SQL Server with Mr. Denny


February 6, 2012  2:00 PM

Stop putting it off, it’s time to sign up for SQL Pre-Cons

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

If you are headed to Microsoft’s Tech Ed North America or Tech Ed Europe you should really look at signing up for a SQL Server Pre-Con.  The pre-cons are full day sessions focusing on a specific topic, led by an industry expert.  In the case of the SQL Server pre-con “Microsoft SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization” you’ve got an all day session with SQL Server MVPs Denny Cherry (@mrdenny | site) and Thomas LaRock (@sqlrockstar | blog).

If you haven’t signed up for Tech Ed yet it appears that there are even some early bird discounts which are available for people that sign up before the end of February for Tech Ed North America and before the end of March for Tech Ed Europe.  This makes it an even better deal because who doesn’t like saving money.

Hopefully you’ll join us in Orlando for Tech Ed North America or in Amsterdam for Tech Ed Europe for a great day of SQL Server training.

Denny

P.S. Don’t forget about my 4 day SQL Server 2012 class in Los Angeles in March and SQL Excursions in Napa, CA in May.

February 6, 2012  2:00 PM

Drying Out a Wet Laptop

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

The other day I had a VERY unpleasant situation happen.  I managed to dump a basically full 64oz (1.8 liter) cup of iced tea all over my desk.  In theory this shouldn’t be a problem but it landed right on top of one of my laptops.  Thankfully the laptop was off but it was plugged in when this happened.  Now I’ve dumped water on computer components before, and I’ve had a pretty good track record with getting things dried out pretty easily, so I figured that I’d share my little trick that I use with everyone.  It’s actually quite an easy process, and works with more than just electronics.  In fact I’ve even used it to dry out the inside of our car.  The method of choice?

Rice.

Yep, that’s right good old fashioned white dinner rice, uncooked of course.  The reason that rice works is because rice makes an amazing desiccant.  For those who missed the episode of Numbers where they talked about desiccant’s, a desiccant is something that draws the moisture out of something else.  In the cast of the TV show it was drawing the water out of a dead body, in this case out of my dead laptop (they didn’t use rice in the show).  You know those little packets that come in just about everything that you buy, that say “Don’t eat” on them?  That’s a desiccant.

In the case of the laptop, I quickly unplugged it and pulled out the battery.  Then got a box a bit bitter than the laptop, and dumped a bunch of rice into the box, dropped in the laptop, which I then covered with more rice.  Then the battery and an HP TouchPad that got drenched as well.  Cover everything with a healthy layer of rice and let sit for several days.  The nice thing about this technique is that there’s no head, no chemicals, no cloth or paper towels to touch anything in the laptop.  Just the rice absorbing up any water in the laptop.

When doing this with a car, you can’t put the car in a box and fill it, so a slightly different approach is needed.  In my case we had a car door opened just a crack which let in rain water (yes it really does rain in Southern California).  Using a vacuum and towels we could only get so much water out, but we didn’t want to worry about the floor of the car rusting out.  So we pored about 10 pounds of white rice into the floor board of the car a waited about 6-8 hours for the rice to absorb all the water.  When we vacuumed out the rice everything underneath was nice and dry.

Back to the laptop.  I left the laptop in the rice for about a week in this case, and thankfully the laptop came back in perfect working order.

To pull this off I used about 15-20 pounds of rice total.  When I dumped the cup Kris went to Costco and picked up a 50 pound bag of rice and I used a large bowl to get it into the box.

Hopefully you never have to use this trick, but if you do there it is.

Denny


February 2, 2012  2:00 PM

Getting TweetDeck 0.38.2

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

In case you missed it Twitter released v1 of TweetDeck, and it sucks.

All however is not lost as the folks at codelog.org have posted the Air 0.38.2 version of TweetDeck.Apparently the guy over at codelog.org has taken his site down. Here’s another download site.

So if you need to rebuild your computer and you want to get a version of TweetDeck that doesn’t suck you can download the old version from codelog.org and keep the usable version instead of the garbage which is TweetDeck 1.0.  Hopefully Twitter will make TweetDeck 2.0 actually usable. Until then we have 0.38.2.

Denny


January 29, 2012  2:00 PM

Slide Decks for SoCal Code Camp

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Here are my slide decks from SoCal Code Camp last weekend.

Indexing for the .NET Developer

Table Partitioning

I had a great time as always, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the next event.

Denny


January 26, 2012  2:00 PM

What’s in my laptop bag?

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

The year of 2012 will be the first year that I’m expecting to fly over 100,000 miles.  So far I’ve got three flights to Seattle that have happened or are scheduled.  Four flights to Europe planned, random flights to Orlando, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Tuscon (among others).

In 2011 I did pretty good at about 52,000 miles during the year.  I get pretty amazed by all the crap that I have crammed in my laptop bag.  If you’ve ever wondered just what it takes to get me around the world and back again without going stir crazy here’s what is in my laptop bag.

That’s about it.  You’ll notice a few things that you might expect to see that you don’t, like paper, pens, etc. as I rarely travel with paper and pen any more as I use my iPad for note taking at conferences, meetings, etc.  When I carried paper with me, it usually went in a pretty nice looking leather folder it actually reduced quite a bit a weight when I removed the paper and pens.

Now getting all this stuff through security can be a royal pain some times.  Best case getting all this passed the idiots highly professional personal at TSA means throwing the laptop in one bin, iPad and kindle in a second bin and shoes, belt, jacket, etc. in a third bin.  However on occasion I get a TSA monkey agent who decides that all the cables in my laptop bag are an issue and they decide to dismantle my laptop bag to make sure that all the cables are acceptable for getting on the plane.  You see I have all the cables wrapped with Velcro strips so that I can keep the cables from getting all over the place and keep them from taking up to much space.

And of course none of this includes clothing, SWAG, or anything else in my normal luggage.

Denny


January 23, 2012  2:00 PM

Speaking in Poland as SQLDay 2012

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be speaking at another great event in Europe.  This time at SQL Day 2012, which this year is growing from a one day event to a three day event.  This great event is being hosted in Wroclaw, Poland May 24th-26th, 2012.  I know that not all the details for the event have been ironed out yet, but I know that I’ll be giving a presentation on Storage, and I’ll be giving a keynote talk on something (I haven’t really decided what, but I’m sure it’ll include SQL Server 2012 and probably bacon).

Personally I can’t wait to get there and meet all the new faces, not to mention say hello to some old friends including the other announced speakers such as Chris Testa-O’Neill, Jen Stirrup, Neil Hambly to name just a few.  There is a SQLDay 2012 Community Night in the planning which I know basically nothing about yet, but it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.  According to the SQLDay 2012 site…

… we plan to meet Friday evening at SQLDay 2012 Community Night, where you will be able to get to know, talk with the speakers, make new contacts …

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good community night to me.

As a side note, if you would like to talk to me about some on site consulting rates in Poland around the same dates please let me know and we can get something scheduled.  I’d love to extend my stay for a few extra days.

Denny


January 19, 2012  5:00 PM

Motorcycle Ride for Diabetes

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So later this year I’m participating in the motorcycle ride B.A.D. (Bikers Against Diabetes) where I’ll be taking my big blue bike out for a ride to help raise money for Diabetes research.  The reason that I’m posting this here isn’t to toot my own horn, but to ask for your help.  The fundraising part of this comes from your donations.  Currently my goal is set for $250 (donations are accepted through the link ride website via credit card or via paypal also on the ride website) but if we blow through that I’ll raise it higher.  The initial goal of $40 was blown through VERY quickly thanks to a couple of friends on Twitter and some of the fine folks over at Phreesia.

I hope that you have a couple of bucks that you can part with to help in the search for a cure for Diabetes.  Don’t worry this is a real fundraising event being put on my the American Diabetes Association.  If you are interested in joining the ride in SoCal, Arizona, Iowa or Texas check out the main website.

I thank you for your support on this ride.

Denny


January 19, 2012  2:00 PM

Get some free SQL 2012 training!

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

By now hopefully you have already seen the week long SQL Server 2012 class that I’m teaching March 19th-22nd, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.  Well now I’m giving you a chance to win a free ticket to this great 4 day training class.

The Rules

From the time this blog post is published until 6pm Monday February 10th, 2012 (pacific time) publish a blog post which links back to this post.  The blog post that you publish needs to tell about your plans for SQL Server 2012, and how this class will help make your deployment of SQL Server 2012 easier to complete.  For your blog entry to count I need to be notified of the blog post.  A link back to this post, or a comment which includes a link to your blog post, or an email to me is fine.

If you don’t have a blog feel free to post your entry as a comment to this blog post.

(Don’t forget that I’ll need to be able to find some way to contact you, so you’ll need a contact me link or a way for me to comment on your blog if you are the winner.)

The Prize

1st prize: A complementary ticket to the class.

2nd prize: $600 off the cost of a ticket to the class.

3nd prize: $300 off the cost of a ticket to the class.

(Prizes can not be combined with other discount codes.  Prize does not include airfare, hotel, or ground transportation.)

How the winners will be picked

The winners will be selected based on which posts I feel have the best story and that I find the most entertaining.  My decision is final.

The Legal Stuff

The contest is open to anyone who can legally accept the prize.  The prize has no cash value, and can not be exchanged for cash or substituted for another prize or award.  Prize winner is responsible for any travel costs associated with accepting the prize.

I look forward to reading your plans for SQL Server 2012.

Good luck, and start writing!

Denny


January 17, 2012  2:00 PM

Windows 8, ReFS and SQL Server

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

If you were planning on deploying Windows 8 Server for your SQL Servers as soon as it is released, I would plan on rethinking those plans, especially if you plan on using the new Windows 8 file system ReFS (Resilient File System) instead of the NTFS (New Technology File System).  You see as a part of ReFS there was some streamlining of the code which ended up leaving only the most used features and according to Surendra Verma (development manager on Microsoft’s Storage and File System team) …

“deprecating others that provide limited value at the cost of system complexity and footprint”

Now I’m sure sure how they figured out which features provide limited value, but I consider Alternate File Streams and sparse files to be extremely important features of the file system.  You see these are just a couple of the features which are being deprecated and removed in ReFS.

Q) What semantics or features of NTFS are no longer supported on ReFS?

The NTFS features we have chosen to not support in ReFS are: named streams, object IDs, short names, compression, file level encryption (EFS), user data transactions, sparse, hard-links, extended attributes, and quotas.

Now I’m sure that this is just be being picky, but I kind of like the ability to use DBCC CHECKDB on my databases without having to lock the objects that I’m checking by using the WITH TABLOCK syntax.  This uses the named streams feature of NTFS as SQL Server creates a hidden snapshot when DBCC CHECKDB runs normally.  This will mean that the only way to run DBCC CHECKDB on a database which resides on the a file system which uses ReFS will be to lock all the tables.

Another feature which I really like to use is database snapshots in general.  Normal database snapshots won’t work on ReFS volumes either because database snapshots require the use of sparse files, another feature which has now been deprecated.

From a file server perspective I can’t believe that a feature like quotas is being removed.  As someone who used to manage file server for a large enterprise and had several thousand people storing files on my file servers, being able to use quotas was a great way to keep people from dropping all their MP3s on my file server.

Personally I just find it mind boggling that it appears that the ReFS team didn’t bother to talk to the team that makes what is probably the largest biggest selling server based application out there, about what these changes to ReFS would do to SQL Server.  It’s not like the SQL Server team wouldn’t have taken the call, they’ll still talk to me, and I’m pretty sure my picture is on more than a few dart boards around building 35.  I’m sure if such a call had been made someone on the Microsoft SQL Server team would have mentioned that they require named steams (also known as alternate file steams) and sparse file for basically every version of SQL Server from SQL Server 2005 and higher to continue to run.

Way to go ReFS team, the biggest consumer of storage (SQL Server) in the majority of Microsoft shops can’t use your product.  Good job.

As I get more information from the ReFS product team and the SQL Server product team, I’ll be sure to publish it here.  Until then I’ll just bitch and complain about it as loudly as possible.

Denny


January 16, 2012  2:00 PM

When you don’t QA, there are problems

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Without a proper QA process things can end up going a little bit wrong.  Even the most basic of processes need to be checked and controlled, if they aren’t then things can end up going a little wrong.  Just like these very nice bolt on headlights that I installed on my motorcycle recently, there are simple things which can cause all sorts of problems.  A simple QA process at the light bar manufacturer would have caught the fact that the cowl on the left one only bolts on upside down.  Now the cowl isn’t installed wrong, and it isn’t made wrong.  The manufacturer simply put the wrong cowl in the package.  Granted this is pretty easy to fix, I call the manufacturer and they send me out the correct cowl.  But in the mean time my bike looks a little silly with an upside down cowl, and I have to wait for the new cowl to be delivered.

Just like in the IT space simple processes, like putting the correct cowl in the bag, need to be QA’ed to ensure that the system is running correctly as expected.  Without these processes in place even the simplest things can break down.  And in the IT world these things usually can’t be fixed as easily as sending out a new cowl to the client.  It usually involves systems being down for hours, data being lost or compromised, or worse.

Hopefully you’ll review your testing and QA processes and fix any gaps in your testing processes.

Denny


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