Archive for April, 2010

What did you do Today?

Posted: April 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I hate those days where I have to get up at the crack of dawn, oh no… this was well before dawn. I was up at 3 this morning to go tag some ports. The funny thing is I really was a warm body at this point. I know nothing about port, or hubs, router even teenagers. We had to roll this change that took I swear maybe 3 min to make the change Problem was it did not work. So we applied the back out plan and watched as the network came on line.

Lesson Learned: It’s always nice to learn something new. The time was well worth it. And Back out plans are not something nice to have. It’s a plane that smart people have.

Then I had to go into work and migrate 300 Gigs of database in less than 15 min. Well we had some errors that I should know were there. But I had not taken the time to get rid of them last week when I had the time. End result was I was able to get the database completed. It was a migration from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008 R2. Then we did SQL Server 2k5 to 2k8. To top that off we needed to do the SAN as well.

What does all that mean? Well there was some challenges that I had to overcome to make his work but we got it.

Lesson Learned: The greater the challenge the greater the feeling you get when you know “that just happened.”


So what is going On

Posted: April 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

I should say right off the bat…  If you are looking for Chris Shaw the guy that won millions of dollars in the power ball,  well that is not me. 

Well, here is the scoop. My brain is more or less has been depleted of any useful information. So I figured I would bring you up to date on what is coming up…

This week I finished the writing portion of the book that I am working on. We now enter the tech edit phase, if you have not heard about this before this is when they have someone check all the code you have placed in the book and validate all the facts that you are using. It was a nice thing to see that my editor has some insight to what is going to be going thought my mind. At first when I started the book he said once I was done or once I had turned in a chapter I would want to change things. Well that is so true, and on top of it I have already received great comments from one of the editors.

This week is also the time to get your sessions in if you wanted to speak at SQL Connections 2010. Take a look at the blog post on Paul Randall’s site. I have to admit that this is the best abstract submission site I have seen.

PASS is starting to take registrations for the Free 24 hours of PASS. This is a great event that is going to have a number of good speakers there.

There are a number of SQL Saturday events coming your way. If you are not near one contact a close user group and ask if there is a chance there to host one. There are a number of resources to help with these events. More information can be found on the main webpage located here. From what I see NYC, Atlanta and Huntington Beach are all having one tomorrow.

So to wrap everything up… This week we had Ben Hoelting in for the Colorado Springs SQL Server User Group. It was awesome to have him not only tell us about how LINQ helps in the development process but showed us. As a group of DBA’s we see things through the DBA’s colored glasses. This session helped me understand more of what the developers are seeing, and with that insight I can have better discussion with them on the best way to access the databases. Thanks Ben.

At the same meeting we announced that the Colorado SQL Server User Groups are coming together to host a couple of events over the summer and even longer term. If you are in Colorado keep an eye out for some really great events…

I had lunch with a friend of mine today. As we ate we talked about some of the things that we have seen in the past. My buddy was a conductor and I found it fascinating on learning on how that goes together. I mean in my mind there is either a right or wrong way to get on the Orchestra; The right way (I thought) was to sound perfect like everyone else. I was surprised when he told me that each musician has different styles and each of those styles may fit with arrangements better than others. We spent a lot of time talking about this and how they pick what musician get the gig and who is warming up the bench.

Bet after the discussion reached a point, I realized that we in IT are just the same.

  • Conductors pick musicians for their talent and the ability to fit in.
  • IT Managers pick staff for talent and the ability to fit in.
  • Both IT Managers and Conductors know when the team works well together that is when you will see the best results.
  • Both understand that if you have one member that is a show boat or a cowboy it distracts most of the team.
  • It takes a lot more than talent to build a great time….

And that takes me into my second point. Look at the small school from Indiana called Butler, I believe the couch is 33 years old, This man had the ability to take a group of adult men that want to party like they were on spring break at the previous Olympics and turned these men back into the athletes they once were, bring the gold home again. Brad Stevens can take a group of kids and turn them into a team.

So think back to what you are going to do this week, are you going to do something to make yourself look oh so good in front of the VP’s when it hits the fan all around you, or are you going to be the team player and help the other members on your team to reach that single goal. I can tell you when I owned SQL on Call and other companies that I worked with the biggest challenge was communication, lack of emails, calls, conversations. The SQL on Call Team did not know they were not a team; they were a group of people going in as many different directions. If you want to play for a championship team you got to be willing to lift the team rather than yourself.

Free Microsoft Event

Posted: April 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


I got an email today from Harold Wong at Microsoft and he mentioned there are a couple free launch events that are coming up, one in Denver and on in Fort Collins. It looks like these will be to help launch the new Office 2010 and Share Point 2010.


April 20, 2010 Denver:

Hyatt Denver Tech Center: 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO 80237

7:30 AM – 5:00 PM


April 21, 2010 in Fort Collins:

Drake Centre, 802 W. Drake Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80526

8:00 AM – 12 PM


At the Fort Collins event, we will be raffling off a 16 GB Zune HD.

 We are again graced with another author not only commenting on their chapter in the form of a blog post but we’ve also been able to ask Michael (Blog | SQL Server Central) a few questions.

Michale was picked for the chapter he did in the SQL Server Deep Dives Book.  And in my opinion the book you must have now. We are reviewing each chapter and on top of it we are trying to interview each Author.  You can find the chapter review here.


Q: What one topic or section of your chapter in the Deep Dives book would you say is the place where most people working with xQuery make the most mistakes?

A: I would say the biggest issue people face with XQuery is the learning curve.  It’s really not as steep as people think, but because XML isn’t relational you basically need to learn a new set of methods to query it.  Once you get into though, most people realize that XQuery uses a familiar “path syntax” that’s very similar to standard operating system directory structures (Windows or *nix style).

Q: How did you start your career with SQL Server and why did you move to learning more about xQuery?

A: I actually started by supporting applications that ran against SQL 6.0 on NT 3.51 way back in the day.  My interest in XQuery actually started back in 1998 when the XML 1.0 Recommendation came out.  I thought it was really interesting and potentially useful technology, but I ran up against the limitations pretty quickly.  The main problems were no data typing (everything’s a string) and no simple way to query content (lots of loops and custom parsing).  When XPath came out a year later it fixed some issues, but left some others.  XQuery and XML Schema really fix a lot of other issues.  SQL 2000 XML support in the database was really overly-complicated, so when SQL 2005 came out with the XML data type I got really excited by the possibilities.

Q: What makes xQuery such an important part of SQL Server and how do you see it being leveraged in the �Real World�?

A: A lot of people don’t believe XML is contradictory to the relational model.  I don’t argue on that topic–there are plenty of people who are willing to argue both sides, so there’s not a whole lot I could add to the argument.  One of the most interesting aspects (to me) is that you can utilize SQL server functionality to convert relational data to XML, shred XML to relational data, etc. without ever persisting XML in the database.  So even the most ardent relational purist can take advantage of XML without storing it in the database.

Q: Do you believe that a lot of companies using the XML features in SQL Server, do you see this as a trend that will grow?

A: Yes, there are a lot of companies using SQL Server’s XML features.  Some of the most common features I see in use are the FOR XML feature to format relational data as XML and XML “shredding” (turning XML into relational data).  I think as Microsoft improves SQL Server’s XML support and performance, people will really start seeing the advantages of additional features like XML Schema and XML Indexes.

 Q: What’s next for you? What projects are you looking at for the future?

A: For now I’m back to independent consulting, with a few articles and presentations in the short term.  I’m working on a book with Vijaya Kadiyala in the longer term.  After that, who knows…

There have been more times then I care to admit where I have been trying to do something and while I was doing that task I did not understand what it was asking for. Many of these times I find myself asking for a detailed step by step check list. The problem with the detailed checklists are that they don’t always cover your situation.

This week I found myself installing a new SQL Server Cluster and I kept coming across error after error. It appears that I have somehow managed to install SQL Server without the name of the SQL Server cluster being assigned to it. This left me in a spot where I wanted to uninstall the product but, when I tried to remove SQL Server it would not do so and just repeating back to me with an error telling me that the Instance name of ” was already in use. Since this wasn’t a valid name all my efforts to remove it were in vain.

This is where the checklist aspect comes in, After we had the servers rebuilt I was able to find a great step by step article. There have been a number of changes made with the install of SQL Server on a cluster, Using a step by step like this helps you understand the changes, this excellent one that I am referring to was written by Edwin Sarmiento.

Now if I could find a checklist on how to manually remove SQL Server 2008 without using the Add/Remove Programs I would be all set.

At a Loss for Words

Posted: April 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s not very often where I am left with a complete lack of words. It has taken me 5 days to get to the point where I can admit that I don’t have anything other to say than Thank You.

April 1st, I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award for SQL Server. This is my second award and I think this means as much to me as the first. As I was looking around I ran across this post by Paul Randal. This is an awesome description of what and MVP is and what it means to him. I sat down and thought I would take his lead, well because he is a great resource and has a great outlook. But as I have sat down a half a dozen times to write what this means to me, I just find myself talking in circles…


So here it is, what does being an MVP mean to me? To me it is a couple items, first and foremost it is an award that says Thank You to the work I have done around SQL Server. This award means that my work with the communities was considered to be worthwhile of being recognized. When you get an award like this it says, wow, we saw what you did and we appreciate it.

Second, and just as important it means that I am being thanked along with some really awesome people. I am humbled to have my name listed by theirs, and I have to thank each and every one of them, the MVP’s are a great resource for learning even for us MVP’s.

So I am left with who I should thank… Well first and foremost, I thank God, My wife, My Son, My Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law, friends who have believed in me all the way from High School and I would never forget my own Mother, who has never forgot me and has supported me through so many rough times.

When it comes to professionals I have worked with, Buck Woody, Kalen Delany, Steve Wynkoop, Hilary Cotter, Donald Farmer, Brent Ozar, Thomas La Rock, Kathi Kallenberger, Tim Ford, TJay Belt, Jasson Massie, Ted Malone, Paul Neilsen, Kat Meadows, Jeremy Lowell, Marc Beacom, and the list goes on and on. Just because someone is not on this list does not mean that they are not important. I am so sorry I cannot remember everyone’s name at 11:08 at night. I hope I still have the pleasure to work with you in the future.

I can’t forget Carm, Charlie Jones, Everyone in DBA School, Jorge Segarra, Tom Roush, Max Trinidad, Rachal A., Klara Barton and so many others.  I am so embarrased that I forget some of the best people I know

I would also like to thank the readers of this blog. Sometimes its rant, other times it is a tip and well sometimes it is a heads up for upcoming events.



On another note… Over the next couple days I have some great news for Colorado. If you are a SQL Server User in Colorado please keep an eye on this blog for a great announcement, or two…