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      The Basics of a Microsoft SQL Server Architecture


      Microsoft SQL Server is one of the market leaders for database technology. It’s a relational database management system that supports a number of applications, including business intelligence, transaction processing, and analytics. Microsoft SQL Server is built on SQL, which is a programming language used to manage databases and query data.

      SQL Server follows a table structure based on rows, allowing connection of data and functions while maintaining the data’s security and consistency. Checks in the relational model of the server work to ensure that database transactions are processed consistently.

      Microsoft SQL Server also allows for simple installation and automatic updates, customization to meet your business needs and simple maintenance of your database. Below, you can get a quick overview of how a SQL Server manages data, how data is retrieved and modified.

      SQL Server Data Management

      A SQL Database is comprised of one or more data files (.mdf/.ndf) and one transaction log file (.ldf). Data files contain schema and data, and the Log file contains recent changes or adds. Data is organized by pages (like a book), each page is 8KB.

      SQL Server

      A SQL Server manages this data in three ways:

      • Reads
      • Writes
      • Modifies (Delete, replace, etc.)

      Data Retrieval with SQL

      A SQL Server accesses data by pulling down the entire 8KB page from disk into memory. Pages temporarily stay in memory until they are no longer needed. Often, the same page will be modified or frequently read as SQL works with the same data set.

      SQL Server

      Data Modification with SQL

      SQL changes data via delete or modify, or by writing new data. All modifications are written to the transaction log (which sits on disk where it is safe) in case the SQL server loses power before it writes data back to disk.

      The 8KB page is written back to disk after it has not been used for a certain time period. Once a transaction is written to disk (mdf/ndf file), it is marked as written in the transaction log. In case of a power outage, SQL can retrieve completed transactions that were not written and add them to the database files (MDF and NDF) once back in operation.

      Taking Steps to Implement a Microsoft SQL Server

      Today’s SQL dependent applications have different performance and high availability requirements, meaning there are many factors to consider for implementation. Thinking about implementing a Microsoft SQL Server, or want to make sure that yours is properly meeting your needs? INAP’s solutions architects can help with this process, and your SQL Servers can be hosted and managed on Bare Metal or Private Cloud.

      INAP’s latest managed cloud solution, Intelligent Monitoring, supports SQL Servers, monitoring for core application metrics. Get transparency and control over your servers with the support of INAP’s experts.

      Rob Lerner


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      Infrastructure for Online Gaming: Bare Metal and Colocation Reference Architecture


      Bare Metal is powerful, fast and, most importantly, easily scalable—all qualities that make it perfect for resource-intensive, dynamic applications like massive online games. It’s a single-tenant environment, meaning you can harness all the computing power of the hardware for yourself (and without the need for virtualization).

      And beyond that, it offers all that performance and functionality at a competitive price, even when fully customized to your performance needs and unique requirements.

      Given all this, it’s easy to see why Bare Metal has quickly become the infrastructure solution of choice for gaming applications. So what does a comprehensive gaming deployment look like?

      Bare Metal for Gaming: Reference Architecture

      Here’s an example of what a Bare Metal deployment for gaming might look like.

      bare metal gaming reference architecture
      Download this Bare Metal reference architecture [PDF].

      1. Purpose-Built Configurations: Standard configurations are available, but one strength of Bare Metal is its customizability for specific performance needs or unique requirements.

      2. Access the Edge: Solution flexibility and wide reach across a global network puts gaming platforms closer to end users for better performance.

      3. Critical Services: Infrastructure designed for the needs of your application, combined with environment monitoring and support, enables the consistent performance your players expect from any high-quality gaming experience.

      4. Content Delivery Networks: CDNs are perfect for executing software downloads and patch updates or for delivering cut scenes and other static embedded content quickly, while reducing loads on main servers. Read our recent blog about CDN to learn more.

      5. Automated Route Optimization: Your infrastructure is nothing without a solid network to connect it to your players. Ours is powered by our proprietary Performance IP service, which ensures outbound traffic takes the lowest-latency path, reducing lag and packet loss. For more on this technology, read below.

      6. Cloud Connect: On-ramp to hyperscale cloud providers—ideal for test deployments and traffic bursting. If you’re not sure what kind of cloud is right for you, our cloud experts can help you craft a flexible multicloud deployment that meets the needs of your applications and integrates seamlessly into your other infrastructure solutions.

      7. Enterprise SAN Storage: Connect to a high-speed storage area network (SAN) for reliable, secure storage.

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      The Need for Ultra-Low Latency

      In online games, latency plays a huge role in the overall gaming experience. Just a few milliseconds of lag can mean the difference between winning and losing—between an immersive experience and something that people stop playing after a few frustrated minutes.

      Minimizing latency is always an ongoing battle, which is why INAP is proud of our automated route optimization engine Performance IP and its proven ability to put outbound traffic on the lowest-latency route possible.

      • Enhances default Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) by automatically routing outbound traffic along the lowest-latency path
      • Millions of optimizations made per location every hour
      • Carrier-diverse IP blend creates network redundancy (up to 7 carriers per location)
      • Supported by complex network security to protect client data and purchases

      Learn more about how it works by watching the video below or jump into a demo to see for yourself the difference that it makes.

      Colocation

      If a hosted model isn’t right for you—maybe you want or need to bring your own hardware—Colocation might be a good way to bring the power, resiliency and availability of modern data centers to your gaming application.

      colocation gaming reference architecture
      Download this Colocation reference architecture [PDF].

      1. Purpose-Built Configurations: Secure cabinets, cages and private suites can be configured to your needs.

      High-Density Colocation: High power density means more bang for your footprint. INAP environments support 20+ kW per rack for efficiency and ease of scalability.

      Designed for Concurrent Maintainability: Tier 3-design data centers provide component redundancy and superior availability.

      2. Automated Route Optimization: Your infrastructure is nothing without a solid network to connect it to your players. Ours is powered by our proprietary Performance IP service, which ensures outbound traffic takes the lowest-latency path, reducing lag and packet loss.

      3. Cloud Connect: On-ramp to hyperscale cloud providers—ideal for test deployments and traffic bursting. If you’re not sure what kind of cloud is right for you, our cloud experts can help you craft a flexible multicloud deployment that meets the needs of your applications and integrates seamlessly into your other infrastructure solutions.

      4. Integrated With Private Cloud & Bare Metal: Run auxiliary or back-office applications in right-sized Private Cloud and/or Bare Metal environments engineered to meet your needs. Get onboarding and support from experts.

      5. Enterprise SAN Storage: Connect to a high-speed storage area network (SAN) for reliable, secure storage.

      Interested in learning more about INAP Bare Metal?

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      Josh Williams


      Josh Williams is Vice President of Solutions Engineering. His team enables enterprises and service providers in the design, deployment and management of a wide range of data center and cloud IT solutions. READ MORE



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