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SQL Saturday 294 Philadelphia, Nostalgic!

SQL Saturday 294 Philadelphia, Nostalgic!

Less than a week left and I’m extremely excited about SQL Saturday in Philly on June 7th, 2014 and the Precon the day before (I signed up for Allan Hirt’s).  I lived in Philadelphia for about 10 years during which I went to college, had my first two full-time jobs, and my first to kids were born in that area. This SQL Saturday is going to be a blast from the past for me.  The actual event takes place in Malvern PA which is off of 202 in the Northwestern Region of the Philadelphia suburbs.  It is part of the “mainline” and close to Valley Forge, King of Prussia and other historic/tourist attractions.  I used to work in the Mainline area for Johnson Matthey in Wayne (and part time in Malvern) so I’m very excited about taking this trip back to visit friends and family.

For those of you that don’t know about SQL Saturday it is a fantastic event. Here are some of the reasons I’ve encouraged people to attend SQL Saturday events:

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SQL Saturday #277 Richmond – Covering new ground

SQL Saturday #277 Richmond – Covering new ground

SQL Saturday has been a fantastic experience for me here in the DC area (I blogged about it here) and I hope for the same thing in Richmond.  This is my first time to attend a SQL Saturday in a city outside my area of residency, and I will also be speaking there.  This is a bit of a new journey and one that I think I will enjoy.

This is a new experience and one that I have been excited about since speaking with Wayne Sheffield about it at the DC SQL Saturday in December 2013. I have him to thank for encouraging me to spread my wings and I hope for a smooth ride upward from here.  That is the embodiment of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) after all; to establish life long learning and grow the community by giving back.  I think I could probably do a commercial for them or be a PASS spokesperson.  Seriously though, I’ve learned so many things that have helped my career for free or a very low cost.

For this SQL Saturday, I’m also planning to attend the PreCon event scheduled for the day before.  There is still time to register by going to the main site for the event here. I’ve selected to go to session by Robert Davis for my PreCon and it was a hard choice because the “Murder Thy Wrote” PreCon was very appealing as well and I hope to catch that one at the next SQL Saturday I attend.

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TheSQLPro YouTube Channel

TheSQLPro YouTube Channel

That’s right, it’s time to take this blog up a notch!  Last week I posted a video about using Hyper-V on Windows 8 to design your own SQL Lab.  I’m starting to like the whole concept of adding video to my blog. If a picture is worth 1000 words so a video at 30fps should be about 30,000 words per second. Well I guess you can’t do the math like that but it was worth a try! Now you don’t have to just read my posts anymore, you can enjoy the sound of my voice speaking geek at you while clicking all over the screen to show you how things are done.

So how do I get to this YouTube channel you speak of? Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/TheSQLPro or you can just click on the top navigation menu where it says “Video.”

There isn’t much up on the channel yet but later this month I will be releasing a very special video series. No hints, that’s all I’m saying. This is just the start with hopefully a lot more quality content to come in 2014.

A huge thanks to all my blog readers/supports/subscribers for their support and feedback over the last 18 months. This is blog post #60 and I just wanted to say thanks for being the driving force that keeps me blogging!

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Videos

 

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SQL Saturday DC Lessons Learned – Humility, Paying it Forward, and Dedication

SQL Saturday DC Lessons Learned – Humility, Paying it Forward, and Dedication

This past weekend I attended SQL Saturday #233 in Washington DC. I presented a session this year titled “Backup and Recovery Fundamentals.” There was a great turn out of the session, with the room filled.  Although there were some technical issues at the start but I got great support from the volunteers there.  The feedback from the session was excellent, which means people learned and my goal was achieved.  As for myself, I attended three sessions that day and I learned a lot more than just technical information.

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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Other

 

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Why SQL Server Professionals should love Windows 8

Why SQL Server Professionals should love Windows 8

Alright, I’ve got your attention. You’re probably thinking “who is this crazy guy that is using the word Love with Windows 8 in the same sentence?” Honestly though, I have not had many problems with Windows 8 and I’ve been happy running it for a long time. I’m actually disappointed that I don’t have Windows 8 at my job, so I can only use it at home. It has been extremely beneficial for me for my SQL Server related work. Why? And why am I stalling to answer your question? And why am I going to change the subject to Hyper-V?

If you’re still reading, then great, you’ve got the patience for what is coming next. Windows 8 Pro includes a Hyper Visor in it (Hyper-V to be exact).  I’m not talking about software to connect to virtual environments, I’m talking about an actual Hyper Visor that allows you to create and manage virtual machines.  Once you enable the option you’re ready to go after a restart, it’s that simple.

So what does this have to do with me as a SQL Server Professional? Well, how else are you going to build your own lab environment at home or at work where you can play around, build and break things, and be your own domain admin (warning: power may go to your head on that last one). It’s all part of your life long learning journey and your drive to become a better SQL Server Professional and get the latest and greatest version on your machine to test out without ruining your OS. It so happens that I’m a nice guy, and I’ll show you how to get your environment setup and how to create “templates” for future VMs with this Hyper-V Tricks for the SQL Professional Video I put together.

Are you ready to push SQL Server to it’s limits, test things you’ve never tested before, build and break environments without losing your job? If the answer is yes then this video is for you! When you’re done with this video make sure you check out my Virtual SQL Server Lab with Clustering post to enhance your own Virtual playground.

PowerShell Scripts mentioned in video (Remember to rename your VM if you like and to change the paths to match your setup):

new-vm -Name “SQLPS” -MemoryStartupBytes 2048MB -Path R:\HyperV\

new-vhd -ParentPath “R:\HyperV\SQL 2012 Template\SQL2012 Template Drive.vhdx” -Path R:\HyperV\SQLPS\SQLPS.vhdx -Differencing

Add-VMHardDiskDrive -VMName SQLPS -Path “R:\HyperV\SQLPS\SQLPS.vhdx”

 

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I’m speaking at SQL Server Saturday #233 – Washington DC!

I’m speaking at SQL Server Saturday #233 – Washington DC!

It’s that time of the year again when SQL Saturday makes its way back to the Washington DC Area. Here is a link to register and to get all the details you need http://www.sqlsaturday.com/233/eventhome.aspx. I hope to meet a lot of new SQL Server professionals this year. Last year, I met a gentleman that now works with me, so as you can see networking pays off 🙂

Now this year’s SQL Saturday is a little different for me because I will be one of the speakers! I am very excited, as well as a little nervous.  I think having some nervousness helps me prepare because I mentally tell myself “makes sure you know what you are talking about so you don’t look like an idiot!” My topic will be about the fundamentals of Backup and Recovery with SQL Server.  It is targeted towards beginners and here is a brief abstract:

Backup and Recovery are essential parts of and DBA’s job. After all, if you lose your data you lose your job so you need a great backup strategy. In this session we will cover Recovery Models, Backup Types, Backup Strategy, Restores, RTO, RPO, and understanding how your Transaction Log is maintained through backups.

Finally, I wanted to share my thoughts on some of the other interesting sessions that are being held that I will be trying to attend. My disclaimer is that there are so many really great sessions that it is almost impossible to pick sometimes.

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SQL Live 360 Competition Winner and Answers!

SQL Live 360 Competition Winner and Answers!

About a month ago I started a competition (hosted by the event organizers) to give away a free pass to the SQL Live 360 Conference in Orlando. You can still get a $500 discount by registering through this link by the way.

Now it is time to announce the winner and give some feedback about the winning answers to the questions.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Other

 

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Slides for SQL Server Internals Presentation with PASS DC Chapter

Slides for SQL Server Internals Presentation with PASS DC Chapter

For those of you that attended yesterday and are interested in the slides, you can download them here.

Thanks!
Topic:
SQL Server Internals Party: Storage, Memory and the Query Life-cycle

Abstract:
Come meet the Internals of SQL Server at this special get-together! In this presentation we will cover the basics of data storage and querying with SQL Server. We will cover how data is stored in pages and extents and how that translates to data reads/writes with the storage system. Additionally, we will explore how different queries are processed by SQL Server and how the query life cycle works in general. Finally we will cover disk storage and memory and tie it all together. This session is intended to be broad and to give a general overview of how a query is processed in SQL Server and how storage and memory play a part in that. Everyone is invited to this introductory level presentation and should be appealing to DBAs, DB & BI Developers and System Administrators. Party hats not included, rated G for Geeks.

 

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SQL Server Internals Presentation with PASS DC Chapter October 10, 2013

SQL Server Internals Presentation with PASS DC Chapter October 10, 2013

If you’re in the DC/Baltimore area, or just feel like coming to DC to learn about SQL Server, please join me for my presentation on SQL Server Internals. The date is Thursday October 10, 2013 at 6:30PM at the Microsoft Building in Chevy Chase. For more details please visit http://passdc.sqlpass.org/
Topic:
SQL Server Internals Party: Storage, Memory and the Query Life-cycle

Abstract:
Come meet the Internals of SQL Server at this special get-together! In this presentation we will cover the basics of data storage and querying with SQL Server. We will cover how data is stored in pages and extents and how that translates to data reads/writes with the storage system. Additionally, we will explore how different queries are processed by SQL Server and how the query life cycle works in general. Finally we will cover disk storage and memory and tie it all together. This session is intended to be broad and to give a general overview of how a query is processed in SQL Server and how storage and memory play a part in that. Everyone is invited to this introductory level presentation and should be appealing to DBAs, DB & BI Developers and System Administrators. Party hats not included, rated G for Geeks.

Date/Time: October 10, 2013 @ 6:30PM

Location:
Microsoft Technology Center
5404 Wisconsin Ave. Ste. 700
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

 

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Spend some quality time with your Database using Database Snapshots for testing

Spend some quality time with your Database using Database Snapshots for testing

First let’s get things straight, this post is not an encouragement for anyone to spend more time with his/her Database or with Database Snapshots for that matter. If you’re married to your Database, that’s a different story all together and I don’t think I could help you. As database professionals we are always looking to improve the quality of our code and data.  This post is intended to show an easy way to use Database Snapshots in order to  test new code or change data and revert changes back quickly and easily.

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SQL Server Management Studio Rainbow Edition

SQL Server Management Studio Rainbow Edition

Ever wanted to know the reason behind the Database color scheme in SQL Server Management Studio?

I have always wondered why all the Databases in management studio were Yellow (Online), Grey (Read-Only), Lighter Yellow with text next to it (something like Restoring), or Yellow with a Red Icon (Offline). Have you ever wondered why there aren’t any more useful colors like Red for when a Transaction Log is Full or Purple when your Statistics are Outdated. I have a theory on this that I have entitled “The Theory that you have to actually work to call yourself a DBA.”

colorful databases

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How to Avoid a Database “Heart Attack”

How to Avoid a Database “Heart Attack”

For the past couple of months I have been working with Ben Weiss a Digital Marketing Strategist at Infusive Solutions (http://www.infusivesolutions.com/). Our partnership was based on a mutual understanding that there is much needed career growth and guidance among IT Professionals. Since my background is primarily with Database Management Systems I have been helping him with writing articles, guides, and even interview questions for top professionals in the field, all for the purpose of furthering the careers of IT professionals.

Our latest project is a Lessons Learned pamphlet based on several articles I wrote about a year ago after attending open heart surgery (as an observer, not a patient). Here is the link to the final product, I hope you enjoy and benefit from it.

Here is a link to a summary of the project
http://www.infusivesolutions.com/blog/bid/98928/3-Ways-Business-Observation-Catalyzes-SQL-Server-DBA-Job-Growth

 

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Email Response: SQL Server 2012 Planning and Architecture

Email Response: SQL Server 2012 Planning and Architecture

I received an email from a connection on LinkedIn seeking some advice for architecture on a new reporting system. Although I don’t know the gentleman personally, he is a SQL Server professional and I felt obliged to help out a fellow colleague in the field. The email is included below and my suggested solutions following it.

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Estimate Table Size based on the Metadata from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS

Estimate Table Size based on the Metadata from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS

A problem I face often is not knowing the size of a new table that I’m creating. I put some basic code together that pulls the column information from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS and with some basic math gets the approximate size of the table based on the estimated number of rows.

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Free SQL Server 2012 Installation Guide

Free SQL Server 2012 Installation Guide

Everyone’s favorite four letter word is back, FREE! Yes, it is time I gave back to the community since I’ve been mooching off them them for so long. I’ve put together a short Installation Guide for those interested in getting their feet wet with SQL Server. I’m trying to encourage those that have no experience to get a little curious and try to install SQL Server and play with it.  Maybe afterward you can even try to set up your own Clustered SQL Server Virtual Lab with Hyper-V. Just trying to rub off some of the enthusiasm and passion, did it work?

Anyway you can view the guide Here on Google Docs or Download it Here as PDF. It is just a first draft, so please feel free to add your suggestions or point out mistakes and I will try to fix it ASAP.

You can also read it right off of this page… check it out by clicking “Read the rest of this entry”

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SQL Server 2012 Virtual Lab with Clustering using Hyper-V

SQL Server 2012 Virtual Lab with Clustering using Hyper-V

After having a great opportunity to attend a Beta course for Hyper-V with Windows 2012 at Learning Tree, I decided to finally do what I have been planning to do for a while; build a fully working SQL Server Clustered Virtual Lab.

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SQL Saturday in Washington D.C. December 8, 2012

SQL Saturday in Washington D.C. December 8, 2012

This is my first time attending a SQL Saturday event and I’m quite excited. If you live in or near the D.C. Metro area I hope to see you there. If you have not registered, you still have a chance:

http://sqlsaturday.com/173/eventhome.aspx

I’ve put together a short list of the sessions that I am planning to attend with some brief reasons why. Hope to see you all there!

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SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse


The SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse are very high end builds of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008R2 product; and SQL 2012 in the future. I’ve been intrigued by these products so I’ve started to learn about it. They have both been on the market for a while, but I’ve just recently been exposed to the technology and it has been exciting to learn more and more about it.

James Serra was kind enough to take the time to point me in the right direction with a great post that he wrote up last year:
http://www.jamesserra.com/archive/2011/08/microsoft-sql-server-parallel-data-warehouse-pdw-explained/

Here are some additional resources about this product:
https://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/solutions-technologies/data-warehousing/pdw.aspx

http://dwjunkie.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/parallel-data-warehouse-pdw-poc-lessons-learned/

Finally, a very nice set of videos provided by the Microsoft Virtual Academy:

https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/breakthrough-insights-using-microsoft-sql-server-2012-scalable-data-warehouse

Module 2  talks about the PDW architecture. Module 4 talks about the Fast Track Datawarehouse; which is a product that sits between your custom build of SQL Server and the PDW. Of course all the other modules are useful, but just in case you wanted to take a quick dive into material related to the PDW you should go for Modules 2 and 4.

 

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Listing server and database roles for all logins and users in SQL Server – Part 3 – Using SSRS Reports to Monitor and Fix security problems

Listing server and database roles for all logins and users in SQL Server – Part 3 – Using SSRS Reports to Monitor and Fix security problems

Finally the epic conclusion to my three part series about listing server and database roles. In this post I will show you how to create SSRS report to use for regular tracking or auditing purposes. This is a much easier and cleaner way of looking at the data and you can provide it to other team members or even your manager.

You can read Part 1 here if you haven’t yet.
You can read Part 2 here if you haven’t yet.

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Listing server and database roles for all logins and users in SQL Server – Part 2 – Remote Servers

Listing server and database roles for all logins and users in SQL Server – Part 2 – Remote Servers

Building upon the code in my previous post, I will be retrieving permissions information from remote servers that I have access to. This was a little more difficult to accomplish because security is different on different servers and I did not want to create Linked Servers with escalated permissions. Read only SQL users was an option, however there is no good way to make sure that these users will have read permissions on all current and future databases. It took a while to over come these challenges but I got it working; obviously since I have this blog post.

You can read Part 1 here if you haven’t yet.

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