years ago, but legally on paper, it was started 2 years ago yesterday. As anyone running a business would attest to, the time flew by regardless of the level of fun. There are days I would celebrate a new client or a presentation well done. Other times I would sit worrying about how the mortgage would be paid as well as feeding the family. Even today, I am working on some new presentations and thinking on how to drum up some new business and I almost blew by completely missing this milestone in any company’s life.

A lot has happened and I want to take a little time to reflect back on a few things just to remind myself of what has been accomplished in this short of a time frame.

Company:

  • Picked up 9 new clients.
  • Grown through networking, without advertising campaigns.
  • Clients range in size from a small boutique chocolate shop in NY State, to a large data warehousing and analysis company in the DC area to a few large online retailers.
  • Developed Egret 1.0, a SQL monitoring tool I use as a consultant that works with multiple locations and clients and centralizes the data for my analysis.
  • Started developing Egret 2.0, a cloud based version of the Egret monitoring system potentially available for public use.
  • Successfully registered the trademark for Concierge DBA® – the long term DBA services WaterOx Consulting provides.
  • Built our website (so far) with blog, photos, and videos pertaining to SQL Server and actually had people read things!
  • Created & recorded a successful full length SQL DBA training course for LearnNowOnline, as well as a series of courses for Windows 8 / Server 2012 Administration.
  • Accepted into the Google Helpouts pilot program and now offer services online through the program.

Community:

  • Presented at my first User Group (NOVASQL) last year.
  • Started the PASSDC User Group with Matt Velic (b|t) and Paul Rizza (b|t) in April of 2014 and have grown to over 120 members.
  • Presented at my first SQL Saturday in Rochester, (which is coming up soon, but I can’t be there this year).
  • Presented at 6 more SQL Saturdays over the past year and attended over 13 in total.
  • Presented webinars on SQL topics for LearnNowOnline community members as well as PASS User Groups.
  • Presented my ‘Optimizing Protected Indexes’ session at the Information Security Summit in Ohio.
  • Co-ordinated the last 2 SQL Saturdays in Washington DC.
  • Cruised 3 times on SQLCruise (1 Alaska, 2 Caribbean).
  • Attended PASS Summit in 2013 for the first time.
  • Was a finalist in 2012 for Red Gate Software’s Exceptional DBA award.
  • Ran for the PASS Board of Directors and actually made the final slate! I had to withdraw due to some issues that came up with clients, but I will most likely run again.

Not to shabby. I am still striving to find more clients and more ways to give back to the community. This year I am looking forward to trying to get Egret 2.0 out for use. I am also excited to be working towards offering a couple of multi-day training courses in D.C. and other areas, including a week of private SQL training in 2015 in the Bahamas. Keep tuned for those exciting announcements & offers!

All in all the first couple of years, like any new venture, have not been easy but things have worked out pretty well so far.

This was never intended as a get rich quick scheme (trust me, it would be nice, but it isn’t making me rich at all!) but a way to be able to provide outstanding service and help to SQL users and the community.

On to the next 2 years, and more.

2013 infographic – a year in review

Infographics! it’s a trend right?

OK, so visualizing data is always fun (if you are in our line of work anyhow). There are a ton of amazing infographics out there & we figured we would try our hand at making a very small, crappy infographic of our own to highlight what WaterOx Consulting accomplished this past year. At an initial glance it doesn’t seem like much, but trust me there was a lot that happened this year to keep everything moving forward.

There are also lots of exciting new things coming own the pipeline for us in 2014 that we are very excited about and will share them as they come to fruition!

Enjoy!
2013 infographic