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September OPASS Meeting Recap

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 22, 2009

OPASS met last Tuesday, September 14th, with a mini (15 minute) presentation by Todd Holmes on Backup Basics and Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) speaking on Policy Based Management in the main presentation.  We had  good crowd of about 20-25.

Meeting Introduction

We started the meeting with some announcements and discussion of who was going to the PASS SUMMIT.  I was officially presented as co-President of OPASS and took some time to discuss the upcoming SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando schedule as I was the one responsible for putting the schedule together.

We then had about 10 minutes of networking time.  I spent it talking with Mark, who had come to Orlando on a contract job that had been ended and was looking for work and guidance as to where to go to get solid SQL Server training.

Mini Presentation – Backup Basics

Todd did an okay job on his mini presentation on Backup Basics.  He is a first time speaker and you could tell he was a little nervous about being in front of a group.  He covered recovery models, backup types, and backup and restore command syntax.  I thought he did well to cover that much information in 15 minutes.  I don’t think I could have covered as much, especially with the number of questions that were asked.

Feature Presentation – Policy Based Management

Jorge did a good job presenting on PBM.  This was my first exposure to it and I was impressed by what you can do with it.  He went over the architecture and examples of how to use it.  I came away convinced that any DBA in a shop with more than a couple of SQL Servers should become familiar with it and use it.  We did learn one thing that is a little disturbing about having an active policy in place, like requiring stored procedure names to fit a standard.  If you have an existing procedure that does not meet the standard and you, for whatever reason, make changes to that procedure and choose to deploy those changes using a DROP and CREATE the policy will block the rollback the CREATE, but not the DROP.  Here’s an example:

/*
Existing Procedure
*/
CREATE PROCEDURE sp_getorder
(
@order_id INT
)

AS

SET NOCOUNT ON

SELECT
*
FROM
dbo.orders
WHERE
order_id = @order_id;

RETURN;

GO
/*
Now you create a policy that says that
stored procedures must begin with usp_%
*/

/*
You realize that SELECT * is a bad practice
so you want to change the procedure to only
return the required columns and you do a Drop
and Create
*/

IF OBJECT_ID(N'dbo.sp_getorder', N'P') IS NOT NULL
BEGIN
DROP PROCEDURE
dbo.sp_getorder ;
END

GO

CREATE PROCEDURE
sp_getorder
(
@order_id INT
)

AS

SET NOCOUNT ON

SELECT
order_no,
customer_id,
salesperson_id,
purchase_order_no
FROM
dbo.orders
WHERE
order_id = @order_id;

RETURN;

GO

The PBM violation will not allow the CREATE to take place, but will allow the DROP.  There may be ways to work around this, but Jorge didn’t know any off the top of his head.  This discussion was driven by a question from Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDDBA).

Post Meeting Discussion

As usual we had a good post meeting discussion as Kendal, Jorge, Andy, and I stuck around for about an hour and others for about 30 minutes.  We talked about networking, PASS, PASS Summit, and keeping up.

As always some good value in the meeting and the post meeting discussion.

Posted in Community, OPASS, SQL Server, User Group | 1 Comment »

Networking Successes

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 5, 2009

Over the last few weeks I’ve had several instances where I’ve had to learn new things and, in my struggles, have had the opportunity to get help from people I have met recently (both in person and on-line).  Notice I said “opportunity”.  One thing I’ve learned recently is that people like to help other people!   As part of my professional development I’ve been attempting to work on my networking skills, and, in my opinion, networking is more than meeting people, it is interacting with them to help and to be helped.

What the heck is jQuery?

The current project I am working on is using ASP.NET MVC and AJAX for the web site and my HTML and javascript skills are not strong so I was reading and workring with Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0.  As I went through the examples I encountered a jQuery script that was not working.  I posted a question on Twitter which was answered by Jeremiah Peschka (Blog|Twitter).  He sent me his email address and offered to look at the script for me.  He also forwarded on the problem to a jQuery guru he knows.  All that effort and we’ve never met!  See people DO like to help!

How does this work in Powershell?

A few months ago I began interacting with Chad Miller (Blog|Twitter) on Twitter and was able to set him up to speak at my local user group (OPASS).  Chad is a Powershell guru and presented on T-SQL vs. Powershell back in July.  I’m working on a presentation about the Default Trace and I wanted to provide some examples of how to archive the Default Trace files/data.  This seemed like a good opportunity to learn some Powershell, so I sent Chad an email asking him to point me in the right direction, which he did.  I completed a “working” Powershell script and sent it to him for review.  He responded with explanations of what I had done wrong and a corrected script.

Why can’t I get this file processed?

Again as part of the Default Trace presentation I wanted to present a solution using SSIS.  Now I have some experience with SSIS and consider myself to be at an intermediate level so I figured I could get it done without trouble.  Well, I was wrong.  I had what I thought was a working solution, until I got Log_10.trc at the same time as Log_9.trc.  The ForEach File Enumerator orders files by name so the active Log_10.trc file was the first file the File System Task attempted to move and it is locked, thus the task failed.  So once I again I used Twitter to ask an SSIS guru, Andy Leonard (Blog|Twitter), if there was a way to change the sort order on the ForEach File Enumerator.  He said that you needed to script it, unfortunately.  He also emailed me an example script.

Those are just 3 instances where I’ve had the opportunity to truly practice networking (I blogged about another here).  Interacting with people and using those interactions to learn new skills and share your skills.  In my mind this is real networking.  Sure these are examples where I got something from my network, but there have been times where I’ve been on the other side, and you’d better believe if I can help out any of these guys I’ll do it!

Posted in Community, Networking, Professional Development, Twitter | 2 Comments »

SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando Update

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 28, 2009

Event Record

This is the third year that Orlando has hosted a SQLSaturday.  In 2007, I was an attendee; 2008, I was an event volunteer and speaker; and this year I’m an organizational volunteer, event volunteer, and, most likely a speaker.  Because of my increased involvement this year I have gotten to see the event build up from nothing to what I would say is a great event.

Expanded Responsibility

My main responsibility as an organizational volunteer is selecting and scheduling sessions.  With 2 days left to submit sessions we have 65 sessions from 41 different speakers, including 2 MS employees and 10 MVP’s, which is up from 56 submissions and 38 speakers last year. Currently we are planning on 8 “tracks” with 6 sessions each, for a total of 48 sessions.

Expected Result

The goal is to have something for everyone from beginner to expert, developer to DBA, technical to professional development, traditional SQL to BI, and new technologies like cloud computing, so really there is no reason not to attend. 

Enrollment Recommended

The training is free (lunch provided for $10), continental breakfast, snacks and drinks throughout the day, post event social, and plenty of SWAG.  Why wouldn’t you attend

Posted in Community, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday | Leave a Comment »

SQL Quiz #5 – SANs the Star the Show Must Go On(Mirroring)?

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 22, 2009

Okay, Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) tagged me in Chris Shaw’s (@SQLShaw) latest SQL Quiz, SAN’s and Mirroring.  I’m a little behind the curve on this one as I’ve been busy, and to be honest, I have no real experience with either, but I’ve always got an opinion.  So here we go:

  1. Do you feel that you have a reliable SAN Solution? If so what is the secret?
    • Since I don’t have a SAN solution I guess it’s as reliable as it can get.  My current workplace is migrating more to SQL Server, but we currently have 1 production SQL Server where the biggest DB is about 5GB , so we don’t need a SAN for SQL Server, at least not for space.  We could use a SAN for our Exchange and File servers, but those aren’t my issue.
  2. Describe database mirroring in laymen’s terms.
    • Mirroring is kind of like the star of a Broadway show and their understudy.  They both get the script, memorize all the lines, and rehearse all the scenes, but the understudy only gets to perform for the audience if something happens to the star.  The only difference is that in Mirroring once the understudy gets the starring role hopefully only you know the change happened.

I’m not going to tag anyone as this has been out a couple of weeks and I think all my blogging friends have been tagged.  Here are a few other people who answered:

Posted in Community, SQL Quiz, SQL Server | Leave a Comment »

No Training Budget Still No Excuse

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 12, 2009

When I first started by career in IT and SQL Server about 10 years ago I lived in a small town in northern New Hampshire.  I used my location as an excuse not to attend user groups and other events, unless the boss was willing to foot the bill.  Now I realize my mistake, I’m in charge of my professional development, and now, location is no excuse.  Here’s a list of just some of the FREE training available online:

  • JumpstartTV – short (3-5 minute), specific how-to videos for SQL Server and .NET.
  • Channel 9 – MSDN’s video training library. This has videos on just about everything microsoft. Over 200 on SQL Server 2008 alone.
  • PASS – the Official Professional Association of SQL Server web site. PASS offers Virtual Chapters (user groups that meet online monthly).  Be sure to check out the upcoming 24 hours of PASS
  • Quest Software – Quest offers free webcasts on several technologies including SQL Server and some on Quest products but many general ones. Check out Quest Connect
  • SQLServerPedia – has video podcasts as well as blogs, wiki, and articles.
  • SQLServerCentral – forums, articles, scripts, blogs, and videos. What more can you ask for?

I’m sure there are other resources as well.

Now on to the FREE events. 

  • The biggest one for SQL Server, well, at least in my opinion, is the SQLSaturday franchise.  There have been about 20 over the last 2 years from Florida to Oregon.  I should make a disclaimer that I have spoken at 2, attended another, and the franchise is owned by my friend, Andy Warren and his partners.  Actually the first SQLSaturday event was when I met Andy, actually the day before at the Day with Celko event done in conjunction with the SQLSaturday.  It’s a full day of free SQL Server training with some national speakers along with the best local speakers.
  • Code Camps – these one day events for .NET are what SQLSaturday is based on, so if you need .NET training here’s a way to get it.
  • PASS – offers a SQLSaturday like event support with it’s Community Connections
  • User Groups – just BING or GOOGLE for [your technology and location] User Group.  I’m sure you’ll find something in your area.  PASS has a list of official chapters for SQL Server.  I know of Sharepoint, Java, .NET, and Agile user groups.  I’m sure there are others.

As you can see there are plenty of training options that will only cost you time and maybe travel expenses and that’s really an investment in you. 

Posted in Community, JumpstartTV, PASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, SqlServerCentral, Training, User Group | 4 Comments »

SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando Announced!

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 28, 2009

Andy Warren and crew at OPASS have announced that SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando will be held at Seminole Community College, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773, on October 17th.  The call for speakers just opened this afternoon and we have our first session submitted, and it wasn’t by me or @SQLChicken!

This is the third SQLSaturday in Orlando and second at this location, so hopefully we have the kinks worked out.  There is one change this year that there will be a $10 charge to cover lunch, likely from Jason’s Deli.  You’ll still get water, soda, donuts, coffee, and fruit throughout the day for free, plus the usual swag.  That’s not to mention the excellent FREE training.  I attended the first SQLSaturday Orlando and was a speaker/volunteer at last year’s event.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who has not thought it was a terrific event.  I’ve also spoke at the SQLSaturday 14 – Pensacola and everyone there enjoyed that event as well.

If you work with SQL Server there’s no better way to get a free day of training, so register now.  If you work with SQL Server and are passionate about it, then there is no better place to share that passion by presenting.  I don’t think that there is anything more rewarding than sharing your experience and expertise with others.  I’ll be submitting at least one session.

If you have any questions about SQL Server then suggest a session.  I know I check the suggested sessions for ideas and if I have the necessary knowledge I’ll submit a session based on a suggestion.

I’ll be there, and hopefully I’ll see you there as well.

Posted in Code Camp, Community, OPASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, Training, User Group, Volunteering | Leave a Comment »

ActiveAugust –> Getting More Fit

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 28, 2009

ActiveAugust started as a discussion on Twitter and Mike Walsh (@mike_walsh) has set the bar with his blog post about it.  The general idea is to commit to lifestyle changes by becoming more active and/or eating healthier.  The key thing is to setup a plan, blog your plan, and then blog/tweet updates on how you are doing.  Because you have made the commitment public you will have some accountability. There are several SQL Server “personalities” that are taking part including the aforementioned Mike Walsh, Brian Kelley (@kbriankelley), and Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken).  There may be others that I have missed or don’t currently follow on Twitter. 

Here’s my plan:

  1. Reduce portions at the dinner table.  I don’t measure now, but the goal is to eat 1 helping and stop there.
  2. Fruits and vegetables instead of cookies/brownies/candy/chips for the nighttime snack.
  3. At least 20 minutes of purposeful exercise 6 days a week (walking, biking, swimming, etc…) in addition to the normal time spent with the kids or playing basketball.
  4. Sit-ups and push-ups every day.  I did 25 sit-ups and 15 push-ups last night so I that will be the minimum.  The goal is to add 10 per week.  So on August 8th I should be doing at least 35 and 25.

Another part is a regular weigh-in as the goal is to become more fit and weight loss is usually a good measure of that.  I weighed in yesterday morning at 184.5 lbs so that will be my baseline.  I’ll post my progress weekly starting the 8th.

Hope you join in.

Posted in Community, Fitness, Goals, Personal | Leave a Comment »

Meet, Greet, & Remember?

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 22, 2009

How many of you have said, “I have a real hard time remembering names” or “Excuse me, I know we must have met, but I can’t remember your name”.  I know I have many times.  The question is what am I going to do about?  I’m glad you asked.  As an addition to the PASS Summit, PASS, at the urging of Andy Warren, is adding a 2 hour networking seminar by Don Gabor, Networking to Build Business Contacts, between the pre-conference sessions and the Welcome Reception.  The cost is $60 and attendance is limited to 100.

There are several reasons why I am attending:

  1. To develop confidence in meeting people.
  2. To learn how to build and maintain my network.
  3. To learn how to help others meet people.

Each of these items will be covered during the session, and the Welcome Session and the rest of the conference will give us the opportunity to apply the principles that will be taught.

This won’t just help me as a technical professional, but also in my work.  I currently serve as missionary with New Tribes Mission and part of my “job” is building and maintaining a network of churches and individuals who see value in what I do and are willing to support my work with prayer and finances.  This makes developing networking skills essential. 

Let me give one example of how networking can work.  Just yesterday, I got an email from the Space Coast User Group leaders asking if I could move up from the September meeting and speak at the August meeting as the speaker had to cancel.  I had a conflict so I couldn’t move up.  As I am on Twitter, I put out a message asking if anyone would be able to fill in the August meeting.  I knew at least one person who would be interested, Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken), and I heard back from him fairly quickly.  I was able to connect him with the Space Coast User Group leadership and he was able to make arrangements to fill in.  Both parties were happy, and I got to “raise” my profile through helping others.

I hope to see you there!  Then we can practice together.

Posted in Community, Networking, PASS, Professional Development, Training | 1 Comment »

July OPASS Meeting Recap

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 15, 2009

Last night I attended, along with about 20 others, the latest and greatest OPASS meeting.  I got there early to help setup and great people as they came in.   I may not be the most enthusiastic greeter, but I’m willing and working on doing better.  Greeting also gives me the opportunity to “meet” everyone and try to remember names and find out where people work and how they use SQL Server.  Of course Andy Warren had to give me a hard time about how I was doing the job.  It wouldn’t be an OPASS meeting without taking some grief from Andy.

The meeting started with some updates from Andy on SQLSaturday – Orlando planning, other upcoming events, and some discussion about PASS and what technologies other than SQL Server that PASS could/should cover (Sharepoint, Excel, etc…).  My personal opinion is that PASS should stick with SQL Server, especially since there is so much that is part of SQL Server (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS, DB Engine), why does PASS need to expand?

We then had about 15-20 minutes of networking (group hug) and I spent the time talking with Nick who works in BI for Hilton and would like to transition to DBA.  We had a good discussion about how to transition and what resources are out there to learn how to be a SQL Server DBA.  I guess my biggest failing was not getting his last name and I probably should have given him a business card.  Hopefully I’ll see him again at the next meeting and rectify the situation.

The feature presentation was Powershell vs T-SQL by Chad Miller.  Chad is very passionate about the power of Powershell and knowledgeable and it definitely came across in his presentation.  I have to admit that I was looking for things to pick at Powershell, but really couldn’t come up with much.  I happen to be a “Jack of all trades” so I do some .NET development and would probably do a lot of what Chad did in Powershell in .NET because I already know .NET, but if I were not familiar with .NET I could definitely see learning and using Powershell.  Chad also did a good job of giving specific instances where Powershell is better/simpler to use than T-SQL and when T-SQL Is the better choice, so he did not have an “all Powershell all the time” stance which I appreciated.  I can definitely see where Powershell can make auditing easier and how it can make managing a multi-server environment easier to automate.  Since I am in a one SQL Server shop right now, I don’t see me using it a lot, but I will try to find a project to test it out and learn it.  Chad’s slide deck and demos can be found on his blog.

After the presentation we hung around and talked for about an hour or so.  I spent some time talking with Chad and Kendal Van Dyke about Powershell and other SQL Server tools like SSIS, etc…  Then Andy, Kendal, and Kendal’s co-worker, Todd, and I had some discussions about the PASS Summit, SQLSaturday’s, and growing speakers.  It’s always interesting getting together with these guys and finding out what they think and why.  I never leave without some interesting things to think about.

Posted in Community, OPASS, User Group | Leave a Comment »

OPASS Meeting July 14th

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 13, 2009

Hey, Orlando area SQL Server folks, don’t forget the OPASS meeting 6pmTuesday, July 14th at End to End Training (map).  Chad Miller will be presenting on Powershell and T-SQL. 

As usual there will be an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting for networking and then again after the meeting.  Even when the presentation is excellent, many times the discussion before and after the meeting are just as profitable.

Posted in Community, OPASS | Leave a Comment »