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I just wanted to pile on the announcement of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 that launched on Tuesday March 6th, 2012. SQL Server 2012 has some very exciting features including, the new AlwaysOn Availability Groups and SQL Server over SMB storage.

  

SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups provide new capability for ensuring high availability of our data by allowing you to create hot standby database replicas that are up to date. These secondary replicas can also be used to allow you to more easily offload your reporting to the other servers nodes in the Availability Group.

 

Setting up AlwaysOn Availability Groups involves creating base copies of the primary databases for each of the servers in the Availability Group. Depending on the size of the databases, this can involve moving a lot of data over the LAN (for High Availability), and/or WAN to another data center (for Disaster Recovery).

 

So what does this mean to NetAppcustomers? NetApp can help you accelerate the creation of your AlwaysOn Availability Groups by combining the capabilities of both FlexClone and SnapMirror. Data centers that are taking advantage of NetApp shared storage to host SQL Server 2012 database instances can use FlexClone to create Availability Groups rapidly by creating a space efficient clone of each of the databases in the Availability Group in a matter of seconds.
Then after the Availability Group has been created and both instances are up and operating you can then split that FlexClone copy to another portion of your shared storage infrastructure, and use AlwaysOn mirroring to keep the secondary replicas in sync with the primary database.

 

If you are using ONTAP 8.1 Cluster-Mode, it becomes as simple as a volume-move of the FlexClone copy split to a separate aggregate in your storage
cluster. If you are running Data ONTAP in 7-Mode on your NetApp storage systems, then you can use SnapMirror to create your Snapshot and replicate the databases between controllers. If you use SnapMirror to replicate the databases, then the last thing that needs to be done is to apply the transaction logs. If you use an SMB share as your target location for the transaction log, then you can swing the link between sites and instances easily. Once the Availability Group is up and operating you can turn off SnapMirror and rely on the speed of Availability Groups to keep the data between sites up to date.

AlwaysOn.jpg

 

 

Another piece of the SQL Server 2012 story is the addition of system databases included in the SMB or CIFS support; SQL Server 2012 gives you the ability to install all of the databases into an SMB share. I am excited to see this since SMB gives the flexibility to consolidate your database environment into a simple storage model. This in turn can simplify consolidation and/or virtualization of smaller SQL Server instances in an Enterprise environment.

 

Looking at the features of SMB database support and AlwaysOn Availability Groups it is an exciting time to be a database administrator. NetApp has a solution for integrating your environment with AlwaysOn availability groups as well as a storage platform for database consolidation using SMB shares.

 

If you are looking for more information on how NetApp supports SQL Server 2012 register for nextweek’s webcast or check out the following links:

 

Empowering DBAs to manage storage for SQL Server 2012 March 14th Webcast

Microsoft Case Study of NetApp

NetApp Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server Launch Site

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