April 2011 Entries
A bit about backups and tools: Virtual Restore

Over the last months, I have been putting a considerable level of effort recovering databases.  That would be databases in dev, staging and prod.  Somewhere, somehow someone got access to Prod and decided to mess with it.  All in all this has created some heartburn and so on.  Again, not only from the downtime it has caused and the lengthy recovery process.

We figured we could use interim solutions that would become active only when we knew a transition period had arrived, while effective, the changes started to become larger and larger and therefore the interim solution started losing effectiveness.  All while backups were/are running (I don’t see backups as optional, in any of the environments).  The data changes and test situations are critical in each environment that backups are needed to safeguard data in structure, form and functionality.

So, as I mentioned we had been running in a combination Backup and DB Snapshot scenario.  The backups are becoming larger and larger, to the point of working with a transfer of a 45 to 70+ GB backup gets ridiculous at times.

Enter SQL Virtual Restore from Red Gate software. With this tool I am able to reuse the backups that are existing in the environment and go through the process of a Virtual Restore in the event of needing recovery.  So, what makes it cool, interesting, life saving?  The fact that it uses the backup file, compressed and all to generate the virtual components.  It cut down the time to recover by at least 30%, but even better? 88% space saved!  Again, the goal, being able to perform recovery.  This means too, being able to do Object Level Recovery.

It is early in the process of adoption of the tool, but the results are proving to save us time in recovery, space and network transfer rates.  Huge benefit!

Follow along on the sample process I conducted:

1) Opened to the tool and pointed to the SQL Instance to recover to.

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2) Selected the backup file location and file to restore

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3)Specified the destination

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4) Reviewed Summary

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6) Process Completes and gives you a summary of execution and storage saved (This is not my real application, but rather an AdventureWorksLT test)

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5) Validation through SQL Server Management Studio

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Posted On Monday, April 25, 2011 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
Installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 without killing kittens in the process.

First, let me clarify the “killing kittens” statement.  A couple of years back, I had a chance of attending a sessions presented by Todd Klindt and Shane Young on SharePoint Installation and to raise awareness of how little control, and not to say the limitations, of installing in Standalone mode, they would state “Everytime a SharePoint Standalone Installation happens, God kills a kitten”.  Ok, now on to the rest of the purpose of the post.

Assumption:  SQL Server 2008 R2 is already installed on the system

Installing SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 is not for any other purpose than development, but I did not want multiple instances of SQL Server running on my system.  I wanted a little more control over that.  And also to take advantage of SQL Server 2008 R2, and not Express.

What are the main things to know?  To start, install the prerequisites.  Here is the list to do that, the items with an asterisk are no longer needed if you have SP1 for Windows 7 (or Windows 2008 R2 for that matter).

The other part, when installing SharePoint 2010 (either Foundation or Server), for your setup you will select Server Farm installation and then Complete.  No Standalone here.

Once the setup completes, uncheck the box to run SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard, and click close.

Here is the fun part, now you will open the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, the steps for this are:

1) Go to Start
2) Expand All Programs
3) Click Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products, then Right-click SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, and click Run As Administrator.
4) Click OK on the UAC prompt.

Ok, now the tool is open, we will use some SharePoint 2010 PowerShell CmdLets here.  Actually, just one.

1) Type New-SpConfigurationDatabase, press enter
2) At the DB Name prompt, I used SharePoint_W7_Config.
3) At the DB Server prompt, type your SQL Instance Name.
4) You will be prompted for system credentials, even if using Windows 7, provide in the following form:   <computer_name>\<account name>, and then provide the password and click ok.
5) Last you will be prompted for a Passphrase.

Your goal here is to see the PowerShell prompt again (mind you it will take a few minutes to complete), once you see the prompt again you will need to:

1) Go to Start
2) Expand All Programs
3) Click Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products, then click SharePoint 2010 Products Configuration Wizard.
4) Once it opens up, click Next at the initial screen.
5) Click Yes at the Dialog stating it needs to restart some services.
6) Accept Defaults to not Disconnect from the Farm, click Next.
7) The screen now will allow you to modify settings for the Port on which Central Admin will run, if you want to change it, check the box next to Specify Port Number, I assigned 9999 to mine.  Accept defaults for Security Configuration.  Click Next.
8) Review your settings, and click Next.
9) This will now provision the items needed, once it completes, click Finish.

After all this is done you will go into Central Administration, and will be presented with the option of running the Farm Configuration Wizard and such, then it will be needed to create a site and all the items associated with that process.
I will provide details to the Farm Configuration Wizard and the process of creating a Web Application and a Site Collection in a later post.

Posted On Sunday, April 17, 2011 5:51 PM | Comments (3)
I am going to be at TechEd North America 2011, are you?

Every year, as the spring turns to summer there is a gathering we all want to make it to, TechEd North America.  Here we are coming from a cajun experience last year ( I actually decided to drive from Indianapolis to New Orleans).  And it was a great event, and great to see New Orleans.

This year I am going to make the trip again, but not driving this time around.  It will be a great event, no doubt.  I will be presenting a Cram 4 exam session, helping prep for the Azure MCPD Certification.  I will provide more details on that soon.

Curious about TechEd?  Check this link out to explore what will be going on in Atlanta from May 15th-19th, 2011 at TechEd North America 2011.

Come join us in the fun, in Atlanta.

Posted On Sunday, April 17, 2011 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
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