Murder In Denver

Comments: No Comments
Published on: July 14, 2014

sqlsat331_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

train

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 331 in Denver will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in our first all day pre-con event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Denver CO.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80′s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90′s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Denver SQL site - here.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $125 up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to choose Wayne’s class.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Denver for the Precon, I hope to also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on Sep 20 2014 (the day after the precon which is Sep 19, 2014).  I hope to update with the selected session(s) when that information becomes available.

You can see more details about the topics lined up for this event - here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Murder in Richmond

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: February 6, 2014

sqlsat277_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

loco_stoppedsailingTime to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 277 in Richmond will mark the second attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in our first all day pre-con event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Richmond VA.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80′s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90′s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Richmond SQL site – here.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $99 if you register by February 20th, when they raise to $125.  When you register, be sure to choose Wayne’s class.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Richmond for the Precon, I will also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on Mar 22 2014 (the day after the precon which is Mar 21, 2014).  I have the distinct pleasure of presenting a really fun topic.  My session on table compression was selected for the main event.  So, if you can’t make it out for the precon, at least come out for the main event.

You can see more details about the topics lined up for this event – here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Murder They Wrote

Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: November 5, 2013

sqlsat233_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

loco_stoppedsailingTime to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 233 in Washington DC will mark the premier of what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in our first all day pre-con event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Chevy Chase, MD.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80′s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90′s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us by registering at this eventbrite site.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

Between now and November 8th, the registration is discounted to $99 (plus transaction fees).  Use this code for the discount: SQLSATDC.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Join The SQL Crazy Train

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: September 13, 2013

viewfromsqltrain

One of the best lines I heard in the past few weeks was “That train has sailed.”  Combine that with a crazy schedule and we now have a SQL Crazy train that floats from event to event.

Next whistle stop is Providence Rhode Island at…

logo

 

Event Details

Event Date: September 21, 2013
Time: 8am – 6pm
Location: 1408 Division Rd East Greenwich, RI 02818
Directions: Available on the Location page
Twitter: Join the conversation with #sqlsat213

 

I was able to present at Providence last year and I have been lucky enough to have been asked back.  This year I will be giving two sessions, and they are the same sessions as last year.  Let’s see how well we can do this year.

I am looking forward to this trip.  There are a few people I haven’t seen for a while on the east coast.  This will afford me the opportunity to chat and network with these folks again.

If you visit the event website, you might even catch a glimpse of the featured speakers.

Here are some of the courses that stood out to me.  Sadly, some of them are in direct conflict with my presentation times.

Paresh Motiwala (twitter)

Database Forensics – Part 1 and 2

These are the days of increasing cyber and computer crimes. As DBAs and guardians of corporate data, it is your paramount duty to not only prevent any data loss but also discover lost , damaged or sabotaged data. But how can you do that without destroying evidence? Remember electronic evidence is extremely fragile. In this the first of the two part session, we will explore the following: 1. Fundamentals of Computer Forensics 2. Tools to use in Computer Forensics–Data Acquisition 3. Processing a crime scene 4. Network Forensics and Live Acquistions. 5. Submitting reports

Session Level: Advanced

 

Mike Hillwig (twitter)

What the VLF?

Experienced DBAs know that SQL Server stores data in data files and transaction log files. What is less commonly known is that the transaction log file is broken up into smaller segments known as Virtual Log Files, or VLFs. Having too many VLFs will cause performance to suffer. And having too few will cause backup performance to suffer. How do you strike the right balance? In this more advanced session, veteran DBA Mike Hillwig will show you what VLFs are, how they’re created, how to identify them, and how to strike the right balance between too few and too many.

Session Level: Advanced

 

DBA’s Rules for Dummies… And Developers

In many organizations, there is a rift between DBAs and developers. The root cause is that there isn’t often an established framework between what the DBAs need to manage the data and what developers need to help solve business problems. Many DBAs think that developers just write code without considering the impact to the data. And many developers think that DBA means ‘Dont’ Bother Asking.” In this session for developers, veteran production DBA Mike Hillwig will help you understand the DBA’s needs in order to help you bridge that gap in your organization and work better to help solve business problems.

Session Level: Beginner

 

Sebastian Meine (twitter)

15 aspects of SQL Server indexes that you might not know

You probably know that indexes make you queries faster. But do you know why? Knowing how the different index types work under the covers will help you make the right decisions when (re-)designing you indexing strategy. After attending this demo rich session you will be able to – Explain the differences between SQL Servers 9 “index” types – Identify the layout of SQL Server data on disk – Decide which index types are the right ones to use for a given query – Assess the impact of the Key on access speed

Session Level: Intermediate

I am curious about the forensics.  I am intrigued about the presentation that Sebastian is doing on indexes.  I want to sit in on Mike Hillwigs topics because I heard he wants to be ribbed and heckled.  Both of Mike’s sessions are at the same time as mine.  I’ll have to catch him some other time. Unless…

DB Forensics 2 and Sebastian’s presentation are at the same time, so I will only be able to hit one of those two as well.

That means, I will probably float around from session to session or in the hallways or maybe in a lounge somewhere to either network or talk shop with anybody who might be doing the same thing.  There are a lot of good sessions and it is really hard to play favorites and pick just one and sit in that the whole time. ;)

So I have to ask. Will you be joining the SQL Crazy Train at our whistle stop in Providence? If so, come say hi and we can chat.

Fast Starts

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: January 8, 2013

We are barely under way with the New Year and it is shaping up to be a busier year already.  Not quite as busy as has been published by the folks at Confio – but busy nonetheless.

The first thing up for me is to get my SQL Learn on.  I will be joining a bunch of geeks and some of their families for a week at sea.  Yes, you heard that correctly – at sea.

I will be SQLCruising out of Miami through the Caribbean.  This should be a good learning/relaxing SQLcation.  Yes Tim, I took a little liberty to add the water ripple to that logo.  Just getting excited to be on the water and rippling water helps.  It’s almost time to go pack for this trip.

Right after I get back from Cruising, I will be in Albuquerque for SQL Saturday 183.  I will be joining people like Steve Jones, Aaron Bertrand, Tjay Belt, Denny Cherry, Ben Miller and a host of other talented people.  You can see the schedule here.

Here is what I am thinking about attending.

Time Presenter Topic
8:30 AM Jeff Renz Data Vault Data Warehouse Architecture
10:00 AM Carlos Bossy Using Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server 2012
11:15 AM I will be presenting
1:45 PM Rob Mandeville Virtualizing our Environment
3:00 PM Michael Fal Exposing the Core: SQL 2012 on Server Core
4:15 PM Chris Shaw Outages: Dispatchers, Cops and Detectives

That brings us to early February.  At some point I expect to retake the Lab exam in February or March.  And then I expect to be presenting at a couple more SQL Saturdays within the next few months.

On the Twelfth Day…

Bacon wrapped frog legs (twelve of them) for Christmas.  No more drumming for these guys!!

What could be better than bacon wrapped frog legs?  Oh yeah, more Virtual lab setup.

We will delve into setting up a SQL Cluster today.  We will also cover some high level tips for dealing with virtual box.  This will be good information and the type of stuff I would have like to have known heading into setting up a Virtual Lab.

Season Cleaning First.

On the Twelfth Day of pre-Christmas…

My DBA brought to me a Virtual SQL Cluster.  And with that cluster, we have a a few tidbits for Using VirtualBox.

The first tidbit is an administration aid.  Occasionally it is good to have similar machines grouped together.  At the same time, it is also necessary to start multiple virtual machines at the same time.  This is done through groups in VirtualBox.

Here you can see some of the groups that I have created.  If I right-click on a machine name, I will be presented a menu that has the Group option.

Once I have a group created, I can get a few different options if I were to highlight the group name I would get different options as shown in the following image.

The notable options here are to “Ungroup”, “Rename Group”, and “Add Machine.”  Another option is “Start.”  Though this option is present for the machine menu, the behavior is different.  This option allows you to start the entire group.  This can be a handy tool when dealing with a cluster for instance.

The next handy tidbit is the snapshot.  A snapshot allows point in time image of the VM to be taken so different configurations can be tested – and then quickly reverted i necessary.  Here is what I have for one of my VMs in the snapshot manager.

From this very same screen you can also see one of the many methods available to create a clone of a virtual machine.  The clone icon is the little button above the right hand pane that looks like a sheep.  Cloning a VM is a quick way to create several machines for various purposes.  As you will hear from many people – you should build a base image first, then run sysprep against it.  Sysprep is necessary in order to help prevent problems down the road.

The next tidbit for today is in regards to the file locations for virtual machines and virtual disks.  I recommend changing the default path for the VM files.  This can be done through the preferences option on the file menu.  Shown in the attachment is what it may look like if you have not changed it.  Notice that the default path goes to your user profile directory.

Ignore the red text on this page for now.  We will not be discussing the Proxy.

The last tip is in the network settings within the preferences that we already have open.  In the network settings, we can find an option to configure DHCP settings for the Host-Only Ethernet Adapter.  These are settings you may want to configure to ensure you have more control over the environment.  It is also helpful when looking to configure those IP settings for the FreeNAS that we have already discussed.

As I wrap up these tidbits, I have decided that this is a lot of information to soak in at this point.  So in the spirit of Christmas, I have decided to finish off the clustering information in a 13th day post.  This final post may or may not be available on Christmas day.  Worst case it will be available on the 26th.

Part of that reason is I want to rebuild my lab following the instructions I will be posting and I need time to test it.  I want the instructions to be of great use.

Please stay tuned as we conclude this series very soon.

On the Eleventh Day…

Yesterday we had an introduction into setting up a virtual lab to help the DBA learn and test new technologies while improving his/her own skill set.

Today we will continue to discuss the building of a virtual lab.  Today we will get a little closer to the SQL portion of things as we will be installing a familiar operating system to SQL Server.

The Operating System will be 2008.  And the version of SQL Server will be 2008 R2.  I chose these specifically because at the time that I built out my lab, I was setting up the environment to help me study for the MCM exams.

As a sidebar, I was just informed by a friend of another blog series that is also currently discussing setting up Virtual Machines in Virtual Box.  Fortunately, his series is based on Windows 2012 and SQL 2012 – so there is a bit of a difference.  The author of that series is Matt Velic and you can read his articles on the topic here.

I’ll be honest, upon hearing that news I had to go check out his articles to make sure I wasn’t doing the exact same thing.  And while there may be a little overlap, it looks like we have different things that we are covering.

And now that brings us to recap time.

On the Eleventh Day of pre-Christmas…

The next pre-requisite for this lab is to install a Domain Controller and Active Directory.  For this Domain Controller, I have the following Virtual Box settings.

  • A single Dynamic Virtual Disk of 20GB
  • 2 Network Adapters (1 NAT and 1 Internal)
  • 1024 MB memory

To install the operating system, we will mount the iso image the same as we did for the FreeNAS in yesterdays post.  This is a Windows setup, and I will not cover that.

Once you have installed the operating system, the first thing to do is to install the guest additions for Virtual Box.

With guest additions installed, next we will turn to the network adapters.  I have two adapters installed for good reason.  One adapter is visible to the virtual network and will be used for the VMs to talk to each other.  The second adapter is installed so I can get windows validated and so patches can be downloaded and installed.

Talking about patches, this is where we want to make sure the operating system is patched.  Run windows update, finish all of the requisite reboots, and then come back to the network control panel.  Prior to installing the domain, disable the external NIC.  We will do this to limit the potential for errors when joining the subsequent machines to the domain.

For the Internal adapter, I will also configure a static IP address as shown here.

Let’s now setup the domain and domain controller on this machine.  From Server Manager, right click roles and select Add Roles.  From the new screen, select Active Directory Domain Services and DNS Server.

You are now ready to configure your domain.  I am going to allow you to use your favorite resource for the directions on configuring a domain in Windows 2008.  After the domain has been configured, then enable the external network adapter.

The final step is to configure DNS.  The main concern in DNS to configure is the reverse lookup zones.  I have three subnets (network address ranges) that I will configure.  The relevance of these three zones will become apparent in the final article of the lab setup mini-series.  The configurations will be along the lines as seen in this next screenshot.

This gets us to where we can start building our SQL Cluster.  We will cover that in the next installment.

On the Tenth Day…

Silver and Gold have a way of really bringing the look and feel of the Christmas season.

Silver and Gold also seem to represent something of greater value.

We are now into the final three articles of the 12 Days of pre-Christmas.  And with these three articles, I hope to bring something that is of more value than anything shared so far.

Of course, the value of these articles is subjective.  I have my opinion as to why these are more valuable.  I hope to convey that opinion as best as possible to help bring out as much value as can be garnered from these articles.

Let’s first recap what we have to date.

On the Tenth Day of pre-Christmas…

My DBA gave me an education.  Sure, everyday so far in this series could possibly be an education.  This is an education via a lab.  Every DBA should have a lab to be able to test features and hone skills.  A lab is a better place to do some of the testing that needs done than the DEV, QA, or even Production environments.

Think about it, do we really want to be testing the setup of clustering in the DEV environment and potentially impact the development cycle?  I’d dare so no.

Unfortunately, reality does not always allow for a lab environment to be accessible to the DBA.  So the DBA needs to make do with other means.  It is due to these types of constraints, that I am devoting the next three days to the setup of a lab.  This lab can even be created on a laptop.  I created this lab on my laptop with only 8GB of ram.  I was quite pleased to see that it performed well enough for my testing purposes.

We will begin with an introduction to the technology used – VirtualBox.  I will also discuss the creation of enough virtual machines to create a SQL Cluster (domain controller, two sql boxes, and a NAS) along with the configuration steps to ensure it will work.

For this lab, we will be using Virtual Box.  You can download Virtual Box here.  And yes, the tool is one that is provided by Oracle.  Two of the reasons I want to use Virtual Box is the ability to install multiple operating systems, and the tool is currently free.  Another benefit is that I can easily import virtual machines created in VMWare as well as Microsoft Virtual Server/Virtual PC (I have not tested any created in Hyper-V).

While you are downloading the Virtual Box app, download the Extension Pack as well.  Links are provided for the extension pack on the same page as the application download.  Be sure to download the Extension Pack for the version of Virtual Box you download.

The version of VirtualBox I will be using for this article is 4.2.2.  As of the writing of this article a new version has been released – 4.2.6.  The differences in versions may cause the instructions in these articles to be inaccurate for 4.2.6.  You can use whichever version you deem appropriate.  I just won’t be covering version 4.2.6 and don’t know if the screens are different or it the settings are different.

You can check your version in the Help.About Menu.

For this lab, we have a few things that will be required prior to setting up the SQL Cluster.  Two big components of this infrastructure are Storage and a Domain.  We are going to simulate shared storage through the use of FreeNAS.  We will be discussing FreeNAS today.

For starters, we can download FreeNAS from here.  You might be able to find a few configuration guides online for FreeNAS.  Most of them seemed to be for really old versions and were less than usable for the version that I had downloaded.  All settings to be discussed today are pertinent to FreeNAS-8.3.0-RELEASE-x64 (r12701M).

To setup FreeNAS, we will need to have a Virtual Machine configured with the following settings.

  • A BSD VM with FreeBSD as the version.
  • Ensure the motherboard settings only has the “Enable IO APIC” setting checked.
  • Three Virtual Disks (1 for NAS OS, 1 for SAN Storage, and another for a Quorum)
  • 512 MB memory
  • 2 Network Adapters (1 Internal and 1 connected to the Host-Only Adapter)

Despite the FreeNAS actual disk requirements being rather small, any fixed disk size less than 2GB causes mount errors.  Any amount of memory less than 512MB also causes a mount problem.  These settings are the minimum configurations to save the hair on your head.

The Network Adapters is more of a strong suggestion.  I was able to get it to work with only one adapter, but it was more hassle than it was worth.  I found it easier to configure for use by the cluster later if I had two adapters.  The two adapter configuration also allows me easier administration from within the VM environment as well as from the host machine.

One other thing to do is to mount the FreeNAS ISO that has been downloaded to the CD drive that is created by default with the VM creation.  I mount the ISO before booting by opening the settings for the VM within Virtual Box.  On the storage screen, highlight the “Empty” CD Icon in the middle then click on the CD Menu Icon on the far right as shown below.

Navigate to the folder where the FreeNAS ISO is saved and then click ok until you are back at the Virtual Box manager screen.  You are now ready to start the machine and finish the install and then configure.

Once powered on, you should eventually come to the following screen.

Select to Install/Upgrade.  From here, you will see a few more prompts such as the next screen to select the installation location.

This should be pretty straight forward installation options for the IT professional.  I will not cover all of the installation prompts.  Once the install is finished, you will need to reboot the VM and un-mount the installation media.  The system will then come to the following screen.

Now that we are at the console screen, the next step is to configure the Network Interfaces.  You can see that I have already done this based on the IP addresses seen at the bottom of the screen.  I will leave the configuration of the IP addresses to you.  Both the internal network and the host-only network will need to be configured.  The host network should be the second adapter.  Keep track of the IP addresses that have been configured.  We will need to use them later.

In a browser window we will now start configuring the storage to be used by our Lab.  In the address bar, we will need to input the address we configured for the host network.  In my case, 192.168.56.103.  When that page loads, the first thing we need to do is change the Admin password.

The default password is empty.  Pick a password you will remember and that is appropriate.  With that done, we can configure the storage.

The Next setting, I want to configure is the iSCSI setting.  In order to use the volumes that we create, we must enable the iSCSI service.  In the top section, click the Services button.  This will open a new tab in the web browser.  On the Services tab, we need to toggle the slider for iSCSI to the “ON” position as shown in the image.

Once toggled, we can configure the iSCSI settings for the volumes we will now create.  From here, we click on the storage tab.  Next, click on the Volume Manager Button.  In order for the disks to be imported, we have to use volume manager.  The Import Volume and Auto Import Volume must serve other purposes – but they don’t work for importing a new volume.  Here is a screenshot demonstrating what needs to be configured.

With the Volume created, a ZFS volume must next be created from within the storage management.  We do this by clicking the “Create ZFS Volume” icon next to the main volume we just created.  This icon is illustrated as the icon on the far right in the next image.

Once that icon is clicked, you will be presented with a new dialog.  The dialog is demonstrated in the above image.  Give the Volume a Name and then give it a size.  Note that you must specify a storage unit (m or g for example) or you will receive a pretty red error message.

Now go back to the Services tab where we enabled iSCSI.  There is a wrench icon next to the toggle to enable the service.  Click on this wrench and a new tab will be opened (again within the FreeNAS webgui) and the focus will be switched to this new tab.  On the “Target Global Configuration” ensure that Discovery Auth Method is set to “Auto.”  If it is not, make the change and click save at the bottom.

Next is the Portals.  The portals should be empty so we will need to add a portal.  By default, only one IP address is displayed for configuration on a new Portal entry.  We want to configure two IP addresses.  First, select 0.0.0.0 from the IP Address drop down on the new window that opened when clicking on “Add Portal.”  Then select “Add extra Portal IP”.

Next is to configure an Initiator.  For this lab, I created on Initiator specifying ALL for the Initiators and Authorized Network as shown here.

With an initiator and a portal in place, we now proceed to the configuration of the Targets.  I have configured three targets and the main difference is in the name.  They should be configured as shown here.

Almost done with the setup for the storage.  It will all be well worth it when we are done.  We need to configure Device Extents and then Associate the targets, then we will be done.

Like with the Targets, I have three device extents configured.  The configuration for each is the same process.  I want to give each a name that is meaningful and then associate the extent to a disk that we imported earlier.

Last for this setup is the Target to Extent association.  This a pretty straight forward configuration.  I named my targets the same as extents so there was no confusion as to which should go with which.

That wraps up the configurations needed to get the storage working so we can configure a cluster later on.  Just getting through this configuration is a pretty big step in getting the lab created for use in your studies and career enhancement.

Next up in this series is to show how to configure (in limited detail) a domain and DNS, and then to install and configure a cluster.  Stay tuned and I will even through in a few tidbits here and there about Virtual Box.

I didn’t include every screenshot possible throughout the setup of FreeNAS and the configuration of iSCSI.  Part of the fun and education of a lab is troubleshooting and learning as you go.  If you run into issues, I encourage you to troubleshoot and research.  It will definitely strengthen your skill-set.

Seize the Moment

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 29, 2011

Today I had a bit of regret slap me in the face.  That face slap came from participation in a SQL Quiz on twitter that was hosted by Paul Randal (Blog | Twitter).  The questions being thrown out there were deep technical internals type of questions.  These weren’t necessarily the type of questions that you would see in an interview and were for fun.

I say it was a bit of a face slap because I had an opportunity to attend an Internals training session presented by SQLSkills in Dallas but was unable to attend.  It made me wonder how much more I would have been able to answer had I actually attended the course.  If you have an opportunity to attend such an event – DO IT!

From the set of questions today, I learned quite a bit.  The knowledge and wealth of information that you can gain by attending one of these events has got to be substantially more than what is presented in the measly ten questions posed in these Pop Quizzes that Paul has conducted.

Now I need to find my way into the Bellevue course.

Immersions Training

Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: February 8, 2011

The last week of January 2011, I wrote a blog post entering a contest for free training at the hands of SQLSkills.  Later that week an announcement was made as to the winner(s) of that contest.  Lo and behold I found out that I was one of the winners.  Totally awesome.

What did I win?  I won a week of training at half price.  The training is in Dallas the week of February 21st.  Brent Ozar even came up with some info to show the ROI on this training.  (Yeah, I’ll be bookmarking that page.)

Even with all of the upside, I will be unable to attend this time.  I have other things at this juncture that take precedence for me.  I evaluated the pros and cons and had people encouraging me to attend the training regardless of the cons.  Some of the conflicts at this point in time are:

  1. Moving my family and trying to get settled in
  2. Transitioning new work

Those are just too big right now to try to interrupt for a week.  Again, many thanks to Paul, Kim, Brent, and crew for the great opportunity.

Anybody who has the opportunity to attend one of these events really should do it.  My wife and I agree that it is something that is worth me doing.  I will be diving in the immersions training some time in the future.

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