Monthly Archives: October 2011

DBA Week 2 A follow up to your first day.

I wanted to get a follow up post to my recommendations for DBA’s for the first day on the job post.   After a very busy week last week here is where I stand on my list and what I should add for the next week.

  1.  Get a list of Servers I’ll be managing/owning: I’ve got the list, can’t say I have access to all of them but working through that.
  2. Run the SP_Blitz: I’ve got this done on several servers and honestly haven’t done a ton of analysis on it yet.  Still high on the list.
  3.  Get a DBA database created on each server: Done for known servers.
  4. Create the server side trace: Done for the primary prod servers.
  5. Create perfmon counters: Done for the primary prod servers.
  6.  Install SSMS tools pack: Done (and it’s already saved me),
  7. Check the backups/backup schedule: Taken care of by a managed host provider, many changes in store for this one.
  8. Check the security model and who has access to the DB: Figured out most of this and some changes are in plan for the future as well.

Things to Add after your first week.

  1. Developer communication/training.  We have a developer training planned this week and I’m prepping a presentation based on performance tuning and some of the procedures I’ve worked on over the last week.   It’s a great time to start building relationships with the DEV team and working with them to improve the app and server even more.
  2. Slow procedures/query tuning.  Now that you’ve had your trace and performance counters in place start researching what you can do to improve the performance of the server.   Perhaps hardware is needed or memory settings need to be changed.   We saw a big increase because of a server mis-configuration in the memory settings.
  3. DMV’s,  I want to get these into the first week list but didn’t have a chance and don’t have an automated procedure but am researching some right now and plan to have them running in the next week.  Capturing query info and index info in DMV’s are key.
  4. Optimizations, unfortunately there is still a lot of mis-informaiton out there about what needs to be re-indexed/rebuilt and checked.  I’ve found a very heavy optimization job running on the servers and need to re-factor this to really help the performance of the server.  This is top on my list as it’s running into prod time and needs to get fixed.  I’ve also found Shrink jobs running (never a good thing).
  5. Last major suggestion for this week is be cautious.   You’ll find lots of things that you want to change and you may be tempted to start making wide sweeping changes but be careful.  If your systems haven’t been looked at by DBA eyes for a while then making large sweeping changes could have a huge impact on the system.   Make sure to document and test anything you put into place.  One method I use for this is getting a mailbox setup that I can email my changes to and store them that way I have a history.  If you have a Team of DBA’s with you this works well to inform all of them at once.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to blog out mid next week with some of the scripts I’ve been talking about.   Let’s see how this week 2 goes for me. 🙂

First day on the job as a DBA

So I’m starting out a new job today and figured I would write up a checklist of things I needed to complete to own the Databases I have to start managing.

  1.  Get a list of Servers I’ll be managing/owning.  This can be done with a script or just by the company letting you know which ones.  It’s not a bad idea using the script to find some other servers that might be out there that the company was not aware of.  Pinal Dave has a good example of this on his blog.
  2. Run the SP_Blitz script from Brent Ozar (blog | Twitter) this is full of all sorts of good tidbits on what you need to look at for a server.  Check out the blog post in the link above and it will fill you in on the many great things this script can do for you.
  3. Get a DBA database created on each server.  I typically use this to house all sorts of maintenance type things and monitoring and alerting.  Every DBA should have a DB to call their own.
  4. Create the server side trace.  Years ago back in SQL 2000 I wrote a server side profiler trace that would run all the time and store the contents down to a table that I could later review to watch performance of queries hitting the DB.  Over the year’s fellow DBA’s have made updates to the script and made it better and it’s one of those key things I still depend on now.  I should get a future blog post out on this one.
  5. Create perfmon counters.  I store perfmon counters down to a db through an odbc connection in perfmon.  This way I can use a custom set of reports I’ve created to report trends on my server/db performance.  This also gets me started on my benchmark and knowing where things are when I started.  I should have some future blogs on this.
  6.  Install SSMS tools pack.  No one should go without this tool.   Saved me more times than I can count I would suggest it to everyone.
  7. Check the backups/backup schedule.  Blitz script is going to tell me some of this but I want to make a point to check with the business as to what the backups schedule is and make sure that matches what is really happening.
  8. Check the security model and who has access to the DB.  Again Blitz script might tell me some of this but I’ll make it a point to make sure something like domain admins don’t have full rights to the db and there are 100 people in domain admins (yes I’ve seen this before).

This is all the primary things I could come up with on day 1.  There’s still more items I’m sure but these are key and all have to be in place so I can continue moving forward from here I should have a good base to work with.

If you have other suggestions  let me know!

A Much Deserved Thank You to Wayne and Rick

I wrote 4 blog posts about my PASS Summit experience this weekend and still plan to publish those.  I decided to make some changes though and will publish the rest of the posts later.  With all the talk in the community yesterday with #sqlsue and #sqlidiot I decided I needed to write a positive blog post about this great community.

On the Last day of the PASS Summit an important tribute was made.  They honored Wayne Snyder with an award for his contribution to the PASS Community.

Wayne at the Volunteer Party

Years ago I attended the PASS summit for the first time in Florida and heard Wayne speak about why you should volunteer for PASS.  Here is the quote they used from me on stage for Wayne.

Wayne showed me the definition of speaking with passion.  He inspired me through his presentations to keep volunteering and opening a whole new world of possibilities for me because of it.  Thanks to his dedication and passion many more have been inspired.  Thank you Wayne from all of us you inspired. 

Wayne not only inspired me at the beginning of my volunteer career but also helped me years later when I was a PASS Board member.  I’m very thankful for all the time he has put into this community.  Thank you Wayne for all that you have done for us.

Rick Heiges

The same keynote on Friday morning made another big announcement.  Rick Heiges (Blog |Twitter ) is also rolling off the PASS Board.  Rick has been on the board longer than anyone I’ve ever known.  Rick’s created some great programs for us here at PASS and has given thousands of hours to the community.  He’s been a good friend and always inspired me to keep innovating new ideas for the community.  I can’t thank him enough for the many late night chats over a Rum and Diet Coke.  Thank you Rick for all that you have done for us!

The community will continue to grow and our SQL Family will get bigger and bigger.  I’m very honored to  know some of the best people in the community. With every passing summit and every SQL Saturday I meet even more great people in the community.   Thank you to all of you.

PASS Summit 2011 (1 of 5) Sunday and Monday

PASS Summit Sunday and Monday

This post is the first in a series of 5 posts wrapping up the PASS Summit 2011 for me.

Welcome to the PASS Summit!

I knew I had no chance of writing summary blogs during the summit; way too much is going on and way to many late nights.  I figured there was no better way to keep the summit high going then writing a series of blog posts summarizing my days at the summit.  Of course I’ll help us all remember with some pictures as well.

My summit experience started early Sunday morning when I boarded a plane from SLC to Seattle.  I got into Seattle around 9:30 a.m. quickly got my rental car and headed out for a little town called Index, WA (where else would a DBA go?).

Index, WA

It was nice getting out of the city and seeing some of the great scenery in Washington.

Waterfall near Index, WA

On my way back into the city I stopped by Kerry Park.  The place where you get the cool postcard shots of the city, this is great at night time or day time.

Seattle Skyline

The rest of the day was spent checking in/registering and catching up with friends at the tap house.

Jason Strate Celebrating!

Monday was the big photowalk, for the first time ever we were rained out (surprising I know). So we decided to go inside and do some training on how to use your camera and playing with the lights I brought for another shoot later in the week.  The training might become a regular thing for photowalks I got a lot of compliments that said it helped and it was a lot of fun.

Jes and Tim

After the indoor photowalk we headed down to Pikes place market a favorite place to take photographs in Seattle.  The group got together for some Great Russian food at a café in pikes place.

Pikes Place Market

See a Summary of Sunday and Monday Pictures here.

Photo Opportunity at the PASS Summit

Keynote at the PASS Summit

I take a different approach to the summit than many other people.  Sure I’m going to network and see my great friends I’ve made in this community.  I’m also going to get the best training/content I can’t get anywhere else.  For me though there is a little more.  For many years I’ve approached the summit with a photographers view.

I really started getting into photography about 5 years ago and started enjoying it as a hobby as I got farther into it and as my skills possessed I learned I could finally make some of the pictures and ideas I had in my head.  I started to make photographs instead of just taking snapshots.  The PASS summit is hard for me since I want to use my knowledge to make the right photograph but I also find that the best photographs at the pass summit are the ones that just happen.

This year I’ll once again be carrying a camera and looking for the same thing I have every year.

SQL Royalty

Something that captures “PASS”, maybe that’s a first timer seeing the quiz bowl for the first time or someone meeting SQL Royalty Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp for the first time.  Whatever it may be I’m going to do my best to try and find it.

That’s great Pat but what’s your point here?    My photos are always open to the community and for use by everyone.  My goal this year is to come back with photos that you can use in future presentations and future websites.  Not just talking about photos PASS can use but all the SQL community.  My challenge to you, as you fly/bike/ride/walk/travel to the PASS summit is what ideas do you have that you would like to see or use in a future presentation related to SQL?   I would love to see an email/comment or hit me up in the halls telling me what you would like to see in a photo that you could use.  I’ll work on making it happen.

Jason being Jason.  :)

As always my photos will be streaming through an Eye-fi card to this flick album (here) so even if you’re not at the summit you will be able to tune in and see what’s going on.  My final photos after editing will end up on my Smugmug site (here).  If you would like to use one of my pictures you need only to ask, safe travels to all my SQL family and looking forward to seeing you all soon.

See you in Seattle!


New beginnings

My world keeps changing.

Recently I was approached by this wonderful gentleman that needed some help with some DB work and he offered a lunch to discuss the position.  I figured I would go to lunch and let him know about the great events we had coming up in the community that could not only help him find someone but could get his team exposed to lots of great content.   Unfortunately I’m a lousy sales person.   Adam (@AdamEdmunds) told me about the SSAS projects they had in the works and what they were looking to do and I was intrigued.  After a few more emails and discussions I was hooked on the idea.

In a few short weeks I’ll start with Allegiance.   I’m really stoked about getting started on the projects they are currently working on.  We collect Survey/Feedback for customers from multiple sources to present that data to the customer.   I’ll be working as a Dba/DW/Architect basically anything that is needed on the DB.  One of the unique aspects to the company is providing DW/BI as a service to our customers.  For anyone that knows and understands the DW/BI space it’s not a simple thing to use a SAAS (Software as a Service) model for DW/BI.  This should be an excellent challenge that I’ll share in the future though blogging.  Looking forward to the challenge the position will bring.  If you’re at the summit and you do a DW/BI in a SAAS model I would love to chat!

Tomorrow I’ll be back to my blogging about the PASS summit coming up next week!  See you all there!