Last year saw the release of both SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012. Both bought significant updates, including changes to High Availability and Disaster Recovery for SQL Server 2012, and a focus on PowerShell and Server Core features for Windows Server 2012, not to mention improvements to Hyper V, which could lead my company to virtualize the only boxes in our company that are still physical, namely the database and SSAS boxes. So before we make this leap it’s important to hear from those who have experience and can pass it on. Apart from reading MSDN and trying out a few labs, there are a couple of user groups that I will be attending:

1. MSSQL Tips Webinar - Today!

There are always risks with making changes to the infrastructure and no matter how much reading and labbing you do, there are always “Unknown Unknowns”, which you never know about until its too late. So this webinar below will come in real handy to anticipate any Unknown Unknowns:

“Real-Life SQL Server 2012: AlwaysOn Lessons Learned

Microsoft says that SQL Server AlwaysOn is the integrated disaster and recovery solution that safeguards your company’s IT SQL Server infrastructure. But what isn’t being said about AlwaysOn? What problems are customers having? Why shouldn’t it be deployed on Windows 2008R2?

At this live Webcast join Brent Ozar of Brent Ozar Unlimited, Microsoft Certified Master and MVP, as he hosts an in-depth discussion of AlwaysOn. Brent’s deployed AlwaysOn at companies including and the Discovery Channel, and can give you the real scoop on problems, bugs, and challenges. You’ll gain confidence and knowledge for your own successful AlwaysOn deployment.”

2. SQL London User Group - 21st February!

The SQL London User-Group is meeting on the 21st February. There will be two talks, one on “Advanced SQL Server 2012 HA and DR Architectures” and the other on “Windows 2012 - What’s new for SQL Server Professionals”. Both will be presented by Christian Bolton, a guy who I saw presenting at SQL Bits, who clearly knows his stuff around SQL. Understanding the impact that Windows Server 2012 has on SQL Professional work cannot be underestimated, and could well bring up the dreaded Unknown Unknowns, especially as the previous webinar suggests that AlwaysOn is not advisable on Windows Server 2008 R2, which our databases are hosted on.

The fact that both of these are free, other than giving up a couple of evenings of your life to pick up the salient facts of some big changes should be reason enough to attend.