Thursday, December 01, 2016

Gartner Magic Quadrant for operational database management systems (2016)

Microsoft has come so far in the last 15 years from being the under dogs to become the market leaders in database market. As of October 2016 Microsoft is the leaders in Gartner Magic Quadrant for operational database management system. Any area mostly reserved for the likes of Oracle, SAP and IBM.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

SQL Server Management Studio – July 2016 Release

The first monthly update release of SSMS following the release of SQL Server 2016 is now available. The update added the feature I personally was waiting for.  The following are few of the highlights that was mentioned during the announcement. 

  • Support for Azure SQL Data Warehouse in SSMS. This is good news indeed. 
  • Support for PowerShell script generation in the Always Encrypted wizard
  • Improved connection times to Azure SQL databases
  • New ‘Backup to URL’ dialog to support the creation of Azure storage credentials for SQL Server 2016 database backups
  • New Restore dialog to streamline restoring a SQL Server 2016 database backup from the Microsoft Azure storage service.

and some bug fixes too. I cannot wait to play with Azure SQL Data Warehouse using the new SSMS release

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Sample databases for SQL 2016

SQL 2016 is in market for just under two weeks and Microsoft released a new sample databases(WideWorldImporters and WideWorldImportersDW) Those sample database can be used to evaluate the new features of SQL 2016 such as
•    Polybase
•    Query store
•    In-Meomory OLTP
•    Updatable column store index (both clustered and non-clustered)
•    Native JSON support
•    Security (Dynamic data masking, row level security and Always encrypted)
•    Temporal database and tables

There are also few scripts and applicaiton that was released with new sample databases to test out the new features. Enjoy

Monday, June 06, 2016

Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is the new SaaS offering from Microsoft. It is still in preview state and I had a chance to set up and play with it. It looks very promising.
So, what is Azure SQL Data Warehouse? Microsoft defines Azure SQL Data warehouse as follows: “Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a cloud-based, scale-out database capable of processing massive volumes of data - both relational and non-relational. Built on massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture, SQL Data Warehouse can handle your enterprise workload”.  FlyData [1] that compares Azure data warehouse vs Amazon Redshift defined it as “a distributed and enterprise level database capable of handling large amounts of relational and non-relational data”

Historically, those type of MPP are only available for enterprises that can afford to fork out a lot of money to buy appliance upfront. I believe what Microsoft done is great in trying to bring this powerful massively parallel processing architecture to all of us and now we are in position to investigate, experiment and perform cost benefit analysis and see if it can benefit the business under our domain. I believe the SaaS offering of the product will not discriminate against any size of companies whether small, medium or large. It is also a great opportunity for data scientists to experiment their modelling and avoid hassle of initial investment cost.   Whether this will be a game changer, we won’t say it for sure now but time will tell.
The abstraction and separation of compute from azure data warehouse is the one I personally like very much.  I believe the flexibility to dynamically deploy, grow, shrink and pause is indeed another feature.  In this article, I will look at two aspects of the product; architecture and pricing

There are four layer that defines azure data warehouse.  There are disagreement if it is four or three or even two layers that defines Azure data warehouse architecture.  I wouldn't be drawn into the layering as they all talk about the same thing.   Those layers are DMS, storage, control and compute nodes.  The image below (source: Microsoft) gives you a visual architecture of Azure data warehouse
  1. Data Movement services is one of the layer that spans across both control node and compute nodes. It is a windows service that coordinates and/or manages data movement between different nodes.
  2. Control node is the entry point for all applications. It is like connecting to an instance of SQL server. The application that connects to ADW (Azure data warehouse) doesn’t know the underlying compute nodes nor will be able to connect to any of the compute nodes. The compute nodes are abstracted from our application. The control node is responsible in distributing our requests to underlying compute nodes
  3. Compute nodes are the engine of our computing power hence called compute nodes. When you issue a big query the first node you hit will be control node which will then distribute the query to compute node. Once the query run on compute nodes it is then the work of control nodes that will aggregate the results from all the compute node and return’s to our application.
  4. One of the great achievements of Azure data warehouse is the separation of dependence of storage layer from the compute node when scaling up. You should be able to increase your storage independent of your compute node.  The storage layer and compute nodes scales separately. The data will be stored in Azure Blob storage. The compute nodes are directly interacting with the storage layer when reading or writing data.

Charging is based on number of DWU. DWU (data warehouse unit) represents the amount of compute resources used at any given time.  The more DWU you use,  the faster your query runs as it will be executed on more distributed CPU and memory.  It will take some time and experience to understand the trade-off and/or optimum DWU to pricing to run your query to be completed within the time-frame you planned or anticipated.
 As per information I have got at current time, the charge is per minute. For instance, if you used 100 DWU for 30 minute you will be charged for 30 minutes instead of per hour pricing that is shown for compute capabilities. Currently, the minimum DWU you can configure from the portal is 100 DWU (with a cost of £0.43/hour) with increment of 100 up to a maximum of 2000 DWU (with a cost of £8.55/hour). If you pause you will not be charged.

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

SQL Server 2016 general availability

It is now official that SQL Server 2016 will be out on 1st of June 2016. As some of you may know Microsoft dropped the BI edition in it's 2016 release. Looks like there is now Enterprise, Standard, Express and Developer Edition. SQL Server developer edition is now a free edition providing the full feature set of SQL server Enterprise and can be used only for development and testing.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Microsoft SQL Server Announcement

  • Microsoft has indicated that support for SQL Server 2005 will end as of April 12th, 2016.

·         No access to critical security updates, opening the potential for business interruptions
·         Higher maintenance costs for maintaining legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems mean increased costs for the business
·         Compliance concerns – as support ends, organizations will likely fail to meet regulatory standards compliance 

  • With the introduction of SQL Server 2016, Microsoft will no longer offer the Business Intelligence edition. Beyond this change, they don’t anticipate any changes in the licensing model with the release of SQL Server 2016.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Instance wide script to add user (the 4th way)

My new script to add user to all databases in an instance published on and can be found Instance wide script to add user (the 4th way). The script can be modified and can be used for various purpose.

Monday, February 15, 2016

SQL Server 2016 release date

Looking at the history of the last Microsoft releases, it looks like the release of SQL 2016 will be either March or April.. Hope my prediction is right:)

SQL Server Release_Date
SQL Server 2016 2016-04/03-??
SQL Server 2014 01/04/2014
SQL Server 2012 06/03/2012
SQL Server 2008 R2 21/04/2010
SQL Server 2008  2008-08-07
SQL Server 2005 07/11/2005

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gartner positions Microsoft as a leader in BI and Analytics Platforms

For the first time, Microsoft is placed furthest in vision within the Leaders quadrant.