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Cost and License considerations between Always On Availability Groups and Always On Basic Availability Groups
Posted by Shashank Singh on October 17, 2017
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Windows Server edition considerations

With Windows Server 2012 and above, Standard Edition now has full support for clustering, not just simple 2-node active/passive clusters, but fully configured clustering support.  Before Windows Server 2012, only Windows Server Enterprise Edition could support Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). Starting from Windows Server 2012, clustering got a huge licensing cost reduction.

The cost of Windows Server 2012 Standard is almost the same as that of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, but Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition has almost 26% price increase. There is no difference throughout feature support between Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter edition; the major difference is that Standard only supports hosting of 2 virtual machines (by default), while in Datacenter this is unlimited. You can host more than 2 VMs on Standard, but that will imply an extra cost.

BAG vs AG

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High Availability and Disaster Recovery with SQL Server AlwaysOn: FCI quick walk through
Posted by Bogdan Savchenko on September 19, 2017
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Introduction

Greetings, fellow sysadmins and everyone who is still wondering how to make their SQL server highly available! You’re just in time since I’ve prepared for you detailed guidelines with pictures and explanations on how to achieve this goal by using the SQL Server AlwaysOn approach! The great thing is that we are also going to configure and review the full-fledged system with the disaster recovery scenarios implemented. I’ve decided to break this topic into 3 parts. First, we will go through the process of configuring AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instance (FCI), the next part of this series will cover the deployment of a DR site for our cluster using AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and finally, we will learn more about how to achieve the same using 3rd party software.

shared storage configuration for Primary Data Center

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SQL indexes 101
Posted by Mikhail Rodionov on July 21, 2017
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When it comes to SQL Server database indexes there is a wide scale of variation in depth of knowledge on this important topic among IT professionals leveraging SQL Server power while not necessarily being specialist DBA. Let’s discuss SQL server indexes a bit here with non-SQL DBAs/non-DB developers audience in mind covering why and how sides of the subject.

I still remember one of my interviews where I was asked something along the lines of “what comprises a database?” Being an experienced IT professional, I’ve instantly said something about rows and columns forming tables and entities within those, and something about relations between entities/tables and once I said my “that’s it without going into details too much” one of the interviewers said: “And what about indexes?”, “ah, yes indexes…” was my response. I think this is beginning of the scale of non-SQL professional knowledge about indexes – you are vaguely aware that they exist and have some vague idea about what they do.

Data in a table stored in a clustered index structure

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Upgrading System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 to 2016
Posted by Nicolas Prigent on July 11, 2017
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Microsoft System Center Orchestrator logo

Orchestrator is a workflow management solution for the data center. Orchestrator lets you automate the creation, monitoring, and deployment of resources in your environment. Orchestrator is also known as “SCORCH” or “SCO”. Orchestrator uses a drag and drop graphical interface to allow admins to define runbooks. A runbook is a compilation of routine procedures and operations that Orchestrator will run depending on your scheduling. Finally, Orchestrator is capable of managing multiple operating systems.

After reading this guide, you should have a basic understanding of how to upgrade/install Orchestrator.

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Installing System Center Configuration Manager 1610 (Current Branch) on Windows Server 2016 with SQL Server 2016. PART 2
Posted by Nicolas Prigent on March 16, 2017
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Microsofr System Center Configuration Manager

Thanks to the previous part, we have SQL Server 2016 installed and configured. Before running the SCCM installation process, let’s remember the architecture we are implementing.

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Installing System Center Configuration Manager 1610 (Current Branch) on Windows Server 2016 with SQL Server 2016. PART1
Posted by Nicolas Prigent on March 14, 2017
4.5/5 (2)

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager

On November 17th  2016, Microsoft SCCM Team has released version 1610 for the Current Branch (CB) of System Center Configuration Manager that includes some great new features and product enhancements.

SCCM 1610 includes lots of new features and enhancements in Windows 10 and Office 365 management, application management, end user experience, client management and also includes new functionality in hybrid mode with Microsoft Intune.

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Installing SharePoint 2016
Posted by Mikhail Rodionov on March 10, 2017
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Recently there was an article on StarWind Blog dedicated to Exchange 2016 installation written by Nicolas Prigent, so I decided that some folks might want to get something similar for SharePoint 2016, so here you are. Disclaimer: I did not touch on scripting SharePoint installation with PowerShell or any other advanced stuff, but I promise that you’ll find some interesting details beyond of “how do I click my way through setup wizard” information.

Microsoft’s SharePoint evolved quite dramatically in three previous major releases (2007, 2010, 2013) and now we have yet another version – SharePoint 2016. As usual, in this release, you can find additional functionality and loads of things to learn. But I think what you may be interested in it is just how to do a quick install to play with the latest version of SharePoint and test if it works well for your scenarios whatever they are. For example, in my case, I am going to test different scenarios of integration between K2 blackpearl and SharePoint 2016 among many other things. Disclaimer: if you in a mood to read somewhat dry and lengthy official installation guide – it exists and should be perused before doing production installation, but as the usual official documentation does not go as a pleasant easy read for the majority of people.

browser window with SharePoint Central Administration page

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SQL Server on Linux
Posted by Mike Preston on March 7, 2017
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There has certainly been no lack of surprises coming from Redmond over the past year or so. As soon as Satya Nadella took the reins of Microsoft it has seemed like a barrage of Microsoft news hitting the wires – but this news does not fall within the traditional line of Microsoft. Open sourcing .net, open sourcing PowerShell, and finally, providing a means to run MS SQL Server on Linux. Don’t get me wrong – this is great news for the IT world. Cross compatibility, platform-independent – these words are words that excite me. Microsoft has taken notice of the dominance of the cloud, more so, the dominance of Linux within the cloud. Certainly, releasing the ability to take a Linux instance within the cloud and run our SQL Server on it is a step in the right direction – for Microsoft, and for us as IT professionals.
Just like PowerShell, the MS SQL Linux deployment supports a limited number of distributions – more specifically Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Ubuntu Server 16.04.

PackagePreReqs

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Backup VMware environment with Veeam 9.5 Backup & Replication
Posted by Romain Serre on February 22, 2017
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Veeam Backup & Replication is a backup solution which works for VMware & Hyper-V VM and physical servers (Windows and Linux). Veeam has many advantages over the other solutions on the market such as Instant VM Recovery, the easy graphical interface and the host-level backup for SQL Server, Active Directory or file servers. In this series, I’ll show step by step how to deploy Veeam, backup a first virtual machine and restore it.

Veeam Backup and Replication Install view

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Fighting Azure AD Connects custom installer
Posted by Gary Williams on February 8, 2017
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I’ve recently been spending more and more time looking into various cloud technologies such as AWS and Azure. One of the projects I’ve been working on required the on-premises active directory to be extended to Azure to allow for a future introduction of various Office365 elements.
The process for doing this is fairly easy as it’s just a matter of installing the Azure Active Directory Connect tool onto a server, creating the domain in the Azure portal and then waiting for Azure AD connect to Sync.

Microsoft Azure AD connect setup

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