Archive for the ‘SQL’ category

Windows Server 2012 R2 Update and SQL

April 14th, 2014

If you are or will be running SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 in the near future, then you should be running Windows Server 2012 R2 as your operating system.

If you are already running Windows Server 2012 R2, then make plans to install the latest update as soon as possible. According to Microsoft, “Future updates as of the patch Tuesday in May, including security fixes, will be based on Windows Server 2012 R2 Update as the baseline.”

SQL patches March 2014

March 23rd, 2014

The SQL Server team has released SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update #9.
• KB Article: KB #2931078
• Build # is 11.0.3412
• Currently there are 29 public fixes listed (33 total)
Relevant for builds 11.0.3000 -> 11.0.3411.
Do not attempt to install on SQL Server 2012 RTM (any build < 11.0.3000) or any other major version

March 2014 Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2008 SP3

Microsoft has also released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update #16
•Build # 10.00.5852
• KB Article: KB #2936421
• 2 public fixes
• Relevant for builds 10.00.5500 -> 10.00.5851
• NOT for SQL Server 2008 R2 (10.50.xxxx)

The small number of fixes (and zero fixes for the engine) is telling: this is almost certainly the last service pack for SQL Server 2008, support for this version ends in July. If you’re still on 2008 (and I know some of you are still on 2005 and even 2000, and ), its time to start considering moving on

SQL 2014 coming soon

March 19th, 2014

Microsoft released the latest version of its SQL Server database, SQL Server 2014, to manufacturing on March 18.

SQL Server 2014 will be available to customers as of 1 April 2014 (and that is not an April fool’s joke.)

The newest version of SQL Server’s biggest new feature is its built-in in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) capability, which Microsoft has said can improve database performance up to 30 times (not 30 percent — 30 times) without any code changes to existing applications or hardware.

The in-memory OLTP engine is codenamed “Hekaton.” with capabilities to complement the in-memory data-warehousing and business-intelligence capabilities that are already in SQL Server.

With traditional database models, the assumption is that data lives on disk and is stored on disk pages which creates a lot of overhead when you try to access records. When data lives totally in memory, much, much simpler data structures can be used. Hekaton indexes of data structures and storage structures are optimized on the basis that when a table is declared memory-optimized, all of its records live in memory.”

New concurrency-control mechanisms remove barriers to scalability. It moved away from a partitioned multi core approach to a latch-free/lock-free design. (Latches are synchronization mechanisms designed to avoid data corruption caused when multiple users try to modify a data structure concurrently, .)

The indexing system for high-speed data access, is referred to as the “Bw-tree.” which gives much improved processor-cache performance, in SQL Server 2014t.

SQL Server 2014 is also designed to back up more simply and seamlessly to Windows Azure, enabling users to back up their on-premises data to the cloud at an instance-level for disaster-recovery purposes. Backups can be automatic or manual, and a backup can be restored to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, if need be.

Only the Enterprise version of SQL 2014 includes Hekaton support. The Standard, BI, Web and Express SKUs do not.

Synergy Software Systems Customer alert – SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 -critical upgrade

February 27th, 2014

There is a known issue with SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 . If you have installed Service Pack 1 not part of a slipstream install, then the registry on your SQL server could reach the 2GB limit and crash your SQL Server.

To avoid this issue for Dynamics products it is highly recommended to install at least Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 5 for SQL Server 2012 or above because this version addresses some other issues that impact Dynamics.

SQL Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 6 is the current release.

For those Dynamics customers on SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 or above, AX Cumulative Update 7 is released

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2894115.

There are 2 memory leaks that have been patched that impact Dynamics AX:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2881661

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2895494

I’ve personally seen this at customers with AX 2009 and AX2012.

You can run this query to test for the issue:
select type, sum(pages_in_bytes)/1024.0/1024.00 ‘Mem in MB’, count (*) ‘row count’ from sys.dm_os_memory_objects where type like ‘%MEMOBJ_COMPILE_ADHOC%’
group by type

Read more about this issue at:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/psssql/archive/2013/07/31/after-applying-service-pack-1-for-sql-server-2012-you-may-encounter-a-known-issue-details-inside.aspx

As with all Microsoft patches, it should be first applied to your test environment before rolling out into your production systems

So, please plan on patching your SQL servers at your earliest opportunity.

Final Service Packs for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2??

February 1st, 2014

Mainstream support for both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 is due to end on 8 July 2014,

Will Microsoft release a SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 3 or a SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4 ?

Organizations often shy away from installing Cumulative Updates, so many customers will run some very old builds of SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Plan now for an upgrade.

Note also that your erp application future releases may not be compatible with nor be supported for older unpatched versions.

Security – what’s new

January 30th, 2014

Spoofed versions of the popular file transfer program FileZilla that steal data are circulating on third-party websites, the organization behind the software said Tuesday.FileZilla is an open source application, and hackers have taken its source code and modified it in order to try to steal data for more than a decade. But this campaign, run on third-party websites, is one of the largest FileZilla has seen to date, it said.

A new form of encryption is called “Honey Encryption”. It protects data with an added deceptive security mechanism i.e.. fake data that looks like valid information is presented to cybercriminals upon each failed password attempt. It was developed by former RSA chief scientist Ari Juels and University of Wisconsin researcher Thomas Ristenpart, and generates a piece of fake data resembling the user’s real information each time a hacker fails to access an account, as is common in brute-force hacking.

There’s an odd bug in Google search which is pointing users directly to a personal email address. The address appears in a “Compose” window that pops up when the top search result for Gmail is clicked. Very, very bizarre (and reproducible). see http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/24/gmail-glitch-is-causing-thousands-of-emails-to-be-sent-to-one-mans-hotmail-account/

The largest of the three studies — a Stroz Friedberg online survey of more than 700 information workers — found that senior management may be the biggest threat to an organization’s digital well-being. Fifty-eight percent of senior managers reported (digitally) sending sensitive information to the wrong person. Compare that with just 25 percent of lower-level employees guilty of the same misstep. More than half of all senior managers in the study admitted to taking files with them after they left a job. Only 25 percent of rank-and-file employees were found to have done the same.

The study also found that 9 in 10 senior managers admitted to uploading work files to personal email and cloud-based accounts, a faux pas that could lead to intellectual property theft and attacks on corporate networks.

In a study by Osterman Research, of 160 security professionals seventy-four percent of respondents said that malware had posed a significant threat to their networks in the past year, while 64 percent said the same for email scams. Who did these security experts blame for such high rates of vulnerabilities? Workers themselves. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that malware unknowingly downloaded by Web-surfing employees posed the biggest threat to corporate security. Fifty-six percent thought that the malware and phishing schemes rampant in personal webmail accounts were an even bigger threat to companies.

Lax ‘Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD)’ policies weaken corporate security. Forty-six percent of security professionals questioned in the study said they no longer even try to manage the safe use of personal devices in the workplace.

A survey published last week — a SecureData survey of more than 100 IT professionals at midsize companies — found that clear security management strategies for employees are lacking within their organizations. 60 percent of the IT staffers surveyed listed employee carelessness as the biggest threat to a company’s cybersecurity.

The idea behind “Honey Encryption” is that if the intruder does ultimately enter the correct password and breach the account, then the fake data will be indistinguishable from the real data

Traditional encryption methods obfuscate the data, or make it look unintelligible, so hackers need to make sense of the garbled data after accessing it. Decoys and deception are really underexploited tools in fundamental computer security. Each decryption is going to look plausible so the attacker has no way to distinguish which is correct.

SQL Server 2012 RTM Cumulative Update 11

December 22nd, 2013

The 11th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 is available for download at the Microsoft Support site and contains all the SQL Server 2012 hotfixes since the initial release of SQL Server 2012.

•CU#11 KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2908007
•SQL Server Support Information: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/2855
•Previous SQL Server 2012 Service Releases: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2692828

NOTE: This will be the final Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2012 RTM release

SQl 2008 Sp2 CU 10

December 22nd, 2013

The 10th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site and contains all the SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 hotfixes since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2.

•CU#10 KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2908087
•SQL Server Support Information: http://support.microsoft.com/ph/2855

Hekaton- SQL 2014

October 29th, 2013

Hekaton, what is it?

This is SQL Server 2014′s In-Memory OLTP technology, to make data operations run much, much faster on SQL Server.

It will run database workloads entirely from main memory, using memory-optimized table structures. This will replace the relational standard locking model with an optimistic concurrency model based on time-stamped row versions. The Hekaton engine also uses new, ‘latch free’ data structures.

For the database developer, these differences in database and tables means the loss of some important bits features of relational model – for example Hekaton tables don’t ( at least not yet) support either FOREIGN KEY constraints or CHECK constraints, nor are there aren’t any DML triggersr. Constraints allow a relational designer to enforce relational integrity and data integrity. Without those controls, ‘bad data’ can get into the Hekaton tables so for several classes of database and data, this is likely to be a show-stopper.

So it will not be easy to move a current database to he new ‘Hekaton SQL 2014. the database will need a redesign to replace table variables with Hekaton tables. Is there where Microsoft will go with its erp systems?What does that mean for upgrades?

SQL 2014 is also likely to support parallel processing/Estimates of performance improvements vary from 30x to 200x faster. Such improvements are likely to prove more important than other considerations.

Cumulative Update for SQL Server -September 2013

September 28th, 2013

Microsoft has released :
SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update #13
•Build # 10.00.5846
•KB Article: KB #2880350
•2 fixes
•Relevant for builds 10.00.5500 -> 10.00.5845
•NOT for SQL Server 2008 R2 (10.50.xxxx)

and

CU #6 for Service Pack 1.
•KB article: KB #2874879
•Build # is 11.0.3381
•This build has 23 fixes by my count. The most interesting (to me) are:
◦KB #2877100 : FIX: A memory leak occurs when you enable AlwaysOn Availability Groups or SQL Server failover cluster in Microsoft SQL Server 2012

◦KB #2878139 : FIX: “Using ‘dbghelp.dll’ version ’4.0.5′” error is logged in SQL Server 2012 when a statement or job executes the sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file stored procedure

if you’re still on RTM, you should start thinking about migrating to SP1

Relevant for builds 11.0.3000 -> 11.0.3380. Do not attempt to install on SQL Server 2012 RTM (any build < 11.0.3000) or any previous version.

Great Dubai seminar turn out – BRSANALYTICS, BASEL lll and FATCA

September 18th, 2013

The challenges posed by new regulations and the impact on local banks are significant and growing.
Seminar attendees appreciated the balance of conceptual overview ‘top of the triangle’ to help see the woods for the trees provided by Synergy Software Systems, Director: Stephen Jones. The real meat then came from the selective presentation of the key details for Basel lll and FATCA reporting requirements presented by banking systems analyst Andrew Bonnici from Computime (authors of BRSANALYTICS).
The evidence of a significant number of incidents of late reporting and regulatory fines is sobering.

http://www.brsanalytics.com/news-events/20-great-turnout-at-basel-iii-seminar-in-dubai-internet-city.html

Attendees welcomed the low risk, rapid implementation approach of a purpose built ‘out of the box’ solution for regulatory compliance reporting. They also appreciated that:
- it is supported by Synergy Software Systems established local company that specialises in Financial solutions, with financially qualified consutltants.
- it is developed adn maintained by Computime an established solutions provider since 1994, with a clear future road map
- there is proven succesessful adoption evidenced by a several case studies presented by Computime International Channel manager Daniel Buttigieg.
- Synergy Software Systems is a Microsoft Information worker partner for many years, and has experienced certified consultants in the underlying Microsoft technology stack (SQL, SSRS, SSAS, Excel etc) to ensure high quality delivery and support.

Synergy Software Systems and Computime have been associated companies for many years both implementing Sunsystems. If you could not make today’s seminar – then we plan to repeat it next month, and you can also meet us at Gitex, in Hall 7. For the next seminar we will build and show some example FATCA reports because we expect Dubai authorities to complete their consultation exercises and to put this into effect by year end. Although FATCA reporting does not come into effect till 2015 the reports will need to cover 2014 which is is not so far away. FATCA affects pretty much any financial services company with any clients anywhere in the world that are USA citizens or companies and its a pretty broad net. The implications and costs of compliance are huge and little understood. Andrew cited this quote from the U.K.: HMRC estimates the cost for UK business over the first 5 years to be £1.1bn-£2bn, running thereafter at an annual cost of £50m-£90m Non-compliance potentially leads to a 30% witholding tax on your USA operations.

If you have challenges with regulatory reporting and need expert guidance and a proven solution then please contact us. 00971 43365589

Is your business really unsupported?

August 26th, 2013

I am constantly surprised that senior executives head in the sand approach to the software systems that underpin their business. I once read a statistic that a pretty hgih % of companies that lose their system for a week go out of business within 18 months. Its dificult not be aware of the threats from hacking and virus and phishing and malware ….

Frequently we find sysrems with no proper back up, no test of back ups, no defragmentation, no reindexing, no service packs or cumulative updates. SO I suppsoe In should not have been suprriosed to read the results of a mini poll by SQL MVP Paul Randall that indicated that 53% of SQL databases surveyed were out of support and 51%

To quote Paul: “I urge you all to check your SQL Server instances to make sure they’re running as close to the latest build as possible, so you have the most bug fixes and are supported if you do have a problem.”.

All SQL Server 7.0 builds are unsupported
All SQL Server 2000 builds are unsupported as of April 9th, 2013
All SQL Server 2005 builds are out of mainstream support - extended support is an option until April 12th, 2016 (You should be at least on 2005 SP4)
Any SQL Server 2008 build before SP3 is unsupported. Mainstream support ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019
SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM builds are unsupported, and support for SP1 builds ends on October 10th, 2013. Mainstream support of SP2 builds ends on July 8th, 2014, with extended support available until July 9th, 2019
All builds of SQL Server 2012 are currently supported, but support for RTM builds will end on November 7th, 2013 as that will be one year from the SP1 release

Sql CU updates July 2013

August 16th, 2013

A belated note due to my annual holiday.

On July 15, Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 5. This is Build 11.0.3373, there are 30 fixes in the public fix list.

If you are running SQL Server 2012, then you ought to be on Service Pack 1 by now. If you are on SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1, make an effort to stay on the latest Cumulative Update, even more so than for older versions of SQL Server, because of the large numbers of significant fixes that are included in each Cumulative Update. (The RTM release of SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 was released back on June 18, 2012)

On July 15, Microsoft also released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update 12, which is Build 10.0.5844. There are six fixes in the public fix list.

I know many companies arestill running SQL Server 2008- you should be aware that only Service Pack 3 is still a supported Service Pack. SQL Server 2008 will fall out of Mainstream Support from Microsoft on July 8, 2014, i.e.next year.

SQL Patches pulled and reissued

June 18th, 2013

In April and May, Microsoft released cumulative updates for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2). Those were: •CU #11 for 2008 SP3 (10.00.5840) (KB #2834048)
•CU #12 for 2008 R2 SP1 (10.50.2874) (KB #2828727)
•CU #6 for 2008 R2 SP2 (10.50.4279) (KB #2830140)

Sometime after that, looks like the next day, both downloads were pulled, due to an index corruption issue (if you believe the commentary on the Release Services blog post for CU #6) or due to an issue with w3wp.exe (if you believe the label on the hotfix posted directly to the CU #6 article itself). Or perhaps both. At the very least you may see a regression involving index corruption when you rebuild a clustered index online and the plan involves a non-clustered index. I don’t have a repro handy.

On June 13th, both articles were updated with new versions of the cumulative updates that no longer exhibit this symptom (sound familiar?). So if you download today, you’ll actually get:
•CU #11 for 2008 SP3 (10.00.5841) (KB #2834048)
•CU #12 for 2008 R2 SP1 (10.50.2875) (KB #2828727)
•CU #6 for 2008 R2 SP2 (10.50.4285) (KB #2830140)

Please check @@VERSION. If it reports 10.00.5840, 10.50.2874 or 10.50.4279, please go re-download and re-apply the relevant cumulative update for your branch. If you’re on 2008 R2, read on: These updates are NOT for SQL Server 2008 (or SQL Server 2012). Only apply to systems where SELECT @@VERSION returns 10.50.xxxx, where xxxx is >= 2500. If xxxx < 2500, you need to start thinking about getting off the RTM branch. (based on the number of fixes making it into the SP2 updates, you shouldt consider abandoning SP1, if possible…)

SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update # 13
•KB Article: KB #2855792
•5 fixes listed at time of publication
•Build number is 10.50.2876
•Relevant for @@VERSION 10.50.2500 through 10.50.2875

SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 Cumulative Update # 7 •KB Article: KB #2844090
•11 fixes listed at time of publication
•Build number is 10.50.4286
•Relevant for @@VERSION 10.50.4000 through 10.50.4285
(Also see KB #2792921 for information on new features in the SP2 CU7 release.)

In cases like this, I really, really, really wish they would release a new, out-of-band cumulative update (this is a non-issue, now, for R2, but remains an issue for 2008 SP3 customers for another month or so). How many people go back and take another look at the CU article once they have downloaded, installed, and regression tested? Does everyone regression test a full set of online rebuilds that probably don’t occur that often? I think many users will simply not see this update and are on the verge of experiencing the symptom – there simply isn’t enough visibility when they quietly swap out the versions that the download links yield.

(This post is derived from Aaron Bertrand’s blog posts and i think is important enough to repeat here.)

SQL 2008 service packs

February 3rd, 2013

 SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update 9,  build 10.00.5829 is released with just 3 fixes

 There is no corresponding Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2008 RTM, SP1, or SP2, because those service pack levels are retired.

  •  SQL Server 2008 RTM was retired on April 13, 2010,
  •  SQL Server 2008 SP1 was retired on September 19, 2011,
  • SQL Server 2008 SP2 was retired on September 17, 2012.

 If you are running SQL Server 2008,  then you  should be on Service Pack 3 . I doubt whether Microsoft will release a SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 4.

Mainstream support for both SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is still scheduled to end on January 14, 2014.