Monthly Archives: February 2012

Daily Commute

On the third day of my commute into Tampa for SQLskills.com Immersion training this week and I realized how much worse the traffic was down into Tampa from when I last did it fourteen years ago.

It is only 60 miles from my house to the training near the airport, and that used to be a pleasant commute as long as there were no accidents, but now it is a white knuckle stop and go death grip full of road rage. If you do this on a daily basis, then my hats off to you.

This is why I enjoy living in a small town; for the peaceful serenity of relaxing living sans traffic. Rural America provides a great living and a good place to raise my children thus far. I enjoy the sense of community and slow pace as it greatly reduces my stress level. The only downside is that high tech firms have not caught onto this wonderful lifestyle, they need to! Enjoy!

How to beat The Claw!

This article, How to beat The Claw | Unplugged – Yahoo! Games, is an interesting read and it brings back some great memories. My kids consider me the Claw champion, so much so that when I do not win them a prize from one of these machines they consider complaining to the manager that the machine is rigged.

Little do they know that it is! I was consistently able to beat the machines in my area and then all of a sudden, nothing! Nada! Zilch!

Adjustments were made to prevent the SQLGator from winning. I’m sure that I am not the only one as evidenced by this article.

It reminds me of the time in high school when our McDonalds had a fish bowl on the counter with a shot glass in the middle. If you could get a nickel in the shot glass, then you received a free small drink. Also, a dime would earn you a small fry and a quarter got you a sandwich of your choice. Being entrepreneurial young men, we had a similar fish tank in the garage and we practiced for a few hours practicing the technique guaranteed to win most of the time. During lunch everyday during my junior year we went to McDonalds with a dollar’s worth of change (cause hey sometimes we were slightly off in our calculations) and proceeded to win a small drink, a small fry and a burger of our choice. Then we could save our money for dates!

This promotion was not working out as well as they had planned. New rules! Only one prize per visit, no problem; we will take the sandwich please. A couple of months go by, and the fish tank is gone from the counter. At that point I knew what it was like to go to Vegas and get caught counting cards! Thanks for the memories McDonalds!

Enjoy!

Do You Value Training?

Today is the first day of my SQLskills.com Immersion training, thus I prepared this blog post a few days ago. 

If you have been reading my blog, then you should be able to surmise that I love learning.  Being in the IT field, I am not sure how you can get by without training because of the speed at which technology changes.  Luckily, my current employer also believes in and values training.  When they ask me if I want to go to training, I submit three or four different classes.  Of course, they do not all get approved, but all they can do is say no.  Thus, it is worth the effort on my part and it demonstrates my committment to my career.

Do you value training?  Are you taking advantage of the training opportunities provided by your employer? 

If the budget is tight, there is no reason why you cannot attend many of the free webinars, code camps, SQL Saturdays, and especially local users groups.  If you are not advancing your skills, then maybe technology is not the right field for you.  So sign up for training.  Go!  Do it now!

Enjoy!

Sunday Funday

Sunday is a great day for SQL funday, so every Sunday I will post some fun, SQL related links for your enjoyment….

Today’s installment involves the Prime Number Challenge!  This is a clever and fun T-SQL script, so check it out!

Enjoy this #SQLAwesomeness!

Saturday SQL Schoolhouse

SQL Schoolhouse!

In our final installment of the Saturday SQL Schoolhouse for February and in anticipation of the 24 Hours of PASS for Spring 2012, I wanted to share the Fall 2011 Recordings for the 24 Hours of PASS.  This is an excellent and comprehensive training resource on 24 different one-hour long topics.  Check it out and don’t forget to sign up for the Spring version.

Enjoy!

I’m So Excited and I Just Can’t Hide It!

The next couple of weeks are going to me huge in my SQL Server career.  Next week I will be attending the SQLskills.com Immersion Training for Internals & Performance.  There are no words to express my excitement about this training as I don’t think I can truly comprehend how much I will be learning and moving my career into overdrive.  As I move towards the MCITP, and quite possibly towards the MCM or Microsoft Certified Master, this training will move me along in my journey into the BIG TIME!

The following week, I will be standing up two new SQL Server 2008 R2 clusters for a huge project that will impact the future of SQL Server in my organization.  This is a pivotal project and it is my first time standing up clusters on my own as I have maintained clusters but never built them on my own.  For this reason, we have asked our Microsoft Premier Field Engineer to assist and I will be soaking up her knowledge as we build a solid production and acceptance cluster environments.  If that project is successful, we will then look to move more of our Oracle systems to SQL Server and my plan for world domination will be set in motion.

And finally on the week after that we will be meeting with Microsoft again to discuss our plans to move to SQL Server 2012 and help management understand the new pricing structure.  Hopefully we will be able to move forward and onto the next version of SQL Awesomeness.  These next three weeks will be pivotal for my career, time to dominate!  Enjoy!

Optimizing TempDB Performance

Today I thought I would blog about TempDB performance.  On one of my new servers, with 24 cores, I allocated eight TempDB files as that should be enough to distribute the load, reduce contention and improve performance.  However, I forgot to restart the server after hours and it went on for a week and performance did not improve.  It was at this point that I discovered that the files were not be proportionately filled.  A simple Server restart resolved the issue and now it is running like a champ. 

For more advice, check out Microsoft’s guidelines for Optimizing tempdb Performance.

Enjoy!

Backup and Recovery

On the drive in this morning, I was reflecting on what I needed to go over with my junior DBA today in his learning path (channeling Yoda).  Backup and Recovery is so vitally important to what we do on a daily basis that I really need to drive that home to him.  Therefore, I thought it would be a good topic to discuss and to blog about. 

Then I remembered attending a Grant Fritchey (blog | twitter) webinar recently by Red Gate concerning this very same topic.  If you missed the webinar, don’t worry as they put it up for all to see.  There is really no need for me to reinvent the wheel here especially when Grant does it much better than I would.  Thanks, Grant.  Enjoy!

Clustered Nuts?

While looking at performance in some of my databases, I noticed there was a high number of FreeSpace scans going on.   Aaargh!  They are called clustered indexes, people use them!  Performance, performance, performance!

In most cases it is best practices to start with a clustered index on every table created.  There are rare instances when this is not the optimal setup, but for the large majority of standard databases put in a clustered index on each table.  Your shooting yourself in the foot, people!

Enjoy!

My Mistake For Your Enjoyment

This morning when an aggravated user contacted me that they could not get into a new database that I setup on Friday, I discovered that I had made a mistake.  Well that’s never happened before, well not today anyway. 

Alright, here we go.  I created three new logins that would access development and acceptance copies of a production database that I had just setup on an acceptance server using Red Gate‘s SQL Compare and SQL Data Compare (which I will blog about soon, excellent product).  In my possession, actually a sharepoint list, I had the password for each of these three new logins.  Today I found out that the password I had listed was out of date.  No problem, easy fix!

Using SSMS I would easily change the passwords and then update my sharepoint list to the new passwords, this is DBA 101 stuff.  Not so fast my friend!  SSMS then presented an error stating that the password did not meet our ultra-rigid fort knox password policy (see posts on security).  No problem, I forgot to uncheck the ‘Enforce password policy’ check box.  That happens all the time when I get in a hurry.  Now it is unchecked and SSMS presents the following error:

The CHECK_POLICY and CHECK_EXPIRATION options cannot be turned OFF when MUST_CHANGE is ON.

There was my real mistake committed on Friday;  I forgot to uncheck the ‘User must change password at next login’ check box when I created the logins.  It was a rookie mistake, but I was in a hurry to get things done so I could go and get my root canal in the afternoon.  Luckily for me this was not a resume updating event.  In order to fix this we need to do the following:

USE MASTER
GO
ALTER LOGIN [userlogin] WITH PASSWORD ‘original password’
GO
ALTER LOGIN [userlogin] WITH CHECK_POLICY = OFF, CHECK_EXPIRATION = OFF;

Then I was able to change the password, which I used ALTER LOGIN since I had it in the query window.  What a way to start the week off.  Enjoy!

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