This morning I was looking through a new vendor database to see exactly what I would be supporting and I stumbled upon a curious table. This table seemed quite normal to the naked eye until I glanced upon the data types. There were four, count them four fields set to VARCHAR(MAX) and two set to NVARCHAR(MAX). First of all, why the inconsistency in the data types? Maybe there is a legitimate reason, but I am not buying it. If you need Unicode support provided by the NVARCHAR data type wouldn’t you need it across all fields? I have only worked with a few databases that needed Unicode support and that was the case for them. Maybe there is a case for mixed usage, but I do not understand it and obviously I was not part of their design team.
Now onto the bigger elephant in the room, why on earth would you have all of these fields set to the maximum storage amount of two gigabytes (1GB for NVARCHAR taking up 2GB of space). Are you really storing that much data in six fields of EACH record? Keep in mind that SQL Server stores records in 8K pages. When you exceed that the data goes to an overflow page with a pointer so that SQL knows where to find the rest of the data. I understand that it will not take up that much space if you are not actually storing that much data, but there is a potential here for these table to be problematic. Granted this might be a good design for one field if it stores a large amount of text or notes, but six fields in the same record? I looked at the length of the records currently entered for these six fields and I found nothing larger than 100 characters. Overkill? What do you think?
For the second consecutive year, I had the privilege of sitting at the blogger’s table during the Professional Association for SQL Server’s Women in Technology luncheon at the annual Summit conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This luncheon was over a week ago and today is the first chance that I have had to sit down and really put my thoughts together. Therefore, I apologize for the delay.
The theme for this year’s luncheon was “BEYOND STEREOTYPES: Equality, Gender, Neutrality, and Valuing Diversity.” The distinguished panel consisted of Rob Farley, Erin Stellato, Cindy Gross, Kevin Kline and Gail Shaw. The luncheon was moderated by my dear friend Mickey Stuewe. The bloggers present included Jes Borland, Mark Stacey, Karen Lopez, Grant Fritchey, Jen McCown, Jen Stirrup and Laerte Junior. As you can see it was very humbling to be chosen amongst that lineup.
It has become a tradition at the #PASSWIT luncheon for men and women to wear #SQLKilts to support the Women in Technology. Next year, I should be able to wear a kilt, however this year I wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month. This luncheon was very moving for me this year and I found myself caught up in the conversations instead of taking notes. However, I did manage to grab some very good quotes outlined below:
Gail Shaw was asked if she had to make an effort to fit in within the technology community to which she replied: “No I don’t because I can’t literally be bothered.”
Cindy Gross later said “Every single person is prejudiced about something…”
Kevin Kline said that stereotypes are the index pages because our brains cannot know intimate details for more than maybe 150 people, for the rest we rely on stereotypes.
Rob Farley said for us to “Stand up and be the person who champions what is right.”
Erin Stellato when asked by a question from the floor about how to make it in the industry with all of the stereotypes working against you said “How am I not going to make it? Push through the stress and win!”
Today I was thinking about the SQL PASS Summit which begins next Tuesday and I just realized that I have yet to announce that I was chosen to speak for the very first time at the Summit. I am so humbled and excited at this opportunity. I cannot begin to thank the program committee, PASS headquarters, and the SQL community enough for everything they have done for me in the past few years. At this point in my career, I truly feel that my career has exploded thanks to my involvement with SQL PASS.
Rob Volk (b|t) and I had this idea to do a humorous session where we play Laurel and Hardy depicting the interactions between junior and senior DBAs. It should be a good time for all. Our session is Wednesday at 3pm, come by and say hi. Enjoy!
This Saturday, I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 7:30AM in Orlando. It should be noted that my first ever SQL Saturday that I attended was in Orlando, so I have a special place in my heart for this event. In addition, I have never presented a session this early in the morning so hopefully there is a Starbucks close by to the campus of Seminole State College. Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Wednesday (tomorrow) so please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now! See you there!
For years when someone has mentioned something really intriguing I would of course respond with oh yeah I am adding that to my bucket list, or things you want to do before you die. Well a few weeks ago, I finally decided to actually compile a list just to more or less set some goals in life long-term that I would like to accomplish. I have done many parts of these items, such as sleep in every state in the country, but I am going to reset the list and move forward from this day forth. Enjoy!
- Go to Idaho and declare it to be “My own private Idaho” to everyone I encounter, no exceptions.
- Spend at least one night in every single state in the Union.
- Visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Grand Central Station, watch the ball drop in Times Square, grab the bull’s balls on Wall Street, dance on the Big keyboard at FAO Schwartz. Sing New York, New York at a karaoke bar, laugh at people falling while they ice skate in Rockefeller plaza. Take a cab and tell him he’s going the wrong way, and jog through Central Park.
- Have a beer and a dog at every Major League Baseball stadium.
- Watch when the Braves win the World Series from the stands.
- Watch when the Gators win the National Championship from the stands.
- Take a selfie on the top of a mountain that I hiked.
- Visit every port of call in the Caribbean.
- Have a place that when I walk in they yell “Ed” because it’s a place where everybody knows your name!
- Take a Mediterranean cruise.
- Sing “We Are the Boys of Florida” and the Alma Mater from the top of my lungs at every SEC stadium.
- Take an Alaskan cruise.
- Dress up like Gene Simmons from Kiss in full regalia and go grocery shopping.
- Attend the European SQL Bits conference.
- Attend a SQL Saturday on four different continents.
- Pack our bags and drive with no destination in mind stopping in random places.
- Take a vacation along route 66.
- Parasail into some blue water source.
- Zipline down a mountain.
- Visit Oklahoma and sing “Surry with the Fringe on Top” to everyone you encounter, no exceptions.
- Take a selfie in front of Mt Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace, Eiffel Tower, Musee du Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stone Henge, the Colisseum, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Ride the Cable Cars in San Francisco and sing the Rice A Roni song. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge and tell everyone not to jump.
- Sing along with the Opera in Sydney.
- Go to Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro.
- Go cage diving in South Africa with a great white.
- Visit the Alamo and run across the field yelling “I remembered the Alamo!”
- See the northern lights.
- Learn to scuba dive.
- Tour Europe from a train.
- Eat chocolate in Switzerland.
- Ride in a sleeper car on Amtrak across the country and occasionally sing the Gambler in the dining car.
- Spend days getting lost in Italian and French art museums.
- Ride in a gondola in Venice.
- Find all the David statues in Florence and take a picture with his junk.
- Walk in Caesar’s footsteps and constantly shout out “Et tu Brute!”
- Take a European vacation and drive around the circle yelling “Parliament House, Big Ben”
- Visit a beach on five different continents.
- Take a polar plunge.
- Get over my fear of ice skating.
- Bungee jump and yell “she pushed me, please stop this ride”
- Ride in a hot air balloon.
- Make a difference in someone’s life.
- Experience a sunset and sunrise on four different oceans.
- Visit the volcanoes in Hawaii and calling it Hav-a-ee the whole time.
- Visit at least five Castles.
- Go to the real comic con in California.
- Having dinner with SQL Server friends in their neck of the woods.
- Steal someone’s bacon.
- Write a new bucket list because you cannot die if you still have items on your list.
My daughter started at the University of South Florida this week and a story she told me last night made me sad, very sad. Her roommate is a bright young lady who has chosen to major in engineering. With my strong feelings for the Women in Technology group within our SQL Server community, this made me very happy to hear about her desire to enter a STEM profession. However, after two days of classes, I was told that she has already been harassed and ridiculed for her choice of major in the predominately male classes. At this point I really do not know the specifics nor does that matter. The fact remains that there was enough of a problem that she told my daughter about it. That makes me angry.
I am thinking the next time that I go back to campus, I will do my best to encourage this young lady with some personal stories of strong, courageous women in technology that I know. Until then I told my daughter to encourage her and to let her know that I am rooting for her and to not give up because our STEM professions need her, our society needs her, and we need her.
Wow, I just realized this morning that an entire month has passed since I last blogged. Surprisingly, much has happened yet I could barely find time to blog. That isn’t necessarily true, but it sounds better than I’ve been lazy for the last 30 days.
So let’s do a rundown real quick of the last month. I spoke at the very first SQL Saturday in beautiful Cocoa Beach, Florida and had an amazing time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I completed my dizzying full-time college schedule with resounding success in my first semester back to the glorious University of Florida in pursuit of a Business Administration degree. Last but not least, Rob Volk (b | t) and I were selected to present our Lightning Talk for the PASS Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. That is an extremely humbling and terribly exciting feeling. Our session, titled “DBAs in Toyland: Here’s Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Me Into!” is going to be a lot of fun to present as Rob and I are thoroughly enjoying the process of putting it together. Enjoy!
Having used SQL Server Migration Assistant for a major Oracle conversion project over the last year, I quickly grew aggravated with its project limitation involving a single database. In other words, if you setup the project file in SSMA for staging and then you are unable to point it to an acceptance environment to migrate to that environment. That can be very frustrating especially if you have customized many of the project settings. I have discovered two workarounds to resolve this problem.
- Backup (or copy) the project folder (c:\Users\<<Username>>\Documents\SSMAProjects\<<Project Name>>). Close SSMA and then delete the target-metabase.mb file in the project folder. Now open SSMA and now you can connect to a new SQL Server and/or database. You would want to copy the folder if you want to retain the settings for a different environment such as staging, acceptance, production, etc. If you rename the folder for a different environment, make sure to rename the *.o2ssproj file to match the folder name. This is the file that opens inside of SSMA.
- The second option is to create a new project using SSMA and then copying in the object-containers.mappings, project-container.mappings, and finally preferences.prefs. These are the project settings that you have painstakingly setup in your original project.
I hope this helps. Enjoy!
What motivates you? Every time I think about work and motivation, I am reminded of the quote from Office Space:
Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?
Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
Bob Slydell: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
I see this all the time. When I started at my current position and I worked hard on projects, everyone said: “Why bother, it’s not going to get you anywhere.” After working here for two years, I am starting to understand that logic sadly enough. However, It goes against how I was raised.
In addition, money is the ultimate motivator, but not the only motivation. For me it is growth, I am not out to break the bank. But, I do want to be acknowledged with regular raises. I personally need something to work for, a goal whether it be financial or a clear path for potential growth. Currently I have reached a glass ceiling, there is nowhere to go and without raises, I must rely on personal motivation. Yet, everyone around me is performing less and less due to the lack of motivation. It is difficult not to become Peter Gibbons. Maybe it is time to move on? However, I must fight to remain motivated.
How do you account for your databases? Do you track them in a database? If so, what information do you track?
I have a spreadsheet that hopefully I do not forget to update when I add a new database to a server so I know who to notify in case there are issues. When I took over this position there was very little information for most of the databases in my charge. I thought to myself ‘shouldn’t you know what each database is for and why it is on your server? How did it get there? Is anyone still using it?’ As database administrators I believe we should know our data.
I am interested to hear how others handle this and if you even care? Please send me your input. Enjoy!