T-SQL Tuesday #59 – My Hero!

SQL TuesdayIt always amazes me how fast these T-SQL Tuesday block parties come about; it seems like we just finished one and here we are yet again. This month the party is hosted by Tracy McKibben (Blog | Twitter) and the monthly topic that was chosen is “Heroes”.

This topic can be taken in many different directions; this post will be geared toward the SQL environment and what I’ve learned from a professional career standpoint. I’ve been blessed to have had some influential people in my career. One of the first things that crept into my mind was the “My Fab Five” post I did earlier this year. If you haven’t read it I urge you to check that one out as well; after you read this one of course!

I see so many heroes in the SQL Community; ones that aren’t heralded but come in day in and day out and get the job done. The tireless volunteer who keeps going year in and year out and doesn’t complain one time. PASS Summit 2014 is coming up; have you ever thought about how much effort that goes into putting something like that on? So many behind the scenes people who work countless hours – those are the type of heroes that I’d like to pay tribute to.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention 4 influential people in my own career to date. I think back from both a business, professional, and technical perspective two individuals who deserve a lot of credit in bringing me along are not technical evangelists nor are they knee deep in the SQL Community; but they taught me, in more ways than most, the ropes and expectations of business. Both of these people took a chance on me early in my career and have had a big hand in molding my psych in both the business and technical realm. I have much respect for both of these individuals for the tenacity they bring daily and focus they have instilled in me – Brad Cunningham and Chris Howard. You will not see these guys in the headlines at the PASS Summit, but it is guys like this who allow guys like me and afford guys like me the ability to enhance and further my knowledge on a daily basis.

Piggy backing onto these two guys I’ve had some of the best in the Community take me under their wing so to speak. This doesn’t mean I haven’t approached others in the community nor does it mean that others aren’t helpful, but like the 2 people I mentioned above these 2 people did the same thing. They took a chance on me and allowed me to spread my wings and flourish within the SQL Community. I look up to these two individuals greatly and thanks is not enough for all they’ve done for me ~ Thank You John Sansom (Blog | Twitter) and Chris Shaw (Blog | Twitter) for rolling the dice and taking a chance on me when you didn’t have to.

Heroes –  the SQL Community is full of them. If you are in it for the fame and fortune then you are in it for the wrong reasons. Heroes are found all around us; you don’t have to look far to find them. To the many unsung heroes I thank you for your hard work and dedication for it is all of our efforts on a daily basis that make the SQL Community what it is.

If you are interested in hosting a T-SQL Tuesday party you can contact it’s creator the mighty Adam Machanic (Blog | Twitter) who is a hero in his own right.

heroes

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The Question – Why?

whyThe question I get asked a lot by other data professionals at conferences, events, speaking engagements, family, friends, etc. is Why do you do what you do? Why do you put yourself through some of the things that data professionals have to endure at times with the non stop phone calls, system crashes, data breaches? What keeps you coming back for more?

Everyone is different, some may say they like the financial gains that come along with it, some may say they want that notoriety and accolades, and then some may say it is a stepping stone for climbing the ladder to future gains.

For me, being a DBA is a humbling experience. The potential for growth is great and the desire to gain continual knowledge in the skill set is prevalent. With being a data professional comes great responsibility, and it is a career that is not for the faint of heart. You will have late nights, long hours, and frustration on issues but all that molds, makes, and shapes you on your career path.

Grant Fritchey (Blog | Twitter) has one of the best articles, for myself, when he talks about Leadership Through Service. There are a handful of articles that really resonate with me over time and this is one of them. Whether you are in a shop, consultant, etc. you are providing a service and with that comes that word again ~ responsibility.

Opportunities

How can I get involved? This was one of the biggest areas I wish I would have learned earlier on in my career and now speak loudly about. Have you ever seen a new data professional just starting out? If you have then you know what I am talking about – the fire in their eyes and the drive and passion in their voice. That is something that I hope I never lose. I worked 11 years in the industry before really getting involved with community efforts and PASS. So the question remains how can you get involved?

Forums – some of the best opportunities lie within forums themselves. You can find information that you aren’t up to speed on and start studying to find what the answers are thus improving your knowledge gaps. Some of the ones I like to frequent are but not limited to:

  1. SQL Brit Forum
  2. SQL Server Central
  3. Stack Exchange
  4. Red Gate Forum (specializing in database professional products)

Blogging – if you aren’t blogging then you ought to try it. I have found for myself that it is a good learning tool and can be a repository of items learned along the way. As with anything writing takes practice, but be your own person. Once you have started you will wonder why you didn’t start down this venture sooner.

Email – Subscriptions – there are some golden nuggets to be had on email subscriptions from others in the industry. Some ones that would be of importance, but again are not limited to:

  1. PASS News Letter
  2. Paul Randal and the SQL Skills Team
  3. Brent Ozars LTD
  4. MSSQLTips
  5. SQL Server Central

Industry leaders – look at the industry you are in. Within any one industry you will see leaders in the community and our SQL community is no different. I won’t go into to much detail but check out the blog roll section over on the right and side of this site and you will see some renowned leaders. Follow them, see what they have to say, and learn some of there techniques. Somewhere along the way you might just pick up some good habits and practices.

Events – this is something that has greatly helped me over the years. There is a wide arrange of events both free and paid that one can attend. Some of those you don’t even realize are available:

  1. SWUG webinars
  2. SQL Saturday Events (check out my section here for most up to date events or by logging on directly to SQL Saturday’s home page)
  3. PASS Summit
  4. SQL Bits
  5. Dev Connections
  6. Brent Ozars’ weekly webinar

Social Media – what a way to connect with many people at one time. If you haven’t yet check out some of these avenues below:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter (check out the #SQLServer, #SQLHelp, #SQLCoOp tags)
  3. GoogleGroups
  4. Facebook

The list could go on; these are just a few to mention. In today’s society it is even more prevalent to take advantage of items that are free training yet still exceptional. Why not take advantage?

Speaking – I’ve heard people make the comments that they would never speak or they don’t like getting up in front of people. This is true everyone is different, but what I’ve found in speaking is that it causes you to know and learn your stuff. You can’t get up in front of 100 – 500 people and fake your way around. It has been a tool and a motivator again for learning and gaining knowledge. If you haven’t tried it then maybe try it out on some friends at work then move up to a local user group.

Career

Your career is just that – your career. Own it and make it what you want. I’ve been told all my life I couldn’t do things; from being a 6’0 ft point guard in college to diving into a SQL Technology. Those naysayer’s have proved one thing to me – I like competition and once you’ve challenged me it is game on. I’ve been proving people wrong this long so I’ll keep continuing down that path ~ point here is you take your career by the reigns and make it yours. Don’t let others dissuade you or deter you from your goals.

Mentors

There is nothing wrong with having a mentor. I’ve had some of the best and they have lead and guided me through my SQL journey. Wait a second, just the paragraph above you said be “your own person”. Yes I did, and you should. With that though comes the ability to differentiate and think on your own two feet, that doesn’t negate the fact that having a seasoned mentor who has been in the trenches would not be beneficial. Will you always agree with a mentor – no; but the insight into some of the mistakes made along with knowledge that can be provided is priceless.

To those that have mentored me, and you know who you are, I thank you for it is because of you I am that much further along in my career.

The Why

So back to the infamous question “Why”. I do what I do because I enjoy coming in everyday and being a DBA/Data Professional. I get to work with some of the finest people in the profession and learn from some of the best. I’m not in this game for the notoriety; I enjoy seeing and helping others succeed. Each day presents knew obstacles or hurdles to overcome; while some days are longer than others (as any data professional will tell you) there is a passion there that I have for the SQL Community as a whole and I hope that passion never burns out.

Some people have jobs they go to that they hate and it is just a job and sure you’ll find some data professionals like that. I’m blessed to say that I enjoy what I do on a daily basis and that I enjoy coming into work. There will always be that hunger to learn new things within SQL and the SQL Community and that will continue to be my driving force.

One thing I’ve noticed about the SQL Community is, while a passionate group, and one that sometimes disagrees that is okay because that means we are a healthy community. When I’ve seen someone hurting or needing a hand with a question it is a mere minutes before responses start flowing in. That’s the kind of group we are; dedicated data professionals who for the most part enjoy helping others.

I had a coach who I thought a lot of growing up….one time he told me as I was huffing and puffing at 3:00 a.m. from conditioning drills – “Somewhere, someone is practicing getting better than you. What will it take for you to be motivated?” That has kind of stuck with me. I know right now as I sit here and type this that there will be others that know more about certain topics, but just like basketball did it drives me to get better. Don’t settle.

Conclusion

So, now it is my turn to ask you – instead of why my question to you will be “Why not?”

Are you knew to the SQL game? Good then get involved

Are you a season vet who has been jaded so many times? If so then I ask you to remember back to when you first started out and the fire you had within you to conquer the SQL world. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about – find that fire once again and get involved.

For those that are involved my hats go off to you as coming from experience I know what it takes. I’m proud to be apart of this SQL Community and I plan on being here for a long time or as long as they would have me.

 

 

 

 

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C-R-U-D The Basics

C-R-U-D The Basics

What is CRUD? Well, there are a lot of things I can think of when I use the term CRUD; however within the wonderful world of technology CRUD is an acronym that surprisingly enough, when I polled, didn’t really give a straight answer. That really surprised me; so with that said I will walk you through the basics of the concept.

C-reate

The letter “c” stands for create; more specifically inserting some form of data by various methods or means into a repository or holding take. I want to take this down to its simplest form which the below example will depict:

 

Insert

 

Inserting data into the PastHist table is as simple as the T-SQL query; but don’t just limit the thought of creation by this simplest form. You could have data being created through front end apps, SSIS packages, or many other methods.

 

R-ead

Depends on who you ask or talk to. The letter “r” can stand for read or retrieve. A simple retrieve statement can be a Select as below:

 

Select

 

SelectResults

 

What is this he didn’t use a NOLOCK – don’t worry I can save that for another blog post but as you can see in its simplest form retrieving the data out of the table you just inserted into is not that cumbersome.

 

U-pdate

The letter “u” can mean update or modify if you will. Let’s see how easy it is to do a simple update statement below:

Let’s update the name for our record to be John where the id = 1

 

Update

 

UpdateResults

 

As you can see the data has been updated and John is now our data set in the name field column.

 

D-elete

The letter “d” stands for delete or destroy. Below is a simple script to delete the data out of the table:

 

Delete

 

There are some methods I could have used to remove the data; such as Truncate Table but this is not the time or place for me to distinguish between the two. I chose the delete method on the search criteria of id = 1

Results after the deletion:

 

DeleteResults

 

Conclusion

This is breaking down C-R-U-D into its simplest form. Please do not limit your thinking to these very basic simple queries. Expound on it and your thought process on what all C-R-U-D entails. As with anything you find on the internet DO NOT take queries and just execute them blindly on any environment. Doing so makes you assume the risk.

What else are others saying?

I tell you what; check out what my other colleagues have to say on something they learned recently around C-R-U-D:

 

CollaborateImageOn a SQL Collaboration Quest

Four SQL professionals gathered from the four corners of the world to share their SQL knowledge with each other and with their readers: Mickey Stuewe from California, USA, Chris Yates from Kentucky, USA, Julie Koesmarno from Canberra, Australia, and Jeffrey Verheul from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. They invite you to join them on their quest as they ask each other questions and seek out the answers in this collaborative blog series. Along the way, they will also include other SQL professionals to join in the collaboration.

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Passwords – A T-SQL Tuesday Topic

LateBeing engrossed with the daily tasks at hand I completely missed this month’s T-SQL Tuesday is being brought to you by Sebastian Meine Blog | Twitter.

Although the time frame has passed I would be amiss if I didn’t continue on my journey of joining in these block parties; with that said I’m going to write what I “would” have contributed. This month’s topic is intriguing in that it can cover a wide array of discussion – Passwords.

When I think of passwords I think of etiquette. I cannot tell you how many times I have been on calls, meetings, emails, and the list could go on of scenarios that relate to passwords where users just don’t think or take into consideration the impact of their actions. To me the last four words are the key, “impact of their (our) actions“.

Password Etiquette

  • Conference Calls – how many times have you been on a production call with numerous individuals and hear someone say, “Okay here is the user name and password?” If you have then you are not the only one. Credentials should be kept out of the hands of unnecessary individuals.
  • Open Text Passwords in tables – check into encrypting those; protect yourself before you realize breaches have occurred and you are left holding the bag.
  • Email – transmitting password information via email; not a big fan of. This kind of relates back to the conference call section; who all is on the email? Are you sending it to Project Managers and the like? Probably not the best choice to make.
  • Backups sent offsite – do you have any backups going off site? Is any pertinent credentials contained in the dB and if so are your backups being encrypted before shipping them off?
  • Length – Look at the length of the passwords you are creating; how strong is the password you are making?
  • Sharing – don’t do it; simple enough.

All the above reflects, what I deem, good etiquette. That barely scratches the surface. You have to take into consideration many other factors one of them being a policy.  Small, big, medium – whatever kind of shop you are in define out what the best practice is for your shop and then adhere to it. A good reference could be found on Technet Best Practices

Lastly, if you feel as though a password has been compromised be proactive and take the necessary steps to change it. Don’t wait for something to happen; you be the game changer.

Get your defense model in place and let the good times roll.

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SQL Prompt 6.4 – Get It

SQLPrompt

This guy looks just like me a few weeks ago only one difference…..he has hair!!! Okay seriously though, I felt just like this guy not long ago and the reason for this was due to the fact I have become accustomed to specific tools and utilities that I utilize on a daily basis. Is this a good thing, eh, maybe or maybe not but end of the day I like to be efficient, dynamically nimble (if that is an expression), and in control of what my work entails daily.

Now, leading up to this extraordinary blog post you have to understand something. I’m in a RedGate shop pampered with some very nice utilities at my disposal. One such utility is their SQL Prompt utility.

One of the nice features I like about the utility is the recover tab within SSMS that shows me past history of tabs I had open within SQL. Can I tell you how many times this has come in handy? If that doesn’t meet your fancy then how about the code snippets that you can save and reuse later, or maybe the nice IntelliSense it provides while coding.

This leads me into why I looked like our Data Professional up above…..I recently was without my SQL Prompt and you thought I’d been taken back to the stone ages. I went to type out some code and low and behold nothing, I got NOTHING. No tables popping up; no columns to review…..nothing. After the sheer shock and awe subsided I knew I was in for a long day. Needless to say it didn’t take me long to figure out what went wrong with my prompt and how to get it back.

What’s this mean for you guys who are reading this? Glad you asked.

Red Gate’s new version is out so go check it out. Some of the new enhancements are noted below:

  • Execute current statement
  • Insert semicolons
  • Code highlighting
  • Use object definition case
  • Rename variables and aliases
  • Suggestions improvements
  • Qualify object names improvements
  • Remove square brackets
  • Nullability of columns
  • Choose environments to install to
  • New formatting options
  • New tab history options
  • Improved loading dialog box
  • Support for restricted accounts
  • Various usability improvements
  • Many bug fixes

So download the free trial and test drive it; what do you have to lose? Maybe you’ll like it and maybe you won’t but don’t wait and let time go by when you could be becoming more efficient in your everyday work.

If you use the product already drop me a line; if you don’t use the product then tell me why not.

,

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What I Wish I Had Known Sooner…as a DBA

AttitudeYesterday I took a minute and to review some posts by some Data Professionals and in doing so I came across and article by Erin Stellato. She had been tagged by Mike Walsh who posted an article regarding 4 Attitudes I Wish I Had Earlier as a DBA

At the very end of Erin’s post she mentions “I’m not tagging anyone in this post by name, but if you’re thinking “I wish she had tagged me” then you’ve just been tagged.”

This spawned some thinking yesterday and last night; looking back I see growth, mistakes, resolutions, solutions, and much more that has brought me where I am today.  A lot has transpired; and I still have a lot more left to learn and understand.

Balance 

I have been told throughout the years I do not have an off switch. My mind is constantly running on things that may have occurred throughout the day, solutions to issues that I or someone has experienced recently, answers to forum questions, multiple projects running at the same time, and the list goes on. With that said you have to have some form of balance; I’ve seen many people burn out of the years and it is something that I’ve had to continually work on throughout my own career. Am I there yet – nope; but that’s okay. I’ve come along way in that area and will continue to work on it.

Flexibility

I’m the DBA what I say goes; it’s my way or the highway. Yeah that syndrome will end catastrophically and fast. Being a DBA (or as I like to say Data Professional) you encounter and work with many people from all faucets of business. It is almost a fine art of communication (which can be a point in and of itself), learning how to work together with other teams. Does this mean that you should not stand your ground for your beliefs – nope. What it does mean is that you will always see a gap; there has always been one. The network guys will blame the DBAs, the DBAs will blame the developers and network guys, the developers will blame the DBAs. It’s a constant endless loop.

End of the day, all the groups under the blanket of a company are in the same fight and on the same team regardless of if you are in networking, DBA land, development, phone systems – whatever the case is. We have to find a way to work together for the common good of the company.

Wrote a piece awhile back on bridging that gap

Provide Leadership Through Service

Last year I came across and article that Grant Fritchey wrote around Providing Leadership Through Service. This is something that has really resonated with me more so now to which I wish I would have learned earlier on in my career. Whether you are a contractor, own your own business, or work in a shop full time view your efforts as providing a service to the company you are with.  It will change how you view and reflect on your position; we should be humbled and honored to work within an environment we’ve been handed, but at the same time be bold and provide that leadership that companies so richly desire and seek

Learn To Say “NO”

No is not a bad word; although at times we think it is. Early on in my career I wanted to fix and do everything I could to help people. Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy helping people. If you don’t learn to say no you will soon spread yourself to thin. This is a constant struggle that I still endure sometimes as I want to help everyone I meet with questions, projects, etc. The growth that I have had over the years has taught me to do the helping more methodical. At times I do have to say no, and that’s okay.

Conclusion

Well there you have it; not very fancy but is from the heart and from a data professional who realizes he will never be perfect but will continue to grow on this SQL journey.

I’m not tagging anyone but offering the same avenue that I was given. If you’d like to blog about what Mike has presented then by all means; give it a go.

Thanks Mike for getting this started; brought back some fond memories for myself.

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ISPACs – Got To Love Em

Being a DBA and working with various teams, I have become accustomed to deploying SSIS packages. I’ll even go back further and, dare I say, DTS packages (I hope everyone did not just fall on the floor while reading that). Now-a-days this Database Professional does more deploying packages than developing them; with that said I was pleased when 2012 came along.

When the newer version of SSIS was released it offered several new features, one of those features was building a deployment model thus producing an ISPAC file. I remember first coming across this and thinking, “Wow, this is all packaged up”. While I won’t go into the specifics of how to build the deployment I will show you the step by step process of deploying the ISPAC file.

Step 1

Locate the ISPAC file. Once located double click on the ISPAC file to gain entry into the deployment wizard.

Ispac

 

Step 2

What kind of Integration Services project do you want to deploy? Since we are dealing with an ISPAC file on our local directory we will select the source path we found from Step 1. Simply browse to the path location and click ok.

Source

 

Step 3

So you have your ISPAC file selected and you want to deploy it; where does it go? You have the capability to supply any Server Name for rapid deployment. The path reflects the SSISDB catalog which is required for SSIS 2012 packages to be deployed. If your SSIS package is already on the server you can simply choose to overwrite the existing file at deployment time.

Destination

 

Step 4

After you select the destination path; it is then time for review. The review section will provide you with a great overview of the Source path of the file being deployed and the destination location.

Review

Step 5

Once verified and the deployment button is hit we are off to the races. The ability to have quick insight into the deployment and the methodology to save the report for future use is stellar. If your deployment did fail; at this step you would be able to dive into the error in the result pain on the right hand side.

Deploy

 

Seems simple enough? The deployment method in SSIS 2012 has proved beneficial for myself and is a welcomed aspect. Earlier this year I completed a post on the utilization of PowerShell and how to deploy 2012 SSIS packages and that can be found here.

I tell you what; check out what my other colleagues have to say on something they learned recently around SSIS:

 

CollaborateImageOn a SQL Collaboration Quest

Four SQL professionals gathered from the four corners of the world to share their SQL knowledge with each other and with their readers: Mickey Stuewe from California, USA, Chris Yates from Kentucky, USA, Julie Koesmarno from Canberra, Australia, and Jeffrey Verheul from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. They invite you to join them on their quest as they ask each other questions and seek out the answers in this collaborative blog series. Along the way, they will also include other SQL professionals to join in the collaboration.

,

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