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  • Blog Post: Big Data - A Microsoft Tools Approach

    (As with all of these types of posts, check the date of the latest update I’ve made here. Anything older than 6 months is probably out of date, given the speed with which we release new features into Windows and SQL Azure) I don’t normally like to discuss things in terms of tools. I find...
  • Blog Post: Big Data and the Cloud - More Hype or a Real Workload?

    Last week Microsoft announced several new offerings for “Big Data” - and since I’m a stickler for definitions, I wanted to make sure I understood what that really means. What is “Big Data”? What size hard drive is that? After all, my laptop has 1TB of storage - is my laptop “Big Data”? There are actually...
  • Blog Post: You Probably Already Have a “Private Cloud”

    I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of the word “Cloud”. It’s too marketing-oriented, gimmicky and non-specific. A better definition (in many cases) is “Distributed Computing”. That means that some or all of the computing functions are handled somewhere other than under your specific control. But...
  • Blog Post: Do you have a data roadmap?

    I often visit companies where they asked me “What is SQL Server’s Roadmap?” What they mean is that they want to know where Microsoft is going with our database products. I explain that we’re expanding not only the capacities in SQL Server but the capabilities – we’re trying to make an “information platform...
  • Blog Post: Vendors: Partners or Salespeople?

    I got a great e-mail from a friend that asked about how he could foster a better relationship with his vendors. So many times when you work with a vendor it’s more of a used-car sales experience than a partnership – but you can actually make your vendor more of a partner, as long as you both set some...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server for the Oracle DBA Links

    I do a presentation (and a class) called "SQL Server for the Oracle DBA". It's a non-marketing overview that gives you the basics of working with SQL Server if you're already familiar wtih how Oracle works. This class and these links DO NOT help you with "Why should I use Oracle/SQL Server instead of...
  • Blog Post: With Choice Comes Complexity

    "Complex" may be defined as "Having many steps, details or parts." Many of Microsoft's products, including SQL Server, can be complex. I'm stating what most data professionals already know - there's usually multiple ways to do things in SQL Server. For instance, to import some data into a table you can...
  • Blog Post: How to get Microsoft to speak at your event

    If you’re holding a special event, such as a SQL Saturday or a user group, one of the challenges is to get speakers for the event. Now, the best speakers come from the community – people who use the product day-in, day-out. They have a wealth of expertise, and many of them are really great presenters...
  • Blog Post: Can’t Travel for Training? No Problem

    Right now it’s tough to get businesses to loosen the purse a little and get you out to some training. But you have features in the product that you’re not even able to use because you haven’t been trained. What’s a Data Professional to do? Why, go to free or low cost training over the web, of course...
  • Blog Post: The SQL Server Health Check

    My friend Brent Ozar, who is a top-notch SQL Server Professional, mentioned on his blog ( http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2007/04/sql-server-health-check/comment-page-1/#comment-17520 ) that he brought in Microsoft Support to do a “Health Check”. There were some questions about what this actually entails...
  • 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: The Three Things that Brought Me Here

    I've been asked to explain three major events that brought me to where I am today. That's a tall order for me, since I view everything as a continuum of multiple small events. But there are some "seminal" events that tend to either show or dictate a further direction, so in the context of working with...
  • Blog Post: Tools and Processes for “Fitting it all in”

    Most data professionals I’ve met work in two modes: we plan for our day, and we react to the situations around us. I’m staring at my list of things that I need to do today right now, which is my planned work. Of course, I have no idea how much of that will really get done – it’s optimistic to be sure...
  • 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: More than One Platform

    Many Data Professionals I deal with work with more than just SQL Server. I came from a background of COBOL flat-file databases, worked with Oracle, DB/2, Ingres, and lots of other databases as well. While I find that the SQL Server professionals I know are fine with learning a new platform, many times...
  • Blog Post: My Perfect SQL Server Management Tool

    As many of you know, I used to work on the product team on SQL Server Management Studio. I think it does a good job of balancing the needs of a data developer and a data administrator, even though there are things I would like to have done to make it even better. But if I were king, I would love to put...
  • Blog Post: Aren’t DBA’s Just System Admins for Databases?

    Last week I ran into an argument I’ve had since I left the mainframe space decades ago. A developer told me “DBA’s don’t design databases.” The inference was that DBA’s (i.e., Database Administrators) only worry about hardware, security, OS, database backups, things like that. He seemed amazed that a...
  • Blog Post: Changing the Primary Key After You Have Data

    Yesterday I blogged about changing a Primary Key (PK) during the design phase, and before you have data in the database. Even then, it’s not trivial to change the data type or column(s) that make(s) up the PK. When you have data in that Primary Key and/or you have Foreign Keys (FK) that point to a PK...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft Does IT - Updated

    I’ve pointed out this link before, and I’ll definitely bring it up again. Microsoft is one of the few companies I know, especially the big ones, that explains how they run their IT. We have a fantastic, I mean really fantastic site that you should definitely check out. Can save you lots of time, and...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft Does IT

    One of my favorite ways to learn is through examples. If you’ll explain what something does and a little of how it works,and then give me an example to decompose, I usually come up to speed pretty quickly. I’ve been carrying a DVD (and CD’s before that) in my laptop bag for years from Microsoft (way...
  • Blog Post: Who do I talk to in Microsoft about…

    Have you ever seen one of us “Softies” (Microsoft Professionals) at a conference, briefing or on Mount Rainier on a motorcycle and said “You work for Microsoft? I need your help on fixing….”? Perhaps you heard back from that person, or perhaps you lost touch. Perhaps they knew who you should talk to...
  • Blog Post: Should I stay or Should I Go?

    I'm writing this post on a bus headed towards the Seattle Convention Center, where the technical folks in the field meet once a year to hear from the product teams about all the new features coming in the future. I used to present at this conference (and in fact I still do), but today I'll be attending...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Best Practices: Auto-Shrink Should Be Off

    SQL Server is one of the easiest databases to maintain because of all of the automatic settings it has, but as I mentioned with Auto-Close, some of them should be left off. The Auto-Shrink setting is another. That might surprise a few people. You might think from the name of this operation, that you...
  • Blog Post: What's a Microsoft "Fast Track" for Data Warehousing?

    Microsoft is a platform company, meaning that we don't often sell pre-packaged solutions, but rather tools for you to make them. In other words, we sell Microsoft Word, we don't type the letters for you. But in some cases you might like to have a little more guidance than just "Here's a database...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Best Practices: AutoClose Should be Off

    When SQL Server "opens" a database, resources are assigned to maintaining that state. Memory for locks, buffers, security tokens and so on is assigned, and there is associated CPU and even a little I/O. When connections are made to the database, these resources are ready and waiting. The AutoClose...
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