Category Archives: T-SQL Tuesday

TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference

TSQL2SDAY-300x300.pngI was intrigued by this month’s T-SQL Tuesday topic presented by Ewald Cress (b|t) “Folks Who Have Made a Difference”. Digging a bit deeper the comment of “Who has made a difference in your career?” was made.

I’ve stopped and restarted typing this blog post several different times. I’ve trashed countless drafts and have now ended back up here – starting from the beginning….ground level. So many thoughts have run through my mind, a time of reflection, on different stages of my life. There are a ton of folks in the SQL community who impact me each and every day; so much so that I can’t list them all. If you stop and look around you will be inspired by so many – I think the key here is to actually stop and listen.

I would be amiss however if I didn’t share a few people, some SQL related and some not, who have impacted me heavily along the way. From a SQL perspective I can say without a shadow of a doubt I would not be involved or plugged in if it weren’t for Chris Shaw (b|t) taking his time and investing in me early on. I met Chris back in 2011, my first PASS Summit. He has not only been a mentor to me but a great friend. He took a chance on me when he didn’t have to and for that, I will always be thankful.

From a business perspective, Brad Cunningham and Chris Howard have played an integral role in my career path and development. Without them, I doubt I would have been pushed as much as I have to be the best that I could be. Having an open mind to doing community work within SQL is not found everywhere; they have shown me what a true data professional looks like with integrity, character, leadership, mentorship, and an attitude of you can vs. you can’t.

Then there are the naysayers. You might say this is rather odd to have in here, but for me, it isn’t. I’ve had people tell me my whole life that I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that. I guess you can say I’m in the business of proving people wrong. From the basketball days on the courts to the coding and DBA work of today, to the board meetings of various groups I’ve heard I can’t – – all that has done is provided the fuel within me to push myself and say I can. So, you see, in essence, they deserve just as much credit for inspiration. There are a lot of times when I felt like giving up in many areas….then that small voice of “hey you can’t” chimes in. That extra strength then comes through.

Thanks Ewald for hosting this month. Was a great time of reflection for me; so many numerous people who have inspired me on this journey. Definitely too many to list in one sitting.

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T-SQL Tuesday #92, Lessons Learned The Hard Way

TSQL2SDAY-150x150Wow, hard for me to believe it has been a little bit since the last T-SQL Tuesday block party. This month Raul Gonzalez (b|t) has chosen the topic of what lessons one has learned the hard way. Before we get into the story, however, let’s take a look at who, what, when, and why of T-SQL Tuesday.

What Is T-SQL Tuesday?

T-SQL Tuesday was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) and is a monthly blog party. It occurs on the second Tuesday of each month; where a designated host picks a topic and fellow community bloggers publish a piece. It has been a very useful tool in my opinion and I’m looking forward to doing many more of these. It has been one avenue for others to share their experiences while learning something new along the way.

If you are interested in hosting a T-SQL Tuesday on your blog then reach out to Adam.

Lessons Learned The Hard Way

A lot has transpired over a sixteen-year career thus far. Many lessons have been learned along the way some were more difficult than others. I think it is important to note that not all lessons learned by a data professional have to be of a technical nature as well. Let me see if I can split some up technical vs. non-technical that I’ve learned over the years.

Technical
  • Unit testing – who knew that this would be so important right? As a developer starting out and then becoming a DBA I have an appreciation for making sure things test out as they should; rigorous testing. Earlier in my career, I thought that’s what we have QA for, right?
  • Backups – yeah I’ve been burned before early on regarding backups and not having them in place as they should have been. You want a dose of reality real fast? That’s a good way to start.
  • Blinders On – become so focused that you only take into account a certain area of the picture when in essence what is being changed can affect a multitude of things.
  • Knowing vs. Doing – putting comments in code such as “this is probably not the best way to things” is not the attitude to have when fixing the problem – been there done that.
Non-Technical
  • Listening/Heeding Advice – this is key and something I did not learn until later on in my career. It’s not a skill set that I came out of the gate with, having a mentality that you are always right is not the best approach to take.
  • SME (Subject Matter Expert) – I enjoy helping people; it’s part of who I am. This is both a good and bad trait to have at times. If you are not careful you can find yourself overextending into areas where you think you know something but you don’t. Over the past several years I’ve learned that it’s okay to help people even if it is pointing them in the right direction to someone else. But be as sure as I’m typing this, I’ll always be willing to help and will never apologize for that.
  • Conflict Management – over the years I’ve seen many data professionals and worked with various people. All of these experiences have equipped me over time to become a better professional in dealing with conflict which is never easy. A lot of lessons learned along the way on this one.
Failure

I want to bring this topic up in a section all by itself. Having a sports background for most of my life, and then morphing into an avid runner I’ve had “failure is not an option” instilled within me since a very early age. This saying is okay, but in the same token, one cannot be afraid of failure. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned both professionally and non-professionally have come of a result of something I’ve tried and failed out. The key is not staying knocked down, but look at it in a light of if you aren’t trying then you aren’t failing and pushing the envelope.

In Summary

This is a great topic this month. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of your journey and past failures or lessons learned. These are the things that mold and shape us into being the people are to become in the future. May we continue to push the envelope both in technology and beyond; impacting and coaching others along the way. Always remember you started somewhere; remember how that felt? Pay it forward.

T-SQL Tuesday #89 Invitation – The times they are a-changing

TSQL2SDAY-150x150This month’s topic by Koen Verbeeck (B|T) is based around times that are a changing. To break it down somewhat it was inspired by a blog post that Kendra Little (B|T) put together around Will the Cloud Eat My DBA Job. Koen is wanting to know with the ever-changing world of technology what kind of impact has it had on you and how do you plan to deal with the future of data management/analysis.

To The Cloud

I think one of the topics that I’ve seen a gradual change in is the topic that revolves around the cloud. Being in the financial district cloud talk is not always welcome. It is a myth to some; I am glad that a while back I headed some of Grant Fritchey’s (B|T) advice in that he said you better start learning cloud techniques sooner than later. The cloud discussion is not always a welcomed one, but is one that needs to be had to keep up with innovative technologies.

Finding what is the best solution for you and your respective area the cloud does allow for flexibility and control. One of the main issues I see most shops running into are security based around a cloud model along with costs in data size etc.

With the proper planning and oversight the cloud is a viable option that should not scare away data professionals

Third Party Utilities

I think over time some of the third-party tools have become game changers in a lot of shops. I see vendors such as SQL Sentry and Red Gate that have evolved over time to help streamline and provided better efficiencies around data management and monitoring. Cutting edge keeps the users of these third-party tools on edge and wanting more. Tying all these into automation of daily tasks and not just on premise monitoring but cloud monitoring has been a huge plus for the community.

The Way Business Interprets Data

Data is what drives us; it is what a lot of decisions are derived from and direction of companies and shops. The data is ever-changing and how we look at it. Take for example Power BI. The methods we used years ago have morphed into a greater approach of delivery to businesses. I never thought I would be watching a professional sports game and see them pull out their tablets and review live data in between innings or set of downs.

PowerShell

No, this isn’t a tribute to Mike Fal (B|T) or Drew Furgiuele (B|T), but I do appreciate their nudge in getting me to utilize PowerShell for some of my every day usage. This could fall under the third-party utilities section up above but I thought it beneficial to state that in some cases it has been a game changer. Stumbling upon the DBATools website has been a blessing in disguise; I love getting to work with technology that I may have not utilized as much in the past.

Do You Feel Endangered?

No, and neither should you. I should paraphrase that with don’t be afraid of change for it allows us to learn new technologies and grow on our journey. There will be opportunities to always learn; each day you should strive to learn something new that you didn’t know before. A wise SQL community member once told me, “The data will always be here; will you?”

T-SQL Tuesday

For those that are not aware T-SQL Tuesday is a block party started by Adam Machanic (B|T). Each month community members who blog pick a topic then gather all the blogs who participated in the event and provides a recap. It’s a great method to share knowledge and an avenue to give back to the community. If you are an avid blogger and would like to be a host then do reach out to Adam via the methods provided.

T-SQL Tuesday #83: We’re still dealing with the same problems

tsql2sday-300x300It’s about time I got back into participating in the T-SQL Tuesday block parties that are hosted by community members each month. First, let’s take care of some house keeping rules.

Who Is Hosting?

This month Andy Mallon (b|t) is hosting and has chosen a topic of We’re still dealing with the same problems. This topic can have very many avenues to go down; with that said Andy….great topic sir. I suggest you stop by Andy’s blog when you get a chance; he has some great posts along with Shortcut’s Cheat Sheet that I ran across the other day.

So what are some of the same problems?

Again, we can take this path down several different roads. We can get extremely technical or we can get extremely general. For the sake of time and having you in mind as I type I may sprinkle a little of both into this post.

Professional Level

From all different levels of a database professional’s life one can see repetitive things being done:

  • Resume fluff – by this I mean interviewees having a little to much fluff on the resume that has to be weeded out.
  • Dev/DBA/Infrastructure – do I need to expound? The age old silos that are often built with blame moving to and from each unit.
  • Overworked personnel – being in management my team is key. It’s time to look at the people as that, people, and not just a number.
  • Routines – we all get stuck in a routine at times; how do we get ourselves out of so called “ruts” and light the fire that we once had?
  • Meetings – this topic can have its own blog and how to handle them. These are important in some cases and in some cases they aren’t, but the fact remains I still see a lot of shops with an endless supply of meetings.

SQL Level

Up next are the SQL scenarios I still see as ongoing battles:

  • Max Memory Setting – when installing SQL please check this setting.
  • SA – every vendor wants SA for their app; it’s how the world goes round.
  • Backups – yes I take backups….that is great news; have you ever restored any? Nope…..you see where I’m going with this.
  • Trace Flags – I see a lot of people not taking advantages of these across all SQL platforms.
  • SQL Versions – a lot of shops are not keeping up to date with their SQL versioning as often as they should.

Automation

You may ask why I put this topic in a section all by itself? I learned earlier on from John Sansom (b|t) that automation is key to becoming a successful DBA. I don’t see enough of it really? There are a lot of new tools and methods that are available to data professionals that, if taken the time, can be set up to automate a lot of the mundane tasks I see small to medium shops experiencing. Heck, even some bigger shops still struggle with the art of automation.

Professional Development

Anyone who knows me knows I like to challenge myself. Each and every person has their own set of goals and desires as they move through life and no one else can define that. I see over and over again where we tell people that they need to do this and need to do that. No, I’m not talking about mentoring or leadership. Those are separate entities; this section is meant to encourage the readers of this post that you control where you want to go in your career and not the other way around. Some knew technology comes out and you want to learn it then go for it.

What Is T-SQL Tuesday Anyway?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Adam Machanic (b|t) started this party about (I’m approximating here) 7-8 yrs ago. Each month a new blogger is chosen to host the party and they in turn get to pick the topic. If you blog about SQL and have been keeping up to date with it for a while now then drop Adam a line and let him know you are interested.

Conclusion

As you can see there are still items that occur all around us on a daily basis in the same manner. I challenge you to see, if what, can be changed. Where can you make a difference? Time to get after it ~ Let’s Roll.

Thanks Andy for taking the time out of your day to host this month.

T-SQL Tuesday #080–Round Up

TSQL2SDAY-150x150The roundup is finally here, and cheers to all of you who participated. We had a great turnout this month with many returning participants along with some newcomers.

We had a wide range of topics with many great insights from everyone, but don’t take my word for it. Check out the links below and see what your colleagues from around the SQL Community had to say:

 

Jason Brimhall – SQL Server Desired Enhancements

Riley Major – The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Jon Morsi – SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2

Melissa Connors – DBCC CloneDatabase

Aaron Bertrand – Create Or Replace

Lori Edwards – SQL Server R Services

Robert Davis – SQL Birthday Present

Allen Kinsel – SQL Server’s Birthdays

Matt Gordon – Change Always On Endpoint Ports

Bjorn Peters – My Open Points for SQL Knowledge

Chris Bell – The Gift of the Basics

Andy Yun – Give Yourself a SQL Gift

Kenneth Fisher – Default Database File Sizes

Dave Mason – SQL Server Shutdown Event

Shane Eillis – Can Powershell Get What T-SQL Cannot

Raul Gonzalez – Using the Query Store For Read Only Database

Rob Farley – Finally SSMS Will Talk To Azure SQL DW

Kennie Nybo Pontoppidan – I want DBCC ConeDatabase Available on all (supported) Versions of SQL Server

Ginger Grant – SSIS Projects, Packages, and Deployments

Mike Walsh – Happy Birthday Chris, Have Some Changes

Wayne Sheffield – SQL Gifts

As you can see we had a great turnout and everyone continues to share their knowledge daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Thank you again for all who participated, and a big thank you to Adam Machanic (B|T) for allowing me to host another block party. Hope you all have a good one and look forward to next month.

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T-SQL Tuesday #080

TSQL2SDAY-150x150T-SQL Tuesday time is here again! And I’m honored to be hosting this months block party. Why you ask? T-SQL Tuesday #80 happens to fall on my birthday believe it or not!

With that said let’s get this party started and have some fun with it this month shall we. Treat yourself to a birthday gift and come up with a present for yourself SQL related – no limitations:

  • Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time in SQL, but haven’t done it yet?
  • Perhaps there is a feature you would like to see added into SQL that just isn’t there yet – what is it?
  • Maybe you are a consultant and know something many of us don’t as you parachute in and out of shops that a reader can benefit from?
  • Is there a co-worker struggling with something SQL related; here is your chance to share the present (knowledge).

Gift wrap your post for yourself and be innovative with what you write about.

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Some Ground Rules Apply

The post must go live on your blog between 00:00 GMT Tuesday, July  12, 2016 and 00:00 GMT Wednesday, July 13, 2016.

Link your post back to this post and make sure you include the T-SQL Tuesday logo in your post.

Leave a comment here in case that ping back doesn’t quite work out I’ll still be able to find you. Once all the posts are submitted I’ll circle back around and publish a roundup. Enjoy this one and have some fun with it. Be creative; after all….it’s your gift.

Get after it; Let’s Roll

Yates

T-SQL Tuesday #75 Invitation: Jump into Power BI!

SqlTuesday_thumb.pngThis month the talented Jorge Segarra (B|T) hosts the T-SQL Tuesday block party, and he has chosen the topic of Power BI.

So, what exactly is this thing called Power BI? I admit, I have several friends and colleagues who have dove into this type of technology, but I have not done so in great depth yet.

I think Jorge pretty much summed me up in his first paragraph when he says, “If you’re reading this and thinking ‘crap, I’m not a BI person!’, don’t you fret. My intention is to make folks who normally don’t use BI on a day to day basis try their hand at creating cool new visualizations and reports with Power BI and seeing how the other side lives.”

So what did I do? I think the below tweet sums it all up:

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I downloaded the Power BI Desktop from Jorge’s link and was immediately amazed by the simplicity of ease in working with the utility. I had some dummy data laying around for drive space so decided to hook up to the data source and start messing around with it.

The data set populated through some clicks and a query provided by me led to the data set being available. Great; next what caught my eye was the visualization section; which it would, right? Everyone likes a good picture with analytical data attached.

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Now, in my data set I am capturing dummy data, because we would never use prod data for a post, right? I have 5 drive letters (C,E,F,G, and H); I immediately went for the filters for the visual effects:

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Once my filters were in place for the given time period I could quickly tell what I was dealing with from a visualization form of view:

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In my short amount of time using this product I can definitely see a lot of usefulness that I could get from it. I am beginning to look at ways to incorporate this into some current presentations both in the shop and out of the shop that will better define my data sets to different groups (know your audience).

So Jorge, thank you for motivating me to dive into this a little bit. While I have only just scratched the surface with it, I see glimmers of how powerful this could be in my data professional journey.

What is T-SQL Tuesday?

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party hosted by a different blogger each month. This blog party was founded by Adam Machanic (B|T). You can take part by posting your own participating post that fits the topic of the month and follows the requirements below. Additionally, if you are interested in hosting a future T-SQL Tuesday, contact Adam Machanic.