The Multifunctioning DBA

March 14, 2012  3:23 PM

New Devices

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

So my current job just handed out Iphone 4S for all on-call personal and we will also be getting an Ipad2 for the team to share. As you know I am a big Android fan. I have a EVO 3D and the ASUS Transformer and would love to upgrade my tablet to the ASUS Transformer Prime, but I can do everything that I want on the current tablet so I am not going to be upgrading.

So far I must say that I like the Android phone better. I have spent a lot more time with the Android device but I have been using the IPhone exclusively for 2 weeks now. I have accomplished that by setting up Google Voice, Since I am with Sprint I was able to use the Google Voice integration and just use my Sprint number as my Google Voice number and so I did not have to change my number with anyone. The only thing that does not seem to work is multimedia text messages, but I can live without that. So I think that if I could combine some features of IPhone with some features of Android then we would have a fantastic device.  I do not like the lack of widgets on the IPhone, I do not like the way that you have to set up ringtones via itunes on the IPhone, I do not like that I can not mount my IPhone as a portable drive, and I hate that I do not have a micro sd card slot on the Iphone. Now things l like about the Iphone more than my android devices. The camera. That is the biggest one and honestly the only one that I can think of right now.. oh wait, I also like airplay even though I have not used it yet as I do not have an Apple TV but I will in a few days so then I will know if I really like it. But I know I love the idea of it.

Let me know what you think..

March 14, 2012  2:49 PM

Do not Burn Bridges

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Not too long ago I changed jobs and it was a tough decision to make but I think I made the right move. I tried to leave on good terms with everyone as well as the company that I left. You never know when and where you might run into someone again. Well the other day I got a call from a former co-worker asking if I could do some side work for a friend of his. I reluctantly said sure, not knowing what I was getting into I am always reluctant, but I did not want to burn a bridge so I said I would take a look. Well long story short, the job took me about 30 minutes and I was able to get his friends business back on-line and that was worth a lot to him. I am sure I could have charged more but I think that $200 for spending 15 minutes on writing a purge script for his database was more than fair.

So just know that people you used to know may pop up out of the blue with a good opportunity for you.

March 13, 2012  8:00 AM

March Madness

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Found a place to fill out brackets and just track how bad you do. I filled mine out and I think it is fun. I am too cheap to put money on this and I do not follow college basketball at all until this time of year. But go check out the link and have some fun.

March 12, 2012  8:00 PM

SQL Server 2000

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Recently I saw that Paul Randal (Blog | Twitter) posted about reasons that people may still be running SQL Server 2000 and how some people have a poor attitude about it and actually judge others because they are running SQL Server 2000. Wow actually judging people because they are running an old version of SQL Server, that is shocking to me. Anyway, after reading Paul’s Post, I had to post myself as I did not feel that a comment would give me the bandwidth I needed to talk about the subject.

First, I must say that I think it is just crazy to judge someone based on a version of software that another person is running and thinking that they are not a good DBA is just ridiculous. I am lucky and I now work in a shop where we do not have any SQL Server 2000 in the wild but the shop I came from did. I did not really like supporting it as the newer versions of SQL Server have better tools for a DBA to use, but just because something is easier for me does not make it the right fit. If that was the case then I would be running everything in SQL Server 2012 and I would do all my administration via Powershell. That is what is easiest for me but I do not put others down when they say they do not know or like powershell, I certainly disagree but that is OK. I also know that I have many weaknesses in my own skill set that I need to get better at, I mean who doesn’t, so who am I to judge anyone.

I also know that the decision to continue running on SQL Server 2000 is almost never the DBA’s decision. I think that all DBA’s would rather be running a newer version because the newer versions do make it easier to be a DBA.  But like Paul points out there are many factors that may contribute to still running that version of SQL Server. In my old shop it was just that we used 3rd party apps from some vendors who are no longer in business so we could not just upgrade the database behind it. And of course, since that environment was so stable, we did not want to invest the capital that it would take to purchase a new app. Also we would just P2V that server and make it a VM. That made it much safer for us to do OS patching and the such since we could snapshot, do what we needed, and if it did not work just revert.

I actually think that being on older versions helped me become a better DBA since we did not have all the DMV’s and some of the other new tools that new versions of SQL bring us.

So do not be a hater. Just be understanding, say wow that sucks, and move on.

March 12, 2012  3:24 PM

Vegas Here I Come

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

I was just given the OK to book my attendance at Dev Connections in Las Vegas. I think this is going to be a great event and well, it is in Vegas. Who does not want to go to Vegas. This will be my first time attending a conference in Las Vegas and I must say I do have some concerns about attending but I know it will be a great time.

The content looks awesome and I am also going to be attending a pre-con this time. This will be my first pre-con and I am so excited to go see Alan White present on Powershell and SQL Server for 6 full hours. Some may say that will be boring but I am sure I will be on the edge of my seat the entire time. I mean what could be better, you all know I love powershell and I use it everyday for SQL Server and non SQL Server things but it is best when paired with SQL Server and Alan White is one of, if not, the best at pairing these two of my passions as one. I literally can not wait for this session. I am so happy that it is a pre-con and not a post-con.

Other then that I am already at least double booked for every time slot. So much that I want to see and only one of me to go see it all. I will be making some game time decisions on what sessions to go see.

Well I hope that you are all get to go to the show and I hope that I meet some of you while I there. Please hit me up on twitter during the event if you would like to meet up. I am not able to be on twitter as much as I once was but I am sure I will be when in Vegas unless I am sitting at a table losing my money.

@smithco32 is my twitter so I hope to hear from you.

February 1, 2012  10:00 AM

SQL Saturday is back in Phoenix

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

SQL Saturday is back on in Phoenix. I am excited as I really enjoyed the event last year and I expect that this one will be even better now that the organizers have the first one under there belts. Here is a link to the event home page.

Go sign up to attend and submit a session to present as well.  It will be a good time and a good way to meet new DBA’s and do some networking and perhaps make some new job contacts. Hope to see you at the event.

January 30, 2012  7:13 PM

24 HOP sesssion

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

I have submitted my session for the 24 Hours of Pass. I hope to get selected for this as I was denied for the PASS Summit based on a lack of speaking experience. I am hoping to get some more speaking experience so if I decide to submit again for the Summit that the lack of experience will not be my downfall. So if I get picked I hope that you can attend. Here is the abstract if you would like to see it.

Would you like to explore Powershell? Learn what it is and why is it important for a SQL Server DBA to know. This session will talk about the beginnings of powershell and the basics of how to use it. Show you some tricks to help make using powershell simpler. Show you how to quickly and easily harness powershell to make your day to day work a bit simpler. Show off some real world scripts that are used daily in order to do things like, Check if a SQL Server is up, Check on space, Audit reporting, push out stored procs to all instances, check versions, and many other useful things. This session will amaze for multiple version of SQL Server by showing examples in SQL Server 2005, 2008, as well as the upcoming 2012.

Hope you join me if I am selected and I hope that you are submitting sessions of your own. Only today and tomorrow left to get the submissions in.

January 27, 2012  4:49 PM

24 Hours of Pass Call for Speakers

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

Only a few days left so go do it. What are you waiting for? Are you looking to share your knowledge, have fun, and probably make some new friends in the SQL Server community? Then do what I am about to do and go sign up to present at the 24 hours of pass. Click the link to go submit your abstract today.

January 24, 2012  5:10 PM

Cool Way to Pay

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

I found this service that some of you may or may not know about so I thought I would share it with you. I will not lie, this is a bit selfish as well. The service is called Serve and is at This service allows you to pay for things and or pay friends with your phone. So this is the number one use case for me. I never carry cash and sometimes I get stuck paying for lunch on my debit card when me and friends go to lunch. They all pay me cash so it works out just fine, but imagine that all of your friends can just pay you via email on the phone and that way you can pay with your Serve Card and not get stuck with the entire bill. Or if a friend pays and I do not have cash I can just send them what I owe via Serve. I think this is fantastic!! and better yet, right now you get $10.00 bucks free just for signing up. And, here is the selfish part, if you send me your email, in a comment here or on twitter to @smithco32 then I will refer you and that gets me an additional $5 bucks. So please let me know if you would like to try this out. Go to the website and check it out, but if you like it please let me refer you. Then you can start referring your friends and you start getting the referral money. Hope you like it,


January 20, 2012  9:05 PM

Hard Drive Crash

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

A few years ago I decided to purchase a WHS for my home. I had been looking for a storage device like a NAS that would provide redundancy for my critical data but I also did not want to break the bank and I wanted something easy to use. So I looked and looked and I finally decided on a WHS. I chose this for a few reasons. I am cheap and the price was right. I could get 4T in a WHS for a few hundred less then 4T in a NAS that I liked. Easy to use, it is Windows and I know Windows, and it would make redundant copies of my critical files but only the files that I told it were critical, as well as do backups of all my PCs.

This device has something called Drive Extender and this is the main reason I liked the platform. I could put 4 one Terrabyte drives in this thing and it would present as one large disk pool with shares on it. I could add and subtract shares and I could tell it what shares were holding data that I could not lose and what shares it would be OK if I lost some or all of the data. This meant that I did not have to lose at least one disk to Raid. I really loved this feature and I did also like the automated backups to the WHS and having the ability to do bare metal restore or object level restore was nice as well.

But last week the worst happend. I lost a drive. I know that this happens and it should not be a big deal since all of my critical data should be on multiple drives. The problem is that I lost the boot drive. Without the ability to boot I can not manage the shares or get to my data. What a pain. So I pulled all the drives out and mounted them to another machine. By turning on show hidden files, I was able to get to all the data on the remaining 3 drives and pull it all off. This was great since I did in fact not lose any data.

Now I have an issue though, I have lost my restore media so I do not have WHS V1 Install media to go back to. So my thought was that I will get WHS2011 and install that. No problem right? Well that is WRONG. WHS 2011 does not have drive extender anymore. MS tried to fix some bugs in it and they found that they could not make it the way they wanted it so they just dropped it. So now I can install WHS2011 and a third party tool that will do what Drive Extender did but then I have to purchase that as well. That software add in cost as much as the OS. I have a problem with that.

So now I am back at square one. Do I do that and keep the hardware that I have or do I just go get a NAS. Not sure yet but I need to make a decision soon so that I do not lose my data.

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