SQL Server with Mr. Denny


April 10, 2015  4:00 PM

Recommended reading from mrdenny for April 10, 2015

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
SQL, SQL Server

This week I’ve found some great things for you to read. These are a few of my favorites that I’ve found this week.

This weeks SQL Server person to follow on Twitter is: _dbassassin also known as Tim M. Hidalgo

Hopefully you find these articles as useful as I did.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where my username is @mrdenny.

Denny

April 8, 2015  6:00 PM

PASS Leaks Sponsor Data

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
Data Leakage, Data privacy, Data protection, personal data, SQL, SQL Server

So early this week the PASS Organization (www.sqlpass.org) released their new shiny SQL Saturday website (www.sqlsaturday.com). There were a few glitches in the session submission but nothing there that isn’t expected when a major over hall of a much used application.leak

The Problem

There was however a bigger problem with the system. If anyone went into the sponsor page they were able to, without even needing to log in, pull up the address which was entered for the sponsors. Now you might think that this isn’t all that big a deal because who cares if sponsors have the address of their offices shown online. Where the problem comes from is that many SQL Saturday events offer a blogger level of sponsorship for just a few dollars. This level of sponsorship usually is done by individual people who are trying to drive a little more traffic to their blog while helping a SQL Saturday out. So when filling out the sponsor address information in the past they would have put in their home address. Here for example is Robert Davis’s information when selected from the Sponsor list (with his actual address marked out).

robert

This is obviously a problem. There are about 1390 sponsors in the system, many of which are just people with blogs who have sponsored a SQL Saturday or two for a few bucks each. Now I know it isn’t the entire PASS community, but 1000+ people’s personal home information is a pretty big leak.

The Response

PASS as an organization has responded to this problem pretty well.  The problem was first reported by me on the MVP mailing list where we were discussing various things that we weren’t really thrilled with on the new SQL Saturday website (most if not all of the current board members are Microsoft MVPs so there’s actually a good reason to discuss things like this in the MVP mailing list).  The board members then began bringing people form PASS HQ into the conversation with email threads outside of the MVP list.  PASS immediately realized that there was a pretty big problem that needed to be addressed.  How to address it became a more complex problem.

The quickest solution that PASS was able to come up with was to simply remove the page where a Sponsor can sponsor a SQL Saturday and to remove the API which that page used to pull that information the SQL Saturday database.  It was a couple of hours from reporting the problem to getting the offending part of the website pulled down, but in the grand scheme of things that’s a pretty decent response time given that the developer had to do whatever magic is required to remove pages from an ASP.NET site running on Dot Net Nuke (DNN) do a quick test to make sure nothing else is broken, then publish the changes to the live website.

Later Monday night PASS decided to take the entire SQL Saturday website offline completely leaving just a maintenance message on the site while the entire site is reviewed from a security (and possibly usability) perspective with the hopes of getting the site up and running within a day or two.   Now who this really sucks for is the SQL Saturday’s who are running their events this coming weekend (April 11th, 2015) which includes the SQL Saturday here in Orange County, CA.  I’m presenting a session on something, at some time.  I honestly have no idea what or when, hopefully the site comes back up before the weekend so that I can grab the correct slide decks and demos.

Reporting

If you are on Twitter and follow things PASS related on Twitter you probably noticed that you didn’t see anything really about this on Twitter.  This was on purpose.  Given that it was a data leak no one really wanted the private information of these 1000+ PASS members to be leaked online to be spread even further.  The problem was reported to PASS privately (or to a small group of people known as the Microsoft MVPs) and to PASS.  PASS board members were very transparent with the MVPs as to their handling of the problem and how it was going to get fixed.  They did their best to keep me as the person who found and reported the problem up to date as to what was going on with the fix.

I’m sure that PASS is still trying to figure out what needs to be done as far as notification, monitoring, etc.  But that involves lawyers, money and time.  I’m sure that once they get that all figured out they’ll have some sort of communication to those who’s data may have been effected.

In the grand scheme of things PASS responded quickly and properly to the data leak.  Hopefully we won’t have another data leak from our organization of data management professionals.

Denny


April 1, 2015  4:00 PM

Where Does Magic SAN Dust Come From?

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
Magic Software, SQL, SQL Server, Storage arrays

Magic SAN dust is a very expensive product for the storage vendor to purchase and bundle with the arrays. This is why storage costs so much.

You see they start by having to catch pixy fairies. From there they need to collect their tears. Now you’d think that this would be pretty easy, a little light torture and you’re good to go. However not just any tears will work. Tears of joy are what are required, and a lot of them. Your standard storage array is going to need somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 ounces of tears of joy.

Once collected these tears are filtered through a filter made of the tail hair of a unicorn turning the tears into “mudding”. This hair must be plucked, not cut, and must be obtained from a single unicorn. The hair is spun into a fine silk like string and a single string of it is used to create the filter. There can be no breaks in the string, and no contaminants or the process won’t work and the unicorn hair will simply absorb the tears of joy.

Once the tears of joy have been filtered through the unicorn tail hair filter they are fermented in a leprechaun’s pot of gold for 21 days which turns the “mudding” into “mash” (so called because the “mudding” is mashed flat under the weight of the gold. If the mudding is taken out to early it will be to sweet, and if left in for to long will it will sour.

Now for the tricky part. The “mash” is then removed from the pot and laid out on a blanket of spider silk and completely dried. Once completely dried this ultra fine powder is now the “Magic SAN Dust” that we all know and love. The three ounces of tears of joy that we started with will turn into just 0.05 grams of Magic SAN Dust which needs to be gently sprinkled on the storage array as it’s being shipped. The Magic SAN Dust unfortunately wears off and can’t be reapplied, which is why SAN vendors force you to buy a new array every 3-5 years (the length of time the Magic SAN Dust lasts depends on the quality of the tears that you start with).

Denny


March 30, 2015  6:12 PM

Recommended reading from mrdenny for March 27, 2015

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
SQL, SQL Server

This week I’ve found some great things for you to read. These are a few of my favorites that I’ve found this week.
SQL Automated Backup and Patching Support in Existing SQL Server Virtual Machines
Rebuild Partitioned Clustered Columnstore Indexes
Handling NULL Character \x00 when Exporting to File Using BCP
Monitoring Read/Write Latency
Updated SQL Server PHP Driver Now Available
This weeks SQL Server person to follow on Twitter is: denglishbi also known as Dan English
Hopefully you find these articles as useful as I did.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where my username is @mrdenny.

Denny


March 25, 2015  6:00 PM

Failover Clustered Instances in Azure

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
Failover Clustering, Microsoft Cluster Server, SIOS, SQL, SQL Server

For a few weeks now Failover Clustered Instances in the Microsoft Azure cloud have been possible by using SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition to cluster the VMs together and get yourself shared storage. This has actually been possible for a while, you just needed to know how to do it. Now it’s a fully Azure Certified configuration and VMs with SIOS DataKeeper preinstalled are even available from the Azure Marketplace.

Now when setting up clustering in Azure you need to be sure to follow the various scripts which are out there so that you can setup what’s called the Internal Load Balancer (the ILB) within Azure. The scripts which I like the most are by Dave Bermingham’s and can be found on his blog.

Now when you get down to the “Create an Internal Load Balancer” pay special attention to some of the settings in the Get-AzureVM lines as some of these values are going to determine how quickly the ILB sees that the SQL Instance has moved from one VM to another. Under the default settings shown in Dave’s blog post (don’t blame him, these are the same scripts that you’ll find on MSDB I just like how Dave presents them better) you’ll see that the ProbeIntervalInSeconds parameter is set for 10 seconds which means that the ILB will only check which VM the clustered IP address is running on every 10 seconds. Now by default the ILB must fail twice before it will move the connections to the new VM. This means that the cluster will be down for an additional ~20 seconds between when SQL comes up on the new cluster node and when connections to it will successfully connect.

You can adjust this value to reduce this time by reducing the ProbeIntervalInSeconds parameter to a lower number. The lowest supported value is 5 seconds which would reduce the outage from ~20 seconds to about ~10 seconds or so. Which is definitely something which I would recommend as we want to keep the downtime window as short as possible as the whole reason for Clustered SQL Instances is the most availability possible.

Denny


March 20, 2015  4:00 PM

Recommended reading from mrdenny for March 20, 2015

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
SQL, SQL Server

This week I’ve found some great things for you to read. These are a few of my favorites that I’ve found this week.

This weeks SQL Server person to follow on Twitter is: oengels also known as Oliver Engels

Hopefully you find these articles as useful as I did.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where my username is @mrdenny.

Denny


March 18, 2015  6:00 PM

When Should I Delete Database Backups?

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
Database Backup, SQL, SQL Server

Recently this question came up with a client that I’ve been working with. In this case the problem was that disk space alarms were going off for the disk which held the database backups. The proposed solution was to change the log backup retention from 24 hours to 16 hours.

The problem with this solution, which I pointed out is that from 5pm until midnight you now have no way to do any log restore operations which means that you’ve lost your point in time restore capabilities.

Log and full backups shouldn’t be deleted from the disk until the full backup from the next cycle of backups has been completed. This way you are sure that you’ve always got a full backup to restore from. In a perfect world I’d like to see 2-3 days worth of full and t-log backups kept on disk so that if there is ever a problem with a corrupt database backup you can restore from the prior full backup and then roll two cycles of t-log backups forward.

Denny


March 11, 2015  6:00 PM

Surface Pro 3 i7 Users Be Aware Of The Power Usage

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
DC power supplies, Microsoft Surface, SQL, Surface Pro

So recently I got myself a Surface Pro 3 with the i7 processor in it as my laptop. It works great, except for one little power issue that I’ve noticed. The i7 Surface Pro 3 uses a LOT of power when it’s plugged in. In fact it uses almost all the power that the power cable can provide. I know this because if you plug your phone into the USB port on the power brick your phone won’t charge.

When I had my phone (a Samsung S5) plugged in the phone kept showing that it was charging then not charging, then charging then not charging, over and over until I unplugged it.

Now I know this is a problem with the i7 Surface because my wife has the i5 and the same phone and can charge her phone with the Surface plugged in without issue.

Now truth be told I haven’t played with the power settings in Windows to see if that makes it go away, I simply plugged the phone into the USB port on the monitor and was done with it.  So there might be a way to slow down it’s charging so that you can charge a phone via the chargers USB port.  At some point I’ll probably figure out if that’s an option.

Denny


March 7, 2015  12:10 PM

Recommended reading from mrdenny for March 06, 2015

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
SQL, SQL Server

This week I’ve found some great things for you to read. These are a few of my favorites that I’ve found this week.

This weeks SQL Server person to follow on Twitter is: PASSAppDev also known as PASS AppDev VC

Hopefully you find these articles as useful as I did.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter where my username is @mrdenny.

Denny


March 4, 2015  6:00 PM

Microsoft Ignite 2015, here I come

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry
Conferences, IT conferences, Microsoft, SQL, SQL Server

Yep, that’s right. I’ll be speaking at the Microsoft Ignite conference.  This year Microsoft has made the poor decision of allowing me to speak at their conference on High Availability and Disaster Recovery for Microsoft SQL Server both on prep (in your data center) and in Azure (in their data center).  It’ll be a fun session with some demos, some stories and of course we’ll be going through what your HA/DR options with Microsoft SQL Server will be.

I’m thrilled that Microsoft has chosen me to talk about their product at what is going to be their biggest corporate conference in recent years.  I’m really looking forward to seeing some old friends, and making some new ones.  If you are at Ignite come to the SQL Server booth (sometimes called Data Platform) and say hi (I’ll probably be there a lot of the time when I’m not presenting) or come to my session (not sure when or where it is yet) and check out my presentation and say hello afterwards.

You can see the sessions that I’ll be presenting on my bio page. Hopefully I’ll see you at Ignite, and if not you’ll (probably) be able to watch the recordings of the sessions pretty quickly after they are presented (I’m assuming that they will be recording them just like they did at TechEd).

Denny


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