Archive for March, 2009

Last week I gave a presentation on what the most important aspects that you need to remember if you are a “forced DBA”. A forced DBA is a person that is filling a Database Administrators roll. I had only an hour to cover the subject that we could have talked about for days. I mentioned during the session that I would place the notes here online for everyone to refer to.

 

  • Recovery – In my opinion this is Job number 1 for DBA’s
  • Backups – Without a proper backup strategy you may be able to recover some data, the question is going to be how much
  • Security – I have got to think that companies are embarrassed when they have to send out the letter to all their customers stating that their data has been comprised.
  • Performance – In many of the shops that I have worked in sub second queries were required. The importance of this is making sure you understand how to measure performance before you head out to fix it.

As far as upcoming news, I had mentioned to someone during the conference that I would be working on a series on how to archive your database, I just finished the second of a 3 part series and it should be on SSWUG.Org in the next few weeks. I have to tell you that I am also really excited about a couple of events that were just announced, one of the events I cannot mention until Friday this week, but keep your RSS feed reading here. This is going to be an event that I think you are not going to want to miss.

The other event has to do with something special that will be happening during the April SSWUG Conference. There are a lot of new things that we will be doing for the conference and I can tell you we are excited at what we are doing. Earlier this year the staff sat down with me and asked me for a list of things that I thought we needed to have in the conference to make it the best on line conference around. My list was long, and just for a challenge I tossed in some crazy ideas I had bouncing in the back of my head. Stephen Wynkoop also added to that list. All I can say at this point is I never expected that they would make it as far in the list as they did. A one features that I feel safe in telling you about is:

The picture in a picture – You know how when we are filming the speaker and they are ready to go to the demo, you then see their computer full screen. During this time you lose sight of the speaker. So if they do a hand gesture at the same time you may miss it. This is really going to help a lot of the sessions where they speakers talk with their hands, I am included in the guilt by the way. If you want to see a demo of what this looks like you can head over to SSWUG via this link http://www.sswug.org/media/default.aspx?id=281. This is the exact quality that you are going to see during the conference.

I will be announcing Friday the new event that I have been dying to tell you about and when I get a chance I am going to try to share some more of the features of the new conference with you this week. By the way, if you are on Face Book or Linked In we have pages up there where we also place the announcements. Search for SSWUG and you will find it, or you can try these links.

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=130499&trk=anet_ug_hm

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/SSWUG-Conferences/37953649487

 

A New Week

Posted: March 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Well Last week was a busy one for me, and really it’s been pretty busy over the last few months. I feel like I just got home from speaking at Las Vegas Dev Connections not but a month ago, but that was back in November, since then I have been on 6 trips including on to California and one to Orlando. Last week when I was speaking at SQL Connections about how to give your SQL Server a Tune Up I asked a question to that I do anytime I am speaking and I am talking about disk space.

I simply asked the audience to raise their hands if they had a database on a SAN. This session had about 60 people in it. Of the 60 people I would guess that 45 hand their hands raised. It was no different than other times I had asked the question as far as overall percentage. I asked them to leave their hands in the air and if they felt. I then asked them to continue to leave their hands in the air if they were confident that the SAN that their database was on was stable and did what the sales people told them it would do. I was left with 3 hands in the air…

This was about the norm when I ask this question. I find that about less the 10% of the people that have a database on a SAN are confident of the SAN that they are on. You may be thinking that I am not a big fan of SAN’s, and to be honest with you I have not worked on many that have a good reliability rate. Does this mean that SAN technology is bad? Am I saying that you should remove all your databases and put them on local storage?

No, and No. I am finding that there is a gap between Databases and SAN’s. Our data files (.mdf’s and ldf’s in SQL Server) do not behave like other files that many would see on a SAN. Many storage administrators are not thinking about spindle to database ratio, or logs being on a separate disk then the data files. So where is all this leading me?

I believe that it is critical that for a Storage Administrator to be really good at their job they need to understand how databases work. I think that we may be seeing Storage Administrators now dealing with how the Private SAN network is configured, or how the controllers are behaving even the number of HBA’s are in a system. I am sure they have their plate full. In the recent past I have had the chance to work with 2 really good people that understand storage and databases. Both of them are excelling in what they are doing.

My advice, maybe my thought of the day… Database Professionals are going to grow by 37% in the next 10 years according to the Department of Labor. It may be a good idea to try to learn more about the SAN world. I think the technology for SAN is where it needs to be, I just think we need to bridge that gap.

SQL Connections Day 2

Posted: March 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

Off the top of my head I think this is the 7th time I have spoke at SQL Connections. This time we are in Orlando, and enjoying the weather change. Well I am enjoying the weather change, from what I hear it’s about 40 degrees in Colorado. Connections this spring is at the JW Marriott and it’s a great place, it looks like we are here at the same time the PGA is here. From the news it looks like the Arnold Palmer Invitational is here this week, but don’t take my word for it.

 

I started my day off nice and early. I wanted to get to the room the SSWUG track is in to see if there are any issues with the monitor, mic’s and such. Everything is great so far. I did notice something that I wanted to share. When waking up at 6:30 I was able to catch a sunrise from the patio in my room. It’s a great way to wake up.

 

 

So let’s see how the day goes.

 

Why Doesn’t This Scare You?

Posted: March 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

I have been on twitter a couple times today. And I ran across this…

 

January 23, 2009

As is the case with many companies that maintain large databases of information, Monster is the target of illegal attempts to access and extract information from its database. We recently learned our database was illegally accessed and certain contact and account data were taken, including Monster user IDs and passwords, email addresses, names, phone numbers, and some basic demographic data. Monster does not generally collect – and the accessed information does not include – sensitive data such as social security numbers or personal financial data. Neither resume nor customer transactional data were compromised.

Immediately upon learning about this, Monster initiated an investigation and took corrective steps. It is important to know the company continually monitors for any illicit use of information in our database, and so far, we have not detected the misuse of this information.

In order to help assure the security of the database, you may soon be required to change your password upon logging in or upon notification by one of Monster’s customer service representatives. We would also recommend you proactively change your password yourself as an added precaution. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, but feel it is important that you take these preventative measures.“…. (here is the full story)

I am not by any means suggesting that we toss Monster under the bus. They are a big company and that is going make them that much more vulnerable to hackers. So do you ask yourself, are we as big as Monster? Do we need to worry? Well the answer to the question is pretty straight forward…

Yes be scared, be paranoid, freak out. Not just because Monster was hacked and your info is there but think of it that way. I know that my first thought was is my information ok, heck they have my name… So if you look at your databases and your security maybe it’s time that as a DBA we should be required to put our personal information in there. Ouch, is that a sore spot? Should we as DBA’s be willing to public make this statement:

“I am confident in our security that I will put my personal information in the database”

Now the next time I see that on a resume, my eyes will light up. I think I have found a good litmus test, are you willing to do this? Well there is the rambling for the day.

User Group Meeting

Posted: March 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

Well, I would first like to say that if you are a reader of this blog, you may have noticed that on occasion (ok more often then that) you will find grammar errors in what I write. When I first started a blog a few years ago about a month or two into it, I get a comment from a reader that was more then happy to point out my mistakes. I got to the point where I took in personal and stopped blogging for a while. I eventually changed my mind and started blogging again because I believe that if I do make a mistake that readers will get have an understanding of what I am trying to say. Either way, I normally write my blog around midnight to 1:00 AM right before I head off to bed. This is when my day is the quietest and I can think about what has occurred during the day. So if I do make a mistake and misspell something, I apologize.

So tonight I went to the Colorado SQL Server user group meeting. This is a group I started a number of years ago and then took some time off, Eric Johnson and Josh Jones took over running the group and I think they have done a great job. At a meeting in Jan. I believe they mentioned they would like some additional help. I thought this would be a great way for me to get back connected to the group, at the same time Eric and Josh can continue to push the group in a direction where they think it should go. I think these guys are doing a great job.

So with that being said, I am back and for my first meeting back on the Job we had a great presentation lead by Steve Jones. I have known Steve for a number of years, how many to be exact I am not sure. Either way the topic tonight was Building Your Resume. I did a topic a number of years ago a little along the same lines. The big difference was that the technology has changed a lot since then. I spoke on how to get your resume built up with the tools we had then. Now it’s a whole different game. There are blog’s, Twitter, Face Book, just to name a few.

Now as I sat through this presentation I was thinking back to a book that I am reading, and it talks about using these sites as a way to build either your own public profile or your company’s profile. What I really enjoyed is that both the presentation and the book make one thing very, very clear. It boils down to this:

You already have an online resume, the question is: Are you going to be an author of it.

Almost everyone I know that works with SQL Server has some on-line presence, and most companies do at this point. So the question is are you making sure that you are getting the information out there that you want to. As I write this I know there is another SQL Server Professional that lives in another country with the same name as me. So do people confuse us? Not that I am aware of. I have seen some of his stuff and I like what I have seen, but what if I didn’t? I would need to make sure that I make a name for myself.

The end result is that someone is going to Google you next time you look for a job, are you in control of what they see? Or do they see what others may have said and done. Do you twitter too much? Or did you start a blog and stop? What does your on-line activity say about you? If someone Google’s you, do you want them to see a hockey player that pops up that has the same name, or maybe even an artist that takes photos that some may consider questionable?

It was great to see friends tonight old and new, I am excited to be involved with the group again and if you have time it would be great to see you at a meeting.

Brent Ozar

Posted: March 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

I had a chance to sit a talk with Brent Ozar last week and I can tell you that I was not disappointed. What is it about his picture? He just looks like one of those guys where you can head to a nice dinner and just have a great time. At the same time I was with Sarah Barela and Shannon Calloway. All of these are speakers at the Spring SSWUG V-con. All of them I have either talked to or met once or twice. But the main form of communication is via the internet. I am really starting to enjoy developing friendships with people all around the world, by Face Book, Linked In, Twitter and so on.

This is the second time that Brent has been to the SSWUG Conference and he has had a number of requests for his session on the SAN 101 session. In my humble opinion for what it’s worth… I think this subject is one of the more important subjects right now with DBA’s.

Check out Brent’s Blog.

Questions

Posted: March 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

My wife and I were sitting at lunch today talking about a few things that we had learned. More really on that fact that the discussion was about a topic that is very dear to my wife and I, however she has spent the last few years really studying it. The discussion was religious based and is something that depending on who you are talking to has many different opinions. Now with that being said, this entry is not based on the religious question but a comment that I accidently made while we were chatting. I said, and for people that know me know how this just does not sound like me, but it just came out. I stated that:

Questions are the beginning of knowledge.

First of all I don’t find myself to be a philosopher, and I really don’t mean the statement to be some overwhelming light that just turns on inside anyone’s mind. But the more we sat that and talked about it I could not help but to think of how true that was. I reflected back on a conference that I attended many years ago. So long ago in fact that I cannot remember the year, the questions that I asked or anything else that surrounded that conference other then this was my first view into learning more about SQL Server. It was the SWYNK conference that was held in Tucson; I was there and met a number of really sharp people. People that I still know, and talk to today.

I remember being there and spending hours after the conference talking to people like Sharon Dooley, Mike Hotek, Bill Wunder and Stephen Wynkoop just to name a few. There were many others that were there. I remember sitting around either dinner, or around the pool just talking about any and all things SQL Server. It was about the most awesome learning experience that I have had to date. Being able to sit with experts and just ask questions. When I would ask these questions they would discuss the answers with me and that would lead to even more questions.

Today I still have the opportunity to ask these questions and sometimes to the same group of people and sometimes to new people. I write this the day that I have just come back from filming 3 sessions for the SSWUG conference and I am thinking that people now ask me questions on occasion. I feel like my roll has changed, but I have to remember that for me to keep learning and staying on top of new technology that I need to continue to ask questions. Even if I ask the questions to myself, and then I set out to learn the answer to that question or I am speaking to experts in the field talking about a subject.

Point that I guess I am trying to make is when you are at a conference, when you are working keep asking questions, keep moving forward. There are many people that don’t ask questions at conferences because they may feel like the question is one that may embarrass them, or they just don’t want the attention, however that does not mean you cannot email the speaker or catch them after the session.

Just figured I would share what was on my mind today.

 

Short Update

Posted: March 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

First of all I want to make mention that here is latest information about the SSWUG vConference. The Early Bird discounts are starting to be a thing of the past as we get closer to the conference.

 

7 Reasons To Attend SSWUG’s Ultimate vConference This Spring
(Third round Early Bird Discounts end March 15th – Register Now and Save $35!)
1. Over 35 industry experts giving sessions on SQL Server, Business Intelligence, .NET and Sharepoint.
2. More than 130 sessions over 3 days.
3. Thirty days of on-demand viewing after the live conference ends.
4. A SQL Server 101 track included with all four disciplines. (9 sessions where you can pick up the basics of SQL Server.)
5. Live interaction with speakers and attendees during sessions.
6. Broadcast quality video and audio streamed directly to your desktop.
7. Early Bird Discounts NOW! Register today for $90 per discipline (a savings of $35).
 

SSWUG’s Ultimate Spring Virtual Conference

April 22,23 and 24, 2009

SQL Server vConference

Business Intelligence vConference

.NET vConference

Sharepoint vConference

 

 

Well I thought I would apologize to those who read my blog on a regular basis, I changed themes and it may take mew a week or two to get it just right. I would like to add some of the twitter feeds, and the ability to Digg if for some reason you think that this should be on the Digg list. So hang in there with me. If you notice something that just bugs you please let me know. I would hate to think that I am pushing people away.

So off to the disclosure part. Just in case you were not aware, I wanted everyone to know that I am the site manager for SSWUG. I also am the Chair for the vConferenceonline.com. Some of my entries will be about these items, I would hate to think that people may think that I would try to pull a Wal-Mart camping blog scam on them. Many of my entries I do are for research on topics that I would like to speak about, or may even already have planned. But the majority of my blogs entries are about SQL Server, what is new, what I am hearing and who I am meeting. I get to meet a lot of great DBA’s doing what I do. So there it is, it really should be no surprise. I believe I mentioned it before, and I know its in my Bio somewhere on here.

SQL Quiz 3

Posted: March 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

I figure I will do this every few months. I like the fact that you can learn a lot from people and sometimes when you tag those with an off the wall question then you get to know them a little better. This Question is focused all about the economy, I hope that the people that get tagged or both employed full time and some our contractors. The rules are pretty simple. Take the question that I am tossing out there, answer it on your own blog, and then tag two more people. If you send me a note, or I catch that you have answered it I will link to your blog so everyone can see all the answers.

The question:

Do you feel like you are being treated fairly at your current or past employers? The question stems from the fact that very few people today stay at a company 20 to 30 years like they did when I was growing up. Do you feel like the company feels a loyalty toward the employee or do you think that they look at you just as head count? No reason to get yourself in trouble, so you can refer back to past employers. The one that I will talk about is by far a past employer, about two years ago.

My Answer:

A few years ago I worked for a company that I thought cared about their employees. There was even people on the staff in management rolls that were pretty understanding of the fact that if you child had a choir performance, or had to go to the Doctor they would give you time off. I thought this was great. But then I saw the true colors. This company could care less about the employees then any other company that I had ever worked for, I had people that worked for me and I was being told that we needed to work them more hours to meet project deadlines that we completely unrealistic. The company knew they could not meet the goals they set out but still felt that they had to over pressure developers and other staff. Not that this was bad by itself, I had one employee who worked for me that almost got divorced because of the time he was at work, another who ended up having to quit because of the hours.

But here is where and why I think that many companies today do not have a loyalty to employees. When I worked for this company I hired and fired my staff. One person that I hired had never been a dedicated DBA, however this person did have the desire to learn. Because of his experience I was limited to hiring him as a Jr. DBA. After 6 months with the company it was clear that he was not a Junior DBA. This guy was hard core. I would go as far to say one of the best people I have had the pleasure of knowing. He picked up technology with no issues, he was sharp as a tack. To give you an idea of his work ethic, one day me and some fellow employees were sitting and discussing weekend plans, one of the Sr. DBA’s that worked for me said he was going to Sod his yard. Well the Jr. that is my focus showed up on Saturday with boots, gloves and ready to work. He did not mention he would be over before hand. This was the same dedication he showed me towards his job.

After 6 months I gave him a raise, and he continued to excel at everything he did. He pushed and worked harder then I have ever seen. 6 months later I gave him another raise. After a year he was working on projects that were well above his pay grade. He was getting them done on time and was really the model employee. At the next 6 month interval I went to my management and let them know I would like to promote him and get him in the pay grade for the work that he was doing. He deserved it. I was told no based on the number of raises he had up to this point and that he could not receive that percentage of a raise.

So what happened, I had to tell him that I could not do it, he left the company a short while later to make almost 20% more then what he was working for me. Once he turned in his 2 weeks, my management freaked out and asked me to make him a counter offer that would show him we could do it. So now I am a liar, and the only way to get a raise is to go find another job? He declined, and I can understand why, I would have as well. The end result was the company figured that he would not go out and find another job. The thing that upset me the most… When the replacement headcount came in they said they were willing to pay 10K more then the largest offer we had made to the employee.

The place where I work now cares, and I know because I have conversations on a regular basis on the morale, well being and my overall satisfaction. I have a great job now, but where I did work, I would recommend that to no one, I have another friend that is still there, and he says it has not changed a single bit.

So what do you think, do you think companies are loyal to the employees, do you think they want you to stay around, or do you think they find that you are replaceable and let you know that by their actions. I am curious. I am going to tag:

Brent Ozar

Kathi Kellenberger

SQL Fool (Michelle Ufford)

TJayBelt

I look forward to the answers.