Congratulations to Tom LaRock, aka SQLBatman, and Pat Wright, aka SQLAsylum, who just got into the PASS Board of Directors! Two board members had resigned, and Pat & Tom was appointed to one of those two positions. I’m excited because I believe these guys will make great board members, and I’m even more excited to see that the PASS Board saw that same thing.
Everybody I’ve met on the PASS Board has been enthusiastically dedicated to the community. These people pour their heart, soul and spare time into helping SQL Server DBAs all over the world, and for every one of the directors, there’s dozens of people in the PASS volunteer organization doing the same thing. I just can’t encourage DBAs enough to sign up for a free PASS membership and to attend the PASS Summit next year if they can.
Tom’s blog post about making the board shows that he’s also going to be a great politician. He says:
“A very special thanks to my consigliere, Brent Ozar. His guidance as my campaign strategist was invaluable…”
Let me translate that into layman’s terms:
“If you’re looking for bad campaign ideas that will make sure you lose, talk to Brent. His advice is worthless.”
Hahaha, I kiiiid, I kiiiid. (Not really.)
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about some guidelines for getting started with technical blogging. I’ve now gone and broke one of them – not editing your WordPress template.
When CSS sharpie Jeremiah Peschka read of my desire to make my site span the full width of the page, he offered to give me a hand. Lo and behold, my web site is huge! Ginormous, I tell you! He made all kinds of fixes to the CSS in the template I use. The drawback of that is I can no longer upgrade the template, but I’m probably set for a while.
I need to redo the images going across the top of the page, and I need to throw more stuff in the sidebars, but it’s a journey that never ends. In the meantime, though, I have so much hot fresh widthness that the Enzyte guys are jealous.
If you need CSS help, ping Jeremiah or follow him on Twitter. He’s also quick with the JQuery magic.
David Stein of Made2Mentor.com posted about his professional New Year’s resolutions (as opposed to personal ones), and Denis Gobo tagged me too, so here goes. I updated my GTD priority lists on RememberTheMilk during my vacation a couple of weeks ago and I’ve already forgotten them, hahaha, but that’s what RTM is for.
- Learn SQL Server Reporting Services. For years, I’ve sworn I didn’t want to learn SSRS because I didn’t want to be a report writer. Report writers aspire to become DBAs, not the other way around. The thing is, SSRS is just too good of a tool not to use, and I think I can prototype things that will help DBAs do their jobs better. (Dave and I shared this goal.)
- Leverage data mining to make DBA chores easier. I keep dabbling with the SQL Server Data Mining in the Cloud plugin, and I’ve got a few ideas about how I can make DBAs’ lives easier with this tool too. I’ve blogged about how to use it with Perfmon, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Get my Microsoft certifications. We DBAs give Microsoft a lot of crap because the certs are too easy to get, and at the same time, I haven’t had a cert since 1999. If they’re so easy, I need to get up off my rear and get ‘em all. Every time I look at Denny Cherry’s site, I get cert envy. He’ll always have me beat, though, because I don’t have SharePoint skills.
I want my to-do list to be longer, but to be honest, my big resolution this year is to become a confident sailor. We’re living on a lake this summer, and I’m determined to get out there every weekend and learn the ropes.
Now, let’s see who else has been active on Twitter the last couple of days – seems like most people have packed it in for the winter. I’ll tag:
Meet my partners in crime, the people who are going to coauthor the book on SQL Server internals:
- Christian Bolton – he’s the Director and Database Architect at COEO and SQL Server MVP. Here’s Christian’s blog, and he’s ChristianBolton on Twitter.
- Justin Langford – another SQL guru at COEO, a Principal Consultant, formerly a Microsoft Premier Field Engineer. Here’s Justin’s blog. Christian and Justin also helped write Professional SQL Server 2005 Performance Tuning.
- Cindy Gross – a Microsoft Premier Field Engineer who wrote a chapter in the book SQL Server 2005 Practical Troubleshooting: The Database Engine. She’s CindyGross on Twitter, and she’s got links galore – SQLWomen.com, Cinister’s Thoughts, and a blog at SQLCommunity.
Our chapter outlines are due in the next week, and I’m already excited, because working with these folks is forcing me to become a better writer. I bounced the first draft of outlines off them and Christian had a lot of good ideas on things to add. The collaborative process of writing a book – working with other authors, editors, reviewers – forces you to focus more and work harder. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I can’t wait to see the first set of edits come back.
That list above is how the list of authors is going to show on the cover and in the credits. Isn’t it interesting that when it’s time for me to write a book, somehow the world conspired to pair me up with three people whose last names all start before the letter O?!? What the heck is that all about?!?
No, as it turns out, even if my partners were Zimmerman, Zanzibar and Zoolander, I still wouldn’t be first on the cover. (And I couldn’t care less, but I was curious about how these things work.) The order of the author list is determined first by the number of chapters each author writes, and then alphabetically by last name. Christian & Justin are writing a lot more chapters, and Cindy & I are each penning two. Since G comes before O, I’m dead last. That’s where nice guys finish, though, I keep telling myself that.
The payment process works basically the same way as the author order: the advances (and later, the royalties) are distributed by who’s writing the most chapters. Since I’m only writing two chapters, I’m earning proportionally less money. I found that nicely democratic.
You won’t see me buying that 911 Targa I’ve always wanted, though: the technical book process isn’t about the bucks, at least not in the low-end two-chapter-writing gig like this one. It’s more for the love than the money. But yes, I’m still browsing through the Porsche site on a regular basis, building my own 911. <sigh>
Yes, it’s Monday. I’m late, blame the turkey. Happy Holidays!
SQL Server Links
Best SQL Server Blog Posts of 2008 – Jason Massie, that sneaky devil, uses that headline and then turns around to bait you into using Google Reader. He’s right, though, and I’ll post a quick explanation of how Reader works here shortly. You should resolve to use it in the New Year.
Should you install antivirus on SQL Servers? Denny Cherry says yes, and I agree – as long as you follow Denny’s recommendations. I’ve seen instances where SQL Server won’t start correctly because antivirus software grabbed a lock on an mdf/ldf file before SQL Server started. I’d also add a reason to his list: not all SQL Servers just run SQL and nothing else. Sometimes you’re dealing with other third party apps on there and their admins will RDP in to do administration. Those folks are virus-prone. People are the problem. <sigh>
Should you run SQL Server in VMware? Buck Woody says no, and I DISagree. He says multiple instances are a better solution for consolidation, but I disagree. VMware gives you OS isolation so that you can have different OS admins on each box – something you can’t do with multiple instances. Sure, in theory the SQL admins don’t need to be OS admins, but good luck with that. Second, VMware buys you hardware independence: if you need to do firmware updates, hardware upgrades, datacenter shuffles, recabling, etc, just VMotion the guest OS’s over to another VMware host, and you have zero downtime. VMware’s selling point isn’t making SQL Server administration better, but making OS administration better.
Jeremiah Peschka’s links for the week – the very first link is about best practices for developers who are becoming DBAs. The third link is about reading execution plans. Nuff said. Great read.
Understanding SQL Server full-text indexes – in-depth article by Robert Sheldon, one of those articles that I don’t bother reading right away and instead just bookmark for the next time I need to monkey with fulltext.
Soocial.com is 100% on Amazon Web Services – I’d never heard of the site, but that’s kinda what I would expect – only startups would go 100% in the cloud right now. Still an interesting read to see that a company adopted this pure-cloud solution.
BrightKite now cross-posts photos to Flickr – BrightKite is location-based social networking. When you go somewhere, you check in with your mobile phone or email client. You can see who else has been there, who is nearby, and you get alerted when people show up. You can upload photos to BrightKite, thereby adding photos to a location’s placestream, so other people can see what’s going on at that location. Now they’ve added a new feature: they’ll cross-post your photos over to your Flickr account, plus burn in geotagging info into your photo so that your Flickr maps show where your photos were taken. Neat idea.
OpenOffice development is “profoundly sick” – and by that they mean a low number of developers, not a high level of awesomeness. I never understood how OO.o was going to catch on when MS Office is so dang good. Sure enough, OO.o development tailed off as the hype wore off, even though OO.o’s development is sponsored by Sun, which as it turns out, is having financial problems. Makes you wonder about MySQL’s really long-term future.
Sh3n3rd’s last minute advice for men – yes, the holidays are over as you read this, but her gift tips will keep on giving.
LogMeIn on your iPhone – I swear by LogMeIn. It’s a free app to remote control any of your computers anywhere. Now they’ve got an iPhone client so you can control your computers from your iPhone, but at $30, hmmm. Not too sure about that.
There’s a new SQL Server exploit running around, and Denis Gobo’s done a fantastic job of covering it:
So you’re sitting in the office on a short holiday week and you don’t really want to do any work. Here’s what you do: pull up this webcast archive, put on the headphones, and tell people you’re in online training.
A little background about the webcast – a couple of weeks ago, I virtually sat down with these SQLServerPedia editors:
- Denny Cherry, Performance Tuning Editor
- Douglas McDowell, Business Intelligence Editor
- Greg Low, Architecture & Configuration Editor
- Jason Massie, T-SQL Code Library Editor
- Tim Ford, Database Administration Editor
We talked about what we were doing with the site. We talked about the writing process, how users can edit pages, and name-dropped Tjay Belt.
and I was hunched over my trusty, battered Macbook Pro, sipping whiskey by the backlit keys when the email came in. I got worried as soon I saw the sender, because Big Jimmy May is what they call a “Performance Consultant”. Before I even opened the email, I called my bookie to make sure my checks had all cleared. I’ve only got two kneecaps, and they’re already bad enough just from poundin’ the street looking for info. Thankfully, I was in the clear, so I read the email.
Jimmy said a fella by the name of Christian Bolton was knocking on doors looking for help with a particularly nasty job: exposing the dark, hidden secrets of SQL Server engine internals. To make matters worse, Christian wanted to combine two of my least favorite words: trouble and shooting. Jimmy would have taken the case himself, but he had a job he had to handle in Turkey, and you know how those Turkish jobs go.
Next thing you know, there’s a contract going around out there with my name on it – not to mention things like deadlines. It’s a dirty business, I tell you.
The book authoring process stands in stark contrast to my normal blog entry process: instead of banging out a few ill-advised (but often spell-checked) paragraphs in half an hour and posting it for the world to see, I have technical editors and technical reviewers. They’re like blog commenters, only they have the authority to modify my work BEFORE you see it instead of AFTER. And of course, to see that work, you’re going to have to fork out some moolah.
I’m writing two chapters, covering storage and on the Performance Dashboard Reports, and I wanted to ask you, dear reader – what would you want to see in a Storage chapter? Rather than showing 35 full-page diagrams of the Container Store’s goodies, I figured I’d cover these topics:
Types of Storage
There’s several types of storage that affect the way we make architecture decisions and perform troubleshooting. I’ll cover the basics of each and what their ramifications are:
- Locally Attached Storage
- Storage Area Networks (and touch on multipathing)
- Virtual Servers (how VMware and Hyper-V change storage designs)
- Project Madison (scale-out, shared-nothing nodes)
- Using SQLIO to test storage throughput
Things that Change Storage
- Transparent Data Encryption
- Partitioning (of objects like tables & indexes, not disk partitions)
- Partition Alignment (that’s where the disk stuff comes in)
What We Store
- Full Text Indexes
Any requests? I still have to arrange this stuff in a way that flows, and don’t be surprised if I left off something huge. I came up with this list on a cruise ship, people. Just be glad it doesn’t include “margarita on the rocks” or “cigars”.
Don’t look for a fast turnaround – the book won’t be out until early 2010. Like I said, this is a lot different than publishing a blog entry! Along the way, I’ll be blogging about the process so you can get an inside peek at how it works – things like the contract, my brilliant coauthors, the writing, the reviewers & editors, and so on. That way, when you see it on the shelves of your local bookseller, you’ll be able to explain to the proprietor exactly why they should burn it.
So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy my bookie a Christmas present. Now that I know Jimmy May has my email address, I can’t be too careful.
Posting this a little early and heading out for vacation. See you around Monday the 22nd!
SQL Server Links
Make SQL Server Management Studio Load Faster – Brian Knight shares a simple tip to skip the five second splash screen delay: add -nosplash to the program shortcut.
SQL 2008 Resource Governor Tutorials – Beatrice Nicolini linked to two in-depth Resource Governor demos by Microsoft. They’re pretty in-depth, with lots of sample code.
Common Table Expressions Tutorial – Jeremiah Peschka describes why developers might use these over temp tables or table variables.
SQL 2005 Covering Indexes Tutorial – Deepak Rangarajan explains one of my favorite 2005 features complete with sample query plan pictures.
Jeremiah Peschka talks about soft skills – there’s another DBA quiz going around from Chris Shaw, and there’s a lot of good answers out there, but Jeremiah’s is notable even for just one line: “The best way to say ‘no’ is often to ask ‘why?’” That’s awesome.
Diagnosing Transaction Log Performance by SQLCAT – the Microsoft SQL Customer Advisory Team has an exhaustive article up that contains many things I do not know, and I’m going on vacation, so will you guys do me a favor? Read that article, learn it, and then hold your head up next to mine and I’ll pick it up by osmosis. Kthxbai.
Database administrators are like chefs – only instead of tasty pastries, we deliver optimized code.
Cloud and Virtualization Links
PCI compliance in the cloud – PCI is a set of regulations like SOX and HIPAA that are designed to minimize the amount of time DBAs spend at home on the weekends. This blog says that the key to compliance is configuration – you can be compliant anywhere as long as you configure it right. Hmmm – yes, and I can get my Jeep Wrangler to 200mph by strapping it to a Top Fuel dragster, but is that the most practical way to hit 200mph? My hunch is that the cloud isn’t the most practical place to achieve PCI compliance right now.
The Junk Drawer
Vista SP2 and Windows 2008 SP2 preview available – now with integrated Hyper-V for the Win2008 SP2.
Dan Jones on Community Involvement – if you enjoyed my how-to-get-started blogging series, you’ll enjoy Dan’s article on how to get involved with the community.
Gartner blog on “Instant Experts in the Cloud” – before you hire your first consultant, read this article.
Rhonda Tipton’s Link Post – go subscribe to her blog because she does a great link roundup every week, really well-balanced with interesting stuff. Last week’s was really good – all kinds of fun reads in there.