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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: Book Review (Book 11) - Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform

    This is a continuation of the books I challenged myself to read to help my career - one a month, for year. You can read my first book review here , and the entire list is here . The book I chose for April 2012 was: Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform . I was traveling at the end of...
  • 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 was going to call this post “Windows Azure Best Practices” but I’m not allowed to

    For reasons I don't completely understand, I'm not allowed to call the following advice "Best Practices" - apparently there is some liability or something there. So let's say these are "really good ideas" for developing applications for Windows Azure. (Did you see how I worked it...
  • Blog Post: Pay in the future should make you think in the present

    Distributed Computing - and more importantly “-as-a-Service” models of computing have a different cost model. This is something that sounds obvious on the surface but it’s often forgotten during the design and coding phase of a project. In on-premises computing, we’re used to purchasing a server and...
  • 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: 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: Windows Azure Emulators On Your Desktop

    Many people feel they have to set up a full Azure subscription online to try out and develop on Windows Azure. But you don’t have to do that right away. In fact, you can download the Windows Azure Compute Emulator – a “cloud development environment” – right on your desktop...
  • Blog Post: Online Password Security Tactics

    Recently two more large databases were attacked and compromised, one at the popular Gawker Media sites and the other at McDonald’s. Every time this kind of thing happens (which is FAR too often) it should remind the technical professional to ensure that they secure their systems correctly. If you...
  • Blog Post: Setting up SQL Server Management Studio for Teaching or Demos

    My friend Paul Randal posted a blog entry on how he sets up SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for demonstrations . I do a lot of teaching and presenting as well, and I’ve set up my environment in a similar way to help the audience see what I’m doing, and follow along. You can do most...
  • Blog Post: Back up a single table in SQL Server

    SQL Server doesn’t have an easy way to take a table backup, so I often use the bcp (Bulk Copy Program) to accomplish the same goal. I’ve mentioned this before, and someone told me when they tried it they couldn’t restore the table – ah the dangers of telling people half the information! I should have...
  • 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: 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: 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: PowerShell: Read Excel to Create Inserts

    I’m writing a series of articles on how to migrate “departmental” data into SQL Server . I also hold workshops on the entire process – from discovering that the data exists to the modeling process and then how to design the Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process. Finally I write about (and teach)...
  • 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: 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: 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: PowerShell Version Two – Get Continuous Perf Counters

    In version 2.0 of PowerShell, you can now use a direct command-let (get-Counter) to get at the Performance Monitor counters. For instance, to show the current value of the Processor Percent Time, use this command:   Get-Counter '\Processor(*)\% Processor Time'     The interesting...
  • 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...
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