SQL Server with Mr. Denny

August 2, 2010  11:00 AM

Speaking at the Orange County SQL Server Users Group this week.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Later this week (Thursday to be specific) I’ll be speaking at the Orange County SQL Server Users Group.  I’ll be speaking on Thursday the 5th, starting at 6:30pm.  I’ll be giving two sessions at the user group.  The first will be Reading the Execution Plan, and in the second we’ll be looking at the Data Tier Applications, UCP, and DACPACs as well as some other new features in SQL Server 2008 R2.

The OC SQL Users Group meets at New Horizons in Anaheim (behind Angel’s stadium).

1900 S. State College Blvd, Suite 100

Anaheim, CA 92806

Hopefully I’ll see you there.

While I’m there I’ll be pimping my day long session in Irvine which is next week, and hopefully I’ll be giving away from SWAG during the meeting.


July 29, 2010  11:00 AM

Running a query against multiple servers at one

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So you’ve got a bunch of machines that you want to run a quick query against.  SQL Server 2008’s Management Studio gives you a quick and easy.  Open up the Registered Servers in Management Studio and select a group of servers.  Then right click on the group and click on the “New Query” option.

This will open a new query window where you can run a query against all the servers that are online in that group. In my sample query shown below you’ll see that I ran SELECT @@VERSION against all the servers.  When I ran this 3 of the 6 servers in the group were online so three servers were able to return data.

Now if you look at the messages tab (look down) you’ll see which servers the query ran against, and which servers it failed against.  It also tells you what accounts the query was run using (based on the connection info for each server).

Now you can’t merge data together in a temp table as everything in the query window will be run against each server.  It simply displays the information together.  You can pull a single value like I showed above, or you can query a table.

Now when querying from a tables on multiple servers you’ll need to make sure that the schema for those tables are identical otherwise it will only return the data for the first table that it queries.  An error will be shown on the messages tab telling that you that the schemas don’t match if this is the problem.


July 25, 2010  2:59 AM

Sometimes you just get amazed by the response

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So a couple of weeks ago Arnie Rowland started a project to give away a couple of MSDN licenses and some other goodies to some deserving out of work developers.  The big requirement being that they do something worthy of getting the stuff. Continued »

July 22, 2010  12:00 PM

Get some storage and virtuilization training, and walk away with an XBox 360

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

On Monday August 9th, 2010 at the Microsoft Office in Irvine, CA I’ll be leading up an all day “Storage and Virtualization for the DBA” training session.  In addition to a great day of training, one lucky attendee will walk away with a brand new XBox 360.  There are lots of other great giveaways.

You must sign up to attend, and seats are limited.  Be sure to sign up soon as seats are given away on a first come first served basis.


July 22, 2010  11:00 AM

How to actually get KMS working in the real world.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

If you don’t know what KMS is, it’s the nightmare that Microsoft has unleashed upon the Windows Admins of the world since the release of Windows 2008 R1.  In the good old days you stuck the Windows license key on the server and it connected to Microsoft to validate the license.  Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Microsoft so you now have to have a Key Management Service (KMS) running on a server on your network.

In theory getting KMS working is a piece of cake. You just install windows on a server, put the KMS key in the machine as the license key and move on.

In the real world there is a little more to it.

For each different OS that you have to need to add the license key to the KMS server.  Now you’d think that there would be a nice interface that shows you your licenses, how many you’ve used etc right?  Yeah, not so much.  Key management is done completely via a VB script which sits in the Windows\system32 folder.

So to install the new license key you have to run slmgr.vbs with the -ipk switch.  Then run it again with the -ato switch so that you can activate the license.

cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

cscript slmgr.vbs -ato

Now if the license activates you are good to go, however if it doesn’t you have a problem you now need to get the info from the system so that you can call Microsoft.  This requires using the -dlv parameter so that you can get the Activation Id from the application.

cscript slmgr.vbs -dlv

Then use the -dti parameter and the Activation Id that you just got to get the Installation Id.  This is the number that the phone system will want from you to get the license activated.  Check the phone.inf file to get your local phone number.

cscript slmgr.vbs -dti xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

notepad %systemroot%\system32\slui\phone.inf

Now the Microsoft phone system will give you back a bunch of numbers.  Note them without dashes in a notepad doc.  Then use slmgr.vbs with the -atp parameter passing it the value you get back from Microsoft and the Activation Id that you got before.

cscript slmgr.vbs -atp 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

At this point, unless you’ve fubar’ed any of these parameters your license will be activated.

Now if you’ve been using VMware to deploy templates of Windows you’ve probably got Customization Specifications setup.  And you’ve probably got either your MAK or KMS keys entered in there.  Both of those would be the wrong keys to use.  You should be using the keys listed on this web page as these are the keys that tell Windows that it is a KMS client and that it should connect to your local KMS server.

Now if you’ve put your KMS key into all of your virtual machines as the key, you need to clean up your DNS as well.  Within your internal DNS servers under your domain then _tcp subdomain you’ll see a bunch of domains under _VLMCS.  You’ll want to make sure that you only have SRV records with this name pointing to your actual license server or servers.

On the machines which you have already deployed using your KMS keys, you’ll need to reset the keys on those machines.  This can be done with the following commands, just put in the correct key from the page listed above.

cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -upk
cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk PutYourKeyHere
cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato

This will remove the current license key, add the KMS client key, then register the computer with the local KMS server.

Now isn’t that easy?

Good Luck.


UPDATE 2010.07.27: Corrected the scripts from csharp to cscript.

July 19, 2010  11:00 AM

Quest’s virtual SQL Server training conference

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

Register for Quest’s virtual SQL Server training conference. Sign up today to get free education-right from the convenience of your desk.

SQL Server experts Kevin Kline, Brent Ozar and Microsoft insider Buck Woody, will give you tips and tricks to take the pain out of tuning performance for your databases. You’ll walk away with mad skills and unique insight that will make your job easier than you ever imagined.

Event: Virtual Training for SQL Server – Performance Monitor and Wait Events
Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
7:45 a.m. Eastern (4:45 a.m. Pacific/ 12:45 p.m. United Kingdom/ 1:45 p.m. Central Europe)
Eight sessions to choose from, each 45-60 minutes

Can’t make it to the live training day? Be sure to register and you’ll be eligible to view the sessions on-demand for 30 days.

Registration is FREE>>>


P.S. If you can’t make it to the actual event, the conference will be available on demand until August 21.

July 16, 2010  12:47 AM

Free preview presentation of my Storage and Virtualization for the DBA precon

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So on Monday August 9th, 2010 I’ll be giving a preview presentation of my Storage and Virtualization for the DBA precon.  Basically I want to give the presentation in front of a live audience before I go to PASS and have people pay to see it.  So if you are going to be in the Irvine area (or if you can be in the Irvine area) on August 9th, you’ve got a shot to see it for free.

Now you’ll have to turn in a survey at the end, but I’ve got some incentive for that.  Everyone who submits a survey will be entered into a drawing for some great prizes.

So far the prizes include:

1. A copy of “Professional SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting” by Christian Bolton, Justin Langford, Brent Ozar, James Rowland-Jones, Jonathan Kehayias, Cindy Gross, Steven Wort

2. One of two copies of Windows 7 Ultimate x86.

There are only 70 seats available so be sure to sign up if you want to attend.  The full details are available via the sign up link.

A special thanks to Microsoft for offering to host this event for me so we can have this event for free.



July 14, 2010  11:00 AM

While you don’t get a ‘Free Lunch’, you can do some good work with some great stuff.

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

For those that were wondering what I did with my third MSDN license, I’ve donated it to a project that Arnie Rowland is putting together.  The full details of the project are on Arnie’s blog.

The jist of the project is

To recap, we are inviting unemployed or underemployed developers to propose a software project for a non-profit agency, school, or church. The idea is that we will provide a package of the latest software, tools, and training resources to help you improve your skills, get up to date with current technologies, gain practical experience, potentially earn a recommendation for your efforts, and in general, enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something useful for others. We are not giving out a ‘free lunch’, just supporting your efforts to personally gain from your own ‘sweat equity’.

The selected project will receive:

Please submit your project information via Google Docs.

The selection for July will occur on July 30, 2010 so make sure that you’ve got your project submitted before then.


July 13, 2010  11:00 AM

Gettin’ Schooled #TSQL2sDay

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

This months T/SQL Tuesday topic is about learning and teaching.  It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, so I decided that this was a good one to try and get back into it.  The guidelines are pretty wide open, so I went with the how I learn best, and how I like teaching the best.


I do my best learning by doing, not to say I don’t get something from lectures, but I get more from doing.  I know a lot of people out there that are the different from me in this regard.  I think what really helps me the most is when doing a lab and something goes wrong.  That’s when I can really dig into the product or whatever it is that I’m working with and really see how it works.


When it comes to teaching, interactive lecture style is really the only way I know how to do it.  This lets me do my best to customize the session to the needs to the group that is sitting in the session so that they are able to get the most out of it.  And that’s really the goal, that the people who are listening to the session get the most possible information out of it.


July 12, 2010  11:00 AM

Spin, spin, spin, it’s all about the spin

Denny Cherry Denny Cherry Profile: Denny Cherry

So I recently got an email from my NetApp sales rep telling me how awesome the Flash Cache is on the NetApp arrays.  The email was really short and to the point.

Not sure if you’ve heard about how we’re leveraging cache to augment storage performance.

Here’s a recent article…

NetApp Customers Purchase More Than a PetaByte of Flash Cache for Greater Performance and Storage Efficiency.

Then there was a link to a press release telling about how NetApp customers have purchased a PetaByte of Flash Cache for their systems.

If you don’t know what the NetApp flash cache is, its a flash based IO card (kind of like a Fusion IO card) that the NetApp array uses as cache for reads.  Each flash cache card gives you either 256 or 512 Gigs of cache that is used to speed up reads.  You can put up to 4 TB of flash cache per NetApp array.

There’s two ways that you can take the statement that NetApp Customers have purchased more than a PetaByte of Flash Cache (which is VERY expensive to purchase).  The first is that NetApp customers have such high IO loads that they need this cache layer to get the performance level.  The second is that because NetApp arrays are all RAID 6 (yes I know that NetApp calls it RAID DP but the DP just stands for dual parity, which is RAID 6) that to get the write performance that others can get with RAID 10.

Given that so many NetApp customers are purchasing the Flash Cache, 5000 units have been sold since September 2009 and it’s shipping in 20% of the units that you can cram it into (according to the NetApp press release) this leads me to believe that its more about the later than the former.  If that many customers needed this level of performance this soon after the option became available this leads me to believe that the NetApp arrays just weren’t able to give the level of performance that people needed until this Flash Cache can deliver.

But that’s just my take on the marketing spin.


UPDATE 7/12/2010: Corrected the post to show that NetApp’s flash cache only speeds up reads.  Thanks to TechMute for pointing out the error in the post.

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