Thursday, 27 September 2012

An Introduction to SQL Server

There are still seats left on the Learning Tree course – An Introduction to SQL Server event that I will be presenting this coming December in London. Combine some great SQL Server training with the delights of Central London in the run up to Christmas or if you prefer to attend from the comfort of your own home or office using Learning Tree’s Anyware solution

The course is scheduled to run between the 18th and 21st December at the LEC in London. Just a stone throw from Euston station

For details on the course and its content visit 137 SQL Server 2008 Introduction

If you’d like to enrol on the course you can do so online by clicking here.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Log File Full–Availability Group Database

I run into an interesting issue with an Availability Group database recently. I was running a data load against a database in an Always On Availability group database in SQL Server 2012.  The load was SSIS package migrating data from staging database when the package fell over with the following error
“The transaction log for database DBName is full due to 'AVAILABILITY_REPLICA'”
This was interesting error. Initially I thought my log had filled up all the space on the disk but after examining the drive on the server, looking at the free space in the log and running a

 SELECT * FROM sys.databases 

I found that this was not the case.
My query returned the following in the log_reuse_wait_desc
The SQL Server documentation gives the following explanation of this log_reuse_wait_desc
“9 = An AlwaysOn Availability Groups secondary replica is applying transaction log records of this database to a corresponding secondary database. “
For more information see
My AlwaysOn setup had involved three instances, one primary two secondary’s one setup with synchronous commit mode and automatic failover and the other  asynchronous with manual failover. The synchronous commit mode with  automatic failover had fallen out of sync and was marked as ‘Not Synchronising.’ The drive holding the log of this secondary database still had plenty space, the log itself still had plenty of space, there was no need for it to grow
This was  pain for me as the database was going to end up quite large and I didn’t want to re-initialise availability group therefore I didn’t want to remove the database from the availability to run the load  and then re-initialize after it had completed. Instead I changed the   secondary replica using synchronous commit mode to use asynchronous commit with manual failover, this meant the primary didn’t have to wait for the secondary replica to harden its log before continuing,  hopefully so the load would complete without further error. It wouldn’t have to wait for the transactions to harden against the secondary. When the load had finished and the secondary had caught up synchronizing I was able to switch back to synchronous commit and configure automatic failover.

For the latest SQL Server 2012 Training visit

USA and Canada

UK and Europe

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

SQL Server Virtualization in Sweden

Another date has been added to my schedule for the delivery of 2109 SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation. Come and join me in Stockholm for this three day course starting 9th January 2013. Start the new year with some great SQL Server training 


Monday, 24 September 2012

@LearningTree: Unlimited Passport

Its not often I publish two blog posts in a single day but this Monday I will make an exception. Late last week I was made aware of a great Learning Tree offer – an unlimted passport that you can purchase that will give you access to an unlimited number of training courses until 30th June 2013
Before I go on I have to state that this offer is only available in the USA and Canada at present.
This is a limited-time offer where you can buy an unlimited training passport for $5495 and take as many courses as you like between now and 30th June 2013.
For full details, terms and conditions of the offer please visit
So for the SQL Server professional what does this mean – If you take 6 courses between now and June 30th 2013 each course works out to $916 a course which is about a 65% saving!
So if you were buy this today here are some of the courses you could attend:
There are other courses in the SQL curriculum too. As you can see that’s a lot of great training that you can you get for a very decent price

SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation

December this year will be a great month for me. I am scheduled to deliver my new Learning Tree course 2109 SQL Server Virtualization and consolidation Hands-On in both  New York and London this December and I’m very much looking forward to both events.

This course runs in New York on the 5th December


Or if you prefer come and see me deliver the course in London on the 12th December


Whichever city is best for you, both these cities are great in the run up to Christmas. So not only get some great SQL Server training but also take in the Christmas spirit in either New York or London. Maybe I’ll catch you at one of these events?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

SQL Server 2012 Upgrade

SQL Server 2012 has been in RTM since the 1st April 2012. Many of my clients have been evaluating the new product but have not yet migrated their production servers to the new product. This is mainly to with timing and need. Over the next months (up to 12 months) several of my clients are planning on migrating some of their database servers to SQL Sever 2012.

How about you? Have you made the move yet?

SQL Sever 2012: DBA Skills Upgrade

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

To the cloud!

This last year or so I have been backing up my important files to cloud. I started using SkyDrive and Windows Live Mesh. This has been great thus far. You get 5GB free and that has been adequate for me needs in the main. You can choose specifically the files and folders on your device  that you want to sync with the cloud and it works seamlessly.

This last weekend though I wanted to using a cloud based backup product that would work with Windows XP (64 bit). Windows Live Mesh and SkyDrive doesn’t seem to work with this version of Windows. I had received  several emails from Google recently promoting Google Drive. So I tried that it worked a treat. I have it installed on my old Windows XP 64 bot laptop. My Windows 7 Laptop and my iPad and works perfectly well. You get 5GB free. One small issue is you don’t seem to have the options that you have with Windows Live Mesh and SkyDrive in that you need to put the files and folders you want to sync in specific Google Drive folder. Aside from that though its great, you can share files using Google Drive and work with Google apps to if you wish. So far it has been really useful.

I know that dropbox is quite popular and even though I have an account I have not really used it just yet. What do you use and what would you recommend for backing up your important files to the cloud

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Office 2010 and Windows XP (64 bit)

I wanted to install Microsoft Office 2010 on an old Windows XP (64 bit) laptop. I tried running the setup and I got an error saying that I needed Windows XP SP3. Now in case you didn’t know Windows XP (64 bit) doesn’t have an SP3. SP3 for Windows XP was only released for the x86 version of the OS.

So I tried running the XP Compatibility Mode. To do this right click the setup.exe choose properties and then choose Compatibility. Change the drop-down list to “Windows XP” then run the setup. I don’t think this is officially supported but it worked perfectly for me.

Monday, 17 September 2012

An Introduction to SQL Server

I will be delivering Learning Tree course 137 SQL Server 2008 a Comprehensive Hands-On Introduction in London this December (18th – 21st).

If you are new to SQL Server and databases in general this is a great course to get you up and running with SQL Server.

It also means you get to visit London in the week before Christmas, so along with some great training you can get some last minute gifts too with the London shopping district just down the road. No doubt there will plenty of London style entertainment to keep you occupied if you have finished your Christmas shopping by then


You will learn how to

  • Install SQL Server 2008
  • Gain an understanding of Transact-SQL (SELECT INSERT UPDATE DELETE)
  • Database Security
  • Database Backups and Restores
  • Replication
  • Introduction to the BI tools

If you new to SQL Server and need comprehensive introduction into the SQL Server product then this course  137 SQL Server 2008 a Comprehensive Hands-On Introduction is for you. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Friday, 14 September 2012

Two Hundred Up

I was working on my blog this last week when I realised I was approaching my 200th blog post on I thought this event warranted a post of its own and this is it.

My blog in this guise started back in 2009 but before that I had maintained a website that kind of acted as my blog before that since 2007. Unfortunately a lot of my 2007-2009 work got lost when I fell out with the hosting company. But this is my 200th post on this blog and its been an interesting and beneficial experience. I have written technical posts on SQL Server, posts about the blogging process and posts about me and what I do.

My blog in syndicated on and and one of the benefits of syndication is the increase in traffic and exposure that you can get. This week, Thursday sent around 500 unique visitors to my site. The site normally gets around 100 but that number fluctuates depending on the day of week, how often I have been posting and holidays etc. It is always nice to see a spike in visitor numbers


Thus far blogging has been very rewarding and has no doubt helped and contributed to the growth and success of my consulting business. It is an activity I enjoy and hopefully I’ll be back in the next couple years with celebration post when I reach the 300 club.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

SQL Server Virtualization

This past summer I have been working on a new course for Learning Tree 2109 SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation: Hands-On. Having gone through several projects with my clients  that have involved migrating physical servers to a virtual environment this seemed like a course that could be useful for a lot of databases administrators. As organisations move toward a ‘virtualize first’ approach to all server deployments the DBA will be expected to follow suit and migrate their SQL Servers to run in a virtual environment. If you get the configuration right it is possible for SQL Server to run perfectly fine in a virtual environment. You can also make use of some of the hypervisors features to the benefit of your SQL Servers.

Last week I was delivering the beta event for the course. A beta or pilot is the first time that the course is delivered in-front of a live audience. There is no cost or a very low cost to attending a beta/pilot events (pilot events events are offered at heavily discounted prices) all Learning Tree ask is you provide feedback throughout the week on the course and its content.   This process helps the course author and the development team make changes and improvements to the course going forward. We had a great group of students last week who gave some great feedback. From what they have said they really enjoyed the course and the suggestions they have made are already being included in the next revision.


If you would like to attend a Learning Tree beta or pilot event click here to see the schedule of up and coming beta and pilot events. Most Learning Tree beta events are held in Reston VA just in case you wondering about location but please see the specific event for exact location details.

Now we have been through a large portion of the development cycle and the beta event is complete for 2109 SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation: Hands-On the course will go through another revision which will allow us to revise the course and make any changes that have come out of the beta event.

If you’d like to attend the course you can come and see me deliver 2109 SQL Server Virtualization and Consolidation: Hands-On in the following locations

This course runs in New York on the 5th December


Or if you prefer come and see me deliver the course in London on the 12th December


You can also attend this course in Canada, Sweden and France and it will run on regular schedule throughout 2013 check out the Learning Tree website for dates and times.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Windows Server 2012

I haven’t paid too much attention to this version of windows yet, but I have just been reading up on some of the Hyper-v improvements in Windows Server 2012. It does seem to have a lot of new features that could be useful for DBA running SQL Server in a virtual environment. Particularly the High Availability improvements and I’m very interested in the new Hyper-V replica feature.
I don’t have a link but if you search for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V in your favourite search engine you will see the PDF whitepaper available to download from
I’m going to download the release candidate and get VM setup and configured so I try SQL Server 2012 on this new Windows Server. I’m also going to get some Hyper-V VM’s configured on my VMware Workstation console so I can look at some of the new Hyper-V features that may be useful.
I’ll be sure to blog about my finding here. From what I have read,  I know it is a moving target the release date is being touted as Q4 2012 or Q1 2013. I don’t know how accurate these dates are but if anyone knows to the contrary please let me know by leaving a comment.

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