SQL Slammer Is Still A Thing

Thomas LaRock notes that SQL Slammer is still out there:

But all of that is in the past. Here’s what you need to know about SQL Slammer today.

First, this worm infects unpatched SQL 2000 and MSDE instances only. About a month ago, I would have thought that the number of such installs would be quite small. But the recent uptick in Slammer tells me that there are enough of these systems to make Slammer one of the top malware detected at the end of 2016. And a quick search at Shodan shows thousands of public-facing database servers available. And if you want to have some real fun at Shodan®, Ian Trump (blog@phat_hobbit) has a suggestion for you.

Click through for ways to protect yourself.  The best way to protect yourself is not to have SQL Server 2000 around anymore.

SQL Server vNext CTP 1.3 Available

The SQL Server team has announced a new CTP:

Key CTP 1.3 enhancement: Always On Availability Groups on Linux

In SQL Server v.Next, we continue to add new enhancements for greater availability and higher uptime. A key design principle has been to provide customers with the same HA and DR solutions on all platforms supported by SQL Server. On Windows, Always On depends on Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). On Linux, you can now create Always On Availability Groups, which integrate with Linux-based cluster resource managers to enable automatic monitoring, failure detection and automatic failover during unplanned outages. We started with the popular clustering technology, Pacemaker.

In addition, Availability Groups can now work across Windows and Linux as part of the same Distributed Availability Group. This configuration can accomplish cross-platform migrations without downtime. To learn more, you can read our blog titled “SQL Server on Linux: Mission Critical HADR with Always On Availability Groups”.

That’s a big headline.  In the Other Enhancements section, I like resumable online index rebuilds as well.

Apache Zeppelin 0.7.0

Vinay Shulka announces Apache Zeppelin 0.7.0:

SPARK IMPROVEMENTS

This release also adds support for Spark 2 including version Spark 2.1. Zeppelin now also links to Spark History Server UI from Zeppelin so users can more easily track Spark jobs. The Livy interpreter now supports specifying packages with the job.

SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS

The major security improvement in Zeppelin 0.7.0 is using Apache Knox’s LDAP Realm to connect to LDAP. Zeppelin home page now lists only the nodes to which the user is authorized to access. Zeppelin now also has the ability to support PAM based authentication.

The full list of improvements is available here

This visualization platform is growing up nicely.

CTP 1.2 For vNext

The SQL Server team has announced that the latest CTP of vNext is available:

Key CTP 1.2 enhancement: Support for SUSE Linux Enterprise

In SQL Server v.Next, a key design principle has been to provide customers with choice about how to develop and deploy SQL Server applications: using technologies they love like Java, .NET, PHP, Python, R and Node.js, all on the platform of their choosing. Now in CTP 1.2, Microsoft is bringing the power of SQL Server to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, providing more deployment options and a streamlined acquisition process.

That makes three mainline distributions supported:  Ubuntu, Red Hat, and now SuSE.

Spark 2.1

Reynold Xin announces Apache Spark 2.1:

  • Structured Streaming

    Introduced in Spark 2.0, Structured Streaming is a high-level API for building continuous applications. The main goal is to make it easier to build end-to-end streaming applications, which integrate with storage, serving systems, and batch jobs in a consistent and fault-tolerant way.

    • Event-time watermarks: This change lets applications hint to the system when events are considered “too late” and allows the system to bound internal state tracking late events.

    • Support for all file-based formats and all file-based features: With these improvements, Structured Streaming can read and write all file-based formats, e.g. JSON, text, Avro, CSV. In addition, all file-based features—e.g. partitioned files and bucketing—are supported on all formats.

    • Apache Kafka 0.10: This adds native support for Kafka 0.10, including manual assignment of starting offsets and rate limiting.

This is a pretty hefty release.  Click through to read the whole thing.

Why Use Enterprise Edition?

Glenn Berry explains that the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server is still important for enterprises:

If you are using Columnstore indexes, you get the following performance benefits automatically, when you use Enterprise Edition:

  • Aggregate Pushdown: This performance feature often gives a 2X-4X query performance gain by pushing qualifying aggregates to the SCAN node, which reduces the number of rows coming out of that iterator.

  • Index Build/Rebuild: Enterprise Edition can build/rebuild columnstore indexes with multiple processor cores, while Standard Edition only uses one processor core. This has a pretty significant effect on elapsed times for these operations, depending on your hardware.

  • Local Aggregates: Enterprise Edition can use local aggregations to filter the number of rows passing out of a SCAN node, reducing the amount of work that needs to be done by subsequent query nodes. You can confirm this by looking for the “ActualLocallyAggregatedRows” attribute in the XML of the execution plan for the query.

Glenn’s focus is around columnstore indexes and DBCC CHECKDB, but there are additional benefits as well, with the separator being improved performance rather than different feature surface areas.

New Powershell And SQL Server Previews For Linux

Max Trinidad notes that there are new versions of Powershell and SQL Server previews available for Linux users:

To download the latest PowerShell Open Source just go to the link below:

https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell

Just remember to remove the previous version, and any existing folders as this will be resolved later.

To download the latest SQL Server vNext just check the following Microsoft blog post as the new CTP 1.1 includes version both Windows and Linux:

SQL Server next version Community Technology Preview 1.1 now available

Max has additional links and resources in that post as well.

SQL Server vNext CTP 1.1

Denis Gobo notes that there’s a new CTP for SQL Server:

TRANSLATE
This acts like a bunch of replace statements, instead of REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(SomeVal,'[‘,'(‘),’]’,,’)’),'{‘,'(‘),’}’,,’)’) you can do the following which is much cleaner
SELECT TRANSLATE('2*[3+4]/{7-2}', '[]{}', '()()');

Running that will return 2*(3+4)/(7-2)

The translate function looks very interesting.  Click through for a few more goodies and get ready for the never-ending release cycle.

The Limits Of SP1

Parikshit Savjani explains limitations in SQL Server 2016 SP1:

With the recent announcement of SQL Server 2016 SP1, we announced the consistent programmability experience for developers and ISVs, who can now maintain a single code base and build intelligent database applications which scale across all the editions of SQL Server. The processor, memory and database size limits does not change and remain as–in all editions as documented in the SQL Server editions page. We have made the following changes in our documentation to accurately reflect the memory limits on lower editions of SQL Server. This blog post is intended to clarify and provide more information on the memory limits starting with SQL Server 2016 SP1 on Standard, Web and Express Editions of SQL Server.

The development space has been expanded, but there’s still good reason for enterprises to use Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft R Server 9.0

Kevin Feasel

2016-12-08

R, Versions

David Smith reports that Microsoft R Server 9.0 is now available:

Microsoft R Server 9.0, Microsoft’s R distribution with added big-data, in-database, and integration capabilities, was released today and is now available for download to MSDN subscribers. This latest release is built on Microsoft R Open 3.3.2, and adds new machine-learning capabilities, new ways to integrate R into applications, and additional big-data support for Spark 2.0.

There’s also a new version of Microsoft R Client and Microsoft R Open.

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