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Microsoft SQL Server High Availability

by Paul Bertucci

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Offers example based coverage for various high availability solutions with Microsoft SQL Server.

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Offers example-based coverage for various high availability solutions. * High availability is becoming an increasingly important topic for database administrators, data architects and system architects. * Covers choosing, planning, implementing and administering a high availability solution along with the business justifications. * Paul Bertucci has over 20 years of database experience including consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

About the Author

Microsoft SQL Server High AvailabilityAbout the Author

Paul Bertucci is the founder of Database Architechs (http://www.dbarchitechs.com) a database consulting firm with offices in the United States and Paris, France. He has more than 24 years of experience doing database design, data architecture, data replication, performance and tuning, distributed data systems, data integration, high availability assessments, and systems integration for numerous Fortune 500 companies including Intel, 3COM, Coca-Cola, Apple, Toshiba, Lockheed, Wells Fargo, Safeway, Texaco, Charles Schwab, Cisco Systems, Sybase, and Honda, to name a few. He has authored numerous articles, standards, and high profile courses such as Sybase's "Performance and Tuning" and "Physical Database Design" courses. Other Sams books that he has authored include the highly popular Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed and ADO.NET in 24 Hours. He has deployed numerous systems with MS SQL Server, Sybase, DB2, and Oracle database engines, and has designed/architected several commercially available tools in the database, data modeling, performance and tuning, data integration, and multi-dimensional planning spaces. Paul also serves part time as CTO for a strategic planning software company and part time as chief technical advisor for a data integration server software company. Paul received his formal education in computer science and electrical engineering from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). He lives in northern California with his wife, Vilay, and five children, Donny, Juliana, Paul Jr., Marissa, and Nina. Paul can be reached at pbertucci@dbarchitechs.com or by phone at 925-674-0000.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


"If your company's High Availability requirements are well understood, the potential benefits gained by applying the correct High Availability solution can be enormous! Applying the wrong solution or not understanding your company's high availability needs could cause your company to go out of business!" IT Forum, Atlanta, GA—Paul Bertucci November, 2003

Five 9s

Downtime (system unavailability) directly translates to loss of profit, productivity, and customer good will—plain and simple. If your current or planned applications are vulnerable to downtime problems—or you are unsure of the potential downtime issues—then this book is aimed at you. Is your business at or nearing a requirement to be "highly available" or "continually available" in order to protect the previously mentioned profit, productivity, and customer good will? Again, this book is aimed at you.

Helping you understand the high availability (HA) solutions available to you and choosing the high availability approach that maximizes benefit and minimizes cost is our primary goal. A roadmap to design and implement these high availability solutions will be described herein. The good news is that software and hardware vendors in general, and Microsoft specifically, have come a long way in supporting high availability needs and will move even further to achieving 99.999% availability (herein referred to as "five 9s") in the near future. For a 24x7 application that aspires to achieve five 9s, that system would only tolerate a yearly total of 5.26 minutes of downtime. Knowing how to design for this will be crucial.

We will even touch on some alternatives for continually available systems (100% availability). These capabilities, coupled with a formal methodology tailored for designing high availability solutions, will allow you to design, install, and maintain systems maximizing availability while minimizing development and platform cost.

The success or failure of your company may well be influenced, if not be driven, by your ability to understand the essential elements that comprise a high availability environment, the business requirements driving the proper high availability approach, and the cost considerations affecting the ROI (return on investment) of a high availability solution. It is likely that a company's more critical applications demand some type of high availability solution—if a global online ordering system goes down and remains down for any length of time, millions of dollars would be lost along with the public's good will toward that company. The stakes are truly high indeed!

This book will outline how you can "design in" high availability for new applications and "upgrade" current applications to improve availability. In all cases, a crucial consideration will be the business drivers influencing a proposed application's uptime requirements, factoring in the dollar cost, productivity cost, and the good-will cost of NOT having that system available to the end-users for any period of time.

Current Microsoft capabilities and options allowing you to achieve high availability systems will be highlighted. These include, among others, Microsoft Cluster Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 SQL Clustering, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Data Replication, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Log Shipping, and Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator capabilities. Many references to the Microsoft .NET Framework will be made since most of the previously mentioned components are deeply embedded in .NET.

Most importantly, a set of business scenarios will be introduced that will reflect actual companies' high availability requirements. We will use these business scenarios to guide you through the design process, determine the high availability approach best suited for a particular business scenario, and specify a roadmap to implement the business scenario with a specific technical solution.

This book will feel more like a cookbook or AAA route suggestion than a typical technical manual—this is the intention. It is one thing to describe technical syntax, but it is much more important to actually explain why you choose a particular approach to meet a particular business or application requirement. This book will focus on the later. The business scenarios introduced and implemented in this book come from live customer implementations. We will not reveal the names of these customers for obvious nondisclosure reasons. However, these business scenarios should allow the reader to correlate their own business requirements to these high availability scenarios. We will also include examples using the infamous Northwind database provided with Microsoft SQL Server 2000. This will allow you to replicate some of the solutions quickly and easily in your own sandbox.

Several tools, scripts, documents, and references to help you jump-start your next high availability implementation will be made available at the Sams Publishing website.

Who Is This Book's Intended Audience?

This material is intended for an intermediate-to-advanced level user. This would include roles such as system designer/architect, system administrator, data architect, database administrator, SQL programmer, and even managerial types such as chief information officer (CIO) or chief technology officer (CTO). It has been pointed out to me on several occasions that the justifications, alternatives, and ROI considerations might well be beneficial for a chief financial officer (CFO), since many of the issues and ramifications translate into lost profit, productivity, and good will. A motivated CFO who understands the benefits, complexities, and capabilities of achieving high availability can rest easier at night knowing that they are in good hands with their well-designed high availability solution protecting the bottom line ($).

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into three main sections:

  • Part I, "Understanding High Availability"—This section will establish our definition of high availability, introduce the high availability business scenarios that are typically found in the real world, and describe the various hardware and software options within the Microsoft family of products that directly address high availability.

  • Part II, "Choosing the Right High Availability Approaches"—This section will explicitly define a formal design approach to be used as a roadmap to navigate the appropriate high availability solution for each business scenario introduced.

  • Part III, "Implementing High Availability"—This section will describe the architecture, design, implementation steps, and techniques needed for each high availability solution. Each business scenario will be driven to their "complete" implementation.

This is a "soup-to-nuts" approach that should yield ample clarity for the reader—from inception of the business requirements to the complete implementation of a high availability solution for the given business and service level requirements.

Conventions Used in This Book

Names of commands and stored procedures are presented in a special monospaced computer typeface. We have tried to be consistent in our use of uppercase and lowercase for keywords and object names. However, because the default installation of SQL Server doesn't make a distinction between upper- and lowercase for SQL keywords or object names and data, you might find some of the examples presented in either upper- or lowercase.

"Design notes" will cover any design or architecture idea that is related to the topic that is being discussed. They are meant to supplement the discussed idea or to help guide design. An example would be to provide some additional insight into what type of disk RAID levels are appropriate for the different type of data accesses a database is used for. This would be considered above and beyond the normal RAID level explanation, but is great to cons...



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