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  • Blog Post: In the Cloud, Everything Costs Money

    I’ve been teaching my daughter about budgeting. I’ve explained that most of the time the money coming in is from only one or two sources – and you can only change that from time to time. The money going out, however, is to many locations, and it changes all the time. She’s made a simple debits and credits...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure End to End Examples

    I’m fascinated by the way people learn. I’m told there are several methods people use to understand new information, from reading to watching, from experiencing to exploring. Personally, I use multiple methods of learning when I encounter a new topic, usually starting with reading a bit about the concepts...
  • Blog Post: Preparation is key to a successful cloud deployment

    If you want to be wise, watch the actions and outcomes of others. Emulate the successful actions, and avoid the actions that cause failure. That’s true in life in general - and in technology projects in specific.  I’ve worked with several clients who have created or migrated an application to “the...
  • Blog Post: “I could use a little help here” or “I can do it myself, thank you” for Cloud Projects

    Windows Azure allows you to write code in languages within the .NET stack, you can use Java, C++, PHP, NodeJS and others. Code is code - other than keeping things stateless, using a Web or Worker Role in Azure is not all that different from working with an on-premises system. However…. Working in a scalable...
  • Blog Post: Application Lifecycle Management Overview for Windows Azure

    Developing in Windows Azure is at once not that much different from what you’re familiar with in on-premises systems, and different in significant ways. Because of these differences, developers often ask about the specific process to develop and deploy a Windows Azure application - more formally called...
  • Blog Post: Head in the Clouds–Eyes on the Books

    I normally post technical topics here on this blog, but I’m extending this post a bit to include a little professional development. Don’t worry; there’s some tech (and Distributed Computing tech, no less) in this post as well. I recently presented a few sessions on a “ SQL...
  • Blog Post: Computer books are dead. Well, some of them, anyway.

    I read a lot. I mean a LOT. It seems that computer professionals have much in common with medical professionals – we have to read in order to stay on top of our game. For me, this used to mean web sites, magazines, and other print medium, and of course lots of books. I’ve even written several computer...
  • Blog Post: ISV Applications versus In-House Applications

    I’ve written a series on creating an “Application Profile” for your organization, which allows you to create a strategic plan on everything from Business Continuity to Disaster Recovery , but many of us just don’t have the time to do that much work. But that doesn’t...
  • Blog Post: Just how permanent does that data need to be?

    As data professionals, we plan for things. We plan for growth, we have a disaster-recovery plan, we have a plan for consolidation. Those are all good things. But I've seen very few shops that have a good data retention plan . This is a plan that basically answers the question, how permanent does that...
  • Blog Post: When you’re on a high, start something big

    Most days are pretty average – we have some highs, some lows, and just regular old work to do. But some days the sun is shining, your co-workers are especially nice, and everything just falls into place. You really *enjoy* what you do. Don’t let that moment pass. All of us have “big” projects that we...
  • Blog Post: Do you need all that data?

    I read an amazing post over on ars technica (link: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/03/the-software-brains-behind-the-particle-colliders.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss ) abvout the LHC, or as they are also known, the "particle colliders". Beyond just the pure scientific...
  • Blog Post: Challenge: Learn One New Thing Today

    Most of us know that there's a lot to learn. I'm teaching a class this morning, and even on the subject where I'm the "expert" (that word always makes me nervous!) I still have a lot to learn. To learn, sometimes I take a class, read a book, or carve out a large chunk of time so that I can fully grasp...
  • 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: 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: Plans are useless. Planning is essential!

    I do lot of cooking, and I was taught to prepare everything ahead of time, and put everything in its place – something called “Mise en Place”. I chop everything and put it in little bowls, measure out the spices, lay out all of the pots and pans and so on, all before I turn on the oven or stove. It forces...
  • Blog Post: Changing the Primary Key Before You Have Data

    In my class this week, the students went through the inserts, updates and deletes that they had created for their database design, and then the moment of truth – creating the queries that answer the questions from the requirements. It’s often at this stage when you realize that the design isn’t exactly...
  • Blog Post: Disaster Response and the Physical Plant

    Near our home is a Dam about to break. It was built long ago, and even though millions were taxed and spent for it, little to none of that money ever got to the actual shoring up and maintaining the dam  over time (don’t get me started). Anyway, it’s in sad shape, and an entire valley is about to...
  • Blog Post: Test your Restores, or, a Cautionary Tale

    The other day I rebuilt a test system, and as a result I wanted to restore a few of my test databases. I've done a lot of customization in those, fuzzed some of the private data and so on, that they've moved dangerously close to a "production" database, at least for me. So I grabbed the media, popped...
  • 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: Consolidation Strategies: Profiling Your Systems

    Many shops are considering consolidating their SQL Server Instances onto fewer boxes, as I've blogged about before. There are lots of ways to think about consolidation, from placing more databases on one Instance (Database Stacking), putting multiple Instances on one server (Instance Stacking), and using...
  • Blog Post: Grid Painting and Database Projects

    I'm not very good at drawing. My drawings of people and objects with depth usually looks like what your 5th grader does, but not the talented 5th grader. But I found a trick that helps me draw not only depth, but complex things as well. It involves taking a picture you want to duplicate and laying out...
  • Blog Post: Server Consolidation Done Right

    Consolidating your servers is all the rage, especially since you can save money by doing it. You can save not only on the hardware, but the licenses. To do that properly, you need a strategy. You start by detailing what you have, and then lay out the apps and where they could go. Microsoft has a tool...
  • Blog Post: Data Retention Strategies and Server Consolidation

    I deal with a lot of folks that are going through server consolidation exercises. These days everyone immediately thinks of Virtualization - which will consolidate servers onto a single instance. But in many cases it's actually smarter to evaluate the load across your servers and then "stack"...
  • Blog Post: Versioning the Database

    If you write apps that hit a database that you own, then you probably want version control on the database itself. I always script out the initial database, and version that script. I also script the changes, and version those, and then script the entire DB again and version that as well. That allows...
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