SQL Server with Mr. Denny


September 2, 2010  11:00 AM

So you want to go to a conference, but you are afraid that you don’t know anyone there.



Posted by: Denny Cherry
In Person Events, SQL PASS, SQL Server

Odds are that you know someone at the conference, its just a matter of finding them.  Of every conference that I’ve attended I can’t think of a single conference where I haven’t found someone that I know from somewhere that I’ve worked.

Some of these conferences can be quite large, shows like TechEd or PDC can easily have over 10,000 attendees, so finding friends may be hard to find.

Now some IT Professionals find it hard to make friends and meet new people at conferences (shocking I know, people who tend to be introverts have problems making friends).  If you find yourself being one of these people I have a few tricks that can help you find friends and make sure that you have a good time at the conference.

In the morning

Skip the hotel breakfast.  Every conference that I’ve gone to provides you with breakfast.  Yes I’m well aware that the hotel breakfast it better than the conference breakfast, but the other attendees are at the conference breakfast.  When you have gotten your crappy conference breakfast, not all of them suck but most seem to. I half think that its so that people have something to talk about over breakfast.  So after you’ve gotten your breakfast from the buffet, its time to find somewhere to sit.  Any table which is empty isn’t suitable for you to sit at either, there must be something wrong with the table that’s why no one else is there.  Find a table that’s got a few people sitting at it, preferably that are already chatting.

When you get to the table, don’t just plop down and start eating.  This won’t get you into the conversation, a quick “Hey is this seat taken?” will get you a moment of face time, and probably a quick “help yourself” or something similar.  As you eat, follow the conversation and interject something useful if you can.  When the conversation lags a little bit, if you the people at the table haven’t become your best friends yet its time to speak up.  I’ve got a couple of questions here to get you started.

“Hey I’m {Your Name}, where are you folks from?”

“I’m planning on catching {Some Session you plan to attend}, what are you looking forward to seeing?”

These should at least get the conversation started.  When talking with people at the conference, keep in mind these people do the same thing for a living that you do so you’ve got something in common right there to talk about.

Lunch Time

Again, you’ll want to head to the conference food hall as this is where almost all the conference attendees are going to be.  The same questions to start the conversation from above apply here.

If this is a day which doesn’t have a planned event that night, I’ve got another important question for you to ask.

“Did you folks have any plans for tonight?”

If they say yes, and it doesn’t sound like a private event ask it anyone can come.  The worst that they’ll say is that it’s a private event.  Odds are you’ll get a yeah sure, it’s at {Some Bar} there are going to be a bunch of us there.

Dinner Time

Now the trick with dinner is that most conference don’t provide dinner, that’s usually up to you.  The best way to find people to have dinner with is to put away your wallet and talk to the vendors.  Someone is going to be throwing a party of some sort, you just need to find it.  These official parties usually don’t last all that late, but they will be full of people to talk to and they will have free food and a couple of free drinks.

The people that you have met at the vendor party will hopefully lead you to the next section.

The after party

There is pretty much always going to be something going on after the official parties.  You can call it a night at any time from dinner, until what ever time the local bars close.

When it comes to SQL PASS the default place to go after the official parties are done is the Tap House on 6th Street in Seattle.  They’ve got a good menu of beers and other drinks, a couple of pool tables and lots of tables.

It has started to become a little more common for the official and even the unofficial parties to be listed on a website somewhere.  For the MVP Summit this year someone put together the mvpsummitevents.com website.  For TechEd they put together the techedevents.info website.  When the SQL PASS summit comes around this year, I’m not sure if they will have a website for us or not.  Hopefully PASS will have a sign board or something by the PASS HQ booth where people can post official and unofficial parties that are open to everyone.

If you still aren’t sure how to find a party, look for the speakers.  They’ll have some sort of different badge on, or a flag hanging from their badge.  They should pretty much all know a lot of people, as they’ve probably been coming to the conference for years and they will either know where the after parties will be, because they will be there themselves or they will know who you need to talk to to find out where the parties are.

When you get to your next conference, work on having a good time. You won’t be disappointed if you do.

Denny

August 30, 2010  11:00 AM

What does a user group meeting have for me?



Posted by: Denny Cherry
SQL PASS, SWAG, User Groups

If you’ve never been to a user group before you should definitely find your local one (in what ever it is you do for a living) and check out a meeting or two.  They are a great way to network with other IT professionals that work in the same field that you do.  Each user group meeting has at least one speaker who will be presenting on some sort of relevant technology.  It may be something that you use on a regular basis, or something that you’ve heard of but haven’t been able to use, or maybe even something that you’ve never heard of.

Depending on who’s at the meeting, and who’s presenting you may get to meet some excellent contacts like your local Microsoft evangelist, or your local vendor evangelist.  For example at a .NET user group meeting I was at in July, our local Microsoft MSDN evangelist was there, as well as evangelist from three .NET software vendors.  All of which are fantastic contacts for the .NET programmers that were there. Continued »


August 26, 2010  11:00 AM

Be careful were you place that Windows 2003 page file



Posted by: Denny Cherry
Storage, Windows 2003

If you are building a Windows 2003 cluster (yes I know it’s out of support, but so is SQL Server 2000 and lots of people are still using that) you need to be very careful where you put the page file.  If you put the page file on local disk there won’t be any problem, but if you put the page file on the SAN for increased performance then any other disks on that same storage bus won’t be able to be clustered. Continued »


August 23, 2010  11:00 AM

Make sure you restart vCenter after upgrading to Update 2



Posted by: Denny Cherry
vCenter, VMware

So I recently upgraded by VMware vCenter server from 4.0 U1 to 4.0 U2 and ran across a little problem. After I upgraded I couldn’t attach any hosts to the vCenter server.  It kept telling me that vCenter couldn’t talk to the host even though it could.

After digging into the logs we saw that there was a problem with the SSL handshake.  It turns out that another restart of the vCenter services was all that was needed to clear up the problem.

So if you are having problems attaching hosts to vCenter after your upgrade just restart the vCenter services on the vCenter server and you should be fine.

Denny


August 20, 2010  7:55 PM

SQL Saturday 55 is coming up soon (#sqlsaturday, #sqlsat55, #sqlpass)



Posted by: Denny Cherry
In Person Events, SQL PASS, SQL Saturday, SQL Saturday 55

Southern California’s second SQL Saturday is coming up soon, and is looking for more speakers and more attendees.  If you’ve wanted to try your hand at presenting this is a great chance.  The event is September 18th, 2010 down in San Diego, CA. Continued »


August 20, 2010  11:00 AM

Lessons Learned from reinstalling EMC’s Replication Manager



Posted by: Denny Cherry
EMC

EMC has a very nice, and very expensive piece of software called Replication Manager.  Replication Manager is basically a giant scheduler that helps you create storage clone and snapshots on a regular schedule.  Pretty much everything that it does, can be handled via batch files if you have the time to get everything written the way you want.  Replication Manager simply gives you an easy interface to set this stuff up in, and it’ll email you on failures, that sort of stuff.

Now the product works very well (as well it should for what it costs), but I recently had to reinstall it.  The reason for the reinstall is that the machine that it was installed on was a Windows 2003 x86 machine, and the reason for keeping it as Windows 2003 was gone, so I decided to upgrade it to Windows 2008 x64.  Because I was moving from x86 to x64 a full format was needed taking upgrading out of the picture.  I also wanted to increase the size of the C drive from 20 Gigs to 50 Gigs, so a format was going to be needed anyway.

So being a DBA I backed up the data folder under c:\Program Files\EMC\rm\serverdb\ and wiped the machine and got the new OS up and running.  I reinstalled Replication Manager and dropped the data folder back where I got it from.  But this time the services failed to fire up.  It basically told me that files were missing.  So I put the old files back and started the services.  They started up this time.  Apparently the folder c:\Program Files\EMC\rm\serverdb\log is also important as those appear to be the transaction log for the database, not just the normal log files. (I opened the file in notepad and it was in binary.)  To safely backup all of everything, I’d recommend grabbing everything just to be safe.

Now the next problem I ran across was when my job ran which mounts the clone to another server.  Since there was already a LUN there with that drive letter Replication Manager failed the job because it didn’t know what to do as it wasn’t in control of the drive that was mounted.  Even though the LUN was mounted by the old RM server, because the new RM server didn’t know about the old job it didn’t know that it could safely remove the LUN from the server and present the new clone.

So I guess the big piece of this to remember is that if you have to rebuild your Replication Manager server, you’ll need to go to all your machines which you have presented the clone or snapshots to, and manually remove them from those servers so that Replication Manager can post those LUNs to the destinations correctly.

Denny


August 19, 2010  11:00 AM

Manual setup change if you plan on using LiteSpeeds object level recovery



Posted by: Denny Cherry
LiteSpeed, Quest Software, SQL Server

So you use LiteSpeed and expect that at some point you will be using object level recovery.  Without any changes you can do this no problem, LiteSpeed will simply need to create what is called the OLR Map first.  This is simply a map of where OLR can find each object within the backup file.  This is done by adding the @OLRMap=1 parameter to the backup job.  Currently there’s no way in the backup wizard to do this (something which will hopefully be changed soon).

Now if your database is smaller, then creating this map is no problem.  It just takes a few seconds, or a few minutes.  However if your database is say 1 TB in size like mine is, then you’ll want to allow the SQL Server to create the map while the data is being backed up.

Now creating the OLR Map is a pretty quick operation when done as part of the database backup, somewhere about 10-20 seconds if you believe Quest (I didn’t really see any change in database backup time).  When done after the fact this can take a very long time.  In my case creating the map afterwords takes over 12 hours.  Now the good news is that if you do it on object level restore you only need to do it the first time you restore an object from the file, as the object map is written to the backup.  Now the downside to this is that you have to write to the backup file.  In my case I found of this the hard way, I had the volume with the backup mounted in read only mode on the server that was running the OLR process.  Because of this the OLR process had to be stopped and the volume remounted, then the OLR process restarted.

So in short.

  • Add the @OLRMap=1 parameter to your backups.

If you can’t, or need to restore from an existing backup.

  • Make sure the volumes are read/write

Or do a full restore, then use SSIS to move the data to the production server.

Denny


August 16, 2010  11:00 AM

Slide decks for #sqlsat28



Posted by: Denny Cherry
In Person Events, Service Broker, SQL Saturday, SQL Server, Virtualization

Over the weekend I went to SQL Saturday 28 over in Baton Rouge, LA.  I gave two sessions this weekend.  The first was “Getting SQL Service Broker Up and Running” and the second was “Deciding if Virtualization is a good choice for your SQL Server“.  I hope everyone had a great time at the event, personally I had a blast.

If you want to catch more about virtualization (and storage) options for your databases be sure to check out my pre-con at the PASS summit.

Thanks for coming to my sessions.

Denny


August 12, 2010  6:03 PM

LaRock must be drinking on the job, I’m being allowed to speak during 24 Hours of PASS



Posted by: Denny Cherry
24 HoP, SQL PASS, SQL Server, Storage

That’s right, Mr. LaRock himself (Blog | Twitter) is giving me the chance to present during the 24 Hours of PASS (aka 24 HoP) virtual conference this time around.  I’ll be doing my “Storage for the DBA” session to give you a taste of what you’ll be able to get during my pre-con at this years summit, and best of all the virtual conference is totally and completely free. Continued »


August 10, 2010  7:18 PM

Yesterdays Storage and Virtualization Session



Posted by: Denny Cherry
In Person Events, Storage, Virtualization

In case you missed the dozen blog posts and Twitter messages about it over the last couple of weeks yesterday was a dry run of the Storage and Virtualization session that I’ll be presenting at the SQL PASS summit in Seattle this November.  We had a pretty good turn out, and I’d like to thank everyone that came out to watch me talk for 8 hours (turned out it was closed to 6 hours, so that’s the first thing to fix).  I got great feedback from everyone.

A big thank you to the sponsors who the event couldn’t have been done without.  Those sponsors for yesterday were Microsoft, Emulex, Quest Software and Red Gate.

Several people asked for the slide deck, so here it is in its current form.  The deck for the pre-con at PASS will be quite a bit different, as more material will be added, and some of this material will be moved around to make it flow better as I move from topic to topic.

Congrats to the drawing winners.  For the folks that won the Windows 7 licenses, as soon as we can track down the Windows 7 licenses I’ll get them mailed out to you.

Thanks again to everyone for coming.  Hopefully I’ll see most of you at PASS or Connections.

Denny


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