This article is part of our SQL Server Upgrades Made Easy series:
Upgrading SQL Server – Week 1 “Why, Why, Why!”
This is the first video from the series from two weeks ago. This is an introduction to the SQL Server upgrade series. We also start to get into a few of the questions to consider before upgrading – primarily the WHY of the upgrade. If you are on SQL Server 2008 or 2012? It’s definitely time to consider an upgrade. If for no other reason than all of the new features. Not to mention, SQL Server 2008 is going end of life. This series is really designed to help you ask the right questions, get into the right mindset, plan for your environment and give you some tips and tricks from all of the SQL Server ugprades I’ve been a part of as a consultant and full-time DBA. Enjoy! And feel free to post questions!
Sign up for the rest of the series and to get the full cuts from Webinar Ninja with any Q&A each week. Subscribe to the youtube channel to be alerted of the live chat hangouts and to see the upcoming talks in our continuing webinar series. In March, I’ll start with a multi-part series on High Availability/Disaster Recovery options for SQL Server. If you have questions, you may not need consulting. Just check out the series, attend live and ask your questions or come to the Q&As. I’ll try and answer most questions left in the posts also. Yes, I own a consultancy, and if you need in-depth help, I think we can help – and I trust you can figure out how to reach us. But the point of this content and the webinar series is to help encourage you and show you how can you do more than you realize!
(I’ve used a transcript service for this and I reviewed most of it. It’s a work in progress and there may still be some errors!)
This is really what the series is about. You’re on day one, and you can see the agenda here. The main goal is not … I’m not going to upgrade your SQL Server here in 20 to 35-minute webinars. I’m not going to share a lot of code because I think a lot of code just adds complexity that you don’t need. My main goal here is really to just help you think about SQL Server upgrades.
I’ll tell you who I am in a second, a little bit about my bio, but the short story is I do a lot of SQL Server upgrades. I’ve been doing SQL Server 20 years, and I’ve been consulting for the past 7 or 8. So I have the benefit of, as a consultant, getting called in a lot for upgrades. So while you all may do one upgrade every 7 years or 5 years or 3 years if you’re lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, although hopefully after this series you’ll say lucky, I do upgrades all the time! So I get to see the good, the bad and sadly I get to see the ugly. Sometimes, as a consultant, I get called in and I see the really ugly and I want to help you avoid that. I want to help make you think … This is more of a watching my hands move, watching me talk, looking at some slides and really help you think of the things that you should think about.
It’s one of those things that you might do a normal regular old DBA, that my first 10 years of working with SQL before I was a consultant, I think I did two SQL Server upgrades. A normal career span you might, if you’re at one company, just do 3 or 4 upgrades, maybe 5 if you have a lot of SQL Servers. I want to help you think about other ways to do it, how to think about downtime, how to think about versions. All the questions that are in your head I want to help answer in this webinar series.
So today’s big picture. I want to chat, introduce you gently to the webinar series and we’ll talk about why, why, why. Why upgrade? Why haven’t you? And why should you? What’s changed? What’s new since your last version of SQL? And next week we’ll talk about some more before items. We’ll say, “What should you do before you upgrade?” Before you even start with the new server, build a VM, go to the cloud, whatever you’re doing, what do you think about before? How do you plan? How do you plan for the downtime? How do you communicate? How do you test? All those questions.
Then the next week we’ll talk about doing your SQL Server Upgrade. So while you’re doing your upgrade, how do you do it and manage success? How can you do it and minimize downtime? How can you do it and come out the best way possible and not be scarred for life?
Then we’ll finally talk about after the upgrade. So once you’re done with your SQL Server upgrade, it’s a tremendous time for you to start doing best practices. It’s a tremendous time for you to start saying, “We’re starting fresh.” It’s like New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you’re starting fresh for the year, you start a new job. When you have a new anything you get a chance to do things a bit different than you did before. So I want to help you in that last webinar talk about how do you start off on this new version of SQL on the right and best foot? Frankly that last webinar will be good whether you actually do the upgrade homework and upgrade or not. It’s just what’s some good best practices for your SQL Server environment?
Then, finally, the first Thursday in March, on the 7 of March, we’re going to do the whole StraightPath team will be on a Google Hangout with you, so we won’t be in Webinar Ninja. We’ll be on a Google livestream Hangout and we’ll just be there to ask questions, answer questions or maybe the team can make fun of me for things I say in this webinar series.
So that’s a high level overview of what we’re going to go through, and thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.
Who am I? Not that it really matters. I would put a picture there but you can see me right here. I’m a father, a husband, I have a small family here, 4 kids and I’m a farmer too. We have cows and pigs and chickens here up in New Hampshire. Just had a new calf born. So if you look at my Twitter account it’s @mike_walsh, you’ll actually see a picture and video of the new calf that was born on the farm. It’s fun. Just a little Mike trivia in case you ever get asked.
And I’m a founder and I’m a friend. I’m a friend to a lot of people and that’s what this is about. This is not about StraightPath, this is really about me, Mike Walsh, SQL Server MVP, just trying to give you some tips and tricks and things that we do at StraightPath to help customers. I’m trying to give you some of our secrets and some of the things that we do to make upgrades go successful.
StraightPath, if you want to see our blog, it’s straightpathsql.com. We don’t have any downloads for this week but next week and the subsequent weeks to that we’ll actually have a couple pieces of downloadable content. It can be some checklists, some how to guides and some lists of questions. Just some things for you to take and walk away with and have a tangible asset to remember the things we discussed.
I run a user group for SQL Server and if you’re here and you’ve not been to a SQL Server user group, I suggest you just go to the PASS website, PASS.org, and look for your local user group. There are so many great sessions out there, so many people who do what I’m doing right now, who just give up on their time and say, “I’m going to help you.” And they don’t want anything, none of us want things. Sure, we do consulting and if you need help I’m willing to help you, but I don’t expect anything in return for this. I just want to help you and how that’s the whole SQL Server community is. That’s how I got my start 10 years ago, people gave back to me early on through going to PASS and reading SQL Server magazine back when it was in print and user groups and answers to questions on the news groups, if you’re old enough to remember news groups. It’s inspired me to give back and that’s what the whole SQL community is about.
Upgrade scars, I definitely have a few. And I think that’s good because the more you do things wrong, you make mistakes, the more I think you learn and get better. I want to transpose my knowledge of my mistakes onto you so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Let’s talk about this week’s webinar. Again, this is the high level introduction overview webinar, but I want to answer a couple why’s. Why should you upgrade? I’m not going to play with polls, because polls I have to scroll down and all that, but if you want to type, you don’t have to, in the chat window, I’m just curious if you’re on SQL Server 2008, just type something in the chat window and I’ll see it out of the corner of my eye. A lot of people are still on SQL Server 2008. Yup. I know you are, Ron. Hey Ron.
A lot of people are still on SQL Server 2008. In some ways that’s a testament to how great the product is, but it’s also a testament to how busy we are, how maybe scared we are of upgrades, how frustrating our vendors can be. It’s a testament to a lot of different things, both good and bad. But SQL Server 2008 is end of lifing in July, I think we all know that. So it’s already end of mainstream support and now it’s going to be end of extended support. Yeah, sometimes management refuses to upgrade, Dale, and hopefully we can help you with that.
Basically, here’s the big thing, if you’re in an environment that’s dealing with compliance and security and audits and you’ve not upgraded, after July your auditors will start slapping your hands. As I’ve been consulting for the past 7 or 8 years, I’ve noticed the compliance auditors are getting scarier and scarier and I’m finding more and more companies saying, “No, whatever the auditor says we’ll do.” I don’t know what industry you’re in, Dale, but that can be a carrot and a stick to get them to agree.
But a lot of management refuses to upgrade for license price reasons, we’ll talk about that in a couple slides, we’ll talk about that more next week. A lot of times they refuse to upgrade because there’s a fear of what’s going to break. It’s this monolithic thing, it’s this big, heavy thing, your SQL Server, with a ton of inertia, and you’re trying to migrate it from here to here on a new version with all these things changing and live users and all this and management goes, “I don’t want that on my resume. I don’t want a failure.” I totally get that too.
So that’s what happens. A lot of people are on Windows 2008 or Windows 2012 … Yeah, 21 terabytes, that is a scary size to upgrade but it doesn’t have to be. We’ll talk about that and how to manage it.
I will tell you we’ll talk a little bit next week and during the doing that I am radically opposed to in place upgrades. So if your management says you can do a migration but you can’t do an in place, I agree with them. In place upgrades scare the living daylights out of me. They go really well 85% to 95% of the time. It’s that 5% to 15% that gives me night sweats.
If you’re on SQL Server 2008, after July you have no more support. Caveat time, caveat, Microsoft says, “We can get a little greedy.” So they’re basically saying that if you want to stay on SQL Server 2008 and you want to get important security updates, we’re going to back down a little bit. You can do that, you just have to buy software assurance and you have to pay for it. You have to pay basically … It’s basically like buying a new SQL Server 2008 license, or really probably a 2012 license or the current licensing scheme, every year. If you pay for that every year we might give you some upgrades.
And now Microsoft is saying, “But wait, act now and you can get a special deal.” It’s like those infomercials of Ron Popeil. They’re saying, “If you just go to Azure, we will give you that thing, the free updates or the included updates, for free. Just come to Azure and we’ll give you it for free.” Don’t take that offer. I forget the guy’s name in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” but that’s one of those bad deals. Azure is great, I love Azure, we have a lot of clients there, NAWS, but it’s a bad deal because it’s SQL Server 2008 and the world has changed. We’ll talk about that in a couple slides.
This is also a chance for you to upgrade your hardware and your VMs. We’re talking to a client who’s doing upgrades right now and they’re on 2010 era CPUs. We have more cores than they need. I bet you we go to newer CPU, we can downgrade their cores, save them on licensing.
If you’re on SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 and you just went, “Phew, Mike’s not talking to me.” No, I’m talking to you too. SQL Server 2012 and 2014 were great versions of SQL Server. 2012 gave us a lot of new features, availability groups are a big one, but Microsoft V1 is always, hey, it’s V1. You never know. V2 of all Microsoft products tend to be better. And if there’s no V2 of the product you know it was not really a good product to begin with by and large.
So SQl Server 2016 and 2017 are really more powerhouse versions of you and there’s a lot more features out there. We’ll talk about that a lot in the rest of this webinar series. But if you’re on 2012, 2014 or 2008, it’s really time to upgrade, which is pretty much why you’re here.
So why haven’t you? Dale says because management refuses to upgrade. That’s some place in there. But these are just some of the reasons. I’m not going to read the slides to you. These are the feelings that people get in your head, like, “OH No! Where do I start? What version do I go to? What’s going to happen here? Do I stay clustered? Is it going to break? What about my connection-
Do I stay clustered? Is it going to break? What about my connections? I don’t want to have to go in and change IP addresses. I don’t want to have to go into all my ODBC connections on these thick client apps I have all over my entire organization. I’m just going to stay where I am and clench my fist, cross my chest and say, “Forget it.” A lot of people get into that. These are some of the fears and I’m sure you have your own. I’m sure if you wanted to, feel free to type out your fears that I’m missing, but I think the last one is the big one, the big catch all. What questions am I forgetting to ask? What are the unknown unknowns? What will break? Or for a 21 terabyte database, how do we migrate it and do it quickly without having to have two weeks of downtime?
Yeah, Ron says, “That’s a great point. Small vendor company doesn’t have proper SQL knowledge and they can’t even explain if they support it.” Yeah, call up your [inaudible 00:13:55] log shipping is what we do, exactly how we do it. So it’s less scary and we’ll talk about that in a couple weeks in the doing upgrade webinar. But absolutely, Ron, vendors are a big part of the problem.
Some of them either say, “We haven’t certified that yet,” especially in healthcare.
Some of them say, “I don’t know, try it.” When you get a small vendor that says, “I don’t know, try it,” if it’s not going to violate your support contract try it. And we’ll talk next week and in the doing webinar as well about some things you can do. You can look at some extended events if you’re on 2012, you can actually do a database build. You can do some of your vendors’ work. You shouldn’t have to but you can do some of your vendors’ work to help make sure you’re going to have success.
We’re never just upgrading and saying, “Poof, it’s done,” we should always be testing. Always, always, always test. I think as long as we have that testing methodology and that testing mindset we should be good. These are the kind of questions that I really hope to answer in this series.
Again, these are going to be quick 20 to 35-minute webinars. I can’t answer all the questions but I just want to get your mind going about these things, and then you have my email address. I truly mean it, send me an email and say, “Hey Mike, I attended your webinar, I don’t need consulting help, I just want a quick question.” I’m going to answer your question because it’s fun for me.
So why will this series help us? I think I’m going to answer those questions that we just asked. I’m going to try and get those questions answered. Some of the questions, like why is my vendor a pain, I can’t answer for you. I can answer, if you call me up sometime I’ll tell you how I really feel, but I can’t make your vendor better. But I can help equip you to work around them. Get a new vendor. That’s easy for you and I to say, the DBA people.
Actually I have a great … I’m going to write this down and I’ll send this out in a recap. I have a blog post that I wrote 9 years ago, so you’ll have to forgive all the grammar and look. Give me a second. Blog post. I’m just writing this note, otherwise I’ll forget to do it. I have those blog post that’s called, “DBA Questions to Ask a Vendor.” In fact, somebody on my team might even be looking for it already. If you just google search for DBA questions to ask a vendor you’ll find that blog post. And if you do find it, go ahead and share it, Mike or Sheila.
The main point of my blog post, one of my points, was that you should, as a DB, ask a bunch of questions. They’re old antiquated questions, availability groups didn’t even exist yet, but one of the main points I had was the earlier you as a DBA can get involved in the vendor conversation you have a chance. Because every software vendor … Thanks, Ron. That’s old. Actually the post was actually from 2009, but I think I reedited the link for some SEO reasons. But I didn’t edit the content too much.
If you can get in the conversation early and have a sway on the vendor, it’s magic. I find vendors before the paper is signed are willing to do things. Vendors after the paper is signed are not. So sometimes you’re stuck with the vendors you have.
And we can help the vendors be better vendors. That’s something we do a lot. I’ve done performance tuning. I have a lot of vendors as clients now because we’ve come in for a customer of ours and we’ve had a conversation with the vendor to say, “Hey, listen, your product stinks for these three reasons. Here’s how we can make it better.”
Some vendors get mad and say, “Don’t help me. What are you doing? Leave me alone. You don’t know anything.”
Most vendors say, “Cool, wow, this is great. I didn’t know this. Thanks for helping.” So you can do that with your vendors potentially. Every vendor is different as you well know.
I think it will help because I’ve been there, I’ve been burned by bad upgrades, I’ve been called in … Our company has been called in when people have tried an upgrade and said, “Don’t know what happened. We just broke. Can you help us last minute?”
I want you to leave with a roadmap, and again we’ll have some downloads next week and the week after and the week after. I want you to create a roadmap in your head and on paper and I think that’s the main thing I want to do here. I want to help demystify this and help you. Again, here’s my email, write it down. If you get stuck just ask me a question. My rule is if you attended a session of mine at a SQL event if you’ve come to one of my free webinars, if you’re a former client, if you have a quick question and it doesn’t hit the 15-minute window I’m not going to worry about paperwork and billing. If you call me 4 times in a row with 14-and-a-half minute questions, by the fourth or fifth call I’ll get suspicious and send you an invoice, but I’d rather just help you.
So, anyway, enough blabbering, let’s get … So, the world has changed. And, by the way, as we’re going, if you have questions go ahead and throw them out here. We’re going to finish up in about 15 minutes at the most. If you have questions I’ll take some time with the questions.
But the world’s changed. I’m assuming you all know this, looking at who’s here and looking at some of the profiles. SQL Server 2016 SP1 gave us enterprise features and SQL Server Standard. If you’re a software vendor if you’re a customer who says, “I could really use compression but, man, I don’t want to spend the money on enterprise,” all the sudden standard edition becomes pretty appealing to you.
We have a couple customers right now that are enterprise edition who we’re going to downgrade to standard edition as part of their upgrade. That right there is a huge sell to management. That was a 21 terabyte database deal, I don’t know what the database is doing, but you’re probably going to stay on enterprise edition. Just a guess.
But SQL Server 2014 gave us 128 gigs of RAM in SQL Server Standard. Just those two things alone are big but we have availability groups, we have basic availability groups now in 2016, which means we can do availability groups in SQL Server standard. There’s a few caveats, you have to have one DB per AG, but if you have 10 databases or 5 databases you could have 5 or 10 AGs. It’s more to manage but it’s a viable option.
The cloud really is a viable option. We have a lot of clients on AWS and Azure, both IaaS and Paas, we’ll talk about what that means next week. And the HA/DR options out there are legion. You can just do availability groups, fill over clusters, we can do … I have a lot of clients that are on SQL Server standards with fill over clusters without shared SANs. They’re using third party tools like SIOS DataKeeper or in Windows 2016 we can just use the storage replica technology to basically make local discs on this computer and local discs on this computer appear to be in the SAN. And it’s supported and it works well and it’s performant, that’s not a word but I’ll use it, and it can give them that high availability but still keep it the SQL Server instance level.
I love AGs by the way, availability groups, but Failover Clusters sometimes are easier. If your environment doesn’t really have a DBA team, you don’t want to deal with what about making my jobs this way or making my logins in sync or, for whatever reason, you just want to have an availability group that makes sense. Even SQL Server standard is a great example. If you have 10 databases, and this is not a webinar on HADR so I won’t go too far down this rabbit hole, but … We’ll actually maybe do a separate webinar on HA/DR in March or April. But if you’re on SQL Server standard and you want to stay on standard, you can do … Dale says yes to HADR. I’m just asking. Okay, so we’ll do one. Maybe March or April, I’ll do one of these, just me blabbering about HADR, and I’ll try not to have any blabbering. I’ll try and give you stuff to download too just to make it useful, so it’s not just watching some guy talk.
But one of the things you can do … No problem. One of the things you can do is you can go with an availability group, if you have 10 databases and standard, and that’s 10 AGs, that’s 10 listeners or 1 listener and then scripting a shared failover to help the listener move. There’s some work. Or you can do a failover cluster, because that’s fully supported, a two-note fail over cluster, a single instance cluster, inside SQL Server standard.
But then people say, “No, that’s great, but I don’t have a SAN. I’m in the cloud or I have a bunch of local storage. I don’t want to have to play with a SAN, SANs are old fashioned. It’s 1997 to 2010 technology, I don’t want that.” By the way, I like SANs, SANs are fine. But I don’t want to have to play with a SAN here. I’m on VM, a great example too and my VM administrator will get very, very mad at me and choke me if I suggest I want to have RDMs, because what VM administrator wants to deal with RDMs? What you can do, and you could do this in SQL Server 2008 by the way, you can basically make your storage appear shared with some of those technologies, third party tools like SIOS DataKeeper, I think Starwind another one or even with Windows 2016.
The point though is it’s not your grandmother’s SQL Server world anymore. There’s so many things that have changed since you first installed these old SQL Server 2008 or 2012 servers, and we’re just not taking advantage of those features. Maybe we’re not being efficient license-wise. We’re on older CPUs. All these things have changed and we’re not taking advantage of it. The world is moving on. SQL Server 2019 is out now. It’s not out but it’s being discussed and it will be out soon. Microsoft is going around to user groups talking about 2019. They have the website page up for it. So it’s time to start thinking about this.
So one of the questions that I want to try and talk about this week, and this is probably where I’ll have a blog post out tomorrow to go along with the webinar, it will be about SQL Server versions and basically I’m going to have a blog post that summarizes a lot of this stuff. So come back to the blog tomorrow and you’ll see it. But we have a lot of options for versions. I’m not going to go through all of this, but there are so many versions out there. We even sadly support a couple SQL Server 2000s out there, and I’m sure some of you have a SQL Server 2000 because some vendor in the broom closet server needs to stay on SQL Server 2000 because the vendor went out of business and the old person who supports it that’s all they know. Whatever the story is, but there are so many versions out there. There’s 7 or 8 we support right now.
I’ll say it this way, I used to be gung-ho bleeding edge, but now as I get older and balder I get a little more careful. I’m a big fan of being a little bit behind. So it really goes by what do you need? I actually think if you’re not at least on SQL Server 2016, that’s the right place to be. 2017 too, because 2017 made some improvements, introduced the Linux, it did some more with R, It improved AGs a bit. We can do the distributed AGs. We can do them 2016 too, but really if you’re in 2012, 2014 or 2008, by and large I think 2016 is a great place to go. Yes, you’re going to be a little bit behind but you’re going to have mainstream support until 2021 and extended support until 2026.
So you’re not starting too far back with 2016. 2012, end of mainstream already and it’s going to be extended support gone in a few years. 2014’s mainstream ends this July. And really all the features in 2012 and 2014 were improved in 2016. And really if you’re doing a lot of stuff with column store and heavier analytics you might want to be 2017. But really I would start thinking about 2016, 2017. For those of you who mentioned, “What about my stinking vendor?” I think 2016 might be a safer option. I have a lot of respect for you if you’re on 2016.
If you’re on 2012 or 2014, I still respect you but you’re missing out. We’ll talk on the next slide here but you’re missing out on some of my favorite features, like availability groups and the improvements they made, but … Did I talk about here? I thought I did. I’ll keep going forward. But you’re missing out on query store. So 2016, I don’t even know why I didn’t mention it here, I think I might in another slide, I’ll see in a second. But, lots of ice cream flavors, I agree, Ron. 2016 gave us query store and query store is a tremendous tool that not enough people take advantage of.
I’m a big fan of monitoring tools. We do managed services, and with our managed service clients we bring SQL Sentry along with us because we like that tool. So I’m not saying you don’t need a third party tool. In fact, I think you do, because they add a little bit more. But if you just wanna get a sense of what was my worst query and which queries are hurting us, Query Store is available for free in the boxed prod or in the cloud, as well, starting with SQL Server 2016. You’re missing out on that if you’re on 2012 or 2008, and again, the compliance story.
There’s lots of other features, like Always Encrypted, which gives you the ability to do some development work, to not just have your data encrypted at rest through transparent data encryption, which we can talk about in some other webinar, maybe in the summer. But it doesn’t just encrypt your data at rest, Always Encrypted, it actually encrypts in the database. So if I was your consultant or if I was your DBA, I can’t even see what the data is. I just see the gobbledygook in the table. I’d have to work with an application developer to help decipher that. So it just gives you that final layer of protection. Just looking at your emails and kind of who you are, I know a lot of you are in audited and regulated industries, so you have to be protected.
Another reason why, is you can save on licensing. We’ll talk about that next week. But do you need to be on Enterprise edition? Why are you on Enterprise? If you have 24/7 availability and you have no Windows to do maintenance, and you need more than 128 gigs of RAM, you need to have Enterprise availability groups, sure, Enterprise makes sense. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you can get by with SQL Server standard on 2016 SP1 or higher, and you have compression, you have partitioning, you have those features, now that Microsoft gave them to you, and you have more memory, up to 128. It’s not a ton, but it’s maybe more than you have in your servers today.
And you can get HA features that are good enough, and not just good enough, they’re actually Enterprise HA features in standard, and save on some licensing. Then you can be the hero and say, “Hey, I upgraded us. I gave us new features. I made our database smaller with compression and whatever, and I saved us licensing money.” They can have a parade in your honor. I’m a New England Patriots fan, so parades are on my mind. Maybe that will get people leaving, I don’t know, but parades on my mind. We’ll just leave it at that.
Again, I anticipated this slide and I talked … We have a lot of HA/DR options, so many options. I started talking about this, and again, I promise you we’ll do it. The folks in my team who are watching will hold me to it. We’ll do another webinar maybe late March/early April, this kind of style webinar, about HA/DR options. But just look, we have so many options. In SQL Server 2008, we had some of these options, but not all of them.
I put log shipping there. Log shipping really is still an option, and when I do my HA/DR classes, like I’m doing next week, I still like log shipping for certain DR situations. You’ll notice what I didn’t put there. I didn’t put replication and I didn’t put mirroring. I don’t consider replication HA/DR technology. Technically speaking, it is, or can be, but it’s too complicated. I’d rather just have VM or HA.
What about the vendors, right? You gotta talk to them. There’s no way around it. You need to do some due diligence, do all your homework you’re doing here. When we talk next week, and during the do-in, we’ll talk a lot about testing. We’ll talk about how you can basically use SQL Server database tools to reverse engineer your database and do a build. Do a build against the target you wanna go to and see what breaks. Now we have some ammo to go back to your vendor. If you’re on a version of SQL that has extended events, you can capture the deprecated feature event. You can find those also in perfmon. It doesn’t give you as much detail, but you could find the deprecated features and you can run Upgrade Advisor. There’s many tools out there that you can use to do your homework.
And imagine that. Imagine just going to your vendor and having like this package of data. Say, “Hey. Hey, dear vendor, I’d like to upgrade. You don’t know if we can, but I’ve done all this research for you that can help with the other customers and I believe you can. Here’s my thought process. Can we upgrade?” It’s not your job to do that, but it’s a way you can help yourself. Because you’re helping your vendor, but who cares about your vendor? You care about yourself, so this a way to help you. And your vendor might win from it, who knows? Maybe that turn into a long-term relationship where your vendor says, “Hey, we like you,” or maybe you’ll get a job for the vendor some day. I don’t know. It’s just a way that you can do a little bit extra and get that upgrade to happen that you’ve been hoping for and lobbying for.
So, what about the cloud? I’m not gonna talk a lot about the cloud here. We’ll talk about that in the next couple of webinars, and again, maybe there’s another webinar. Maybe we’ll do a monthly series. There’s another webinar series we can do about cloud stuff at the high level. But we’re bringing a lot of clients to the cloud. We like the cloud. We love the cloud. It’s not for everybody. I have a lot of clients that actually wound up spending a lot more money not migrating to the cloud, because they’re getting by in really efficient infrastructure today and they’re really maximizing their license spend and all that. But the cloud is viable, and now that you’re upgrading, it’s time to consider it, at least.
There’s lots of different options. As your manage instance, it’s actually really good if you have a small department shares a bunch of little vendor apps and you don’t wanna manage backups, you wanna go, “I don’t care about backups. I want to be automated. I don’t wanna have to do all these monitoring things. I just wanna be able to life and shift up to an environment where basically Microsoft and AI and machine learning and my DBA, that’s a great option. We have clients looking at that. We have clients in Azure SQL, Azure SQL DB elastic pools. We have clients in AWS, RDS, an infrastructure service. There’s a great opportunity for you to potentially, depending on what you’re doing and how you’re spending, save some money for your organization.
Caveat there, it can be more expensive, and sometimes it is, especially if you look at the per month cost. But if you amortize your licensing and your DBA needs and your infrastructure needs, you’re really cutting down on some of the work. Don’t worry, DBA’s who are here, your job’s not in jeopardy. If your job is just, “No, you can’t have access,” and it’s just log-ins and all that, yes, your job is in jeopardy, I’ll admit. But if your job is really architecting and helping to sort of discover what’s right for your company, your job’s not in jeopardy in the cloud. In fact, it can be better. You can have all the stuff you get to do that you like, and none of the stuff that you don’t like. So it’s an option. We can consider it. We’ll talk about it in the next couple of webinars.
As we kinda wind down here, and I’ll give some time for questions, if there are any, a couple pieces of homework for you and a recap. The main point of this week is really to just get you ready and get you thinking and get your mind spinning a bit, so when we come in next week … this is sort of an appetizer … your taste buds are going for more knowledge. The first thing you have to do for homework is decide it’s time to upgrade. You’re here. I bet most of you already have decided it’s time to upgrade. Ron, I’m gonna pick on you, since you publicly chatted that you think it’s time, your vendor doesn’t. Dale, you think it’s time, your manager doesn’t. I get it. I totally get it.
But some homework is, look at my blog post tomorrow. I think Brent actually had a blog post also Imight even just reference that as well. But pick a SQL Server version or pick a likely SQL Server version, and look at your edition. Just get ready to think about, what would it look like, where are we today, where do we need be tomorrow, and what do we have to do to get there? It’s that simple. Like everything in life is, where do I wanna go, where am I and how do I get there? It’s that simple. “Simple”…. there’s a lot of stuff in the middle.
Start doing some inventory of your database. Start looking at your databases on the servers you wanna migrate from. Ask yourself, how many do I have? What apps are on it? What databases are on it? What vendors do I have to call? Because you can’t just upgrade in a vacuum. You have to work with your vendors. You have to work with your business users. You have to figure out, who are all these apps? And some of you have apps that were made by somebody who used to work there 15 years ago and nobody even knows anything about it. So you have to start doing that inventory and that analysis, and once you do that, we can then come to the next couple of webinars and kind of talk about, “All right, what do we do? How do we go?”
Another great thing I didn’t even mention, these slides, and I wanna make sure I mention in the next few weeks is, this is a great opportunity to consolidate. I mean, how many of you have SQL Server sprawl? 15, 20, 30, 40 SQL Server instances out there that you have to license and manage and back up and watch, and then if you wanna bring a monitoring product in, that increases your cost. All this cost, because you just didn’t know and your vendors strong-armed you and forced you to do the shared environments or the not shared environments.
Now is the time for you to take control again and to start saying, “You know what? We’re gonna consolidate, and I’m gonna do some perf mon analysis for a month before we upgrade, and I’m gonna see how busy your environment is and prove that you can live together.” No. If you have one of those support contracts that some of you do that says, “The vendor can dial in whenever they want. They can connect and they have SA access,” well, number one, fight that. Number two, if you can’t fight that, I would put them in their own isolated environment, maybe a second instance on a box, maybe just on a small VM. So you have to kind of be smart, but there’s a great opportunity for so many of you to consolidate.
We do a lot of managed services at Straight Path, and we come in and we’re like the DBA team or the senior DBA team for a company, and we like consolidating. It actually saves a customer’s money with us. If we consolidate, we might end up taking ourselves out of a job or reducing the need for us, but that’s okay, because it’s easier. It’s less expensive for them to monitor for us. It’s easier for us to see … You can know what’s going on better when you have five SQL Servers than when you have 35, all that could have been on five.
So use this as an opportunity to really think about, “How can I consolidate?” And we’ll talk about that. I’ll make sure we have a special kind of call out slide next week … maybe they increase the webinar time next week … to talk about consolidation. Because that is important and now it’s time to do it. Think about it. We’re starting fresh. What would we do differently? Now that you’ve been working there for as long as you’ve been working there, you know all the stuff you know because you’ve been learning and growing. What would you do differently? Do it. That’s the main point here.
So, next week, I’m gonna add a point to talk about consolidation here, obviously. But that’s what we’re gonna talk about. We’re gonna talk about things to consider before. Today was more of a why, and next week we’re gonna start getting into more the how. So what shall we think about? How do we analyze our environment? How do we get that perf mon profile or that PAL profile to sort of see what we need for infrastructure? How do we do some things to keep compliance in mind?
Basically, our job is to get the upgrade done and it’s to keep as many people happy with us as we can in the process. That’s not our job, right? But if you can make your compliance person happy, make your manager happy, make your vendors happy, and make your business users happy, they’re gonna carry you around on one of those little thrones that they carry princes and princesses around in, cheering your name. That’s not your goal in life, but if you can sort of tick all the boxes, your upgrade’s gonna go smooth.
And again, next week we’ll have a download for you. It’ll be just a generic download, but it’s gonna be really useful because there are just things to think about. It could become a tool for you guys to do a tabletop exercise with your business, and sit around, look at the questions, look at the checklist, and as a group, in IT, say, “What do you have to think about? What shall we do?” and help you make a roadmap. I can’t make your roadmap for you in webinars, but I can help you kind of figure out what goes on the roadmap and help you figure out what the key and the legend looks like. That’s the main point of the series.
So, that’s the end of this webinar, but I wanna leave time for questions, because I’m okay time wise, and if you’re okay, I can answer questions. If not, we’ll just do them next week. But I just wanna say thank you. Thank you so much for watching!