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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: 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: 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: Team Foundation Server (TFS) in the Cloud - My Experience So Far

    I recently joined a software development project that involves not only myself and other internal Microsoft employees, but a partner and a customer as well. We are building a hybrid solution that uses assets on premises as well as Windows Azure for processing. When we put the team together we picked...
  • Blog Post: How I Prepare For Presentations, And My Speaking Schedule For This Quarter

    I do a little speaking here and there and I’ve been asked about the method I use to get ready for a talk. I thought I might share the method I use, although as you read through this remember that not everyone has the same style, processes and procedures they use. As long as you feel prepared when you...
  • 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: Where is the SQL Azure Development Environment

    Recently I posted an entry explaining that you can develop in Windows Azure without having to connect to the main service on the Internet, using the Software Development Kit (SDK) which installs two emulators - one for compute and the other for storage. That brought up the question of the same kind of...
  • Blog Post: Data Movement and the Decision Matrix

    Maybe it’s my military background, or maybe I’ve always had this predilection, but I like to use two devices when I need to make a complex decision: A checklist and a decision matrix. I like to use a checklist because it ensures that I remember the big bits of what I need to do, and brings up questions...
  • Blog Post: ROI and the DBA

    I love them three-letter acronyms! An “ROI” is a Return On Investment – it’s a basic financial calculation that places investments in a standard number so that they can be compared. If the number is positive, then it has a “good” return on investment, and if it’s negative, you probably shouldn’t make...
  • 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: The Database Design Process

    I need your help. I know how I create databases, and I’ve watched a lot of other data professionals follow their own processes for that, but I want to know how YOU do it. I’ve written about the process I follow for a complete database design on InformIT (use the "Next" button at the bottom of these...
  • 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: Wizards are evil – wait, no they aren’t!

    SQL Server contains many “Wizards. Wizards are simply programs that collect information based on user choices. The Wizard’s screens explain each step and the choices on that screen. Based on those answers collected from the user, the Wizard performs some task. What could possibly be wrong with helping...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 does not always script out all tables

    I teach my college students to periodically script out their databases so that they can run the script to create the entire project on any system. I use this to check their homework, and to teach them about source-code control. We use the scripting wizard in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and select...
  • Blog Post: Knowledge is how you break the rules

    Last night I had to do something on a production system that you're not supposed to do. It's not important what I did or where I did it, but I will explain why I did it. A friend was in a situation where it was either "break the rules" or lose the system. So I did what I had to do, with lots of caveats...
  • 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: 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: You have a Voice at Microsoft

    When I was on the product team, I was asked by a few of you from time to time to make a change in SQL Server. Now that I'm in the field, I get asked to "chat with the development team" to make one change or another. But you actually have more say than I do. There are 85,000 of us at Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Are You Archiving Your Data?

    Computer technology has been a fixture of business now for several decades - but I'm not sure it's a "mature" industry yet. Sure, we have a few standards, and some dominant vendors and a strong workforce - all earmarks of a mature industry - but there are some gaping holes that we still have...
  • Blog Post: Music and Technology

    I've noticed something interesting since I've been working at Microsoft, specifically at the SQL Server organization. All of the folks here are incredibly smart - you'd probably expect that - but they have two other traits that I've found. Many of them have a "tactile" hobby, that is, a hobby...
  • Blog Post: "Katmai" test statistics:

    I thought you might be interested in a few statistics about the latest release of SQL Server 2008. We still refer to our products with the code names, so you'll still hear us refer to 2K8 as "Katmai". Every day we used over 4000 lab machines to execute over 200 lab runs running over 1 Million tests...
  • Blog Post: Checking the "Feedback" Box

    If you're installing SQL Server 2008, you'll get a panel near the end of the installation process that asks you if we can collect data on how you use the product. Check those boxes! I was with someone one time during their installation, and when that panel came up they blew through it, telling me "I...
  • Blog Post: News Flash: SQL Server 2008 is here

    You can find it on MSDN Subscriber Downloads and TechNet Subscriber Downloads . Either search for SQL Server 2008 or navigate under Servers then to SQL Server 2008. http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/downloads/default.aspx http://technet.microsoft.com/subscriptions/downloads/default...
  • Blog Post: Difficult Visualizations

    As I've mentioned, I'm a big fan of scripting. It's normally faster for me to type than to click. But there are times that it is difficult to do some operations in script - they are just easier in a graphical interface. One of those places is showing the permissions on an object. While it isn't difficult...
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