Category: Azure

April 28th, 2017 by dbakevlar

I did a couple great sessions yesterday for the awesome Dallas Oracle User Group, (DOUG.)  It was the first time I did my thought leadership piece on Making Sense of the Cloud and it was a great talk, with some incredible questions from the DOUG attendees!

This points me to a great [older] post on things IT can do to help guarantee tech projects are more successful. DevOps is a standard in most modern IT shops and DBAs are expected to find ways to be part of this valuable solution.  If you inspect the graph, displaying the value of different projects in ROI, vs. how often these different types of projects run over budget and time, it may be surprising.

Where non-software projects are concerned, the project rarely runs over the schedule, but in the way of benefits, often comes up short.  When we’re dealing with software, 33% of project run over time, but the ROI is excruciatingly high and worthy of the investment.  You have to wonder how much of that over-allocation in time feeds into the percentage increase in cost?  If this could be deterred, think about how more valuable these projects would become?

The natural life of a database is growth.  Very few databases stay a consistent size, as companies prosper, critical data valuable to the company requires a secure storage location and a logical structure to report on that data is necessary for the company’s future.  This is where relational databases come in and they can become the blessing and the burden of any venture.  Database administrators are both respected and despised for their necessity to manage the database environment as the health of the database is an important part of the IT infrastructure and with the move to the cloud, a crucial part of any viable cloud migration project.

How much of that time, money and delay shown in those projects are due to the sheer size and complexity of the database tier?  Our source data shows how often companies just aren’t able to hold it together due to lacking skills, lacking estimates in time estimates and other unknowns that come back to bit us.

I can’t stress enough why virtualization is key to removing a ton of the overhead, time and money that ends up going into software projects that include a database.

Virtualizing non-production databases results in:

  1. Ability to deliver full copies of production for developers without extensive demands on storage.
  2. Ability to deliver those databases in a matter of minutes vs. days or weeks.
  3. Ability to refresh databases as needed for any project.
  4. Self-service user-interface so developers and testers can recover from a catastrophic issue in a database without having to grovel to a DBA to restore a virtual database.
  5. Ability to branch the VDB and do versioning, which is awesome for both developers and testers, (I know, we DBAs care very little about this feature… :))
  6. In migrations/cloud migrations, the ability to migrate databases in short periods of time and to limit the storage footprint to save company the money they were promised the cloud would deliver that most are finding out in the long run, is not occurring with traditional database scenarios.

It’s definitely something to think about and if you don’t believe me, test it yourself with a free trial!  Not enough people are embracing virtualization and it takes so much of the headache out of RDBMS management.

Posted in AWS, Azure, Cloud, Oracle, SQLServer Tagged with: , ,

April 18th, 2017 by dbakevlar

For over a year I’ve been researching cloud migration best practices.  Consistently there was one red flag that trips me that I’m viewing recommended migration paths.  No matter what you read, just about all of them include the following high level steps:

As we can see from above, the scope of the project is identified, requirements laid out and a project team is allocated.

The next step in the project is to choose one or more clouds, choose the first environments to test out in the cloud, along with security concerns and application limitations.  DBAs are tested repeatedly as they continue to try to keep up with the demand of refreshing or ensuring the cloud environments are able to keep in sync with on-prem and the cycle continues until a cutover date is issued.  The migration go or no-go occurs and the either non-production or all of the environment is migrated to the cloud.

As someone who works for Delphix, I focus on the point of failure where DBAs can’t keep up with full clones and data refreshes in cloud migrations or development and testing aren’t able to complete the necessary steps that could be if the company was using virtualization.  From a security standpoint, I am concerned with how few companies aren’t investing in masking with the sheer quantity of breeches in the news, but as a DBA, there is a whole different scenario that really makes me question the steps that many companies are using to migrate to the cloud.

Now here’s where they loose me every time- the last step in most cloud migration plans is to optimize.

I’m troubled by optimization being viewed as the step you take AFTER you migrate to the cloud.  Yes, I believe that there will undoubtedly be unknowns that no one can take into consideration before the physical migration to a cloud environment, but to take databases, “as is” when an abundance of performance data is already known about the database that could and will impact performance, seems to be inviting unwarranted risk and business impact.

So here’s my question to those investing in a cloud migration or have already migrated to the cloud-  Did you streamline and optimize your database/applications BEFORE migrating to the cloud or AFTER?



Posted in AWS, Azure, Oracle, SQLServer Tagged with: , ,

March 30th, 2017 by dbakevlar

Azure is the second most popular cloud platform to date, so it’s where Delphix naturally is going to support second on our road to the cloud.  As I start to work with the options for us deploying Delphix, there are complexities I need to educate myself on in Azure.  As we’re just starting out, there’s a lot to learn and a lot of automation we can take advantage of.  It’s an excellent time for me to get up to speed with this cloud platform, so hopefully everyone will learn right along with me!

We’ll be using Terraform to deploy to Azure, just as we prefer to use it for our AWS deployments.  It’s open source, very robust and has significant support in the community, so we’ll switch from cloud setup to Terraform prep in many of these posts.  Before we can do that, we need to set up our Azure environment after we’ve registered our subscription with Azure.

Azure Consoles

There are the New and the Classic consoles for Azure, but also ones in the modern, New console that are marked as “Classic” that aren’t part of the actual “Classic” one.  I found this a bit confusing, so it’s good to have the distinction.

Azure’s “New” Portal, with it’s modern, sleek design

Azure’s “Classic” management interface, with it’s pale blue and white schema, which still serves a very significant purpose

Once you’ve created your Azure account, you’ll find that you need access to the Classic console to perform many of the basic setup tasks, where the Modern console is better for advanced administration.

Preparation is Key

There are a number of steps you’ll need to perform in preparation for Delphix to deploy to Azure.  The delphix engine, a source and a target are out goal, so we’ll start simple and work our way out.  Let’s see how much I can figure out and how much I may need to look to others more experienced to get me through.  No matter what, you’ll need both consoles, so keep the links above handy and I’ll refer to the consoles by “New” and “Classic” to help distinguish them as I go along.  Know that in this post, we’ll spend most of our time in the Classic console.

Set up an Account and Add Web App

If you don’t already have one, Microsoft will let you set up an account and even give you $200 in free credits to use.  Once you sign up, then you need to know where to go next.  This is where the “Classic” console comes in, as you need to set up your “application” that will be used for your deployment.

Log into the “Classic” console and click on Active Directory and the Default Directory highlighted in blue.  This will open a new page and you will have the opportunity to click Add at the bottom of the page to add a new Active Directory application.

  • Name the Application, (open up a text editor, copy and paste the name of the app into it, you’ll need this data later)
  • The application type is web app or api
  • Enter a URL/URI and yes, they can be made up.  They don’t have to be real.

Client and Client Secret

Now that your application is created, you’ll see a tab called Configure.  Click on this tab and you’ll see the client ID displayed.  Copy the Client ID and add that to your text editor, also for later.

Scroll down and you’ll see a section called Keys.  Click on the button that says “Select Duration” and choose 1 or 2 years.  At the very bottom of the screen, you’ll see a Save button, click it and then the Secret passcode will be displayed for you to copy and paste into your text editor.  Do this now, as you won’t be able to get to it later.

Tenant ID

To the left of the Save button, you’ll see “View Endpoints”.  Click on this and you’ll see a number of entries.  The tenant ID is the repeat value shown in each of the entries at the end.  An example is shown below:

Copy and paste this into your text editor under a heading of tenant ID.

Add Application to the Active Directory

Now that you’ve created this framework, you need to grant permissions to use it all.  In the Configure tab, scroll to the very bottom where it says “Permissions to Other Applications” and click on Add Application.  Choose the Active Directory application from the list, (if you have a new account, you won’t have much to choose from) Azure Service Management API and click on the checkmark in the lower right corner of the pane.  This will return you to the previous page.  Click on the designated privileges and choose to grant it Access Azure Service Management as organization and then save.

Subscription Data

Now, log into the New portal and click on Subscriptions on the left hand side.  Click on the Subscription and it will open up to display your Subscription ID, which you’ll need to copy and paste into your text editor.

Click on Access Control, (IAM) and click on Add.  Now you may only see your username, but the applications are there-  they just won’t be displayed by default.  Type in your application name that you put in your text editor, (example, mine is Web_K_Terra.)  Reminder-  you must type in the name of your app, just as you did when you created it, (it is cap sensitive, etc.) Grant reader and contributor roles from the role list, saving between each additional role.

You should now see your user in the list with both roles assigned to it like the example below for Web_K_Terra app:

Our configuration is complete and ready to go onto the networking piece.

The first part of my terraform template is ready, too.  All the pertinent data that I required from my build out has been added to it and it looks something like the following:

provider “Web_K_Terra” {
subscription_id = “gxxxxxxx-db34-4gi7-xxxxx-9k31xxxxxxxxxp2”
client_id = “d76683b5-9848-4d7b-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx”
client_secret = “trKgvXxxxxxXXXXxxxXXXXfNOc8gipHf-xxxxxxXXx=”
tenant_id = “xxxxxxxx-9706-xxxx-a13a-4a8363bxxxxx”


This is a great start to getting us out on Azure, in part II, we’ll talk about setting up connectivity between your desktop and Azure for remote access and recommendations for tools to access it locally.


Posted in Azure, Oracle Tagged with: , ,

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