Archive for February, 2010

Are you Standing Still?

Posted: February 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was doing my review for the chapter last night on the Deep Dives book and we are in the middle of the set based iterations chapter. Now this entry is not so much about the Deep Dives book review but more along the lines of learning. I am currently in the position where I am going to have to take on Admin of SSAS, this is really far out of my comfort zone and I am really surprised on how I got really nervous about it. But then I stopped and realized, we live in the information age (or that is what they tell me). There are so many resources on the web between blogs, MSDN, experts, independent sites and even conferences you don’t have to leave your office for.

So why are we not learning more, or are we and I am just a bit behind how aggressive the thirst for knowledge is? I hate to admit it but many times I am so busy that need is what drives what I am going to learn this week. When I have a few extra minutes I spend that time catching up with the many tasks where I may be behind. Well I am excited that I get to build a stable foundation in something new. If you have a place where you recommend I start with SSAS please drop me a line, as of now I am pulling out my DVD from the last conference and re-watching some sessions.

What a week last week. There was so much that I needed to do and I spent most the time falling behind. The highlight of my week was speaking at the Denver SQL Server User Group. What a great group that they have there, but that is a whole different subject. My presentation was on the mistakes that I have made over my career and as I explained during the session, the mistakes were not to be looked at as specific incidents but more of a general idea. For example we talked about a job that I had at one point where a couple of errors were made with a RAID 5 drive. This error was what caused a problem, but the other issued that surrounded that issue were what we talked about. Items like how you manage the error, or manage the notifications and the way you treat staff or even the way you are treated.

At the end of the group one of the attendees (I am so sorry I don’t recall his name), mentioned to me something that I thought was a great insight. He said that many databases have expiration dates; the problem is that it’s just not printed on the label like milk. The comment was based on the point that I had made during the session that you should not build limits around the database that you are designing. The idea or the thought that your database will never grow that big or have that many records or be around that long is just foolish. No matter what way you look at it the way companies are looking at the technology debt they are willing to take on it is obvious that band aids to fix issues is not enough anymore. There are too many people that are looking at database designs and are now saying “we know it sucks, but it will work for now”.

Does this mean that everyone should re-design every time? No. It means that we need to make sure that we understand where the limits are on the systems that we run and what we can do to not reach that expatriation date. If that means you have to re-design then you have to re-design.

An Example? What about a database that was designed for a few users, there were few tables and a lot of information was stored in those few tables. As the database as grown and development has progressed with the business it is obvious that these few tables need to have some more separation. It could be revalidating that the table is in third normalized form, it may mean that you need to add table partitions. Then end result is don’t end up in the position where you have to wait until there is a problem before action is taken.

If there is a problem then you are too late.

I find this interesting since the SQL Perspectives chapter review relates to this from last week and Jeremy Lowell just posted a blog entry about it.

If you missed that session and you want to see it I will be delivering it in Denver at the Rocky Mountain Tech trifecta on Saturday. If you look at a few of the older posts here on the blog you will see a place to register. It is a free event so why not? There are going to be a lot of great speakers there.

Learn From My Mistakes

Posted: February 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well Feb. is coming and going faster than I would have thought. Tomorrow Feb 18th I will be at the Denver SQL Server User Group in Denver to Present “Learn From My Mistakes”. As I was working on this presentations it started pretty slow, but after about the first minute I had more and more key points that I wanted to cover. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Some are obviously a bit more than I would want people to know. But as I think about it, everyone makes these mistakes and we might as well have some fun with it.

If you are looking for more information about the meeting the User Group Page can be found here : http://denver.sqlpass.org/

Look forward to seeing as many people as we can, but more importantly I hope that a few people can learn from the mistakes that I have learned.

 

 

Have you Ever Noticed…

Posted: February 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

*Warning not just SQL*

 

Example 1

I just bought a new truck, see I was paying for my charger to sit in the garage and was driving my older truck, my older truck would not have made the months of the 150 miles I have to drive to work each day. Well here is the point. My sales guy and his manager were doing everything they could to sell me this truck, and they made me a great deal. There were a number of things that they were going to do and it was agreed upon before the sale. It was even on the “We Owe” document, but when it came down to it they kept my truck 21 days and I had to pay for the last part. The reason “We are not making any money on this because of the repairs we have done”. Is this my fault? The sales guy, the manager, and the service manager said they would fix what is broken, it says it on the contract.

Example 2

A number of years ago I bought some software that I was told would monitor my SQL Server. You would know this company name and they do make a good product but the other product was an unknown. During the discussion the sales person let us know that we could return the software if we did not like it. So we bought it. It took us 6 weeks to get the software back and we replaced it with SQL Sentry.

I guess my question is why don’t people just do the right thing? Isn’t this world under enough stress without this crap. I had to deal with a Vendor that I told they were out of my price range for a product. Yet they wanted to give a presentation, then they sent me a quote, the quote was twice what I could spend. They ask for the reason that I turned them down and when I told them they were not listening to my requirements set out to me by budget. So they said they would cut the price. A hour later the next quote was only 25% higher than what I told them I could pay.

End Result… Why do people push you until you have to act like a jerk? I can tell you don’t by a Dodge in North Colorado Springs, Stay away from San Francisco software company’s performance software, and listen to your customers. If you want them to stay customers.

SQL Server Indexing Workshop

Posted: February 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

SSWUG is hosting –

Last Day To Register for Kalen’s First-Ever Virtual Workshop
This week’s virtual workshop is going to be very cool – Kalen Delaney will be teaching about Indexes – and it’s going to be amazing!  Kalen is well known for her in-depth approach to teaching workshops, classes, pre-conference sessions and so much more.  We’re really jazzed about bringing you more than *4 hours* of detailed information about things you need to know about Indexes and SQL Server.  Learn about key aspects of indexes and, perhaps more importantly, how to apply that knowledge to get the best possible performance from your systems.  Take a look here at the virtual workshop site – but don’t delay – the workshop is Friday, so be sure to register today.   We’ll even be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky workshop attendee!

>> [Visit the workshop site]
>> [Register for the virtual workshop]

Reality-Based Tuning
Earlier this week I mentioned that it can be really helpful to review how your applications are really used, then compare that to your designs and how you have SQL Server configured. 

I wanted to touch on a few more things that can be impacted by the reality-based reviews of your systems.  Some of these may apply, some may not, but they’re probably worth considering as you look over your systems and how they’re being used by your end-users.

– Watch for too many joins – if you’re doing extensive reporting and have built a number of reports, and the underlying views and such for those reports, you may want to look into a data warehouse/data mart for those applications.  You can denormalize (EEK!) your tables a bit to support the queries your users need to answer and save a lot of work from SQL Server.  

– Conversely, watch for too many indexes on OLTP tables.  Many times we add indexes on tables to support queries.  Makes sense, sure.  It can help performance on queries, but it can also hurt performance on insert/update operations.  Too many indexes can force SQL Server to work harder to insert and update information in your systems.  It’s a fine line you need to walk when considering which indexes, and when there may be too many… 

– Today’s last quick suggestion is to consider using the right tools on the front-end in support of your users.  If you really do have a lot of query work being done, consider using a tool that can pull information, then work with it locally.  A good example of this is the new PowerPivot tool.  Pull information to tools that let you query and work with information, try to work away from the database to do the reporting.  

What’s coming up?

Posted: February 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

Well the super bowl is over but there is a lot to come. No I am not talking about the new season of survivor or the start of the Winter Olympics but I have to admit I am excited for both of those. If you have not had the opportunity to head to a conference or other like events to see Kalen Delaney speak about indexes, I am not sure there won’t be a better opportunity. On Feb 12th make sure that you save time to watch this online event. http://www.vconferenceonline.com/shows/workshops/indexing.asp. I don’t know of another place where you can get more for your buck.

This workshop, by Microsoft SQL Server MVP Kalen Delaney will explore what you need to know about indexes, tools you can use when working with indexes, best practices and much more. This workshop is an in-depth look at how indexes work and how they can significantly impact the performance of your queries and your systems overall.

–Taken from the web site.

In just a couple months the SSWUG Ultimate Virtual Conference is going to be presenting the Spring Conference. This event is being hosted on the same on-line platform that Kalen’s class is. Make sure that you check that out as well. http://www.vconferenceonline.com/shows/spring10/uvc/

Next week the Denver SQL Server User Group and the Colorado Springs SQL Server User Groups will be meeting. I will be speaking in Denver and Josh Jones will be speaking here in Colorado Springs. More information on those events can be found here:

http://www.springssql.org/

http://denver.sqlpass.org/

Have a great week.