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  • Blog Post: High Availability for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS in the Cloud

    Outages, natural disasters and unforeseen events have proved that even in a distributed architecture, you need to plan for High Availability (HA). In this entry I'll explain a few considerations for HA within Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service ...
  • Blog Post: Management and Monitoring Tools for Windows Azure

    (Last updated on 01/15/2013) With such a large platform, Windows Azure has a lot of moving parts. We’ve done our best to keep the interface as simple as possible, while giving you the most control and visibility we can. However, as with most Microsoft products, there are multiple ways to do...
  • Blog Post: Book review: Microsoft System Center Enterprise Suite Unleashed

    I know, I know – what’s a database guy doing reading a book on System Center? Well, I need it from time to time. System Center is actually a collection of about 7 different products that you can use to manage and monitor your software and hardware, from drive space through Microsoft Office, UNIX systems...
  • Blog Post: Upgrades from Beta or CTP SQL Server Software are NOT Supported

    As of this writing, SQL Server 2008 R2 has released, and just like every release, I get e-mails and calls from folks with this question: “Can I upgrade from Customer Technical Preview (CTP) x or Beta #x or Release Candidate (RC) to the “Released to Manufacturing” (RTM) version?” No. Right up until...
  • Blog Post: Backup those keys, citizen

    Periodically I back up the keys within my servers and databases, and when I do, I blog a reminder here. This should be part of your standard backup rotation – the keys should be backed up often enough to have at hand and again when they change. The first key you need to back up is the Service Master...
  • Blog Post: Create and Track Your Own License Keys with PowerShell

    SQL Server used to have  cool little tool that would let you track your licenses. Microsoft didn’t use it to limit your system or anything, it was just a place on the server where you could put that this system used this license key. I miss those days – we don’t track that any more, and I want to...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell PowerPack Download

    I read Jeffery Hicks’ article in this month’s Redmond Magazine on a new add-in for Windows PowerShell 2.0. It’s called the PowerShell Pack and it has a some great new features that I plan to put into place on my production systems as soon as I finished learning and testing them. You can download the...
  • Blog Post: Process Improvement and the Data Professional

    Don’t be afraid of that title – I’m not talking about Six Sigma or anything super-formal here. In many organizations, there are more folks in other IT roles than in the Data Professional area. In other words, there are more developers, system administrators and so on than there are the “DBA” role. That...
  • Blog Post: List SQL Server Instances using the Registry

    I read this interesting article on using PowerShell and the registry , and thought I would modify his information a bit to list the SQL Server Instances on a box. The interesting thing about listing instances this was is that you can touch remote machines, find the instances when they are off and so...
  • Blog Post: Backup Meta-Data

    I'm working on a PowerShell script to show me the trending durations of my backup activities. The first thing I need is the data, so I looked at the Standard Reports in SQL Server Management Studio, and found a report that suited my needs, so I pulled out the script that it runs and modified it to this...
  • Blog Post: Open the SQL Server Error Log with PowerShell

    Using the Server Management Objects (SMO) library, you don’t even need to have the SQL Server 2008 PowerShell Provider to read the SQL Server Error Logs – in fact, you can use regular old everyday PowerShell. Keep in mind you will need the SMO libraries – which can be installed separately or by installing...
  • Blog Post: Cluster Nodes as RAID Drives

    I'm unable to sleep tonight so I thought I would push this post out VERY early. When you don't sleep your mind takes interesting turns, which can be a good thing. I was watching a briefing today by a couple of friends as they were talking about various ways to arrange a Windows Server Cluster for...
  • Blog Post: Using linked servers, OPENROWSET and OPENQUERY

    SQL Server has a few mechanisms to reach out to another server (even another server type) and query data from within a Transact-SQL statement. Among them are a set of stored credentials and information (called a Linked Server ), a statement that uses a linked server called called OPENQUERY , another...
  • Blog Post: What to leave when you're leaving

    There's already a post on this topic - sort of. I read this entry, where the author did a good job on a few steps , but I found that a few other tips might be useful, so if you want to check that one out and then this post, you might be able to put together your own plan for when you leave your job....
  • Blog Post: System Variables, Stored Procedures or Functions for Meta Data

    Whenever you want to know something about SQL Server’s configuration, whether that’s the Instance itself or a database, you have a few options. If you want to know “dynamic” data, such as how much memory or CPU is consumed or what a particular query is doing, you should be using the Dynamic Management...
  • Blog Post: Create Outlook Appointments from PowerShell

    I've been toying around with a script to create a special set of calendar objects in Outlook that show when my SQL Server Agent Jobs are scheduled to run. I haven't finished yet, but I thought I would share the part that creates the Outlook Appointments.I have yet to fill a variable with the start and...
  • Blog Post: Did that change really fix the problem?

    When we’re heads-down on a problem, it’s sometimes far too easy to relax the method we should follow for troubleshooting. We’re supposed to gather as much information as possible, freeze the system as much as possible, and then develop the plan for the steps to correct the problem. Then we’re supposed...
  • Blog Post: Have you backed up your keys lately?

    Did you know that you already have a Server Master Key (SMK) generated for your system? That’s right – while a Database Master Key (DMK) is generated when you encrypt a certificate or Asymmetric Key with code, the Server Master Key is generated automatically when you start the Instance. So you should...
  • Blog Post: Lessons from Volunteering

    Saturday I volunteered at a work-day at our church. Our building is one of the first buildings built in this area of Washington, so it’s a beautiful old structure, which of course means there’s lots of maintenance. I’m fairly decent with tools, I’ve done some woodworking in my day, and I’ve even rebuilt...
  • Blog Post: Restarting the SQL Server Service Account – Why?

    SQL Server runs under the aegis of a “service” in Windows. That means it’s running in the background all of the time. A Service in Windows requires the ability to “log on” to the system – even if you don’t see that happening. Which brings us to this post. First, you should use a regular, low-privileged...
  • Blog Post: How Does Microsoft Do IT?

    Microsoft is a big company – and of course we have a lot of IT infrastructure that we have to manage. It might surprise you to learn that we have an IT group, just like at your company. We have a networking team, a server hardware team, software teams, DBA’s, the whole bit. In fact, we have more Mac...
  • Blog Post: Tracking SQL Server Time

    In the past few blog posts I’ve showed you how to use several methods to track things in SQL Server. You can use the “tags” to the right of this post here at this site to list things like PowerShell, Performance Tuning and so on. Now that you’re armed with these tools, what should you track? Well, one...
  • Blog Post: Know Your Product Specifications

    As the Data Professional in your organization, the rest of the org looks to you to ensure that the system can handle what the business requires. To do that, you need to know two things: what the business requires, and what SQL Server can do. But of course there’s a bit more to it than that. Knowing the...
  • Blog Post: Plan and Prepare or Just Do It? How about Both!

    I'm kind of a type "A" person. OK, I'm a VERY type "A" person. I even cook by setting things up ahead of time. I'm definitely more in the "Plan and Prepare" camp than the "Just Do It" camp. But I do realize that there are times when you just can't stop and prepare. Sure, it would be great to know...
  • Blog Post: Spit it out already!

    You’ve probably seen that commercial where the chewing-gum company van stalks the guy who has been chewing the same piece of gum too long, and they attack him and make him chew another piece. I feel like that with SQL Server 2000. Almost every shop I go into has at least one primary application running...
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