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1-800-COURSES www.globalknowledge.com
Expert Reference Series of White Papers
Unlock the Power of Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Copyright ©2013 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2
Unlock the Power of Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Brian D. Egler MCITP/MCSE/MCT 2012, Global Knowledge Course Director
Are you ready to unlock the power of Microsoft SQL Server 2012? In this whitepaper we will examine three key new features that show how SQL Server 2012 provides enterprise-level high-availability, powerful self-service business analytics and ETL for data in the cloud. Three underlying themes categorize the SQL Server 2012 release:
Mission-Critical CondenceBreakthrough InsightCloud on your Terms
Within this whitepaper, we will explore one selected new feature under each theme to give a feel for the capa-bilities of the new release. Other features, while too numerous to describe here, are documented on the Micro-soft web site at http://www.microsoft.com/sql. You can also download an evaluation copy of the software from the same location.
Mission-Critical Confidence
Selected Feature: AlwaysOn for High Availability and Disaster Recovery
In previous SQL Server releases, we had four options for high availability (HA), namely, Server Clustering, Data
base Mirroring, Log Shipping and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Replication. Each solution has its pros and cons. Clustering
and mirroring provide automatic failover. Log shipping and P2P provide load balancing. Log shipping provides the ability to create multiple read-only secondaries dispersed over great geographical distances for disaster re-
covery) sites. A common solution is to dene a server cluster for HA combined with log shipping for DR, known as HADR. Database mirroring only allows one mirror, and it is not available until after a failover. Log shipping
and replication do not support automatic failover. Replication also can require complex administration. SQL Server 2012 effectively combines the pros of each of these solutions with its
 functionality. There are two flavors of AlwaysOn in SQL Server 2012:
AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances (FCI)AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AG)
Copyright ©2013 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 3
AlwaysOn FCI effectively is the SQL Server 2012 upgrade of server clustering for HA, using shared data storage. AlwaysOn FCI failover applies to a complete SQL Server instance, including all system and user databases on the instance. AlwaysOn AG has the automatic failover of mirroring at the database level but with the added ability to create multiple secondary replicas for read-only load balancing. An AG can contain multiple user databases that failover together without the need for shared storage. Some experts have described AlwaysOn AG as Data
-base Mirroring++.
Both AlwaysOn technologies can be combined to provide Automatic Failover and Load Balancing in one effec
tive HADR solution. In order to setup an AlwaysOn AG, you can use the Availability Group Wizard within SQL Server Management
Studio. This wizard will walk you through the steps to create an availability group. It should be noted that each
SQL Server instance that hosts the AG must be on a separate node within a Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) as the failover functionality uses the WSFC services. This is in contrast to Database Mirroring that uses a
separate SQL Server instance as a “witness” for automatic failover.
Availability Group Wizard
The wizard guides you through the following steps:
Specify an availability group nameSelect one or more user databases on this instance of SQL ServerSpecify one or more instances of SQL Server to host secondary availability replicasSpecify your availability group listener preferenceSelect your initial data synchronization preferenceCheck the validation results of availability group creationReview your selections
The user databases contained in the AlwaysOn AG must all use the Full Recovery Model as the synchronization
of replicas is performed using the transaction log.
Figure 1. AlwaysOn Availability Group Wizard

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