T-SQL Tuesday #61 – Giving Back

TSQL2sdayIt just seems to me that these block parties of T-SQL Tuesday come quicker each month. I’m always thrilled when I have the opportunity to host or participate.

This month Wayne Sheffield (B|T) is our host. Wayne is good people, first time I got to meet Wayne was at SQL Saturday in Louisville, KY. He was presenting a session on SQL Myths and busting them to pieces; it was truly a great session. Wayne’s picked a fantastic topic in getting the opportunity to reflect back on 2014 and looking ahead to 2015.

The topic in which he chose is simple; yet those two words can be quite profound Giving Back. More precisely what would you give back to the SQL Community in 2015.

Looking Back

2014 was filled with many opportunities, both from a professional standpoint and career standpoint. Appreciation and gratitude ran rampant with the many friendships formed and cultivated over this past year along with some great vendor ties. Now how do we keep that steam engine rolling down the tracks from a personal standpoint?

Looking Ahead

I could go on about the many speaking events, books and articles coming to fruition, sessions poured over – but that is not what I’ve come to a conclusion on. Anything and everything I’ve ever done I have given it my all. SQL is no different. To me, what I do is fun – it  isn’t a job; it is part of my DNA.

I will continue to strive to better myself and challenge myself; to be daring and pick up where this steam engine leaves 2014 and heads into 2015. How do I do that?

Investing Time In Others

Will my schedule slow down? Not in the least if anything it will pick up, but one thing that the SQL Community has taught me is that investing time in others is top on my list. You see I’m living proof of what investing time in others is all about. People have been doing this my whole life, my mentors in the SQL Community, and they know who they are, took a chance on me.

SQL has been good to me; why can’t I share that with someone else who is in need. I tell you what; if you are serious and you want to get plugged in and learn then send me a message. I will be happy to help, assist, push you to reach your maximum potential. With that said nothing will be handed to you; learning is a constant. It is the fire within that drives us to reach our fullest potential.

So Wayne, investing time in others. Whether that means speaking at local, regional, national events, blogging, mentoring, answering questions ~ you will find me somewhere trying to invest time in others. With words of encouragement and with words of motivation.

T-SQL Tuesday

Adam Machanic (B|T) had a vision 6 years ago in creating what is now known as T-SQL Tuesday. If you are serious about it and want to try out your gig in hosting then drop him a line. You won’t regret it; I’ve been blessed to host a few occasions over the years and it has been a blast.

Thanks Adam for your vision and thank you Wayne for hosting. Hurry back to Louisville where you can teach us some more good stuff.

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

T-SQL Tuesday #56 – Assumptions

SQL-Tuesday.jpgQuestion: “What time is it?”

Answer: “T-SQL Tuesday time”

Question: “What time?”

Answer: “T-SQL Tuesday time”

“I can’t hear you?!?!?!”

That’s right; it’s that time again where we come together for a block party T-SQL Tuesday #56 style; which this month is hosted by Dev Nambi (blog | twitter). Dev has garnered a topic around what assumptions we make in our work environment within the realm of SQL.

The Assumption

One of the biggest assumptions I’ve come into contact in many places is the saying, “I’m only as good as my last backup”. While that is a semi true statement it does leave the process unfinished. Let me explain:

Johnny (picked a name out of the air) is given a task to create a new database and with that he designs his maintenance strategy. Backups fall into that maintenance strategy. The new mechanism to take a backup is put into place and we are set; full backups set to run off hours.

At least this is what a lot of data professionals assume; taking a form of backup is fantastic. This post is not meant to go into the details of how to take a backup but based on the assumption that your backups are good. The second half to the equation is restoring those backups.

What? You mean I need to actually test my backup to see if it works. Yes that is exactly what I mean. I have seen several cases where backups are taken and everyone sleeps at night. Then the business unit decides they want to pull that backup; you go to restore the backup and the file is corrupt.

Summary

Don’t just assume that your backups are ready to go. Take a more proactive approach and test your backups. Granted each shop is different with their own standards and regulations; with that said if someone asked you to restore your backup……could you with confidence?

What Is T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday was created by the mighty Adam Machanic ( Blog | Twitter); if you are interesting in hosting a T-SQL Tuesday party or want to learn more about it check out his blog. Let’s get involved and make our community that much better.

T-SQL Tuesday #45–Follow the Yellow Brick Road

SQL TuesdayIs it me or does it seem like we just had a T-SQL Tuesday blog party? These days are just flying by! This week Mickey Stuewe (b|t) is hosting and she has brought up a fabulous question about auditing with the topic being Follow The Yellow Brick Road. I have been on both sides of the fence in shops where there has been very limited auditing versus mandated regulatory auditing of their systems – so what’s my preference? Glad you asked; pull up a chair as we travel down the yellow brick road from munchkin land while trying to avoid the wicked witch and her ape like minions.

What to Audit?

As we start out on this journey, there are multiple questions on what needs to be audited one should ask themselves. Let’s face it, there are many wicked witches out there that just flat out want to get to our data and the longer I’m in the business I’ve seen more and more attacks from within, then from the outside. Here are a few ideas on some things to audit:

  • Tables with sensitive data such as SSN’s, personal information, transaction data
  • Review of your QA, UAT, and Prod environments (some shops like to audit all 3 some like to only audit Prod) – don’t be the one who audit’s none!
  • Check-ins of code into your repository
  • Inserts
  • Updates
  • Growth trends
  • Security Access
  • File Shares

These are just a few ideas, but don’t limit yourself to just auditing who inserts or updates data into your systems. As you fly through the house like Dorothy did in the SQL tornado remember to think outside the box some and audit other areas such as growth, baseline trends. The SQL environment is always evolving, use the necessary tools to keep one step ahead of the storm.

How To Audit

All right, so I’ve identified what I want to Audit. It seems like it is a daunting task and I have no clue where to begin; that’s where the Tin Man comes into play. If you are a Data Professional then you have to care about the data enough to even be reading this post – – means you have a heart.

There are many different avenues you can take to audit your systems, a few of those are:

  • Triggers within SQL
  • 3rd Party Auditing Tools
  • CDC
  • Home grown utilities

Whatever avenue you decide to take, just take the stance of doing something. Doing nothing is not something I would advise; knowing who is changing your data, schema, files, etc. is an important aspect of any data professionals life – who knows if you have a mighty Wizard of Oz such as your auditing department or compliance department they might just be thankful for your efforts.

Summary

When you are going through your own SQL journey on the yellow brick road remember that auditing can be viewed upon as an asset. Look into what you are doing currently, can you improve upon it? Are you doing anything at all? Is your data being protected? Even better do you know if your data is being protected?

Take the time to put some safeguards in place in the end you will be glad you did.

T-SQL Tuesday

Wait a minute, wait just a minute. What is this T-SQL Tuesday you speak of. The mighty Wizard of Oz, Adam Machanic (b|t), started this party in 2009. Basically each month on the first Tuesday an invitation is sent out that describes a topic for that month; the second Tuesday bloggers put together a post regarding the topic and then send it back to the person who is hosting. If  you have a blog and are interested contact the mighty Wizard of Oz and he’ll get you on the schedule.