Know the cost of SQL Server 2012’s AlwaysOn Availability Groups

May 30, 2012 Leave a comment

SQL Server 2012 takes Database Mirroring to the next level. Many of us have used SQL Server 2008’s Database Mirroring as part of a disaster recovery (DR) solution. And it’s serves well in that capacity (unless you try and use synchronous mirroring on a high usage DB across to another data center – trust me, don’t do that!).

Some of the great improvements with the touted replacement to Database Mirroring:

  • Can have up to 4 replicas (not just one)
  • Can failover multiple databases as a unit (not just one)
  • Can read from the replicas

However, don’t just blindly go in for this model without counting the cost. There are some requirements for this new technology that impact your licensing cost, and possibly administration cost. Here they are:

1) The feature requires Windows failover clustering – this means you’ll need the Enterprise edition or higher of Windows Server. A Windows cluster requires a minimum of two servers, and since your replica must be on a separate cluster, you’re talking 4 servers, at least. NOTE that there is no requirement to install SQL Server as a clustered application.

2) The feature requires SQL Server Enterprise Edition. See this article for a comparison of the various editions:

Now the question arises: Is Database Mirroring still available as an option in SQL Server 2012? The answer is yes. But beware that AlwaysOn is the replacement and Database Mirroring will likely disappear in the next release. This is explained in the AlwaysOn FAQ here:

My suggestion is to give careful thought to your DR design BEFORE you make firm decisions on your hardware and software editions. You don’t want to be painted into a corner with Standard edition if you could really benefit from features like this which requires Enterprise Edition, and of course on the flip side if Database Mirroring is sufficient for your needs, then you might be just fine with Standard Edition.

Reference for this post:

Introducing SQL Server 2012’s AlwaysOn Availability Groups SQL Server Magazine, January 2012


Microsoft Test Manager 2010 (MTM) Resources

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment
  1. Code Magazine article, taken from Chapter 3 of Software Testing with Visual Studio 2010, entitled Planning Your Testing
  2. Channel 9 videos:
    1. Introduction to Test Case Management in Visual Studio 2010 with Microsoft Test and Lab Manager
    2. Team Foundation Service Preview: Using Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, and Eclipse
    3. Software Testing with Microsoft Test Manager 11 and Lab Management

Accessing TFS Preview from Visual Studio 2010

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

If you want to access your preview TFS account (TFS in the cloud) from Visual Studio 2010 you need to install KB2581206 (Visual Studio 2010 SP1 TFS Compatibility GDR).

Then you can configure access as usual. Screenshots explaining the process can be found on Gregg Boer’s blog post.

FIX: Pause icon shown when Sharing in Lync session

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

In a Lync meeting I setup yesterday, a presenter was unable to Share his program or desktop successfully – all attendees see is a large white pause icon in the upper left of a black screen. Turns out this problem can occur if the sharer is running Windows XP and the Terminal Services Windows Service is not running. The fix was to change the service’s startup option from Disabled to Manual and start it.

Thanks to Navin for the solution (here).

How to upgrade to Windows 8 Consumer Preview (via USB)

March 1, 2012 Leave a comment

1. Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview in ISO format here

(be sure to choose correct edition – 32 or 64-bit)

2. During installation (later) the software prompts for an installation key so, run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup from here, let it do its app check, click Next, and you’ll get a product key – take note of that – then cancel out

(thanks to tip from here – note that at this point a Download Windows icon is on the desktop and this may download files and give you the option to copy to USB – I just chose option in point #1 above – so let me know if this works as well)

3. Download and run the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool from the Microsoft Store

(found in Programs menu)

4. Select ISO file from step 1

5. Select USB drive

6. Insert into machine to upgrade (in my case a Windows 8 Developer Preview; yes you can upgrade that) and run Setup


Categories: Windows, Windows 8 Tags: , , , ,

Expression Web 4 Service Pack 2 Available

July 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Hotmail mail not moved on iOS devices

July 9, 2011 1 comment

Lately, mail that I move into folders on my PC (using Outlook connected to Hotmail) does not get moved on my iOS devices (iPhone / iPad).  This used to work just fine and has broken only recently.  The upshot is that I have to move or delete the mail items again on each iOS device – what a pain.

I’ve tried the suggestion in the following Apple Support article: iOS 4.0: Exchange Mail, Contacts, or Calendars may not sync after update.

There you download and install a profile update that increases the timeout value used when iOS 4 connects to Exchange Active Sync (EAS).

A quick test shows that moving items to folders on the PC does get reflected on the iPad, but of course there could be some peculiar factor that shows the problem up so I’ll keep you posted!

Here’s a screenshot of the profile:

Note that it’s easiest installed by loading the above article on the iOS device in Safari and tapping the download the signed configuration profile link. Remember to reboot your device after the profile is installed.