Archive for December 11, 2011

I really try to take part in as many T-SQL Tuesdays as I can, but to be honest I just forget about it.  So as I try to figure out how to remind myself I ponder what my favorite tip is.  I think this is a great Question asked by Allen White.  If you don’t know about the whole T-SQL Tuesday thing you can either follow the Logo or check it out on twitter using the hash tag #TSQL2sday. Allen had mentioned that in the early days of SQL Server that some of the best tips and tricks for managing SQL Server came from the community.  The key here is that you need to make sure that you were taking part in the community to get all that you could from the tips people had to share.  

What Is My Tip?

I think it should go without saying that you need to be checking your error logs on all your SQL Servers every day. If you fail to do this then you are just waiting for your servers to fail on you.  With the ever growing popularity of SQL Server (I know this surprises you), there are so many of these servers that we need to manage.  This means that each day you should be opening the error log on each of the SQL Servers that you manage.  But what happens when you have 10 or even 100 even more?  Obviously the time involved becomes that much more intrusive.  Try telling your supervisor that you could not get any work on your projects done because you were reviewing error logs, see how far that gets you.  So how do you make this easier?  How can you complete this action without taking all your day reading logs?

Use the extended stored procedure that Microsoft provides you to help you automate your task. 

EXEC sp_executesql N’xp_readerrorlog’

Now you can see that you have your error log in a result set that you can manage.  I will be going much more in depth with this during in my Utility Database Session SQLSaturday #104 Pre-Conference What’s in your Utility Belt. Learn how you can use this information to help you even more.  Considering putting your record set into a table, this can be done by:

DECLARE @Errorlog TABLE (LogDate datetime, ProcessorInfo VARCHAR (100),ErrorMSG VARCHAR(2000))


EXEC sp_executesql N’xp_readerrorlog’

Once you have the data in a table I think that this is where it is the most powerful. You can filter the data and remove the rows that you don’t want to see, you can look for keywords and take action on issues that you see in your error log.  If you add the code to a SQL Server job, you can automate these items.  My favorite part is that I can use SQL Mail to send me results or I can format it in a SSRS report with a subscription.

End result, I use the methods that I am most familiar with, when the data is in a table. I know how to move through it, act on it, report on it and make sure that each of the issues have been addressed.




PASS Votes

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Interviews, News, SQLServerPedia Syndication

I always wonder how many people actually know who they are voting for.  I am sure you are really busy as am I.  So making sure that I keep up on everyone’s campaign is really difficult to do.  This year when I was thinking I would run for the Board of Directors for PASS, I decided I was going to make it very clear on not only the reasons that I was running, but the opinions that I had.  This way if someone voted for me, they would know where my mindset was and where I was coming from when I was representing them as I voted on issues.  A few months ago I decided that I could be more of an impact at this time on the SQL Server community if I worked on the local level or even an RM level than what I could on the Board of Directors.  Now this does not mean that I won’t ever run for the Board, it’s actually quite opposite; I do plan to run in the next few years.  But as for me today, I want to see how I can help the User Group Chapters because that is what I am the most passionate about.

So last week when I came across the Forums where I could ask all the current candidates questions in a public forum I had to jump at the chance.  I believe that all the candidates are very well qualified for the role.  As a matter of fact this is the first year where I am really having a difficult time trying to decide who I am going to vote for.  I posted 4 questions to candidates and to my great surprise I have been getting answers from them.  In addition I believe all the candidates are either planning to answer or have already answered.  I thought I would take a few minutes to post the responses here on my blog.  Please remember my questions come from my paradigm, so these are directed to get the opinions of the candidates so when they are voting on a topic I know they know where they are coming from.  I have included comments below each question so that you might know where I was coming from when asking them.

  1. I am really passionate about the User Community of PASS, can you tell me what do you think can be done to build a strong relationship between PASS and the Chapters? How can PASS support the chapters and really help the chapters grow?

    In my humble opinion and take it for what it is worth, I think that SQL Server Professionals may not understand all that Pass does for us, and can do for us.  I have had a number of discussions with the Board of Directors and I think that they have the same goal for User Groups that I do.  Make the groups more productive for the current members, and help increase the outreach into the community.  There are a lot of business items that the BoD have to cover each time that they meet.  So I wanted to know if anyone has ideas to help the chapters grow, and are they as passionate about them as I am.

  2. What does PASS mean to you, and what do you think PASS should be? Is PASS living up to the potential that it has or is it doing well just the way that it is? If you had no obstacles how would PASS be different?

    For someone to be on the BoD I think they have to have a great understanding of what PASS is today. Even more important than that, I want to know where they want PASS to go.  I want to be very clear when I say I am not unhappy with PASS.  I think they are doing a good job in what they do.  At the same time I am a firm believer in the fact that PASS can do more.  Sure there are some areas where I think PASS has to change what they are doing, but I believe we have the same goals. 

  3. As a SQL Saturday organizer, my job would be easier if I had a pre-set list of sponsors that would be added to my events vendors list. I am thinking along the lines of a group sponsorship where small companies could be a vendor at many events with one cost, in addition smaller events would not have to fight with larger events for money, based on attendance. What do you think of this idea? Why would it or would it not work?

    When I am working on organizing a SQL Saturday event I feel like there are a number of tasks that need to be completed, one of the more difficult tasks is finding vendors for the event.  I firmly believe that PASS and Andy Warren have created a great base for us to spring off of as we organize our events.  But as we look at making sure there are events in many more towns around the country and around the world we need to make it easier for the people who are willing to help host these events.  The big question is: How do we do that?  I think if you have a dedicated volunteer, a supporting RM and people willing to go and speak at these events, then I think we need to help each event as much as we can. I may not understand the complexity of what I am asking, and I am sure there are a number of rules that need to be put in place, but I want to see if someone has addressed the idea.

  4. You are qualified and very capable of being on the Board for PASS, but so are the other 5 candidates. But the candidate that I vote for will represent me. Please tell me why I should trust you will represent me and what I can expect out of your term on the board? What ideas are you going to champion?

I think this question really explains itself.  I don’t want people trashing each other, that is not the goal. What I want to hear is what areas do they really have a draw to, do they like SQL Saturdays and want to make them bigger and better, or is their heart in working on a relationship with Microsoft?  One is no more important to the other, in the big picture.  But, if someone is going to represent me during a vote, and that is what I expect of a BoD that I am supporting then I want to know that they are aligned with what is important to me.  If they know where I am coming from, and they vote against something I would have voted for then this is exactly where my trust needs to come in.  I need to know that my BoD has my interest and my concerns in mind when they cast the vote.  They will have more information than I do, and they will have looked into it more than I have, so I need to believe they will make the decision that is right for the organization, even if that means it is not the same way I would vote.

I know there is a lot of information here.  This is a big responsibility for the people who are putting their beliefs out there for the community to review and scrutinize.  I know that I will make a good decision for me, but can I make a good decision for you?  I challenge you to read the answers,  and if you have a question make sure that you post it on there, and see what they have to say.  But no matter what you do, if you feel passion for your community and you feel passion for your work, make a stand and support someone.  Be informed on who you vote for.  For the answers to my questions, you can follow the thread here.  I was going to repost answers, and considered even asking them for an interview.  But I want you to see how they answered in words that they choose.