SQL upgrade speeds up Geekzone

Increase in the number of transaction executed, says Geekzone founder

Online community Geekzone has seen performance gains and better utilisation of resources since deploying Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008.

Mauricio Freitas, Geekzone’s Wellington-based founder and administrator, signed up for Microsoft’s early adoption programme and started running Windows Server 2008 in September last year. It was “quite daring”, says Freitas, but he decided to go for it after he had it running on a test server for a while and it looked stable.

Happy with his Windows Server 2008 platform, Freitas discovered this year that SQL Server 2008 supports virtualised environments, and he thought this could help him use resources more efficiently. “If we could create virtual machines, that would allow us to run the database servers, test servers and other servers on the same hardware,” he says.

He had the virtual machine running on a test server for a month, testing configurations and backup routines before putting it on the “real” server, he says. His main concern was that the old server was running on 32-bit, while the new server was running on 64-bit, but this did not cause any problems.

The new SQL Server 2008 environment went live in early October. The transition from SQL Server 2005 was easy, he says. He loaded the virtual machine onto the new hardware, causing only a 10 minute stop in the middle of the night, he says.

The whole migration, including planning and testing, took 45 days, he says.

So far, Freitas has seen performance gains, and not only because of the higher performance hardware — there is also an increase in the number of transaction executed, he says.

Geekzone serves about 1.4 million pages per month, and 6 million RSS feeds per month, he says. Since October, he has seen a 5% growth in pages served.

The main reason for Geekzone to migrate to SQL Server 08 was to increase availability, he says. Freitas is currently testing the mirroring functionality of the product, creating a mirror of the entire database.

There have been no architectural changes between SQL Server 2005 and 2008, says Darryl Burling, application platform product manager at Microsoft New Zealand. Rather than changing the core, Microsoft has spent time tuning it to improve performance, he says.

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