Three SQL Server 2012 Game Changers you might not know about

SQL 2012 has a lot of changes for storage – naturally people focus on Availability Groups and all the flexibility that they bring in terms of workload isolation, high availability, and disaster recovery.  Here are a couple of nuggets you might not know about:

  • Support for SMB/CIFS shares:  For at least a decade (if not longer) Oracle DBAs running in *nix environments have enjoyed the possibility of accessing their data files over NFS.  It allows a lot of flexibility, opens new possibilities for disaster recovery, and greatly simplifies storage provisioning, maintenance and expansion.  Now SQL admins have access to the same storage technique as their Oracle counterparts.  There are some considerations – particularly for those who choose to achieve high availability with shared-storage clusters.  The current version of SMB doesn’t support transparent failover, but that will be fixed with the new version of SMB (arriving with Windows Server 8).
  • Placement of tempdb on local disk in clustered environments:  This is probably not a big deal for folks who don’t do geographically dispersed clustering.  But in past versions of SQL server, tempdb had to be placed on a clustered disk on which the SQL resource group was dependent.  In geographically dispersed environments, this meant that tempdb had to be replicated (something that’s not necessary if you’re just replicating the data and not trying to stretch the cluster).  There have always been methods to achieve it, but the methods required going outside the context of SQL Server.  Reduced bandwidth utilization and faster failover FTW!
  • Multi-subnet clustering:  Microsoft made a lot of improvements in their clustering model with Windows 2008.  One of those improvements allowed administrators to have nodes in a cluster reside in separate subnets.  Unfortunately, SQL Server 2008 didn’t support it, but SQL Server 2012 does.

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