Transactional Replication To Azure SQL Database

Jes Borland has a five-part series on replicating a series of databases in an Availability Group to Azure SQL Database.  Part 1 involves planning:

There are tasks you’ll need to take care of in SQL Server, the AG, and the SQL DB before you can begin.

This blog series assumes you already have an AG set up – it won’t go through the setup of that. It also assumes you have an Azure SQL server and a SQL Database created – it won’t go through that setup either.

Ideally, the publishers, distributor, and subscribers will all be the same version and edition of SQL Server. If not, you have to configure from the highest-version server, or you will get errors.

Part 2 prepares the replication distributor:

The first step in this process is to set up the remote distributor. As I mentioned in the first blog, you do not want your distribution database on one of the AG replicas. You need to set this up on a server that is not part of the AG.

Start by logging on to the distributor server – in this demo, SQL2014demo.

Stay tuned for the remainder of the series.

Misaligned Log IOs

Anup Warrier diagnoses a potential performance issue due to disk misconfiguration:

From the above screenshots, you can clearly see that the disks are not aligned.

So, what’s a big deal about this?  When disks for primary and secondary are not aligned, then the AG synchronization process can run slow. This is not something which you would like to see in a Production server.

Read the whole thing.

Syncing Logins Between AG Replicas

Daniel Hutmacher has a new series on Availability Group synchronization, starting with logins:

You’ll need a linked server from your secondary replica to the primary replica. This linked server should feature the absolute bare-minimum of permissions, preferably with only the “be made using the login’s current security context” selected.

The account running the procedure (or the mapped login in the linked server) will need SELECT access to the following DMVs on the remote (primary) server:

  • master.sys.server_principals

  • master.sys.sql_logins

  • master.sys.server_role_members

  • master.sys.server_permissions

The code itself is a download from Daniel’s website; go check it out.

Errors With Linked Server AG Connections Over ODBC

Andrea Allred has set up a linked server connection (using ODBC) to talk to an Availability Group, but certain columns fail:

Some of the problems that we have noticed are querying tables that have big datatypes like time(3-7), timestamp, and a few others.  Casting or converting the datatypes doesn’t help. If we pull the table into a view without the big datatype columns, we are able to query the view from another server, but never the base table. It has been a bit frustrating, but we are still hopeful that we can find a solution or that Microsoft with fix ODBC connections. If there is a better way to do this, please reach out to me.  We have things we need to solve and could use some help.

This is a nice walkthrough of how she set it up, but that sounds like a rather frustrating error.

Asynchronous Mirroring And Asynchronous AGs

Tara Kizer contrasts asynchronous database mirroring with asynchronous Availability Groups:

ASYNCHRONOUS DATABASE MIRRORING

For asynchronous Database Mirroring, all we need is two servers: the principal at the primary site and the secondary at the DR site. Setup async mirroring between the two, and you’re done. If the secondary server goes down, production still continues. The transaction log isn’t clearing when the log backups occur because the principal still needs to send those log records to the secondary. As long as you have enough disk space where the transaction log resides to support this until the secondary server comes back online, production still continues. Of course if you run out of disk space, users will start receiving errors. But that can take some time and often times is enough time to get the secondary back online.

Availability Groups are more difficult to implement than database mirroring, but the flipside is that they’re much more powerful.

Waiting For Rollback

Andrea Allred ran into an issue with a long-running job on an Availablity Group:

I panicked. In this situation I would normally pull the database out of the AG and then re-add it.  I didn’t have that option because it is a HUGE database and didn’t have that much time and space to move it around. I knew a large transaction had kicked off (thank you alert email that I created to warn me about such things) but thought that surely the rollback would have cleared quickly.  That lead me to looking for rolling back transactions.

Fortunately, the issue was on a secondary not under heavy use, so she was able to recover in time.

Groups Of Basic Availability Groups

Russ Thomas looks into whether you can combine Basic Availability Groups in a way which mimics Enterprise Edition’s Availability Groups functionality:

For a recent project that required HA/DR but couldn’t justify Enterprise edition we decided to take the plunge on 2016’s Basic Availability Groups.

For a quick rundown of the watered down feature set – basically what you don’t get with a Basic Availability Group (BAG) – the major points are as follows:

  • You can only have 2 nodes.

  • Only one database can be in the group.

  • You can not have the secondary be in read only.

  • You can not take backups from the secondary.

The answer is “yes” but it’s not easy.  Read on for more.

Changing AG Endpoint Ports

Matt Gordon walks through changing endpoint ports:

Since a communication failure within an AG is usually a “hair on fire” kind of event, a quick fix may be desired. The quickest fix I’ve found is to change the port on which the AG endpoint is listening. While the Microsoft help pages on this contain enough information to put together the right script eventually, the first time this happened to me I really would have liked a blog post specific to this issue that gave me the right script to use.

In keeping with this T-SQL Tuesday’s theme, below is my SQL Server present. Please note that I used 5023 as an example but your choice can be flexible depending on what else is consuming ports on your machine. Hopefully this helps somebody (or me if I manage to travel back in time and encounter this same issue)

In an ideal world, you’d want a bit more control over what’s running on various ports to prevent this scenario, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

Buffer Pools And Availability Groups

Joey D’antoni answers the question, what happens to pages in the buffer pool when you have an AG failover?

Recently at SQL Saturday Philadelphia, we started discussing failover  as it relates to mirroring and Always On Availability Groups. Specifically, we were wondering what would happen if you had a relatively busy readable secondary replica (which would have a lot of pages in the buffer pool on the secondary instance) and if those pages would be flushed from cache or anything like that. So I reached out to the product group and Kevin Farlee from Microsoft was extremely helpful

The answer is not what I was expecting.

Auto-Seeding Availability Groups

John Sterrett is the latest smart person to take a look at automatic seeding of Availability Groups:

The 600 GB databases took about 66 minutes to seed across the network from a primary replica to the secondary replica.  I noticed 1.4 Gbps of consistent throughput during the seeding process. This makes a lot of sense as it caps out around what the storage system can deliver in this environment.

The first thing I would look at for benchmarking throughput for network activity would be the bytes sent per second from the primary replica and bytes received per second on the secondary replicas.

John also includes an extended event session statement to track seeding.  Great read.

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May 2019
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