Ola Hallengren’s DDBoost Backups

The already awesome Ola’s Maintenance solution for SQL Server became more awesome with his latest release. If you are not aware of Ola’s maintenance solution, you should definitely check it out. In the July 2018 release, quite a few enhancements were introduced. My personal favorites are ability to add percentage of modified rows to update stats, resumable index rebuilds support and support for EMC DDboost(Data Domain Boost). In fact I was badly waiting for DDboost support last year(we were using DDboost to backup our VLDBs). Unfortunately, DDboost was not something Ola’s solution suported at that time and what I ended up was writing up my own stored procs calling “dbo.emc_run_backup” and “ddbmexptool.exe” based on our Lockbox settings and scheduled the jobs as needed. Well, I got it worked without any issues but had to spend quite a bit of time to understand all the bells and whistles of DDboost and come up with my own procs and error logging.

If you happen to have any plans evaluating DDBoost for SQL backups now or in near future, well you have an awesome solution already available. All you need to do is pass ‘DATA_DOMAIN_BOOST’ as a parameter for third-part backup software in Ola’s backup job and specify below parameters.

Image source: https://ola.hallengren.com/sql-server-backup.html

References:
https://ola.hallengren.com/

A big shout-out to Ola! Cheers, Happy weekend.

Dedicated Admin Connection(DAC) from SSMS

DAC is probably the most useful tool for troubleshooting SQL Server in few scenarios. Basically, It can be used as a back door entry in case the server goes unresponsive and doesn’t accept any new connections. So, how to make a DAC to SQL Server Instance? Preferred way is to use SQLCMD by issuing -A switch. But few folks might prefer SSMS over SQLCMD. In this blog post let’s see how to make a dedicated admin connection from SSMS.

Well, all you need to do is prefexing “admin:”to your instance name. I’ve a default SQL Instance(SQLTREK2), so in order to make a dedicated admin connection, all I’ve to do is use “admin:SQLTREK2” as my connection string. Okay, Let’s see what my SSMS does when I do that.

Dedicated administrator connections are not supported via SSMS as it establishes multiple connections by design. (Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.SqlStudio.Explorer)

If you wonder what multiple connections its talking about, It is referring to Object Explorer(Yes, OE establishes its own connection). But there can be only one DAC session at any given time. So, how to get around this issue in SSMS?

Method 1:
Creating DAC session by initiating connection from query pane. In the below screenshot, you can see I have a query pane which is currently disconnected.

Right click in the query pane and go to connection and click connect(providing admin:Instance name)

Well, SSMS created a pop-up which says it failed to connect, But I would like you folks to focus on the status bar where it did established a connection using admin:SQLTREK2. So basically this window is your DAC session.

Method 2:
By using ‘Database Engine Query’ connection. By using this method, you can avoid the error message which SSMS returned(shown in the above screenshot). All you have to do is click on Database Engine Query button right beside ‘New Query’ and make a connection. See below screen shots.

Voila! That was easy right….

Bonus points to you if you have noticed difference between ‘connect to server’ and ‘connect to database engine’. See below if you haven’t.

From Object Explorer: (DAC fails)

DB Engine query: (DAC Succeeds)

Hope this helps! Happy holidays…!

Idera’s SQL Extended Events Profiler – concise and Elegant tool for SQL DBAs!

In this blog post, I would like to introduce all of you to a very cool and concise Free tool from Idera.

Note:  I Do not work for Idera. Idera has nothing to do with this blog post. Am expressing just my opinion with my experiences with this free tool.

Okay, so….what is this tool al about?

If you are a SQL Server DBA, you might have already been in a situation where you had to run SQL Server trace on your SQL Server(s) per a developer request or for investigation purposes or some thing else.  Profiler, which comes with SQL Server installtion is a very heavy tool, especially if you are  not filtering out your events when running your trace. To avoid any overhead this graphical tool(profiler) causes, we could use “Server Side tracing” which basically runs the trace server side and stores the results either in a file or a table without the need for using profiler(Which constantly displays the results, which is very resource intensive). Impressive…But not as impressive as “Extended Events”. MSFT introduced “Extended Events” in SQL Server 2008 which is the low level/High performance eventing solution. Slowly and steadily…I am seeing people moving away from traces and Profiler which is nice.  If you are a SQL Server Profiler person, I’ve got a sad news for you, Profiler is depricated in SQL Server 2014(Instead, microsoft is asking you to use Extended events session(s) which is embedded in your SSMS under management Node). You might not like this initially, especially the way how you’ve to interact with XEvents from SSMS. This is where this free tool from Idera comes handy. This is very similar to how you would interact with Profiler(Selecting templates, events, filtering columns etc), but instead of starting a trace, it pulls info from Extended events which are very light weight and has significantly less over head on your SQL Server.

See below Screenshots on what am talking about…If you are already familiar with Profiler, this doesn’t need any further explanation on how to get started with this free tool.

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Once connected, choose your template

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Filter out columns as needed…

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As you can see this could be very helpful tool to track down few things on your SQL Server without hindering it’s performance. Once you’ve got what you are lookin for, you can export the results as well.  This is a free tool, you can download it from idera and play with it and see if it meets your requirements.

PS Discussing the true power of Extended events which microsoft introduced for us is way beyond scope of this blog post.

Cheers!

SQL Server Discovery Report – Know What SQL components you’ve got Installed at a glance

Let’s assume you’ve got a new SQL Server under your support as a primary DBA and you’ve decided to investigate and document all the SQL Server components/features installed on this Server. What are your options? Will you go to Config manager and look at Services for Installed Services. Well, what about Client components? You can pull build levels/Version(SP/CU) easily for your database engine using T-SQL, what about other services? What about your client tool(s) version…Chances are they will be same as your DB Engine(but they could be different based on how and who patched the SQL Servers)? What if you’ve got multiple Instances of SQL Server with different versions…?

Well, we’ve something called “Installed SQL Server features Discovery Report” under Tools in your Installation Center which provides all this information in a single place 🙂 .  Go to the Installation Center from your start->All Programs->Microsoft SQL serverXXXX->Configuration tools->SQL Server Installation Center. Go to Tools and click on discovery report as shown below.

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After few seconds, I got below report which gives me basic information on what all I’ve got Installed related to SQL Server on this Server with the build numbers, Edition, clustered/StandAlone etc all at single shot (You can see I’ve got 2 Named Instances, 2008 and 2012) which is pretty useful IMO.

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Hope you guys find this nifty tool useful! Cheers…

The Network folder specified is currently mapped using a different user name and password

Today I was trying to map a network drive on my laptop and received a message saying “The Network folder specified is currently mapped using a different user name and password“. Well, I thought there is one and went into “My Computer”. interestingly….I don’t see it! Well, I rebooted the laptop hoping it would drop any hanging hidden cables. Unfortunately it didn’t do the trick.

BTW, My laptop already has 2 mapped drives(Y$ and Z$) and I’m trying to create  a 3rd one pointing to another share on completely different file server.(See below screenshot) 

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Now, I tried issuing “NET USE” command to see if it shows anything useful. Surprisingly It said, I’ve 3 mapped drives(3rd one being the one which I’m trying to map without any Drive letter being assigned!!!). See below Screenshot…

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As you can see there’s one more thing(well, without drive letter assignment) and that’s the exact share which I’m trying to create as a mapped drive on my laptop. Now I know the issue. All we need to do is to Delete that “Hanging from Nowhere” Mapped Drive using “NET USE” and retry to map it.

Syntax for deleting mapped drive using NET USE:

NET USE /DELETE \\My_ServerName\My_Sharename

Boom….It dissapeared as you can see below.

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Notice in the above screenshot, that “magical and annoying” share got deleted succesfully and only Y$ and Z$ are present as expected.

Now, I was able to map that share to a new drive without any issues…Hope this helps if you get into same issue. Cheers 🙂