Stop using SQL Server path’s work with a SQL Alias

A lot of times i run into customers how started out with one SQL server and run in to problems when these servers have to be upgrade or the databases needs to be migrated to different SQL servers of clusters because of expansion or recourses. Let’s say you have an application that has a specified database connection that I either can’t or don’t want to change. However, I need to move the database to a new server. How can I do this easily without breaking other things that maybe using this connection and/or database?

By using an alias! We can keep the application configuration the same, but tell the operating system to look somewhere else for the database. Another plus is that once an alias is created, it is set at the operating system level. That means if we have two applications which connect to MySQLServer on that computer, once the alias is created, both will be re-pointed based on the alias. You can create an alias using one of two utilities:

  1. SQL Server Configuration Manager
  2. SQL Server Client Network Utility

SQL Server Configuration Manager

Let’s start by looking at how to do it using SQL Server Configuration Manager. In the left pane of SQL Server Configuration Manager, if you expand the SQL Native Client Configuration folder, there is a subfolder called Aliases (see Figure 1). If we click on this subfolder, we’ll see any aliases that have been defined for the system shown in the right pane. In most cases, there won’t be any defined. To create a new alias, right-click on Aliases and choose New Alias… from the pop-up menu.

Figure 1:

1620_CreatingAliases_01

A dialog window comes up (Figure 2) which allows us to specify our new alias. In the Alias Name property, you specify the name the application uses. For instance, if it connects to a SQL Server called MyOldServer, that’s what you enter in here. You can also enter an alias that appears to point to a named instance, such as MyOldServer\MyInstance. You can then specify the server where the database really is, to include configuring the protocol, the server name, and the port. Clicking the OK button will create the alias. In the case of Figure 2, I’m creating an alias called MyOldServer which points to my local server’s default instance.

Figure 2:

1620_CreatingAliases_02

You should now see the new alias listed in the right pane (Figure 3).

Figure 3:

1620_CreatingAliases_03

 

The next step is to test the connection. You can do so quickly by either creating and testing a Data Source Name (DSN), or if you have the SQL Server client tools installed, by using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). I’ll do so using SSMS. Figure 4 shows the dialog window to open a new connection to a database engine. For Server name:, enter in the alias you specified. In the example we called the alias OldServerName, so that’s what we’ll use here.

Figure 4:

1620_CreatingAliases_04

If the alias is pointed correctly to the new location, a successful connection should be established. In SSMS, I was opening a new connection for Object Explorer. Figure 5 shows that the connection was successfully made using the alias. Note that as far as SSMS is concerned, the server name is the alias.

Figure 5:

1620_CreatingAliases_05

SQL Server Client Network Utility

If you haven’t installed the SQL Server 2005/2008 client tools, you can still create an alias using the SQL Server Client Network Utility. This has come installed automatically on every operating system from Windows 2000 on. To bring up the utility, click on Start, then Run, and run cliconfg.exe. To view or create aliases, click on the Alias tab (Figure 6). As you can see from Figure 6, aliases created by SQL Server Configuration Manager can be seen by the SQL Server Client Network Utility. The reverse is also true.

Figure 6:

1620_CreatingAliases_06

 

To create a new alias, click on the Add… button. This will bring up a new dialog window where you can specify your alias (Figure 7). Just as with SQL Server Configuration Manager, the Server alias is what the application will attempt to connect to. You can specify where that alias points to by specifying the network library, the real server name, and any additional configuration parameters. In Figure 7 I’m creating a new alias called MyOldServer2 that also points to the default instance of my local server.

Figure 7:

1620_CreatingAliases_07

 

Click the OK button to create the new Alias. In order for the alias to actually be created, however, you must click the OK button for the SQL Server Client Network Utility, which will create the alias as it closes.

Conslusion

Now that you know how to create an alias to a SQL Server instance look at this option instead of having hard SQL connections to server and run into problems when you want to reinstall or rename your servers. Also some application do not give you the ability to connect to a named instance, so this is another way of connecting without having to use the a default instance.

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 2.0, a supported, freely available solution for converting VMware-based virtual machines and virtual disks to Hyper-V-based virtual machines and virtual hard disks (VHDs).

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell®, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell® command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

MVMC 2.0Migration-of-a-VM-with-MVMC-2.0_thumb

With the release, you will be able to access many updated features including:

  • Added support for vCenter & ESX(i) 5.5
  • VMware virtual hardware version 4 – 10 support
  • Linux Guest OS migration support including CentOS, Debian, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE enterprise and Ubuntu.

Microsoft has also added two great new features:

  • On-Premises VM to Azure VM conversion: You can now migrate your VMware virtual machines straight to Azure. Ease your migration process and take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure with a simple wizard driven experience.
  • PowerShell interface for scripting and automation support: Automate your migration via workflow tools including System Center Orchestrator and more. Hook MVMC 2.0 into greater processes including candidate identification and migration activities.

At this time, Microsoft is also announcing the expected availability of MVMC 3.0 in fall of 2014. In that release we will be providing physical to virtual (P2V) machine conversion for supported versions of Windows.

For more information about the MVMC 2.0 solution including how to download, make sure you visit here.

Summary

With Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2012 R2, Microsoft has a solution to enable customers to virtualize their key, mission critical workloads and realize significant savings compared to VMware. Hyper-V enables customers to run their largest workloads. It offers massive host, VM and cluster scalability. It provides powerful storage, networking, and automation features that enterprises and service providers demand. With a number of supported tools, you have many options available to test and continue your migration to Hyper-V.

Reference Architecture Released: Citrix Service Provider on Microsoft Cloud OS

Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture Kicks off version 4 series of architectural documents for Citrix Service Providers

Source:http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/07/31/reference-architecture-released-citrix-service-provider-on-microsoft-cloud-os/

We are excited to announce the first in a wave of new architectural documents for Citrix Service Provider partners, the “Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.” This fourth version of the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture provides detailed guidance on the particulars of implementing Citrix technologies for Desktops-as-a-Service on Microsoft Cloud OS, plus also communicates many of the high level architectural concepts that can be (and have been) applied in Citrix CloudPlatform based environments.

With the exciting innovations provided in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3.0, and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2, Citrix welcomed the opportunity to initiate our v4 Reference Architecture validation tests on this new platform.  To put it simply, there have been many critical innovations across both the Microsoft and Citrix solutions since the June 2012 release of the version 3 Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture. During the design (and discovery) phase we took some time to investigate the options to provide the solution that could best leverage the complementary Citrix and Microsoft capabilities.

Current Citrix Service Providers can download the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS on the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence.

Watch the Citrix blogs for a series of posts explaining the new details of the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.

What’s new in the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture for CloudOS

The Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture enables Citrix Service Providers to deliver Windows applications, desktops, and data as Desktops-as-a-Service through an integrated set of Citrix and partner technologies:

–  Citrix XenDesktop® unifies the delivery of hosted applications and desktops (XenApp) with virtual desktops (XenDesktop) using a single architecture and management experience. Because of advancements in HDX technologies, this XenDesktop release improves the user experience, especially for mobile users on various endpoint devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, or Macs) across diverse bandwidth connections.

–  The Citrix Cloud Provider Pack (CPP) contains several Citrix Service Provider-specific enhancements that enable more effective multi-tenant management of the Citrix Service Provider solution.  Two key components of this CPP release are:

  • Citrix App Orchestration allows Citrix Service Providers to automate the delivery of applications and desktops in multi-tenant environments across multiple XenDesktop sites or XenApp farms, Active Directory domains, and datacenters. App Orchestration enables Citrix Service Providers to build offerings with a defined set of apps, desktops, and resources accessible to tenant users that are selected from an application storefront.
  • CloudPortalTM Services Manager provides an easy-to-use web portal that helps Citrix Service Providers manage service delivery and subscriber offerings, simplifying delivery across datacenters.

The architecture makes application and desktop services available to users of any Citrix Receiver enabled endpoint device over secured Internet connections using Citrix NetScaler®. For subscriber locations that aggregate a number of endpoints in a single setting, such as a small retail business, accounting office, or medical clinic, Citrix Branch Repeater can be added to provide a high-definition user experience to multiple endpoints over an optimized network connection. The administrative simplicity provided through the integrated Citrix software components allows subscriber volumes at very large scale to be managed with a relatively modest number of Citrix Service Provider administrators and tenant on-boarding personnel as compared to other models.

Enabling Faster Delivery of Desktops-as-a-Service

Companies of all sizes are looking for a smarter approach to managing the applications and data they use to run their business. More devices, more applications, and more places to work means business owners have to spend an increasing amount of time on IT. Citrix Service Providers can shift the focus for these customers back to where it matters the most — growing their business. By offering a bundle of applications, desktops, and IT services, customers can get the applications and desktops they need in an easy-to-use, pay-as-you-go subscription model.

This Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture represents a common view of technologies and best practices as recommended by Citrix and employed by many successful Citrix Service Providers. With core architectural innovations and cross-product integration, Citrix Service Providers can build a reliable, scalable, and high-performance solution in order to provide to provide tenants monthly subscriptions to Windows-based application and desktop services. The Citrix Service Provider licensing program and Citrix technologies provide a foundation for aggregating servers that can service millions of active subscribers across multiple tenants, while creating a single, comprehensive management view.  Ultimately this provides a solution that enables Citrix Service Providers to build flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that meet customer needs at an attractive and competitive price point.

A Commitment to Service Providers: Continued Implementation Guidance

Today’s release is the first in a series of new Citrix Service Provider Architectural documents.  Keep up to date on the upcoming guidance for incorporating more technologies with a Citrix-based hosted services environment.

Get started now with Citrix App Orchestration 2.5 using guidance from the “What’s New in App Orchestration 2.5” document and embrace the latest App Orchestrations innovations. Watch the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence for more detail on App Orchestration, CloudPlatform and further developments from the Citrix Solutions Lab.