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Are You Prepared for Disaster? Evaluating Cloud Backup Solutions by AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

 

 
The adoption of public cloud computing services shows no signs of slowing down — Gartner predicted that the global public cloud services market will grow 17.3 percent in 2019 alone.

A huge draw of the public cloud is the use of its low-cost storage services for cloud backup purposes. Businesses can securely back up their data straight from an on-premise data center to the public cloud for disaster preparation. Such disasters, whether caused by natural factors or simple human error, can lead to the loss of data that is essential for business continuity.

Cloud backup is cost-effective, it provides anytime, anywhere data access via an Internet connection, and it stores data in an off-site location for data center redundancy. This article goes into detail on the cloud backup solutions offered by three major public cloud providers — AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. You’ll be able to compare pricing, features, and the level of support you get from the three service providers.
 

Main Cloud Backup Solutions/Features

Azure Backup is Microsoft Azure’s dedicated cloud-based backup solution. AWS has Amazon S3 Simple Storage and Amazon Glacier as its main storage services for cloud backup. Google Cloud Storage provides enterprise-grade public cloud storage.
 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

S3 is the main AWS service suited for cloud backup purposes and there are 20 geographic regions housing data centers around the world. The global AWS infrastructure helps businesses benefit from storing their data in the region closest to their main operational base for more rapid data transfer in the event of an outage.

Backing up data to S3 is as straightforward as creating a storage bucket and uploading the relevant files. You can set permissions for each data object, encrypt your data, and add metadata.

Glacier is a long-term, low-cost storage service with an Active Archive option, which enables you to retrieve your data within 5 minutes. High-performance block-level storage is available from the EBS service. S3 and Glacier are object storage services.

Another important service in the context of cloud backup is AWS Storage Gateway, which provides your on-premises applications with a low-latency connection to AWS cloud storage services like S3, EBS and Glacier.

A submarket has emerged in the area of AWS cloud backup in which third-party vendors attempt to simplify workloads, meet compliance demands, and reduce costs when using S3 for backup purposes. Examples of such services include N2WS AWS Backup and Cloudberry.
 

Microsoft Azure

Azure Backup can be used as a dedicated cloud-based backup service that entirely replaces an existing on-premises or off-site backup solution. Your data can be replicated either locally within a region or in a separate region in what Azure terms locally redundant storage (LRS) and geo-redundant storage (GRS).

Data encryption, application-consistent backups, long-term retention, and data compression are some of the features available in each of the four separate components you can choose from within Azure Backup.
 

Google Cloud

Google Cloud Storage provides durable cloud storage accessed through a unified API. The unified API enables businesses to integrate cloud backup into their apps.

Google promises millisecond latency from its Cloud Storage service, which is helpful for achieving the required recovery time objective (RTO) for swift disaster recovery.
 

Pricing

All three of these cloud backup providers operate a pay-per-use model in which the monthly cost depends primarily on the amount of data stored. Other factors that influence the price are the frequency at which you access data and the geographic region your data is stored in.
 

AWS

The AWS free usage tier entities users to up to 5GB of free storage in S3. Beyond that point, the cost per gigabyte depends on the geographic region, the quantity of storage used, and the frequency of access. The below table provides costs for the U.S East region.

Azure

The price you pay to use Azure cloud backup varies depending on whether you choose to make the data locally redundant or geographically redundant, with the latter being more costly due to the additional peace of mind it provides. Like in AWS, the cost also varies depending on the amount of data storage consumed. See the table of costs for the U.S Eastern region below:

Note that for storage needs greater than 5,000 TB, you need to contact Azure for a custom quote. Costs may differ when backing up data in other Azure regions.
 

Google Cloud

With Google Cloud Storage you also get 5 GB of free usage. Beyond this point, the per-gigabyte costs persist independently of the amount of data stored, which makes the pricing more straightforward but doesn’t reward businesses storing a lot of data with lower costs.

The cost varies depending on whether you want data stored regionally (better performance, lower latency) or multi-regionally (geo-redundancy). Costs also differ between data accessed regularly (nearline storage) or infrequently (coldline storage). Below you’ll see the costs for the U.S East region.

Support

A crucial aspect to consider in the public cloud is the level of support available from your service provider. You need to factor the potential for problems and technical issues arising with your cloud service usage and how promptly the service provider can respond.

All three providers have paid support plans available. Each company tiers its support plans, with the premium plans providing the quickest response times to technical issues.

The AWS Enterprise plan promises 24/7 support and sub-15 minute response times for critical issues, but it costs $15,000 per month while its Business plan users pay from $100 per month to get less than one hour response times for critical issues and 24/7 tech support.

Google’s Platinum support package provides similar benefits to the AWS Enterprise support plan but the cost is given by quote only. Google has a Gold support package which delivers a 1-hour response time for critical issues.

Lastly, Azure’s Professional Direct plan provides 24/7 technical support and sub-one-hour
Response times for $1,000 per month. The Standard plan costs $300 but the response time is increased to two hours for critical issues.
 

Conclusion

Your choice of cloud backup solution depends on the particular provider that best meets your needs. All three offer similar levels of premium technical support. Google differs slightly in pricing in that it doesn’t alter its per-gigabyte cost as you store more data.

Azure Backup meets the needs of businesses looking for a dedicated cloud backup solution. AWS is more general-purpose and requires expert knowledge to minimize costs and maximize performance as a backup service, and third-party AWS backup services can help out with that. Google Storage also has a wider range of use cases than just backup.


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2018 blogging in review (Happy New Year – 2019 !!!)

December 31, 2018 1 comment

 

Happy New Year 2019… from SQL with Manoj !!!

As WordPress.com stats helper monkeys have stopped preparing annual report for any of their blogs, so I’ve prepared my own Annual Report for this year again.
 

–> Here are some Crunchy numbers from 2018

SQL with Manoj 2018 Stats

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 793,171 times by 542,918 unique visitors in 2018. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 17 days for that many people to see it.

There were 68 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of ~6 MB. That’s about ~6 pictures every month.

This blog also got its highest ever hits/views per day (i.e. 3,552 hits) on Sept 25th this year.

 

–> All-time posts, views, and visitors

SQL with Manoj all time views


 

–> Posting Patterns

In 2018, there were 26 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 546 posts.

LONGEST STREAK: 6 post in Feb 2018

 

–> Attractions in 2018

These are the top 5 posts that got most views in 2018:

1. Download & Install SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2016 (62,101 views)

2. SQL Server 2016 RTM full & final version available – Download now (31,705 views)

3. Getting started with SQL Server 2014 | Download and Install Free & Full version (20,443 views)

4. SQL Basics – Difference b/w WHERE, GROUP BY and HAVING clause (16,113 views)

5. SQL Basics – Difference b/w TRUNCATE, DELETE and DROP? (13,189 views)

 

–> How did they find me?

The top referring sites and search engines in 2018 were:

SQL with Manoj 2018 Search Engines referrers


 

–> Where did they come from?

Out of 210 countries, top 5 visitors came from India, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia:

SQL with Manoj 2018 top Countries visitors


 

–> Followers: 407

WordPress.com: 160
Email: 247
Facebook Page: 1,358

 

–> Alexa Rank (lower the better)

Global Rank: 221,534
US Rank: 139,012
India Rank: 46,758
Estimated Monthly Revenue: $1,320
Actual Monthly Revenue: $300

SQL with Manoj 2018 Alexa ranking


Alexa history shows how the alexa rank of sqlwithmanoj.com has varied in the past, which in turn also tells about the site visitors.
 

–> 2019 New Year Resolution

– Write at least 1 blog post every week
– Write on new feaures in SQL Server 2017 & 2019
– Also explore and write blog post on Azure Data Platform
– Post at least 1 video every week on my YouTube channel

 

That’s all for 2018, see you in year 2019, all the best !!!
 

Connect me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google, Email


Powershell – Restart Azure VM and log off Users remotely

October 21, 2018 1 comment

 

1. Open RUN by pressing Windows + R keys, type powershell command and hit Enter.
 

2. Now on Powershell window first connect to the Azure VM that you want to remotely restart:

PS C:\Users\manojp> Enter-PSSession -ComputerName MyAzureVMName

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents>

 

3. Now try issuing the Restart command:

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents> Restart-Computer

Restart-Computer : Failed to restart the computer MyAzureVMName with the following error message: The system shutdown
cannot be initiated because there are other users logged on to the computer.
+ CategoryInfo : OperationStopped: (MyAzureVMName:String) [Restart-Computer], InvalidOperationException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : RestartcomputerFailed,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.RestartComputerCommand

So, this gave us error as few users are still logged in, thus can’t restart the VM.

 

4. Let’s check who all are logged in on this VM:

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents> quser

USERNAME    SESSIONNAME    ID    STATE    IDLE TIME    LOGON TIME
charlesl         rdp-tcp#0           2      Active    1:07            12/21/2018 08:26 AM

 

5. Let’s try kicking users out by specifying the ID which is “2”:

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents> logoff 2

 

6. We will check if that user is kicked out or anybody is still remaining:

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents> quser

quser : No User exists for *
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (No User exists for *:String) [], RemoteException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : NativeCommandError

 

7. Let’s finally restart the VM:

[MyAzureVMName]: PS C:\Users\manojp\Documents> Restart-Computer

PS>


Migrate your SQL Server database to Azure by using SysTools “SQL to Azure Migration” Tool

September 5, 2018 Leave a comment

 
Microsoft SQL Server is the most popular database management system, which provides flexibility to the database administrator to manage their database. It is a full-featured database and designed for use in corporate applications. But, many times, many users need to migrate their SQL Server database to the Azure SQL Database. Because Azure is an intelligent and fully managed relational cloud database that offers the broadest SQL Server engine compatibility.

However, at the time of SQL database to Azure migration, there are chances that we can miss some important steps or information such as trustworthy property, dependent Jobs, Linked Server, Logins etc. The main headache of any conversion is figuring out how to get the information from database and import into the server. Therefore, users need to use a professional tool to transfer SQL Server Database to Azure SQL Database.

One of the best third-party solutions I came up is SysTools SQL to Azure Migration Tool, which allows users to move all the SQL database objects like Tables, Triggers, Stored Procedures etc. to Azure SQL Database. Apart from this, there are many other features of this tool that are discussed below:
 

Key Features of SQL Server to Azure Migration Tool

 
1. Easily Transfer SQL Database to Azure

With the help of this tool, users can perform direct migration from SQL to Azure SQL database. For this, you need to provide all the credentials like server name, database name, username and password etc. After that, one can easily transfer SQL Server database to Azure.

2. Option to Add MDF/NDF Files

The tool provides an option to add MDF & associated NDF files to the software. You can also migrate all the database objects like Tables, Triggers, and Stored Procedures etc. from SQL to Azure.

3. Migrate Corrupted Database

The best part of this utility is that it can convert the corrupted database as well as the healthy file from local SQL server to Microsoft Azure SQL Database. Before migration, it scans the corrupted database files and repair them using either quick or advanced scan options.

4. Quick and Advance Scan Option

While working with this tool, the user can choose the required scan mode depending on the level of corruption out of the following modes:

– Quick Scan: This mode scans minor corrupted SQL files

– Advance Scan: This mode scan major corrupted SQL files

5. Auto Detect SQL Server File Versions

The SQL to Azure migration tool has an option to detect the versions of added MDF or NDF files automatically. For this, you just need to click on the checkbox next to this option.

6. Export Schema Option

The tool provides a feature to save the SQL database schema into Azure in any of the following ways:

– With the Only Schema: It migrates only schema of tables, views etc.

– With Schema & Date: It allows users to transfer both schema and data of all database objects.
 

Free and Licensed versions of SysTools SQL Server to Azure Migration Tool

The tool can be availed in the following two versions:

1. Demo Version: Users can freely download the trial version of software from the SysTools official website. It is available to understand the working of the software in a much better way.

2. Licensed Version: The licensed version of the tool can migrate SQL server database to Azure from MDF or NDF files. Also, it allows you to transfer the schema and schema & data.
 

System Requirements

The licensed version of SQL to Azure migration tool has been tested by the SQL experts. It will evaluate the performance of the software in terms of quality, reliability, security etc.

However, the testing has been performed in below-mentioned environment:

– Operating System: compatible with Windows 10 and all below versions

– Processor: Intel Pentium 1 GHz processor or any equivalent processor

– RAM: Around 2 GB of RAM is necessary

– Hard Disk: At least 100 MB space is required for installation
 

Advantages:

– It can also migrate corrupted or inaccessible SQL database to the Azure database.
– The software can preview all database components before migrating to Azure.
– The SQL Server to Azure migration tool has a simple and user-friendly interface.
 

Disadvantages:

– It is required to have database created on Azure SQL Server Database before migration.
– The Demo version only exports 25 records of each table.
 

Observational Verdict

After considering all the features of SQL Server to Azure Migration tool, I can say that it is a reliable and effective tool for DBAs and Developers to transfer SQL data to Azure without causing any data loss.


SQL Server on Linux – Best practices post installation

August 30, 2018 1 comment

 

Setup SQL Server on Linux:

1. Spinning up a new Linux VM on Microsoft Azure

2. Install and Configure SQL Server 2017 on Linux Azure VM

3. Connect SQL Server on Linux with SSMS from a Windows machine
 

Best Practices:

Here are some of the best practices post installing SQL Server on Linux that can help you maximize database performance:

1. To maintain efficient Linux and SQL Scheduling behavior, it’s recommended to use the ALTER SERVER CONFIGURATION command to set PROCESS AFFINITY for all the NUMANODEs and/or CPUs. [Setting Process Affinity]

2. To reduce the risk of tempdb concurrency slowdowns in high performance environments, configure multiple tempdb files by adding additional tempdb files by using the ADD FILE command. [tempdb Contention]

3. Use mssql-conf to configure the memory limit and ensure there’s enough free physical memory for the Linux operating system.

sudo /opt/mssql/bin/mssql-conf set memory.memorylimitmb 1024
sudo systemctl restart mssql-server

4. On multi-node Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) installations, auto NUMA balancing needs to be disabled to allow SQL Server to operate at maximum efficiency on a NUMA system.

sysctl -w kernel.numa_balancing=0

5. You can also change the kernel settings value for virtual address space to 256K, as the default value of 65K may be insufficient for a SQL Server installation.

sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

6. Use the noatime attribute to disable last accessed timestamps with any file system that is used to store SQL Server data and log files.

7. For the most consistent performance experience, you must leave the Transparent Huge Pages (THP) option enabled.

8. Virtual machine (VM) features like Hyper-V Dynamic Memory shouldn’t be used with SQL Server installations. When using VMs, be sure to assign sufficient fixed-memory sizes.

9. Make sure you have a properly configured swapfile to avoid any out of memory issues.