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Archive for the ‘SQL Quiz’ Category

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:

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

So Now I’m Gilligan, Finally

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 6, 2009

Okay I was tagged by Tim Mitchell on the Deserted Island scenario started by Tim Ford which goes like this:

So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work.  Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island.  Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?

There’s so much that I could do, I almost don’t know where to start and I rather be off hanging out with Mary Ann anyway, but that isn’t an option in this scenario so:

I’ll start with cleaning up security.  It seems like no matter where you go or how long they’ve been running SQL Server the security is messed up.  I’d clean out dead logins and make sure the ones left met the least privileges test.  In my current environment that would take about an hour (I guess I should get on it then), at my last job it would take most of the month.

Next I’d automate testing of my backups on at least at weekly basis by restoring to a development server.  Unfortunately valid backups tend to be one of the things I take for granted.  This would also include setting up a plan to validate the backups that have already gone to tape and off-site.  I think this is one thing that many administrators, system and SQL, leave out.

Next would come tuning up database maintenance.  I’d start with Michelle Ufford’s index maintenance script and work from there to add in DBCC checks as well.

Then I’d work on monitoring scripts, traces, and performance monitor logs to compare to my baseline or to create my baseline and then compare to it.

Since I’m so late in posting this and someone else might like Mary Ann, too, I’m not going to tag anyone else.

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

SQL Quiz #4 – Great Leaders in My Career

Posted by sqlwiseguy on April 16, 2009

Chris Shaw has posted another SQL Quiz and I was tagged by Grant Fritchey

What is a Leader?

My definition of a leader is someone who inspires others to reach beyond their comfort zone. 

The inspiration can be through example, encouragement, or challenging.

An Early Example

I’m going to start by going back to one of my first jobs, which was at McDonald’s.  Anyone has been at McDonald’s and seen that there are many managers that work at the restaurant, and, to be honest, most of the time they are not great leaders, but where I worked there was one manager who was a good leader, Dennis Bouchard.  He never asked a crew member to do something he would not do, and was never afraid to be challenged by one of us high school kids.  He and I would go nose to nose on some issues and that is what I respected him for.  He knew what needed to be done, challenged us to get it done, waded in when we were struggling, and allowed us to disagree with how it should be done.

A Current Example

The person who is currently challenging me to do more is someone else who was tagged by Grant, Andy Warren.  I met Andy in the fall of 2007 at a one day seminar by Joe Celko before the first SQLSaturday in Orlando.  I got to know him through OPASS and having him come in and do some consulting on a project at work.  Since meeting Andy I have begun blogging, written 4 articles for SQLServerCentral, done several videos for JumpstartTV, spoken at OPASS, spoken at SQLSaturday #8, committed to speak at the Space Coast User Group, and submitted 2 sessions for the PASS Summit.  In doing all these things my knowledge and experience in SQL Server had probably doubled.  If you had told me 2 years ago that I would have done all these things and met (online and in person) the people I have met, like Grant, Gail Shaw, Steve Jones, and others, I would have told you that you were nuts!  All this because Andy took an interest in me and challenged and encouraged me to do more.  Thanks Andy.

I have not seen either of these folks tagged yet, so I’ll tag:

K. Brian Kelley
Lynn Pettis – a new blogger, but an experienced SQL Server guy.

Posted in Community, General, Lessons, SQL Quiz, SQL Server | 2 Comments »

Things I Wish I Had Known

Posted by sqlwiseguy on February 14, 2009

I was tagged by Tim Mitchell in the latest, as he says, get to know you question, started by Mike Walsh, about what you have learned that you wish you had known earlier. There have been a lot of very smart people “tagged” in this thread and there have been some common themes, some of which I will hit on as well. So let’s get started.

When in doubt ask!

I do not have a normal computer science education, so when I got my first job I really felt like I needed to prove myself so I was very hesitant to admit I didn’t know something. I would spend 2 hours researching and figuring out something instead of asking a co-worker. Of course, this meant I spent more hours at work in order to accomplish what needed to be done. Now as an experienced developer, I’ve realized that I’m never going to know it all and that the best resource I have is the people I know. Don’t let pride or reputation keep you from asking for help

Educate yourself

This has been mentioned by others, but it bears repeating. If you want to progress in your career take and make the time to educate yourself. I agree with Brent Ozar that you should pick an area you are passionate about and become the expert in that area. You should be “the man” for Reporting Services, Profiler, etc…

Get Involved

Another common theme, but, in my opinion, very important. Don’t just attend user groups, events, or online communities like SQLServerCentral get involved in them! The more you put in the more you will get out of each of these communities. I have learned more in the past year by answering forum questions, going to meetings and events, speaking, and writing articles, than in the previous 5 years. I was fortunate to be able to speak at SQLSaturday 8 in Orlando and in preparation I probably learned more than anyone who attended my session. In my time on SQLServerCentral (my preferred site) I have gotten to know some great SQL minds like Grant Fritchey, Gail Shaw, Jeff Moden, R. Barry Young, Lynn Pettis and others. Through our interactions on SSC I’ve been able to develop a network of “go to” people when I have a problem I can’t solve.

Share your knowledge and document everything

It’s great to be indispensable, until you want to go on vacation. Teach your co-workers about what you do and document everything. If someone can’t fill in for you for a week, you need to get to work on getting someone up to speed. This actually makes you more valuable to your employer because you are making everyone more productive.

Take time for your family and yourself

We all know someone who works all the time and if you don’t, you probably are that person. Sometimes long hours are necessary, but they are not a badge of honor. Long-term you will be more productive if you work normal hours and take your vacations. You will also like your job more, too. If your boss expects your regular week to be 50 or more hours, start looking for another position now! I regularly worked until 8 or 9 pm when I was first married and missed out on having some more fun times with my wife before we had kids. Now I do my best to be out at 5 pm so I can enjoy my kids and wife. Life is more than work and work will be better if it is only part of your life.

I’m closing in on 40 and I’d like to think I’ve learned some lessons and I’d like to pass them on. I still feel like one of the young guys though.

Since it’s the weekend and I think all my blogging friends have been tagged I’m going to pass on tagging anyone else.


Posted in Lessons, SQL Quiz | 1 Comment »

SQL Quiz #2 – Challenges

Posted by sqlwiseguy on December 12, 2008

Chris Shaw posted a new SQL Quiz and I have been tagged by Kendal Van Dyke, so I need to take up the challenge. The question is: “What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those?”

Starting out

I’d say my first challenge was entering the Information Technology field in the first place. I should explain that I had little interest in computers in high school and college. I was more interested in sports than technology and my original goal was to become a basketball coach so I went to college to study Physical Education. Well, along the way I learned full-time coaching gigs are hard to find and I don’t really like working with children so teaching was out. A good friend of mine is a developer (a true geek genius) and he started mentoring me. When he was the Software Development manager at the local pulp and paper mill he had two openings that he was struggling to fill and he managed to convince me to apply, as he was convinced I could do the job. Well, I finally gave in and was hired (his boss had to approve). Well, I found out I loved doing the work, but it has always been a struggle as I don’t necessarily understand all theory and it was then as I had to learn VB, SQL Server, accounting, and pulp and paper making all at once! I managed to do it and have been doing it for almost ten years.

The big project

The second challenge would be the first big project that I was the IT lead for. We were purchasing a soup to nuts Manufacturing Execution system that required me to write the data transfer process, interface with the vendor’s development team for custom modifications, prove bugs were bugs, and basically question everything. The biggest issue that I had to solve was a deadlock issue in the database from the RF units on our forklifts in the warehouse. Basically the way it was coded, once you had 3 or more units working at once the units totally locked up because of deadlocks in the database. I don’t recall the details in the code, I do know it had much looping (RBAR). I used Profiler (this was SQL 7) to find the offending SQL code. Then I had to go into the vendor’s proprietary scripting language and change the code that was causing the problem. Miraculously, the units stopped locking up. Much to the vendor’s consternation I proved the bug, but to my knowledge they never fixed the code, and shall remain nameless.

I think almost everyone I follow I know who blogs has been tagged for this, but I have not seen R. Barry Young’s name go past so I’ll tag him.

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