SQL Server 2016 AlwaysON AG setup – Part 1

This is a quick guide on how to configure AlwaysON AGs on SQL Server 2016. This blog post isn’t a thorough walk through, My goal in this post is to show you guys what’s different in SQL 2016 comparing with 2012 or 2014. (For detailed information on how to setup AGs in your own lab, please refer to my previous posts on SQL 2012).

First and foremost, I’ve built a windows cluster with 3 nodes(No shared Storage) for setting up AGs(See below).


Starting from Node SQLTrekAG1, Inserted SQL Server 2016 RC2 media, hit setup.exe…basic sanity checks…next next…blah blah.


One thing you might have already noticed, all our management tools and Data tools has a separate link to install. Well, This is a huge change(I would say improvement, YMMV), in earlier versions we had option to select Client tools when selecting features and IIRC data tools was a separate download all together in SQL 2014.



As mentioned earlier we no longer see client tools(basic and complete) in features selection.



One more amazing enhancement, now it always remind DBAs about IFI 🙂



Choose your dirs and if you go to tempdb tab, you can see that now SQL Server is smart enough to identify number of CPUs on the box and will choose number of data files for your tempdb.

Everything else should be similar to what we had in previous versions. Now after performing a standalone installation successfully, you can see SSMS hasn’t been installed.


Now let’s install SSMS on this machine:

All I had to do was double click setup.exe and on Installation tab, select “Install SQL Server Management Tools”and……Oops!Bummer….! Did I already mention, you need to have Internet connection to be able to do this. Well, see below screenshot carefully again.


It downloads an 815 MB file(SSMS-Setup-enu.exe), now that’s the media for installing SSMS and other SQL utilities! Store it in your media library, from now on we don’t need internet connection.

Note: You can directly go to https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt238290.aspx for downloading the same(As of 2016 RC2).

Run that executable…I got a warning about shared components already installed(I am good with that) and next to Install. That’s it!

It installs .NET framework 4.6.1(took a while), Report viewer, batch parser, SSMS, SQLCMD, BCP, SMOs, Visual studio 2015 Shell(took its sweet time), SQLPS,Profiler,DTA and all those goodies. Restart if required.

Now, I enabled AGs from SQL Config manager.


I will install SQL by performing the same on all the three nodes and will come up with part-2 later where I setup an actual AG. Cheers!


Installing SQL Server 2016 – Is it any different?

Howdy…it’s been a long time I’ve written something related to SQL Server here in my blog. So here I am, I took some time out of my holidays to download and Install  SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 in my laptop. Let me share my thoughts on what has been changed/improved with setup experience.

One thing I’ve noticed is during “Features selection” phase, there’s a new feature called “Polybase Query Service for External Data” which requires Oracle JRE to be installed before in hand manually. See below…


If you choose Polybase Service without installing JRE, you get below error.


You can download JRE from the link shown below:


After I Installed JRE, I passed that screen without any errors.


So what is Polybase service? At a high level it’s an interface which lets us query Big data from SQL server using SQL Statements.

Moving on, in the section where we typically provide Service accounts, I noticed a wonderful enhancement. See below…


This takes care of Instant File Initialization(IFI) of all your data files for your databases 🙂 That’s fantastic….!

Moving on, under DB Engine configuration page, there is a new tab for tempdb. So, now SQL Server setup is smart enough to identify number of CPU cores you’ve got and will create tempdb files accordingly. You can choose initial size and growth settings for tempdb data and log files per your requirements.


This is an excellent enhancement IMHO. I’ve seen hundreds of servers where tempdb has been misconfigured in my experience.

Since I’ve selected Ploybase service initially, it has prompted me to configure polybase service per below screenshot.


After 10 mins or so….my installation completed successfully and below is what I see from my SSMS:


  • SQL Server version: 13.0.700 ( This is SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0)
  • DB version is 839. But interestingly I noticed master database has been created in 836 version and upgraded to 839! Normally we see this when a database has been upgraded from older version to a newer version.
  • Every database has a new node called “External resources”
  • Three DW databases have been created by SQL Server since I’ve selected this Instance will serve as head node for my polybase configuration.
  • Each database has a new property category called “Query Store”. See below…


Query store is one of my favorite features microsoft announced for SQL 2016 besides temporal tables. At a very high level Temporal tables feature allows us to do time travel without any third party tools and Query store is a game changer in performance tuning area for DBAs and Developers. I will come up with blog posts on these topics once I explore these features in detail.

SQL Server 2016 announced :)

Not sure if you guys have got a chance to grab updates from Microsoft Ignite event(Previously called TechEd), So here is a news for you. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced SQL Server 2016 day before yesterday. It’s not yet available to download for public, but they are saying it(public preview) will be available soon 🙂

Looks like they have lot of enhancements in encryption(Always Encrypted…sounds very similar to AlwaysON) area and cloud integration/BI/Polybase areas.

For data sheet and other details please check

Am all set for getting my hands dirty playing with Public preview release…