Sometimes a project comes around that requires knowledge beyond the normal SQL Server knowledge. This is where having the extra knowledge can really make you standout. Recently I was talking to Allen Kinsel (blog | twitter) about IPv6 on a Windows Cluster which was being blocked by Symantic which was causing all sorts of problem.
I then mentioned that this would create all sorts of productions for Direct Access as it requires IPv6 to function. Which let to a quick back and forth about what Direct Access was and how it worked. Suddenly Wendy Pastrick (blog | twitter) comes into the conversation asking specifically about Direct Access. Apparently she has a new client which has many remote SQL instances installed on peoples laptops and those laptop use merge replication to sync up data with the central database. This is a perfect situation for Direct Access to be deployed.
What’s Direct Access?
Direct Access is a feature of Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7 where the client computers can create an automatic SSL protected connection to the company network on demand without the user needing to initiate the connection.
How can it help?
The current solution that the company has to deploy requires that the user initiate a VPN connection then the user would need to start the SQL Replication job to begin the data transfer (or have the distribution agent setup to try over and over until it succeeds). Using Direct Access when the SQL Server attempts to connect to the distributor (I’m assuming a pull subscription here) the computer will see the attempt to request access to an internal server, so it’ll then connect to the direct access server effectively making a VPN connection, which would then allow the data transfer to complete without the user even knowing that the connection was needed.
Obviously Direct Access isn’t a feature that most DBAs would know about. Now that you know about this feature you can pitch it if you are in the need for a distributed merge replication solution that will allow for automatic replication of data without the remote user knowing that the replication needs to take place.
On Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 6:30pm (pacific time) I’ll be speaking at a Meet Up in Irvine, CA at the WorkBridge Associates offices (where I was originally going to be speaking this week. Because I’m going to be in Atlanta, GA next week instead of presenting from Irvine, I’ll be presenting over the web via Live Meeting instead.
Since I’ll be presenting over live meeting I’m able to invite anyone else who would like to attend as well to connect via Live Meeting. I’ll be presenting a new slide deck on the 26th called “Where should I be encrypting my data?”. In the deck I talk about all the various ways that data can be encrypted within your database application.
Hopefully I’ll see everyone there.
P.S. I know that a few people headed over to the WorkBridge office this week, sorry about that. The date was originally this week, but then it was moved, and not everyone was updated with the new date.
Sorry if you didn’t get the word, I thought that I had put out a post about it, but this weeks Meet UP that I was going to speak at was rescheduled for Next week. Same time, same place; at least for you. I’ll be in Atlanta, so I’ll be giving the session via Live Meeting. The host company will be setting up a web cam so I can see you guys, and I’ve got my web cam so that you can see me.
See you next week.
So you want to install Cisco Fabric Manager and/or Cisco Device Manager on a Windows 7 x64 computer. Awesome, good for you. Unfortunately like x64 VPN Cisco has in their infinite wisdom not released an x64 version of the Fabric Manger or Device Manager. This makes installing under x64 a lot harder. Continued »
Apparently some people (myself included) have reported that Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 are loosing their default gateway settings after installing Service Pack 2 onto the machine. The basic symptom is that after putting in the default gateway everything works fine, until you reboot. The kicker is that after changing the default gateway the computer prompts you to reboot for basically no reason. Continued »
Apparently this weekend a small company which does something very important discovered the upper bounds of the INT datatype (or the equivalent in what ever database platform they are using). This makes it very clear that whoever designed the database for them didn’t do a very good job designing the database, because if they had they would have found this little problem a while ago and fixed it well in advance.
In case you didn’t click through to the slash dot article, or passed it to the actual article the company which holds the contracts with 49 states parole agencies for parolee GPS monitoring wasn’t able to record where the people being monitored were for about 12 hours. The /. article says that the had a little over 2 Billion records in the table. A little thinking and that sounds an awful like the upper bounds of a 32bit integer (aka the INT data type is you start at 1 instead of the lower bound of the data type). If the database designer had selected to use a 64bit integer (aka BIGINT) then the table would have been able to store 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 records (assuming they started at 1and not the lower bound of the data type).
Now I’ve got no idea how long the database has been collecting data, but how ever long it was, it probably wasn’t all that long (maybe 5 years tops) and using the 64bit integer would have let the system last for much, much longer.
Thus endith the rant.
This year I’ve got the pleasure of being accepted as a speaker at the SQL Connections conference in Las Vegas, NV the first week of November. Registration is still open for the conference. When you sign up for SQL Connections you also get access to ASP & Silverlight Connections, Visual Studio Connections, SharePoint Connections, Windows Connections, Exchange Connections and DOTNETNUKE Connections all for registering for SQL Connections.
There will be some top notch speakers at the conference this year (there are every year) including Todd McDermid (Blog | Twitter), Paul Randal (Blog | Twitter), Kimberly Tripp (Blog | Twitter), Allen White (Blog | Twitter), Buck Woody (Blog | Twitter) and Glenn Berry (Blog | Twitter) among others so it should be a great week.
While I’m pretty sure it’ll be a little smaller crowed than the PASS Summit (which is being held the next week) I’m sure it’ll be a great time with the group that will be there.
Workbridge Associates is starting a new Microsoft Users Group which will be meeting at their offices in Irvine, CA on October 19th, 2010. I’ve been asked to be the speaker at the first meeting, and since I’ve got sucker written on my forehead I’ve accepted.
As this is a new User Group, I’m breaking out a new slide deck and presentation for the meeting. I’ll be talking about data encryption, the ways to encrypt data at the various levels of the application, the pros and the cons of all the techniques. This deck is actually inspired by a chapter from my upcoming book on SQL Server security which I’ll be talking about a little as well.
Workbridge Associates will be providing pizza, and there is the possibility that cold frosty beverages will be provided (don’t quote me on that, management can always get in the way of that). There is a small parking fee for the lot, but I’m not sure if the lot will be open to the public or not for free at night, so bring a few bucks for parking just in case. Everyone is invited, and since they are a recruiting company they will be inviting a lot of hiring managers, so it may be a great way to run across that new position you’ve been looking for.
The meeting will start at 6:30pm at 4675 Macarthur Court Suite 960 Newport Beach, CA 92660 (they say that their address is Newport Beach, but I’m pretty sure they are in Irvine, it right across from John Wayne Airport).
Hopefully I’ll see you there.
Just after upgrading our hosts from VMware 4.0 to 4.1 I ran across a little problem. None of the guest machines could get the VMware tools upgraded automatically. I had to log into each machine and upgrade the tools (ok I only did 2 or 3 manually). It turns out that if the VMware tools had been upgraded on the guests before they would have c:\windows\temp\VMwareToolsUpgrader.exe and this file needs to be deleted before the upgrader will run automatically.
So I didn’t really want to log into 80 machines to delete this file manually, so I came up with a quick batch file to delete this file on every machine in the company.
for /F %%a in (cp.txt) do attrib -r %%a\c$\windows\temp\VMwareToolsUpgrader.exe for /F %%a in (cp.txt) do del %%a\c$\windows\temp\VMwareToolsUpgrader.exe
Export the list of computers being hosted by VMware and save them as cp.txt.
This batch file removes the read only attribute from the file, then deletes the file. That’s right the file is read only so you can’t just delete it.
Just take the code above, stick it in a batch file and run it from a domain account that has rights to every server.
Last week I gave a presentation to the PASS Virtualization VC on how to decide if virtualization is a good choice for your SQL Server.