Microsoft & FreeBSD

Kevin Feasel

2016-06-13

Cloud

Serdar Yegulalp points out that a new Azure VM image for FreeBSD has Microsoft as the publisher:

The other question people are likely to ask is why, kernel contributions notwithstanding, is Microsoft listed as the publisher of the distro? The short answer: support.

According to Microsoft’s blog post, the FreeBSD Foundation is a community of mutually supportive users, “not a solution provider or an ISV with a support organization.” The kinds of customers who run FreeBSD on Azure want to have service-level agreements of some kind, and the FreeBSD Foundation isn’t in that line of work.

The upshot: If you have problems with FreeBSD on Azure, you can pick up the phone and get Microsoft to help out — but only if you’re running its version of FreeBSD.

To be honest, I don’t see this as a big deal.  I’m glad the image is there, but this hardly seems like a landmark change in anything to me.

Views Within Elastic Query

Kevin Feasel

2016-06-09

Cloud

Grant Fritchey shows how to build Elastic Query views to obscure underlying table names:

Creating a view, or any other query, that joins across databases using Elastic Query works just fine. However, if you want to mask things using a view, you might need to get a little creative in how you implement Elastic Query. The good news is, Elastic Query is somewhat, shall we say, elastic in how you set it up. More so than it immediately appears.

Interesting.

Thoughts On Stretch Database

Kevin Feasel

2016-06-08

Cloud

Kevin Hill looks at Stretch database:

  • Lowest performance rate is $1.25/hr or just under $1K/mo. Only goes up from there

  • “Stretch Database currently does not support stretching to another SQL Server. ” Azure only

  • Lame/minimal filters…you have to roll your own functions, and they must be deterministic…no “Getdate() – 30”. This GUI is only slightly better than the horrible nightmare that was Notification Services…

I see the negatives overwhelming the positives at this point.  You also can’t modify schema while Stretch is active.

Premium Storage On Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Kevin Feasel

2016-06-06

Cloud

Kenneth Nielsen reports that Azure SQL Data Warehouse will now support premium storage:

Today Microsoft have announced that Azure SQL Datawarehouse will support Premium Storage, this will allow the customers to see greater performance and predictability on queries. As of today, all newly created SQL Datawarehouse will be created with Premium Storage, at least in regions where Premium Storage is available. In the remainder of the preview period, the billing will continue to be based on standard pricing.

If you have Azure SQL DW, check it out to see if Premium is a big net benefit to you, as it looks like the price is the same for the moment.

SQL Server 2016 RTM On Azure

Jens Vestergaard points out that SQL Server 2016 RTM is now available as an Azure VM:

As of today, the latest release of SQL Server is available as a Virtual Machine on Microsofts Azure Platform.
In a matter of minutes you’ll be able to try out all the new featuresthat was added.

If you can’t provision a local server and have Azure credits, this is another way to use SQL Server 2016.

SQL Licenses On Azure

Kenneth Nielsen notes that you can now bring your own SQL Server licenses to Azure marketplace images:

A few days ago, we announced that Microsoft Enterprise customers is now allowed to bring their own SQL Licenses to Azure VMs. This means that if a customer already have a SQL License, this license can be used on SQL Server VM images from Marketplace.

This means that they do no longer need to build their own VM, but instead can just provision a server from the marketplace and use the existing license.

I like this, but I do wonder what percentage of people will use marketplace-created VMs instead of customizing their own builds.

New SQL Server Connector Preview

Rebecca Zhang notes that there is a new public preview of the SQL Server Connector:

For those not familiar with the SQL Server Connector, it enables SQL Server to use Azure Key Vault as an Extensible Key Management (EKM) Provider for its SQL encryption keys. This means that you can use your own encryption keys and protect them in Azure Key Vault, a cloud-based external key management system which offers central key management, leverages hardware security modules (HSMs), and allows separation of management of keys and data, for additional security. This is available for the SQL encryption keys used in Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), Column Level Encryption (CLE), and Backup encryption.

When using these SQL encryption technologies, your data is encrypted with a symmetric key (called the database encryption key) stored in the database. Traditionally (without Azure Key Vault), a certificate that SQL Server manages would protect this data encryption key (DEK). With Azure Key Vault integration for SQL Server through the SQL Server Connector, you can protect the DEK with an asymmetric key that is stored in Azure Key Vault. This way, you can assume control over the key management, and have it be in a separate key management service outside of SQL Server.

Check it out, as it might be a solution to some key management issues.

Migrating SQL Server To Azure IaaS

Kevin Feasel

2016-05-24

Cloud

James Serra has links and notes on migrating SQL Server from on-premesis to Azure virtual machines:

  • Convert on-premises physical machine to Hyper-V VHD, upload to Azure Blob storage, and then deploy as new VM using uploaded VHD.  Use when bringing your own SQL Server license, when migrating a database that you will run on an older version of SQL Server, or when migrating system and user databases together as part of the migration of database dependent on other user databases and/or system databases.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater

  • Ship hard drive using Windows Import/Export Service.  Use when manual copy method is too slow, such as with very large databases.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater

If you’re looking for notes on where to get started, this is a good link.

BACPACs In Azure

Mike Fal uses Powershell to import and export Azure SQL Database data:

What makes this black voodoo magic work? Is this some proprietary technique Microsoft has snuck in on us? Surprisingly, this is a bit of technology that have existed for sometime now as part of SQL Server Data Tools called BACPACs. A BACPAC is essentially a logical backup of a database, storing the schema and data as SQL statements.

This differs from a typical SQL Server backup, which stores your database pages directly in a binary format. Because of this, native backups are smaller and can be made/restored faster. However, they are more rigid, as you can only restore a native backup in specific scenarios. A logical backup, since it is a series of SQL statements, can be more flexible.

Mike’s going to follow up with a way to take advantage of this to migrate normal SQL Server databases, so that should be interesting as well.

Building Blocks Of Cortana Intelligence Suite

Kevin Feasel

2016-05-19

Cloud

Melissa Coates has put together a new presentation on the building blocks of the Cortana Intelligence Suite:

Each section will wrap up with an example of the ‘building blocks’ to formulate a solution. Although these ‘building blocks’ examples are greatly simplified, my hope is it will generate ideas for how the different Azure components can fit together for formulating hybrid solutions.

Check it out, as there are a lot of pieces.

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