A Big Week for SQL Server

This week has seen the release of a number of significant milestones for SQL Server.

The first and most anticipated release this week was the next Community Technology Preview (CTP) for SQL Server Denali. Denali is the codename for the next release of SQL Server which is schedule for release later this year. CTP3 for SQL Server Denali can be download from here. The full list of all the CTP3 downloads for Denali can be found below:

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – Feature Pack

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – PowerPivot

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – Report Builder

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – Semantic Language Statistics

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – Master Data Services Add-in For Microsoft Excel

SQL Server Denali CTP3 – SQL Server Developer Tools, Codename “Juneau”

The other major release this week was Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2008 R2. The Service Pack can be downloaded from here.

Hospitals and Managed Service Providers

Recently my wife had the unfortunate experience of having her appendix out and then having complications associated with the procedure. She’s fine now but up until this point we have both been very lucky, as neither of us have had the need to visit a hospital in recent memory – except to visit a sick loved one or drop off a gift basket to a friend. Despite not having had the need to use a hospital we were always confident that there was a service there should we ever need it. Some would say that the private health care cover that we have paid for over the years was wasted money; we have always seen it as an insurance policy that if anything should ever happen there was a service there that we could call on. Although the whole hospital experience was one that we would rather forget we are very glad we had the right health cover when we needed it.

This experience reminded me of a number of horror stories that I have recently heard about concerning managed service providers. The key services that any managed services provider should offer is ongoing support to ensure that your environment is proactively managed and priority support should there ever be a catastrophic issue that needs immediate attention. The time that you need a hospital, much like a managed services provider, is when something has gone horribly wrong. It is at this point you expect a team of experts to come to your aid to ensure that any immediate pain is remediated and to resolve the problem as quickly as possible to get you back on the road to recovery. What you don’t expect is to be waiting for 5 hours for someone to respond to an issue.

The shoe was recently on the other foot when we detected that that one of our Virtual DBA customers had a major hardware failure across their virtual machine farm. Before the customer could even call the ambulance we had already triaged the issue. This particular customer runs an e-commerce website that averages over $2 million of sales each day, so every minute lying in a stretcher was vital seconds lost to them. As trained professionals our first task was to identify the issue and then resolve the issue. However like a complicated medical procedure a customer can’t just lie there in pain while you undertake the eight hour procedure to resolve the issue, there is a need to ensure that the immediate pain is resolved and they can still function.

WARDY IT Solutions, unlike many hospitals, has a dedicated team of certified support specialists that are available 365x24x7 to respond to any emergency SQL Server support issue. Our Virtual DBA service is a remote SQL Server support solution that, just like private health insurance, is there when you need it most. Like a health insurance policy we provide ongoing services to help ensure that we don’t need to perform open heart surgery in the first place. Although we don’t offer remedial massage and yoga we do provide continual proactive maintenance and stress relief to ensure the availability, reliability and scalability of your SQL Server environment.

So when was the last time you made sure that your hospital or service provider was able to provide the service you needed in an emergency?