Monthly Archives: September 2012

24 Hours of PASS, Free Training Today!


Today is the semi-annual 24 Hours of PASS free training day.  Sessions started at just a little while ago, so you still have time to sign up here.  There is something here for everyone from business intelligence to professional development to hard core database administration.  I personally am signed up to watch eight different sessions throughout the day, work permitting; it would be more but there is some stuff that I just do not work with.  So get out on out there and get your SQL Learning on.  Enjoy!


SQL PASS Summit is Less Than Seven Weeks Away!

Summit Logo

This morning I came across a stark reality: SQL PASS Summit 2012 is less than seven weeks away! I cannot fully describe the emotions of my first trip to Summit; some anxiety, mostly excitement, fear of the unknown, anticipation of meeting so many online friends and a thirst for new knowledge.  I am so ready for the networking, the learning, the socializing with #SQLKaraoke, the after parties, but mostly just hanging out with my #SQLFamily.

On a personal note, I have been to Seattle once in my life, in high school.  Five friends, my math teacher and I went on a field trip before my junior year where we participated in the Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics competition after winning the State competition for Algebra II.  Mathletes Rock!  What a beautiful city!  It will be great to see Mt. Ranier, the sky needle, the monorail, Puget Sound, and the fish market.  I am sure a lot has changed in the last 25 years, I know the King Dome is no longer there, but we took a tour as the Mariners where out-of-town on a road trip and sat in the dugout and the locker room.  Good times!

I when I return home I will have some new Seattle memories that I will cherish for many years to come.  Enjoy!

Fail-Safe Operator

Everyone needs a backup plan including the SQL Server notifications. If something goes awry with the notifications or the msdb database is unreachable, then the fail-safe operator will ensure that mail is delivered.

Select properties on the SQL Server agent (from the object explorer) in order to enable it for your instance. Enjoy!

Fail Safe Operator

Beginning OpNet Monitoring

Today’s blog will be brief as I am in the middle of a weeklong process of learning the OpNet AppInternals xPert Monitoring and Transaction Trace Warehouse.  I am excited to see how well this tool can interact with our SQL Servers as well as Oracle servers, dotNet application servers, and our Java based enterprise content management system. 

We are in the configuration side today with the rest of the week set for troubleshooting various issues we have in our production environment.  I will keep you posted as I learn this product.  So far, it seems pretty powerful.  Enjoy!

Sunday Funday

We continue our Sunday Funday series today with another SQL Song (can you tell yet that all I can think about lately in my free time #SQLKaraoke at this year’s SQL PASS Summit).  In today’s installment of Sunday Funday, we bring you a funny song called 50 Ways to Inject Your SQL.  Enjoy!

Saturdays in the Fall

Saturdays in the Fall mean one thing in the South:  College Football. In case you did not really know, College Football is king in the South.  The South Eastern conference has won the last three national championships including one were both teams were from the SEC.

It is even more surprising because the competition in the SEC is fierce and the teams regularly beat up on each other.  For example, at the beginning of the season, the SEC regularly puts 8-10 teams in the top 25 teams which cannot last because when teams play themselves obviously one of them has to lose.

Today’s match-up is Florida versus Tennessee, which has a strong history the last 25 years in deciding the SEC Eastern division outcome.  Let the Big Gator Growl!  Enjoy!

I Use Math Daily!

My daughter is a senior in high school and she is taking advanced placement statistics which sparks a daily debate in our house.  When will I actually use this in real life?

I use math daily is my usual response.  For example, I use the common math word problem continuously on the road:

The jerk in front of me is driving ten miles under the speed limit and the car in the opposing lane is driving 55 mph.  Based upon my depth perception, she appears to be a half-mile away, at what speed will I have to accelerate to overtake the jerk and not hit oncoming car in a head-on collision.  This is life or death so I would so math is pretty important.

I also look at my dash panel and see how many miles to remaining until I reach an empty gas tank  whereby an advanced word problem calculation occurs:

Given my great american truck gets 17 miles per gallon (come on Prius build a truck that gets 50 mpg for regular sized people to fit in then I will be impressed with your hybrid) and I have 300 miles until empty how many trips to work at 60 miles round trip will I be able to get until I get paid again next Friday?  Which leads to the calculation of how much do I have remaining in my bank account in order to subsidize the sheik’s newest harem?

That does not even include licensing for servers and software which requires a Ph.D. for Microsoft and VMWare, but luckily I do not do that on a daily basis.  So, yes kids math is important unless you want to die in a head-on collision or be stuck on the side of the road without gas. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Be Cooperative!

This may sound like common sense, but BE COOPERATIVE!  Lately, I have felt some stress in certain areas at work and it all boils down to people not being cooperative.  There is nothing to be gained from putting up road blocks and preventing people from doing their respective job.  Granted there are times when you have to stop people from doing things like giving out SA passwords to developers.  However, if they need your help, by all means BE COOPERATIVE.  It can go a long way in your happiness and theirs as well as your teams effectiveness.  That is all!  Enjoy!

Outlook Rules Are Your Friend

If you are like me, you receive quite a bit of automated e-mails from all of your SQL Server jobs and maintenance plans.  This can take a fair amount of time to read these e-mails daily.  Until now! 

Outlook rules and alerts are a great way to manage this workload.  First of all, and most importantly, use a unique description in the Notify Operator Task for maintenance plan notifications, such as Figure 1.  Be consistent!  Use this same string in all of your backup tasks in your maintenance plans. 

Maintenance Plan Failed

Figure 1

Then create a rule in Outlook (Tools -> Rules and Alerts -> New Rule) to handle these messages.  Personally, I set them to move to another folder to keep them organized, look for specific words in the body (the phrase we put consistently in our notification tasks), and make sure they come from the e-mail account that I setup to alert me from all of my servers (as shown in Figure 2).

Outlook Rules Conditions

Figure 2

 From here, let the fun begin as I then do the following (see Figure 3):

  • Mark them as high importance
  • Flag the message for follow-up today
  • Move it to the specified folder (I know we did this on the last step, but it is highlighted on this step as well, silly Outlook)
  • Display a specific message, Database Backup has FAILED, in the New Item Alert window to ensure that I see it as it happens (granted most jobs are at night, but it will be there waiting for me in the morning)
  • Display a Desktop Alert (can you tell that this is a big deal?)
Outlook Actions

Figure 3

From here you can name the rule and finish the task.  I also like to setup a rule for successful jobs that searches for a successful string that I have designated, but in that case I mark the e-mail as read and move it to the folder in case I need to search for it later. 

For SQL Server Agent jobs, you have to do things just a little bit different since you cannot set a custom string for the alert message.  In that case, search for “STATUS:     Succeeded” (or failed, if that is the case) in the body of the e-mail and setup your other options in the same manner. 

Outlook Rules are your friend, use them to be more productive.  Enjoy!

Cooperation is Key

We have a morning “production control” meeting daily where key people report on the status of their systems as well as announcing approved change management items.  Most days this is an exercise in repetition but it is necessary in order for administrators to announce changes to their systems that might affect other connected systems.  For me, bringing down one of my SQL Servers can have a far out reaching effect upon many other systems. 

For example, we have one particular server that houses all of the databases for our internal IT systems, such as VMWare Virtual Center and Citrix and a few smaller ones such as Blackberry Enterprise Server.  This is a beefy server to power our infrastructure, however it is a major hassle every time I need to do some maintenance on it.  Yes we have maintenance windows.  However, for many of these systems the particular admin has to intervene before I can take their particular database offline.  The usual cry is that “hey you cannot take that down on that day because I have X job running” where I say “no problem, how about tomorrow?”  Then someone else chimes in with “no good, I have this process that runs on that day.”

My solution?  Setup a meeting and coordinate the maintenance, which will happen come hell or high water.  Cooperation is key.  The database server must be patched and maintained, but without cooperation many other systems will suffer.


%d bloggers like this: