Category Archives: Tsql2sday

My Road Map….Someone folded it (T-SQL Tuesday #42)

tsql2sday

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is brought to us from Wendy Pastrick (Blog |Twitter). She wanted us to talk about the road map in our career or what we have done to get to the point we are now in our career.  

This is an interesting idea for me for 2 reasons.  1.  While you are reading this I’m driving to Las Vegas for a conference for my company.  So you could say I’m driving on my road map now!  The other reason I’ll explain below.

Personally it’s very interesting for me to look back on my Road Map since it’s changed greatly since when I started.  I can still remember being a Customer Service Lead and talking to my manager when she asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years.  I said I was hoping to get a CAN/CNE certification and be a Network Administrator.  6 months later we inherited a Database app from another company and my life changed forever.  I became the accidental DBA we all talk about and from that point forward started a path towards the data world.

Fast forward about 10 years and here I am facing another new path.  For the last several months my focus and time has been on the Hadoop Ecosystem.  1.5 years ago I started with a new company and ran into a similar problem I’ve faced many times.  Reads/Writes contending on the same SQL DB because we had no reporting environment to send the queries against, I set out to create such a reporting environment and both succeeded and failed in a lot of ways.  We’ve decided now to take the good from that environment and migrate it into a Lamp/open source system that can horizontally scale at an excellent cost to the company.  We are about a month out from some really serious testing of the system and I’m about as excited as I have ever been about any technology I’ve used.

What my “Road Map” has taught me through all these years is best summed up by one of my all-time favorite sayings.

“It’s not about the Destination, It’s about the Journey”

I’ve learned that even though I have had many destinations on my road map, the place that I’ve learned the most and grown the most as a Data Professional were the times when I went on a journey to find something.  My suggestion to anyone working on the Road Map is pick out some destinations but make sure you take that road less travelled from time to time.  I think you will find you will look back on those times more than any destination you reach.

Good luck in your Journey!

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T-SQL Tuesday #36 SQL Community how you can get involved

Today’s T-SQL Tuesday topic is on the SQL Community.   Let’s start with the housekeeping side of things.  This is a T-SQL Tuesday post.  This time hosted by Chris Yates (B|T). The Topic is SQL Community.

So how has the community helped me?   Well really everything I’ve done has been thanks to the community.  Thanks to Wayne Snyder and Rick Heiges for really inspiring me to get into volunteering all those years ago in Orlando in 2004.  That kick started my participation not only in my local community but nationally in the PASS Organization.     It helped me to meet up with great friends Allen Kinsel and Thomas Larock as well they kept me wanting to continue to volunteer and help the community.

I have spent the last 8 years volunteering for the SQL community and doing my best to give back to the community.  I figured the best way I could help with the post is to give you some ways you can start by getting involved in the community and helping out.

1.  Find your Local SQL Server SLC User Group and ask if you can help organize a meeting. PASS Chapter List

2.  Present locally, Find a topic you are passionate about and offer to present at the local chapter.  Pass chapter List

3.  Volunteer for PASS, You can find the volunteers page here to contact PASS.

4.  Volunteer at a SQL Saturday, You can find the list here and contact the organizers.

5. Mentor a fellow Data professional.  Even if this is just at your own office or a friend from another company getting together and helping others can get you started in the community.

6.  Start your own SQL Chapter.  If you are really adventurous and up for a challenge get started by starting a chapter.    You can find more information at the Chapter link above.

These are all great ways you can get started in the community, so get out there and help out!  Regardless of what you choose to do whether to help others or not you should get involved in some way you will be very thankful you did.

T-SQL Tuesday #15 Summary

T-SQL Tuesday #15 is over!

This summary took me a little longer than I expected thanks to a late night of production work on Tuesday.  Wow 34 blogs for T-SQL Tuesday this time.  I really enjoyed reading everyone’s post on Automation.   Many of the tasks that I’m working on since coming to a new company are in the blog posts below.  It will be great to put these tasks to use quickly in my new position.  Hopefully this summary will help others as well to easily find all the answers they need on Automation.

Here’s a link to the original blog post detailing all the information about T-SQL Tuesday #15.

Muthukkumaran Kaliyamoorthy started us off showing how to collect critical errors from SQL Server and sending them out through DbMail.

Robert Cook Aka SQLMashup tells us all about the types of automation tools that you can utilize to make your life easier.  He gives a lot of options and many links about the tools.  Great resource to check out love the Pizza analogy as well.  🙂

Pinal Dave aka SqlAuthority Pinal talks about the good and the bad of Automation.  Sometimes Automated jobs can go very wrong and hurt more than they help.  I like his perspective on this.

Rob Farley Gives us a quick reminder that automation is very helpful to our day to day lives.

Noel “Not Null” Mckinney reminds us that T-SQL can automate just by utilizing it for what it was designed for and keeping others from re-inventing the wheel.  Good job in setting them straight Noel.

Jason E Bacani Jason tells us how to use data driven subscriptions in SSRS to automate the checking of data on a day to day basis.  I agree if you can automate something you should!

Sankar Reddy lets us know to automate our backups and make sure to automate the testing of the restores.

Nick at Dev blog tells us all about the RED product by Wherescape to automate the DataWarehouse load process.  Looks like an interesting tool for loading data.

Robert Hartskeerl tells us to look into powershell and how much it can really do even though we may still be wired for T-SQL.

Mark BroadBent AKA Retracement tells us when some good times to use Automation are and gives us an Awesome script to create a restore script of our database.  Execute caution where you run this one.  🙂

Bob Pusateri gives us a most excellent script in powershell to test our backups.  I was just telling my team to start a project on this exact topic.  They will be starting at this excellent post.  Thanks Bob! 🙂

Ted Krueger shows us a great powershell script using regex to strip off Nolock out of statements.  I could see this easily adapted to lots of cases.

Jonathan Kehayias aka The Rambling DBA gives us a great post explaining the steps you need to take to automate and manage a large scale SQL Server environment.  Even if you don’t have a large scale environment there are great suggestions in here check it out.

David Howard warns us to not get stuck in a Dave process.  Automating at the start will save you more time in the end.  I appreciate the warning from someone that has been there done that as well.  🙂

Chris Shaw poses the question of when do tables need re-indexing and suggests checking out Michelle Ufford and Ola Hallengren’s scripts on Re-indexing.  Having worked with these scripts before I would suggest checking them out!  Check out the post for the links.

Allen Kinsel gives us a simple and easy to use script to grant permissions on objects.  Since I’ve written almost the exact script years ago I’ll gladly call it automation.  I’ve used my variation hundreds of times to save many hours of work.  🙂

Grant Fritchey gives us suggestions on how to keep a server side trace going all the time.  Great suggestions from grant on what you should do to maintain the trace. I typically keep my server side trace running every 15 minutes to store the file and load it to the table.  I have this fully automated so it’s just a sql job that runs.

Kerry Tyler aka AirborneGeek gives us a look at how automation doesn’t have to be fancy and you can use the GUI to get you started on your scripts.  I love this approach since I’ve told many people in the past if you want to see how SQL is doing things just script it out and you’ll start to learn.

Steve Jones aka way0utwest reminds us to not only watch the watcher (watch your automation routines) but keep things simple and don’t try to account for every single anomaly.  This is a great piece of advice as I frequently see people get stuck on scope of a project instead of getting the project done.

Matt Velic shows us an excellent way to automate summarization of data and walks us through how to use SQL Agent to make it run daily.  Well written and great information.

Aaron Bertrand walks us through setting up an entire testing environment with Powershell.  This was totally awesome for me as I’ve used VSTS load testing agents a lot at my last position and this hits home as an easy way to get things setup and running.  Great use of automation!

Brian Garraty aka NULLgarity gives us excellent examples of biting the bullet and going with powershell for his automation.  I’m in the same boat on this one and need to jump in with both feet first!  Thanks for the push!

Robert Davis aka SQLSoldier gives us an excellent post on automating and monitoring Db mirroring.  If you’re using mirroring this one would be a great set of scripts to add to your toolbox.

Wes Brown aka SQLIO gives us a great example of automating pulling the IO stats for your db’s from sys.dm_io_virtual_file_stats.  Having written a procedure just like this last year it gives me some great pointers on things I might want to change.  Well done Wes.

Karen Lopez aka DataChick lets us know that the lazier you are the better data modeler you will be.  🙂  Just kidding, she shows us that automating tasks helps you to be more productive in the things you need to be productive in.  Great suggestions that everyone can use to work better.

John Welch shows us a simple and powerful little script to apply XSLT files to XML files changing the xml files.  This is simplicity with powershell at its best IMHO, great job.

Allen White shows us how to create a script with powershell to backup our logs when they get to close to full.  He also mentions a great idea which is automating your automation scripts by making it so objects can be re-created on the fly.  I love this idea as well and try to put it into many of my automation scripts.

Jason Brimhall gives us a script to size out our database before it reaches Prod.  This looks very handy to help you predict what sort of data size you will need in the future.  Great script to add to the toolbox.

Chad Miller aka Sev17 gives us a script to script out all your SSIS packages from the server to the file system.  This can be very handy if you needed to get lots of packages out of the server and into source control or a file backup of the packages.

Tom Powell aka Philergia advises us all to use SQL Server CMS to manage our servers and automate all our tasks.  This is something I’m planning on looking into in the very near future so it’s a welcome reminder!

Brian Davis gives us a script to go through a list of sql servers and grab what account is running the sql server service.  Great use of Powershell and automation, I can see using this in the future!

Jason Fay aka Dba Star gives us a script to let us know not only when SQL Server restarts but informs you of the status of your databases when you do restart.

Aaron Nelson aka Mr Powershell himself, was probably the most excited about the topic (funny since he was one of the last to get in).  He lets us know that powershell is not just about scripting it can be used for automating and mixing lots of tools together.  Along with the 2 scripts he includes in the post he challenges us to find other scripts he doesn’t yet have in his library.  I suggest we all take him up on that.  🙂

Sal Young came in a little late but gives us a quick reference to a previous post on reading SQL logs with powershell and codeplex project to monitor your sql servers with powershell.

Invitation to T-SQL Tuesday #15 Automation in SQL Server

Having taken part in several T-SQL Tuesday’s I decided I would finally put my name in to host one.  I figured it would be a good way to lose my sanity learn some great ideas from this wonderful SQL community.  I figured that since many of you out there set a goal this year to blog more and to learn Powershell then this Topic should help in both of those goals.    So the topic I have chosen for this month is Automation!   It can be Automation with T-SQL or with Powershell or a mix of both.  Give us your best tips/tricks and ideas for making our lives easier through Automation.  Now here are all the details you’ll need for a successful T-SQL Tuesday post!

What exactly is T-SQL Tuesday? Words from the Master Adam Machanic (Blog|Twitter)

“Each month a blog will host the party, and about a week before the second Tuesday of the month a theme will be posted. Any blogger that wishes to participate is invited to write a post on the chosen topic. The event is called “T-SQL Tuesday”, but any post that is related to both SQL Server and the theme is fair game. So feel free to post about SSIS, SSRS, Java integration, or whatever other technologies you’re working with in conjunction with SQL Server. Even if your post includes no T-SQL we still want to see it.”

The Rules

1.       Your post must go live between 00:00:00 GMT on Tuesday the 8th of February and 00:00:00 GMT on Wednesday the 9th.

2.   Your blog post has to link back to the hosting blog and the link must be anchored from the logo (the blue one shown at the top of this post) which must also appear at the top of the post.

3.  If trackbacks won’t work properly then please leave a comment below so that your post is accounted for in the roundup.

Extra Points

1. Advertise! Include a reference to T-SQL Tuesday in the title of your post.

2. Tweet! Use the hash tag #TSQL2sDay to follow links and other relevant conversations.

3. Host! Consider hosting T-SQL Tuesday yourself. If you’re interested let Adam Machanic Know. If you’ve participated in two T-SQL Tuesdays previously and you keep up your blog (blog monthly for the last six months) then he’ll put you in the rotation.

Looking forward to reading through all the great submissions!

2010 Goals(Resolutions) for #Tsql2sday

It’s a good thing I was being lazy very busy during the holidays and the beginning of the year.  Now I can post my resolutions Goals for my #TSQL2sday post.

So first Housekeeping what is T-SQL Tuesday?

From Adam Machanic (Blog| Twitter) via Midnight DBA (Blog|Twitter)

“Each month a blog will host the party, and about a week before the second Tuesday of the month a theme will be posted. Any blogger that wishes to participate is invited to write a post on the chosen topic. The event is called “T-SQL Tuesday”, but any post that is related to both SQL Server and the theme is fair game. So feel free to post about SSIS, SSRS, Java integration, or whatever other technologies you’re working with in conjunction with SQL Server. Even if your post includes no T-SQL we still want to see it.”

I mentioned last year I’m not a big believer in resolutions but I do have goals for next year.  I’m going to review my goals from last year and then set my tech goals for this year.

Last year I listed my goals on this blog post.

For the first goal was to blend my passion of photography and the PASS Summit together.  I achieved this goal in many ways.

  1. I helped to organize the Pre-Summit Photowalk which was a big hit!
  2. I purchased an Eye-Fi card and uploaded all my pictures to flickr as they  happened. So those that were not at the summit could interact and see what was going on.  I’m happy to say I had over 4000 hits on my flickr stream from those tuning in to see those pictures.  I was really happy with how this ended up.

I wanted to put on a SQL Saturday and I did. With the help of a great crew we organized and put on SQL Saturday #54.  It was a great first start and we’ll be doing it again later this year.

I wanted to present more.  I met the goal of 5 times by presenting at my 2 code camps the SQL Saturday and several user group meetings.  I did not get a chance to attend other SQL Saturdays (besides crashing the Chicago after party).

My last major goal was organization.  I met these both at home and work with getting things organized.  I plan to continue this through 2011.

Goals for 2011

So on to the important part.  2011 is starting out as a big question for me.  I will be on day 2 of a new job and new role when this post goes live.  My underlying Theme/Goal for this year is once again Organization.  My life is usually chaos and I strive very hard to get that in order and most of my goals will reflect that.

  1. 2 Technical blog posts a month.  I plan to blog weekly as I started last year but I don’t have enough good technical content and I need to change that.
  2. 3 solid presentations.  I have 2 presentations currently I feel comfortable giving and really enjoy I need to add another one to that.
  3. Learn other technologies. I’m going into a company that has open source, oracle and many other technologies that are different for me and I’m looking forward to embracing them and learn more about them.
  4. Learn Powershell.  With my new role I know that I’m going to need automation and ways of gathering data in lots of different places. In the past I’ve always used SSIS for this but want to branch out now and learn Powershell to give me more options.
  5. Pass Cert tests.  I have never taken the MS cert tests and I think it’s about time I did.  Hopefully someday I can try for an MCM but even if I don’t succeed in getting the MCM certification I want to learn the knowledge that is required for it.

These are my major Tech goals for 2011.  I am really looking forward to this year and what it holds for me.

T-SQL Tuesday, Why are DBA skills necessary?

I wanted to add my thoughts on this month’s T-SQL Tuesday.  Haven’t heard about T-SQL Tuesday yet? Here are the details on it.

What is T-SQL Tuesday?

If you haven’t seen it yet, T-SQL Tuesday is the brain-child of fellow-MVP Adam Machanic (blog|twitter). It happens once a month on the 2nd Tuesday (different this month) and is hosted by a different person in the SQL community each time. The idea is that it’s kind of a rallying point to get a bunch of people to blog about a particular topic on the same day, giving a wide and varied set of opinions and interpretations of that month’s topic. The host then posts a wrap-up commenting on all the contributions. I think it’s a great idea and I contribute whenever I have time.

The host for this month is Paul Randal (Blog | Twitter)  and here is a link to the original invitation for T-SQL Tuesday  post.

In my opinion DBA’s are the bridge between Development and Operations.  DBA’s possess that level of Technical detail that can allow them to speak in SQL but at the same time talk to the end user/PM/Manager/Customer.  A DBA that has these skills can be very effective in fixing problems when they arise.  Many people joke about what DBA stands for, DBA = Default Blame Acceptor typically.  Whether you accept the blame or not as a DBA it’s a fact that typically you will have many fingers pointed at you when something goes wrong.  Typically in the DBA world you are guilty until you prove otherwise. To be able to handle situations that arise regardless of where the blame lands is why you need DBA skills.

DBA’s typically possess 2 very important skills that set them apart.  Being able to see the 30,000 foot view, like it or not the DB is usually the central source for many applications and processes in a company.  The DBA has to understand this and know how lots of different pieces  work together.  They never have the luxury of only writing there one small piece of code that fetches bacon all day long (apGetBacon stored proc would be nice) .  They need to understand the server, network and code to know how it all works together.

DBA’s are usually very patient as well, having the finger pointed at you constantly for performance problems or size issues (I’m speaking of hard drives of course) makes you learn to be patient and work through the problems.  Most of the time it does appear to be a database issue since that is typically what is central to all the different applications in the company so the DBA has to take the time to find the real problem and to defend the database.

It’s a simple fact that the DB is one of the most critical components of many organizations. This fact alone tells us that DBA skills are very necessary to help improve move the business into the future.  While this is a great question to ask I hope that businesses start focus on  when do we need a DBA to handle one of our most precious commodities?