Happy New Year!!
Looking back at my Happy New Year! post from the start of 2020, I of course, didn’t realize the brute force of the global pandemic that was about to hit. Even with the dumpster fire that was 2020, good things still occurred even in the midst of the world burning. Babies were born. Relationships started. New doors opened with new opportunities and the list continues. 2020 is behind us now and in the review mirror. Let’s focus on making 2021 a vast improvement from 2020.
With that said, I’m going to repeat my thoughts for the new year. They are still valid and hold true.
Here are some thoughts for the new year:
- Don’t wait to start that project. Some day never comes around.
- You are perfect the way you are. However, if you want to get healthy, know that you aren’t alone. You got this.
- Tell those people close to you how you feel about them. Tomorrow may not come for some.
- Tell your kids (fur babies count too!) that you love them as often as you can. My kids hear it from as often as I can.
- Finally, be kind to each other. The world is harsh enough as it is without us beating each other up.
Hopefully this post comes at a time where we see the Covid vaccine rolling out to the masses. Until then, keep wearing a mask and stay safe out there.
© 2021 – 2020, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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Christmas is this week so not a technical post for this week. Just a simple post wishing you and your family as many blessing as possible (especially in the year 2020) and good tidings during this holiday time. I hope that 2020 wasn’t too harsh on you or anybody close to you. May the holidays bring you peach and joy!
Take care and wear a mask!
© 2020, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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Unequivocally, yes on-premises SQL Server Instances are still relevant.
While I’m a firm believer that the cloud is not a fad and is not going away, it’s just an extension of a tool that we are already familiar with. The Microsoft marketing slogan is “It’s just SQL” and for the most part that is indeed true. However, that does not mean that every workload will benefit from being in the cloud. There are scenarios where it does not make sense to move things to the cloud so let’s take a look at a few of them.
The cloud can cost a lot
There is no such thing as a free lunch and the cloud is not excluded. I am sure that we’ve all heard horror stories of individuals leaving resources active which in turned costed large sums of money. While the cloud offers up a wide range of capabilities in aiding the day-to-day life of IT professionals everywhere, it might not be cost effective for your given workload or data volumes. Compute resources and all things associated with that cost money. If you need higher CPU, more money. If you need terabytes of storage, more money. If you need a higher CPU to memory ratio for that virtual machine, more money. All of the resources the cloud offers you essential rent and the bigger the space, the more money it takes. Of course, all of this is dependent on your organizational requirements and associated workloads.
By having an on-premises environment you can implement a lower cost of ownership for hardware. This being said, the cloud offers up more efficient means of upgrade and scaling which is usually limited with on-premises ecosystems which can actually save you money. It’s a trade-off that organizations have to weigh to see if moving to the cloud makes sense.
You want control of all things
Most things in the cloud require that organizations relinquish control. That is just a plain fact and that’s not changing. We are trading speed and agility from an infrastructure perspective for a lower ability to control certain aspects of the architecture. For example, with Azure SQL Database (Platform as a Service), database administrators no longer can control database backup method or frequency. In exchange for this loss of control, though, backups are taken automatically for us. In my opinion, this is a more than fair exchange and I sleep better knowing that a tried and vetted backup process is taking care of things without my intervention.
You have specific compliance or regulation requirements
While most of the players in the public cloud space (Azure, Amazon, Google) are all certified for a multitude of compliance regulations, it’s possible that you have a very specific one that the provider is unable to meet. If this is the case, then your ability to move to the cloud is limited and you are forced to remain on-premises. Regulations could also impose issues when moving to that cloud. These regulations could be imposed by the governing body of the organization or be sourced from various places. If this is the case, it’s possible that the cloud is not a viable solution for your organization.
I do suspect that as cloud technology continues to advance, regulations and compliances will slowly be brought into the fold and allow for appropriate cloud implementations.
You do not have the expertise
Put simply, you do not have the knowledge internally to successfully migrate to the cloud nor do you have the budget to hire someone to move you to the cloud. Shameless plug, this one of our core competencies here at Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting. We help organizations (big or small) get into the cloud to help push their data ecosystem forward. However, not every organization can afford to hire consultants (short or long term) to help them with such a project. In this instance, until you can get the expertise to help you are left with either staying on-premises or trying to figure it out on your own. In some respects, the cloud opens new security exposures that must be accounted for when moving to it. If these are not accounted for the organization severe issues could arise so I recommend not going down the “we’ll figure it out as we go” method without some level of guidance.
Your workloads do not perform in the cloud
Even though I am a huge fan of Azure, some workloads just won’t perform well unless you break out your wallet (see the first paragraph). Even with proper performance tuning, the performance comparison between on-premises and the cloud is not going to be a true apples to apples comparison. The infrastructure is just too vastly different to really get that “exact” level of comparison. Organizations must find that sweet spot between performance infrastructure costs and frankly, sometimes that sweet spot dictates remaining with on-premises hardware.
There are probably many other reasons why on-premises infrastructures will continue to be relevant. Each organization may have unique requirements that having SQL Server on their own hardware is the only solution. Remember, regardless of where you deploy SQL Server, it is just SQL and it’ll behave the same (mostly). This does not mean that you should not continue to expand your skill sets. Make sure to continue to learn about cloud technologies so that when your organization is ready to make the leap, you can do so in a safe and secure manner.
© 2020, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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Azure SQL offers up a world of benefits that can be captured by consumers if implemented correctly. It will not solve all your problems, but it can solve quite a few of them. When speaking to clients I often run into misconceptions as to what Azure SQL can really do. Let us look at a few of these to help eliminate any confusion.
You can scale easier and faster
Let us face it, I am old. I have been around the block in the IT realm for many years. I distinctly remember the days where scaling server hardware was a multi-month process that usually resulted in the fact that the resulting scaled hardware was already out of date by the time the process was finished. With the introduction of cloud providers, the ability to scale vertically or horizontally can usually be accomplished within a few clicks of the mouse. Often, once initiated, the scaling process is completed within minutes instead of months. This is multiple orders of magnitude better than the method of having to procure hardware for such needs.
The added benefit of this scaling ability is that you can then scale down when needed to help save on costs. Just like scaling up or out, this is accomplished with a few mouse clicks and a few minutes of your time.
It is not going to fix your performance issues
If you currently have performance issues with your existing infrastructure, Azure SQL is not going to necessarily solve your problem. Yes, you can hide the issue with faster and better hardware, but really the issue is still going to exist, and you need to deal with it. Furthermore, moving to Azure SQL could introduce additional issues if the underlying performance issue is not addressed before hand. Make sure to look at your current workloads and address any performance issues you might find before migrating to the cloud. Furthermore, ensure that you understand the available service tiers that are offered for the Azure SQL products. By doing so, you’ll help guarantee that your workloads have enough compute resources to run as optimal as possible.
You still must have a DR plan
If you have ever seen me present on Azure SQL, I’m quite certain you’ve heard me mention that one of the biggest mistakes you can do when moving to any cloud provider is not having a DR plan in place. There are a multitude of ways to ensure you have a proper disaster recovery strategy in place regardless of which Azure SQL product you are using. Platform as a Service (Azure SQL Database or SQL Managed Instance) offers automatic database backups which solves one DR issue for you out of the gate. PaaS also offers geo-replication and automatic failover groups for additional disaster recovery solutions which are easily implemented with a few clicks of the mouse.
When working with SQL Server on an Azure Virtual machine (which is Infrastructure as a Service), you can perform database backups through native SQL Server backups or tools like Azure Backup.
Keep in mind that high availability is baked into the Azure service at every turn. However, high availability does not equal disaster recovery and even cloud providers such as Azure do incur outages that can affect your production workloads. Make sure to implement a disaster recovery strategy and furthermore, practice it.
It could save you money
When implemented correctly, Azure SQL could indeed save you money in the long run. However, it all depends on what your workloads and data volume look like. For example, due to the ease of scalability Azure SQL offers (even when scaling virtual machines), secondary replicas of your data could be at a lower service tier to minimize costs. In the event a failover needs to occur you could then scale the resource to a higher performing service tier to ensure workload compute requirements are met. Azure SQL Database offers a serverless tier that provides the ability for the database to be paused. When the database pauses, you will not be charged for any compute consumption. This is a great resource for unpredictable workloads.
Saving costs in any cloud provider implies knowing what options are available as well as continued evaluation of which options would best suit your needs.
It is just SQL
Azure SQL is not magical quite honestly. It really is just the same SQL engine you are used to with on-premises deployments. The real difference is how you engage with the product and sometimes that can be scary if you are not used to it. As a self-proclaimed die-hard database administrator, it was daunting for me when I started to learn how Azure SQL would fit into modern day workloads and potential help save organizations money. In the end, though, it’s the same product that many of us have been using for years.
In this blog post I’ve covered five things to know about Azure SQL. It is a powerful product that can help transform your own data ecosystem into a more capable platform to serve your customers for years to come. Cloud is definitely not a fad and is here to stay. Make sure that you expand your horizons and look upward because that’s where the market is going.
If you aren’t looking at Azure SQL currently, what are you waiting for? Just do it.
© 2020, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.
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