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SQL Server thoughts, observations, and comments
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SQL General

SQL Stuff that doesn't fit in another category
Virtual Lab part 2–Templates, Patterns, Baselines

Once you have a good virtualization platform chosen, whether it is a desktop, server or laptop environment, the temptation is to build “X”.  “X” may be a SharePoint lab, a Virtual Cluster, an AD test environment or some other cool project that you really need RIGHT NOW.  That would be doing it wrong. My grandfather taught woodworking and cabinetmaking for twenty-seven years at a trade school in Alabama.  He was the first instructor hired at that school and the only teacher for the first two years.  His students built tables, chairs, and workbenches so the school could start its HVAC courses.  ...

posted @ Tuesday, November 08, 2011 6:43 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

SQL 2012 Licensing Thoughts

The only thing more controversial than new Federal Tax plans is new Licensing plans from Microsoft.  In both cases, everyone calculates several numbers.  First, will I pay more or less under this plan?  Second, will my competition pay more or less than now?  Third, will <insert interesting person/company here> pay more or less?  Not that items 2 and 3 are meaningful, that is just how people think. Much like tax plans, the devil is in the details, so lets see how this looks.  Microsoft shows it here: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/future-editions/sql2012-licensing.aspx First up...

posted @ Thursday, November 03, 2011 12:34 PM | Feedback (6) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft Denali ]

The first thing you will hate about SQL Denali…

OK, this is really the first thing “I” hate about SQL Denali, but I bet a fair number of you will hate this too. Once again, Microsoft has enforced the dictum that everyone must be either a Developer or an IT Pro. As Data Professionals, many of us have suffered as our employers can’t figure out where to hang us in the company Organization Chart, usually sticking us between Dev and Ops and letting the managers (and us) sort it out. This time, Microsoft has decided we are “Developers” and we shall get our help via the Web. Admittedly, Google...

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 4:29 PM | Feedback (6) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft Denali ]

PASS Summit Location

Both Tom LaRock and Andy Warren recently posted blogs on PASS Summit 2013 locations. As was announced at the 2010 Summit, we have a contract that keeps the Summit in Seattle for 2011 and 2012. 2013 is the next "unhomed" Summit. One of the largest areas of contention during the recent PASS Board of Directors elections was the location of the Summit. I am surprised the keynote sessions didn't erupt into a Lite-beer-esque "More Locations" vs. "Seattle is Great" chant this year. We had a similar issue in the Atlanta user group a few years back. We started moving the location...

posted @ Wednesday, February 02, 2011 10:52 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General PASS ]

Changes

By now those that are interested have noticed the latest PASS board changes.  Two members resigned for professional reasons.  Myself and Mark Ginnebaugh were asked to serve the remainder of their terms.  As per the usual practice, the board reached out to non-winning candidates from the prior slate. Since we have already been vetted and have demonstrated willingness to serve, it is a good place to find interim board members.  I say “interim” mainly because my appointment (and Mark’s) are only until the next election late this year.  I am looking forward to serving the community in a new and...

posted @ Tuesday, January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

Why DBA skills are important (T-SQL Tuesday)

    DBA skills are important only if your company’s data is important. Basic skills like backup and restore are the minimum but sometimes you have to understand the technology involved to make decent business decisions. Recently, I was at a client with a blown cluster. They weren’t too worried since they had a replicated copy of the database at another location they could use. Replicated as in SQL Replication. When I pointed out that this did not include and foreign key references or unique constraints, they didn’t completely freak out. They did lose it when I showed that not one single trigger made it across. You see, SQL...

posted @ Tuesday, November 02, 2010 2:36 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General Low Availability ]

How Low Can You Go

I was recently called in to what has to be the most interesting low-availability environment I have ever seen. There was not any single thing that I had not seen before, but to see all of them together in one place was truly amazing. I try very hard not to say bad things about systems or in-house DBAs. It is bad practice to call a baby ugly, you might be standing next to its momma. This time I lost it on about my fourth WTF moment.   The platform was a Windows 2003 and SQL 2005 cluster. And this cluster was more if a US Marine Cluster...

posted @ Friday, October 01, 2010 11:33 AM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ SQL General Low Availability ]

Why?

Why?   No technical content on this one, sorry.   A couple of weeks ago, I signed up as a candidate for the Board of Directors for SQLPASS.  Many of the other candidates have posted on why they chose to run.  I suppose I should do likewise so here I am.   First a little background so you know where I come from and why the SQL community is important to me.   Back in 1992 I was living in Tuscaloosa, AL.  I started my SQL career by implementing a project using SQL 4.2.  (before that it was Dbase and Clipper).  BOL was just Book (singular and...

posted @ Monday, August 02, 2010 3:57 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

Clustering for Mere Mortals (Pt 3)

The Controller Now we get to the meat of the matter.  You want a virtual cluster, the first thing you have to do is create your own portable domain.  Start with a plain vanilla install of Windows 2003 R2 Standard on a semi-default VM. (1 GB RAM, 2 cores, 2 NICs, 128GB dynamically expanding VHD file).  I chose this because it had the smallest disk and memory footprint of any current supported Microsoft Server product.  I created the VM with a single dynamically expanding VHD, one fixed 16 GB VHD, and two NICs.  One NIC is connected to the outside world...

posted @ Wednesday, March 24, 2010 10:42 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General Hardware Microsoft High Availability ]

Clustering for Mere Mortals (Pt2)

Part 2 - Where I plan my Cluster.

posted @ Thursday, February 18, 2010 4:27 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft High Availability ]

PASS Summit 2009 Musings

The 2009 PASS community summit was a fantastic week.  There is something about Seattle (rain) that makes this conference special(hills).  Only the top folks get to present and they bring their best game.  Learning here really is a lot like taking a drink from a fire hose, except you always want more. The best part of the Summit is being in a group of fellow database professionals.  Folks who understand a SELECT joke. Let's face it, most of us DBAs work alone or nearly so.  Only a few large organizations have more than one or two of us on the payroll. Being surrounded by...

posted @ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 10:30 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

Auto-Fragmenting Databases

Anyone who has spent time in the computer business and has some grasp of hardware issues understands fragmentation.  For those whose concept of hardware is limited to “it’s the part I can kick”, here is a quick and painless overview. I like analogies   so let’s think of a disk drive as a very large, tall building having many rooms and many floors.  The disk head is you.  Your task is to run around and “read” something from particular rooms (blocks).   A simple thought exercise would suggest it is easier to read rooms “in order” on a floor rather than scattered...

posted @ Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:06 PM | Feedback (8) | Filed Under [ SQL General Hardware ]

Free Space Fundamentals

One of the easy ways to fail at database administration is to allow your databases to self-manage space.  Autogrow is a safety valve, not a pressure regulator.  Of course, to manage space you have to know exactly how much free space you have.  And since database objects are stored in filegroups, it would help to see free space by filegroups buth in MB and in percentages.  Well, here you go. For those not familiar with my administration style, all my servers have an Admin database to store stuff like this.  use Admin go ----- Create the following table or results come back empty --Create...

posted @ Friday, December 05, 2008 4:31 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

PowerShell, Sport of the Future

No wait, that’s kickboxing.  PowerShell is the something of the future.  The management interface, the uber-scripting language, the what???      PowerShell, and its SQL-targeted implementation shipped with SQL Server 2008, brings to mind Michael Faraday’s response when asked “What use is electricity?”  He replied “What use is a newborn baby?”  PowerShell is somewhat of a newborn baby, much like the very early versions of SQL-based databases were.  We see how those databases have grown and transformed IT and business in ways we never thought of.  Maybe the future of PowerShell is just as bright? Enough philosophy, let’s see if we can put this...

posted @ Monday, September 29, 2008 12:20 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft ]

Side-by-Side !Solution

Solutions and Projects were one of the really cool features introduced in SQL Server 2005, judging from the responses I got when I showed how it works.  Personally, I use them a lot.  SQL 2008 has the same feature in SQL Server Management Studio.  However, SSMS 2008 breaks this feature in SQL 2005 SSMS when installed side-by-side. See all the ugly details here:  https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=361706 This also affects 64-bit systems, I just happened to find it on a 32-bit box first. I am guessing that this failure is inherited from SSMS's Visual Studio ancester, which may make it difficult for the SQL team to fix.. ...

posted @ Thursday, August 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General Low Availability ]

More, More, More

Fast on the heels of SQL 2008 is the Feature Pack for SQL 2008.  Cool goodies include stand-alone installers for SQLCMD and the SQL Native Client,  SQL 2008 Server Management Objects, SQL 2008 pre-defined Policies, and lots more.  You can find it here. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=C6C3E9EF-BA29-4A43-8D69-A2BED18FE73C  

posted @ Wednesday, August 13, 2008 1:45 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General Hardware Microsoft ]

Wait for it...

It looks like SQL 2008 may have a slight dependency issue.  If you have already installed Visual Studio 2008, you will be blocked from installing SQL 2008 until you install Visual Studio SP1.  The problem is that Visual Studio SP1 is not released yet.  Our guys came in ahead of schedule and they still get no respect. Not to worry, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 should be out very soon (think days, not weeks) and this problem goes away. Microsoft actually documented this issue here: Visual Studio 2008 SP1 may be required for SQL 2008 Installations http://support.microsoft.com/kb/956139 --GNH UPDATE:  It's Here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=FBEE1648-7106-44A7-9649-6D9F6D58056E&displaylang=en

posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2008 1:09 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft Low Availability ]

DONE!!!

SQL 2008 is finished.  MSDN has all the bits downloadable now.  Expect retail versions shortly.

posted @ Wednesday, August 06, 2008 2:06 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft ]

Speaking Schedule

If you feel an uncontrollable urge to listen to my voice or to meet me in person, here is your chance. You can listen to me on Greg Low's SQL Down Under Podcast. I discuss SQL Clustering, SANs, and ramble on about other topics as well. http://www.sqldownunder.com/PreviousShows/tabid/98/Default.aspx I will be joining Kevin Kline and Hilary Cotter on a webcast for Quest Software on April 9th. We will be discussing features in the forthcoming SQL 2008 product. http://www.quest.com/events/listdetails.aspx?contentid=7059&searchoff=true&technology=34&prod=&prodfamily=&loc= And I will be speaking at the SQLSaturday #3 event in Jacksonville, Florida on May 3rd. http://www.sqlsaturday.com/default.aspx    

posted @ Thursday, March 27, 2008 10:36 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

Leverage

One definition of leverage is "the use of a small initial investment, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to one's investment, to control a much larger investment, or to reduce one's own liability for any loss." (Courtesy Dictionary.Com). In programming, the smallest change we can make is a single bit. The next smallest change and the one we can make most effectively in human-readable source code is a single character. This story is how changing one character in a 300 line stored procedure removed 90% of the impact of the worst single query on...

posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2008 9:23 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

SQL 2008 CTP5 First Glance

Microsoft began releasing SQL 2008 CTP5 yesterday through Connect. It should hit MSDN within a few days so everyone can play along. The most obvious change for this release is a much-needed improvement replacement of the installer. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the installer is being totally re-engineered. We still don't have clustering support in this CTP, but the basic installer changes are now included. While there are a few "fit and finish" items that need cleanup, the overall design of the installer is very good. The requirements checker is much...

posted @ Friday, November 16, 2007 2:11 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ SQL General ]

Online Reindex = ON

For the past several editions, SQL Books On-Line (BOL) has helpfully included a script to rebuild or defragment (since 2000) an index. Being Microsoft, this script is NOT located under the reindex or defragmentation topic, it is included in the fragmentation analysis section. For SQL 2000, this is DBCC SHOWCONTIG. For SQL 2005, they rewrote it to use the new system views and stashed it under sys.dm_db_physical_stats. It also uses the new ALTER INDEX command rather than the older DBCC DBREINDEX or DBCC INDEXDEFRAG command. However, this script does not allow you to take advantage of online indexing My first...

posted @ Thursday, November 01, 2007 9:35 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ SQL General High Availability ]

BEGIN TRY

Hopefully, I won't need a CATCH Block.   In case that opening sentence didn't give you a hint, I am a bit of a tech geek.  Bill Graziano talked me into joining this merry band while at the PASS summit last week.  While I enjoy answering questions on newsgroups, this will give me a way to initiate conversations.  I looked around and decided SQLTeam would be a good place to stand and pontificate. And now for some real SQL content. Sort of.  Based on a lot of presentations by Microsoft on proposed features and bug fixes, I have to conclude that Connect really matters. ...

posted @ Tuesday, September 25, 2007 2:40 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ SQL General Microsoft ]

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