SQL Server Consulting

In today's world where data is essentially the new oil in terms of its importance and value, critical business decisions are made based on the information that is being stored in databases. Databases play a crucial role in this digital world. Over the years, different types of data models and structures came into existence and to satisfy the ever increasing demands in the industry, many organizations came up with different solutions to solve data management problems. Microsoft being one of those very few companies whose DBMS software completely transformed the way organizations used to manage data.

Microsoft SQL Server (MS-SQL Server) is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft and its latest version of SQL Server is the Microsoft SQL Server 2019 that provides features such as the ability of being used as a data warehouse. The demand for Big Data is increasing over the years, and this has led to integration of Big Data tools such as Spark and HDFS. Microsoft SQL Server provides flexibility to developers by allowing them to use it with the programming language and platform of their choice. It provides great emphasis on security and performance. It can also be used as a business intelligence platform to perform analysis and extract key insights from the data. SQL server can be deployed on Kubernetes allowing easy deployments and scalability. It can be used to store data upto a petabyte scale. SQL Server can be installed on-prem and many major cloud platforms provide a cloud version of this database, where Microsoft’s Azure SQL has been the industry favorite.

At Cazton, we understand your data requirements and our team of expert database administrators, big data architects, ML experts, data scientists, data analysts, developers and consultants are here to help you. Be it SQL, NoSQL or Search, Cloud or On-prem our experts can help resolve all your data related problems. Continue reading to learn more about our SQL Server consulting and training services.

Features of SQL Server

If you read our article on the comparison between SQL & NoSQL databases, you might have quickly noticed the variety of database technologies we have in the industry. Over the years, we have seen the trend shifting towards NoSQL databases, but with a legacy of over two decades, a majority of companies tend to stick with SQL databases. And when we say SQL databases, it can be SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Out of all these SQL databases, Microsoft SQL Server has always received a lot of attention and interest in the industry. Developers love using SQL Server because it is extremely easy to learn and use with different programming languages. This database system can be used for small to large enterprise level applications. It offers a variety of features that can be used to tackle real world data management problems.

  • Security: With every new version of SQL Server, Microsoft has kept improving its DBMS software by adding new features and strengthening its security. SQL Server offers security features which can be implemented at various different levels which includes platform and network level security, principals and database object security, user authentication, setting up authorization and permissions in SQL Server for restricted access, data encryption and much more. SQL Server offers utmost priority to security.
  • Performance Monitoring: Loss of performance can be the reason for dissatisfied customers and loss of revenue. To avoid this, SQL Server ships with many monitoring utilities like SQL Server Profile, SSMS Activity Monitor, SQL Server Error Logs, System Stored Procedures and more. It is important to create a performance monitoring plan and use these utility tools to keep track of overall SQL Server performance and fine-tune them as and when necessity arises. Even though these tools are shipped with SQL Server, one can also use third party tools that provide extra functionality and flexibility and go that extra mile.
  • Data Migration: Data migration is a common scenario where companies decide to migrate data from one server to another or from one SQL Server instance to another or migrate from on-prem to a cloud database. There can be many reasons for data migration. SQL Server offers SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and Command Line Tools that can be used for such a migration process. We can even take backups and restore them as needed. SQL Server also allows us to set up plans for frequent data backups. With SSMS and Command line tools, data migration becomes extremely simple.
  • BI and Data Analytics: SQL databases are not just used for performing transactional operations, but they are also used for data analytics and extracting useful insights. SQL Server offers a free reporting tool that can be used to produce formatted reports with tables in the form of data, graphs, images, and charts.
  • Easy Learning & Integration: Developers choose SQL Server because it is very easy to learn and use in real-world projects. It can be easily integrated with a lot of programming languages including all .NET languages, Java, Ruby, PHP and more. There are many tools available for creating and maintaining SQL databases as well as monitoring and tuning database performance.

SQL Server 2019

Microsoft SQL Server has come a long way. With SQL Server 2019, Microsoft has decided to redefine SQL Server from a traditional relational database system to a data platform for every data scenario. Let’s take a quick look at what SQL Server 2019 has to offer.

Top Features:

  • Automatic Performance Tuning: SQL Server 2019 identifies possible query performance problems and automatically fixes them. It also offers recommended solutions to solve performance related issues. Automatic performance tuning is available in two options: automatic plan correction or automatic index management. This feature is disabled by default and must be enabled to leverage its capabilities.
  • Intelligent Query Processing (IQP): This feature was first introduced with SQL Server 2017 as adaptive query processing. But with SQL Server 2019, Microsoft has expanded it with new features. IQP features are enabled automatically based on the compatibility level of the database. To leverage the capabilities of all the latest IQP features, users will have to set their database compatibility level to 150.
  • In-Memory Database: SQL Server 2019 offers utmost performance and scalability by leveraging the capabilities of modern hardware. It offers features like Hybrid Buffer Pool, which makes use of persistent memory devices (PMEM) to retain data even when the server is turned off. It memory-optimized TempDB metadata, which effectively removes the bottleneck and unlocks a new level of scalability for TempDB heavy workloads. It also offers in-memory OLTP for creating Database Snapshots of databases that include memory-optimized filegroups.
  • Data Encryption: Encryption technology was first introduced in SQL Server 2016. But with SQL Server 2019, a new data encryption technology called Always Encrypted has been introduced. With Always Encrypted, data never appears in plain text when querying it, and it is not even exposed in plain text in the memory of the SQL Server process. This feature can help in safeguarding highly sensitive data for ex: passwords, credit card details, bank account details, etc.
  • Data Virtualization: This feature allows us to fire queries across multiple data sources including relational and non-relational datasets from a single source without having to worry where the data actually resides. This feature uses PolyBase behind the scenes, which was first introduced with SQL Server 2016. Be it HDFS, MongoDB, Azure SQL, Cosmos DB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL or any other data source, we can easily query these data sources without moving or copying the data. Through data virtualization, we can build a modern data hub without building complex ETL pipelines.
  • Big Data Clusters: SQL Server 2019 Big Data Cluster is integrating HDFS and Spark with SQL Server into one single cluster that runs on Kubernetes on-prem, locally or on the cloud. By leveraging SQL Server PolyBase, we can easily connect multiple data sources and fire analytical queries using T-SQL or by creating Spark jobs. Integration of Spark with SQL Server has been a major enhancement as users can now perform Big Data analytics, create Machine learning models and leverage all the capabilities offered by Spark and SQL.
  • Machine Learning: We can install machine learning services using SQL Server installer into a new SQL instance or an already installed instance. SQL Server 2019 offers a Machine Learning Services extensibility platform that allows a language processing environment to run alongside the SQL Server engine. This platform allows you to use SQL Server 2019 with languages like R, Python and Java for creating and training machine learning models. It also allows saving ML trained-models in the database and fires T-SQL commands to return results as a dataset.
  • Containerization: Support for containers was first offered with SQL Server 2017. But with SQL Server 2019, we now get the ability to deploy SQL Server containers with Always On Availability Groups on a Kubernetes cluster. It takes full advantage of OpenShift and Linux Containers. It is also available to run natively on RHEL 8 or as a RHEL-based container image.
  • Development & Tooling: SQL Server 2019 can be used in almost any development environment, using native drivers and ODBC interfaces. It can be used with all .NET languages using ADO.NET, ODBC, EF and other ORMs and other languages like Java, R, Python, Ruby and PHP. There are a lot of tools available to develop and manage SQL Server projects including SQL Server Management Studio, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code (Cross Platform) and Azure Data Studio..

SQL Server 2019 offers a lot more features than what is described in the above section. But it can be really complex if you are planning to use or migrate to SQL Server 2019. At Cazton, our team includes Microsoft awarded Most Valuable Professionals, Azure Insiders, Docker Insiders, ASP.NET Insiders, Web API Advisors, Cosmos DB Insiders as well as experts in other Microsoft and notable open source technologies who can help you solve any SQL Server related issues. We have been fortunate to work directly with the Microsoft product teams for many years.

Cazton Success Story

Have you ever encountered SQL Server code with more than 50 joins in a query? Have you ever seen code that retrieves millions of records SQL Server to the Web Server just to return one record to the User Interface? If yes, that’s great. This is our daily job. We have helped scale applications with more than a billion hits per day and increased performance exponentially. Cazton team has helped many Fortune 500 clients, mid-size companies and startups create a fool-proof polyglot persistence strategy. A relational database, like SQL Server, is an integral component of polyglot persistence. It’s usually deceptively simple. Cazton experts have learned a lot from their experiences to create a SQL strategy that is extremely cost-effective, futurist and also prevents a degraded user experience in terms of an absolute collapse of the underlying SQL Server architecture. Cazton team has been fortunate to create successful polyglot persistence strategies for applications and organizations that have different scalability needs as well as budgetary constraints.

One of the major problems in the tech industry is to use the same tool or technology for pretty much every other use case. This is common in the data world. SQL Server has its strengths but should not be used as a complete replacement for a NoSQL database, a caching engine or a search engine for that matter.

Cazton team is highly adept to work in all major business domains including financial, tech, airlines, manufacturing, health care, insurance, fintech etc. We provide different case studies and comparative reports before we suggest technologies that will be the best for a particular client or project. There is no, “one shoe fits all” strategy in the data world. Our team is also very flexible, especially on brown field projects where the tech stack is already determined and there is not much room to make major changes. We specialize in making your legacy stack modern with the least amount of effort.

We have a team of seasoned experts on the latest Microsoft technologies and have significant experience in Microsoft technology stack, and our expertise can enhance your project’s performance and improve its efficiency. We believe in customising each solution to tailor to the exact needs of our client. From project consulting to code migration, development, deployment and augmentation, training, we deliver on our promise of high quality services. With each new technology, there comes new ways to master it, optimize its performance, ease its integration with other technologies and maximize efficiency of the system. The team of experts at Cazton is well-versed in rapidly changing technologies and can help you strike the perfect balance between the two.

Contact us today to learn more about what our experts can do for you.

Azure SQL

Microsoft offers Azure SQL Server as a managed cloud service often termed as Platform as a Service (PaaS). This cloud service allows you to create any number of databases and it takes care of scalability, backup, and high availability of your databases. Scaling an on-prem database can often be stressful and time consuming. But with Azure SQL, you can scale your databases on demand with up to 99.995% availability, as claimed by Microsoft. You can also scale compute and storage resources independently for maximum flexibility and lower costs with discounted readable replicas. If you have an on-prem SQL database and wish to migrate it to Azure SQL, the process is extremely easy with no code changes at an industry leading TCO.

Azure SQL offers advanced security services like Always Encrypted, Advanced threat protection capabilities, Advanced threat detection and lot more features. Azure SQL offers transactional as well as analytical capabilities. It also offers performance tuning recommendations and event monitoring systems to track poor performance. Lastly, Azure SQL can be cheap as it has no upfront cost, no termination fees and you only pay as per your usage. Microsoft performs all the patching and updating of the code base, and manages the underlying infrastructure so you can save time and resources.

At Cazton, we have used Azure SQL extensively on many multi-million dollar projects and we fully understand the capabilities of this database service. Our team of Azure Insiders, ASP.NET Insiders, Web API Advisors, Cosmos DB Insiders, Microsoft MVPs as well as experts in other Microsoft and notable open source technologies can help you with setting you Azure SQL infrastructure, perform database migration, help you tackle scalability and performance related issues. We offer flexible services at cost-effective rates. Feel free to contact us if you wish to know more about our services.

We have years of experience working on real-world projects using Microsoft Azure and other cloud computing platforms. Don’t forget to check out our cloud services.

How can Cazton help you with SQL Server Consulting, Training & Maintenance?

At Cazton, our team of expert developers, consultants, architects, data analysts, data scientists, DBAs, awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals and Google Developer Experts understand the changing requirements and demands of the industry. Depending on the type, structure, data model and intended use-case of the data, different types of systems will suit different needs.

Our experts are well versed with all versions of SQL Server. We help you make the right decision to achieve your business goals.

  • Polyglot persistence strategy tailored to the customer needs.
  • SQL Server best practices.
  • SQL Server consulting, development and training services.
  • SQL Server deployment on-prem and cloud.
  • SQL Server monitoring, telemetry, troubleshooting and reporting.
  • SQL Server security implementation and support.
  • Setup a scale-out architecture (using cloud, on-prem and container based technologies).
  • Improve database performance.
  • Help with data recovery, hardware and SQL Server upgrades.
  • Migrate your on-prem SQL databases to Azure SQL or Azure VMs.
  • And any other related services including (Big Data, Search, NoSQL and RDBMS)

Need help with Big Data or Machine Learning? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Our team of Big Data Specialists, Big Data Architects, ML Experts, Data Scientists, Data Analysts & Researchers, Predictive Modelers, Statisticians, Business Intelligence & Security Experts have years of experience working on many different kinds of Big Data requirements. Learn more about our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence services.

Cazton is composed of technical professionals with expertise gained all over the world and in all fields of the tech industry and we put this expertise to work for you. We serve all industries, including banking, finance, legal services, life sciences & healthcare, technology, media, and the public sector. Check out some of our services:

Cazton has expanded into a global company, servicing clients not only across the United States, but in Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; London, England; Berlin, Germany; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Rome, Italy; Quebec City, Toronto Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Winnipeg as well. In the United States, we provide our consulting and training services across various cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, New Jersey, Irvine, Los Angeles, Denver, Boulder, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, San Antonio, San Diego, Stamford and others. Contact us today to learn more about what our experts can do for you.

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