MMS 2019–Planned Sessions

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Are coming to one of the premier System Center Configuration Manager events, MMS 2019 (Midwest Management Summit)?

If so, consider coming to see Benjamin Reynolds and myself for one or all of the following sessions. Stop by and say hello.

AMA – Ask Me Anything

Note: we first ran one of these sessions at the MMS Desert Edition and it was very well received. Bring your questions!

Description:
Have a question about SQL, T-SQL, Reporting, or SQL/Site Server HA? Now’s your chance to ask Steve and Benjamin anything you want!
What you will learn:

  • SQL (basic or advanced)
  • SSRS
  • Power BI
  • SQL Server HA (Availability Groups)

SQL Performance turning techniques for ConfigMgr and more!

Note: we’ll likely cover suggested server and SQL Server configuration as well.

Description:
Have you ever had SQL queries that ran slow, and weren’t sure what to do? Learn techniques, tips and tricks on how to enhance your SQL Server query performance. How to troubleshoot, available tools, extended events, execution plans and more!
What you will learn:

  • Troubleshooting techniques
  • What makes a bad vs. good query?
  • Indexes – how to identify and how to use?
  • Extended events

HA for ConfigMgr/SQL Server Update

Description:
Have you wondered about SQL Always On Availability Groups? What is it? How does SQL Server High Availability benefit your environment? What considerations are involved in the design? How do you install it? Learn how can you use this to extend ConfigMgr high availability capabilities. Tips and tricks. Come learn the latest update to this technology from two industry experts.
What you will learn:

  • SQL High Availability Options – FCI vs Always On Availability Groups
  • Efficiently moving the ConfigMgr DB to an Availability Group
  • ConfigMgr HA
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SSRS ReportServer log file uncontrolled growth

When installing SSRS, there are two databases that get installed (default); ReportServer and ReporServerTempDB.

With SSRS, whether for SCCM or reporting in general, by default the ReportServer database Recovery model is enabled as FULL. Which means that all activity in the ReportServer database will get logged to the transaction file.

The side affect of this, the Transaction log file can get quite large with time. Recently, I assisted a client with a low disk space issue on a logical drive. After research, we determined that the ReportServer transaction log file had grown quite large… >60GB in size.

The fix? Change the ReportServer database  Recovery model to Simple. To reclaim the space on disk, shrink the ReportServer transaction log file.

To back up the ReportServer database, and perhaps custom reports; DO enable regular database backups, here is one approach.

To change the recovery model, from SSMS, right click the ReportServer database > Properties. Click on Options, then change the Recovery Model to Simple. Then, OK.

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To shrink the Transaction log file, right click the ReportServer database > Tasks > Shrink > Files

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From the Shrink file dialog, choose file type of LOG. Shrink action of Release Unused space, then OK.

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Note: Thanks Ken. Smile

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Microsoft MVP Anniversary – 23 years!

In cleaning out some old paperwork, I re-discovered my original MVP award letter, dated 12-13-1995. Yes, it was a real letter, mailed to me!

MVPAwardLetter

The following year, this letter from Bill Gates was included. Some very insightful comments here… one I like:

“The interactive network will allow us to work together, to instantly communicate with each other, and stay connected, no matter where we are.”

Quite a profound statement given it was 1996, and I received a letter from Microsoft the year before!

MVPLetterFromBillGates

It has been an amazing 23 years, have met a LOT of really nice people during this time. Being part of the community has had a very positive impact on my career.

I’ll also offer a shout-out to the MVP leads and the product teams that really value our opinions.

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SQL Server – Configure Backup on Availability Replicas

For a recent project, I needed to create a backup maintenance task for databases in a SQL Server Always On Availability group. In three separate AO environments.

Now there are several options available:

  • Use custom backup jobs
  • Use Ola Hallengren’s backup scripts
  • Use SQL Maintenance tasks

After investigating each of these options, I decided to use the SQL Maintenance tasks. Primary reason, the client won’t have to update Ola’s scripts as revisions take place, and I wanted to keep the solution simple and easily repeatable.

Using the SQL Maintenance Wizard, for each node in the SQL Availability Group, I created three (3) separate tasks.

The keys to making this work are:

  • Using a UNC location to backup the user databases and transaction logs files for each environment
  • Scheduling each SQL Server Agent Job to run at the same time
    • In the Always On environment, only one of the jobs will actually run

Here are the build notes:

SQL Server Backup

Important maintenance plan creation notes:

· Use default Availability Group backup priority options

· Use compression

· Create a folder for each database

· User Database(s) Transaction log file back up to *environment share*

· Create a folder for each database

1. On each node configure the following three maintenance plan backup tasks.

a. BackupSystemDBs

· System DB backups created locally (on each server)

· Schedule: Run daily @ 5:00PM

○ Retention 1 week

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SQL Maintenance Task

b. BackupDB

· User Database(s) back up to *environment share*

· Use Copy-only database Option

· Note: For more information on copy-only database option

· Schedule: Run daily @ 6:00PM

○ Retention 1 week

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c. BackupDBTrans

· User Database(s) Transaction log file back up to *environment share*

· Schedule: Run Hourly from 7:00PM to 5:30PM

○ Retention 48 hours

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Reference: Configure Backup on Availability Replicas (SQL Server)

From <https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/database-engine/availability-groups/windows/configure-backup-on-availability-replicas-sql-server?view=sql-server-2017>

Posted in High Availability, SCCM, SQL Server | Leave a comment

Failed to create Availability Group Listener

In implementing a SQL Server Always On availability group; I know I’ve run into this issue in the past, so figured I’d document the solution.

The Windows Server Failover cluster was properly created.

The SQL Server Always On Availability Group was created.

Adding the SQL Listener for the AOAG, and received the following:

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Here is the error:

 

Error

The WSFC cluster could not bring the Network Name resource with DNS name ‘<SQLAOAGName>’ online. The DNS name may have been taken or have a conflict with existing name services, or the WSFC cluster service may not be running or may be inaccessible. Use a different DNS name to resolve name conflicts, or check the WSFC cluster log for more information.

The attempt to create the network name and IP address for the listener failed. If this is a WSFC availability group, the WSFC service may not be running or may be inaccessible in its current state, or the values provided for the network name and IP address may be incorrect. Check the state of the WSFC cluster and validate the network name and IP address with the network administrator. Otherwise, contact your primary support provider. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 19471)

For help, click: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?ProdName=Microsoft%20SQL%20Server&ProdVer=14.00.3038&EvtSrc=MSSQLServer&EvtID=19471&LinkId=20476

Solution

From Users and Computers MMC, enable Advanced Properties.

Pre-create the SQL AOAG Listener name in Active Directory.

Right check the SQL AOAG Listener name > Properties > Security tab

Add the Windows Server Cluster Name (for the SQL HA) Note: enable computer objects

Grant the Windows Server Cluster Name Full Control for the SQL AOAG Listener name

The create listener step should now work.

Posted in Always ON, High Availability, SQL Server | Leave a comment

Power BI Editions Explained

We’ve recently worked with a client to get clear on licensing requirements for Power BI.

Learned some interesting facts about Power BI versions that are a bit unclear on the Microsoft site, and wanted to share them as this *will* have an impact on creating Power BI Projects.

First, lets discuss Power BI Free vs Pro

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This chart might give the impression that with Free edition, is it possible to consume PBI dashboards created by Pro users. This is not the case!

A non Pro user will get prompted to upgrade to PBI pro, they cannot access content unless they are a Pro user.

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There are a couple of other options – read on…

How do we position our clients that want to use PBI with all employees? Or, perhaps externally with their clients?

Power BI offers Premium capacity model, which allows this sharing of PBI dashboards with other users. Effectively, each user in the company can have Power BI Pro functionality. Three service tiers are available. PBI Premium also optionally, includes a PBI report server.

Additionally, Power BI offers a Power BI Embedded model, this is another type of capacity model with six service tiers available with varying vCores. Targeted at companies that have developer resources, the PBI dashboard, published to the App workspace, can be pushed to an iFrame using .NET or JavaScript SDKs. This in turn can be used by non Pro users, and is only limited by the number of page renders per hour. Refer to the “How to plan capacity for Power BI Embedded” white paper for a description of v-cores. Pricing calculator.

Another option includes Power BI dashboards used in SharePoint Online. I’m including this one only for completeness. While you can embed PBI visuals in SharePoint Online, and user accessing this content must be either be  PBI Pro user, or the company is licensed for PBI Premium.

While planning a Power BI project, be sure the client understands the costs involved.

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Congratulations 2018-2019 Microsoft MVP!

Proud and honored to be awarded EMS (Enterprise Mobility + Security) MVP on Jul 1, 2018. Still humbled after 23 consecutive awards in three different technical product areas.

Such a great community, congratulations to all that were awarded, and re-awarded.

For those that did not get re-awarded, work hard and reapply!

Here is a snippet of the announcement:

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What is an MVP?

Overview

Who are MVPs?

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that’s what sets them apart.

What is the MVP Award?

For more than two decades, the Microsoft MVP Award is our way of saying “Thanks!” to outstanding community leaders. The contributions MVPs make to the community, ranging from speaking engagements, to social media posts, to writing books, to helping others in online communities, have incredible impact. Key benefits to MVPs include early access to Microsoft products, direct communication channels with our product teams and an invitation to the Global MVP Summit, an exclusive annual event hosted in our global HQ in Redmond. They also have a very close relationship with the local Microsoft teams in their area, who are there to support and empower MVPs to address needs and opportunities in the local ecosystem. Other benefits include an executive recognition letter, an MSDN technical subscription, and an Office 365 subscription.

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