Tampa SQL Server User Group Meeting 6/16: I’m Presenting!

Just wanted to post that tomorrow night I’ll be presenting on Policy Based Management in SQL 2008 at the Tampa SQL Server User Group meeting. The details of the meeting are below, hope to see you there!


Policy Based Management

Jorge Segarra


Franklin Templeton Buidling ( Directions )

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Jorge Segarra will be presenting Policy Based Management. We will be learning an overview of this powerful new feature in SQL 2008 and how you can leverage it to help manage your existing SQL environment. This will include plenty of demos, best practices and Q&A so by the end you should be able to walk away ready to take control of your SQL Servers!

Jorge has been a SQL DBA for over 5 years with experience with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Some of his other specialties include virtualization, specifically on the VMware platform. He is currently the Database Administrator for University Community Hospital (www.universitycommunityhospital.org) in Tampa. Check out his blog at: http://sqlchicken.blogspot.com.

Food and drinks will be provided by Jane Powell of CIBER, Inc. CIBER is a pure-play international system integration consultancy and outsourcing company with superior value-priced services and reliable delivery for both private and government sector clients. CIBER’s services are offered globally on an outsourced, project, or staffing basis, in both custom and ERP package environments, and across all technology platforms, operating systems and infrastructures.

As usual, SWAG from the group’s stash will be raffled. SWAG will include Office 2007, books and other items.

Look Boss, The (Execution) Plan, the Plan!


That’s right, I went the Fantasy Island route since everyone else took the good jokes. Well Tim Ford kicked off a blog meme with this setup:

So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work. Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island. Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?

I was tagged by Jason Massie (Twitter) for this one and I’ve got to admit I love this scenario especially fitting considering all the crap I’ve been through the last couple of weeks with catastrophic power failures, shoddy backup software and database corruption fun. So let’s get to it.

Get Control of Backups

Man, if I’ve learned anything in the last week is that I need to get the backup situation under control. My first task (and hopefully this will become a reality here sooner than later) is to get Arcserve the hell out of our environment. I’ve never seen a piece of software this unstable since the release of Windows ME. Half the time you try to do something the GUI freezes up. Ugh, but I digress. Basically I need something reliable to be able to handle my backups, and most importantly, RESTORES!

Learn that Business Intelligence Stuff

I love the fact that SQL Server has so much to offer and the BI part of it is not only interesting but extensive! Whenever I get a chance I watch webcasts and presentations on Analysis Services, SSIS and Reporting Services but sometimes it just starts going over my head (especially AS). I think if I could take that 6 months and head-down study that stuff I’d be alright and definitely add more value to the organization.


PowerShell, the magical language that Microsoft is pushing as the standard scripting language for administrators. I’ve watched Buck Woody do a cool webcast on PowerShell for Database Administrators but I haven’t had time to sit down and learn PowerShell the way I’d like to. Then again I don’t have thousands of servers to deal with so for me it’s really not a priority for me at the moment. But if I have those 6 months with Wilson staring at me from an adjacent rock, I might as well learn something cool and scalable.

Security Auditing and Cleanup

I jumped into my current environment with servers that were just kind of stood up with no real security policy and no real thought/regard to performance. Now that I’ve been here a year I have a “lay of the land” and if I had time I’d like to go back through everything and clean up stuff like built-in administrators in sysadmin group and whatnot. This task will definitely be helped using Policy Based Management but what I need is the time to plan, coordinate with our IT security team, and execute/enforce. Pipe dream? Maybe.

I’m sure there are probably a hundred other things I’d like to do including certification but I’ll leave the list as-is. Time to pay it forward and tag some of my SQL bretheren:

Marlon Ribunal (Blog Twitter)

Aaron Alton (Blog Twitter)

Chuck Boyce Jr. (Blog Twitter)

Pre vs iPhone: Reviews…Sorta

pre-vs-iphone Well the last few days has been pretty active in the cell phone industry. On Saturday we had the debut of the Palm Pre, the supposed “iPhone killer” that was supposed to bring Palm back from the dead and Sprint out of its 3rd place slot in the mobile industry. Monday we had the annual circus sideshow that is the Apple Developer’s Conference keynote where Apple unveiled a few new nuggets including the new iPhone 3.0 OS as well as the new iPhone 3GS hardware. This is a quick review from my POV on both launches, hardware and thoughts.

First I was planning to do a hands-on review of the Palm Pre after I went to the Sprint store on Sunday to play around with it. I’d like to note that prior to my owning an iPhone I had 3 iterations of the Palm Treo (600,650, 700) on Verizon and I absolutely loved it. The problem with being on Verizon is that they don’t really have any “sexy” phones to drool over and I sat over on the red side looking over the fence at the iPhone users. Sure it was a cool device but c’mon, was it really that good? I LOVED my Treo and despite the new phones coming out on Verizon nothing could match the great features and organization of contacts and calendar. My wife and I were fed up with getting nickel and dimed by Verizon and so we jumped ship over to AT&T and go our iPhone fix. And so the love affair began, I do everything on this thing. Anyways I’m rambling, back to the Pre. Gizmodo did their write up of the Pre and I’ve gotta say that I pretty much agreed with them on all accounts (except for the last part about being sick of iPhone). That being said just read their review and you’ll see what I mean. Also of note when I was in store the demo unit the saleperson handed me was down to 48% battery life. I asked how long it’d been since last charge and he said about 4 hours. Digging into the system I found that the bluetooth and wifi were both disabled so I have a feeling battery life on that unit in the wild is probably comparable to current iPhone 3G. I’d also like to note that the keyboard is ridiculously small which was a major letdown for me as well.

Now on to the new iPhone goodness. We got a few expected things such as cut/copy/paste (took long enough), magnetic compass, Spotlight search, processor/memory/camera upgrades as well as some surprises like Nike+ integration, voice control and theoretically better battery life (which is sorely needed). Another nice surprise, if I can call it that, is the pricing of the current 3G dropped down to $99, the new 3GS 16 GB is $199 and 32 GB is $299. The new phone is nice but not a huge “OMG I need to go get it now” kind of thing. I would consider myself a “power user” in that I’m constantly using the phone so I drain the battery pretty fast. For that reason alone I would want to upgrade for the increased battery life and power. As far as the OS 3.0 I already have most of the new stuff like cut/paste and spotlight search via jailbreaking my phone being resourceful.

Bottom line is I was really, really stoked when I first saw the Pre announced and now that I’ve finally gotten my hands on it I was a little let down. But to be fair I’d probably need to use it for real for a few days to give it a true review. In Apple land we’ll have to see how AT&T responds to demands of current customers and I’m interested to see their explanation of why they’re neutering tethering for now even though the rest of the planet gets it out of the box. For now, I’ll stick with my 3G and be happy.

Tampa SQL BI User Group – Designing Slowly Changing Dimensions

So Monday night was the monthly SQL BI user group meeting. Attending these meetings is always interesting for me since I’m not a BI-guy (leave out the gutter jokes please…) so I definitely learn something new. I also leave with a raging headache since I have trouble wrapping my head around some of this crazy stuff. I tip my hat off to you guys that specialize on the BI side of SQL Server. I’ve come to realize that its kind of like Texas Hold ‘Em poker vs Omaha. When it comes to SQL we’re all playing the same game with very different rules. Anyhow, I digress, back to the recap.

We started off with a general “what’s going on” discussion in the world of tech/SQL/etc. We talked about some of the big stuff that happened that day such as Microsoft’s numerous announcements during their E3 presentation, the public launch of Microsoft’s new search engine: Bing, the current state of job market (looking better, contact Stever Turner as he has quite a few SQL jobs available), Microsoft’s Second Shot offer (expires at the end of this month), next month’s SQL User Group meeting (I’ll be presenting on Policy Based Management), and the announcements regarding SQL Server 2008 R2 and “Gemini”, which turned out to be a very hot topic for the night! For the record our group is looking for more info and demos on Gemini so if you’re available for a talk and want to visit sunny Tampa drop Rob Hatton a line!

Speaking of Rob, he was our featured presenter this month on the topic of Designing Slowly Changing Dimensions. The discussion was based around the Kimball Methodology which if you’re not familiar with then you are highly encouraged to go grab a copy of The Data Warehouse Toolkit by Ralph Kimball. On the whole I found the presentation really good but after awhile some of the concepts start flying over my head.Some things I did walk with is that when you’re doing a data warehouse project some things you need to realize is that 80% of your effort will go towards the ETL, 5-10% to the cube and the remaining to the relational stuff. Another little tidbit I picked up is that apparently 3/4 of the source data that the BI pros in the room have dealt with to load into the staging portion of the DW are CSV/txt files which surprised me. Then again I’m a DBA so I believe everything should live in nice relational databases! I don’t mean to skimp on the details of the presentation mostly because I wouldn’t do it justice and I’d probably be wrong about the details. Rob’s slide deck should be available on the user group’s website soon and when it is I’ll link it here.

As an added bonus, and due to our lengthy discussion and excitement about SQL 2008 R2 and “Project Gemini”, Robert Skoglund from Microsoft, managed to show us a quick 6 minute video clip from Donald Farmer’s presentation on Gemini. Unfortunately it was without audio so we couldn’t get detailed explanations of the features. If you’re curious about Gemini check out this link from Donald Farmer’s blog that has everything you need to know.

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 (RC)

If you’re like me and trying out the Windows 7 RC on your everyday machines, there are certain key tools you find you need to do your work. For us system administrators Remote Server Administration Tools is definitely (or should be) one of those. I installed the previous version of tools on my workstation and it blew up on me (whoops!). Thankfully Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, has released a version of this software for us Windows 7 folks! Just follow the directions on the page to figure out how to install the tools.


UPDATE: The RTM version of the tools have been released! Check it out

Tampa Bay SQL Server BI User Group Meeting Tonight!

Just an FYI tonight is the monthly Tampa Bay SQL Server BI User Group meeting. Tonight’s presentation will be by our fearless leader Rob Hatton on Creating Slowly Changing Dimensions.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM in the new Microsoft Office at:

5426 Bay Center Drive
Suite 700
Tampa, FL 33609

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Our sponsor this month is Steve Turner (Twitter) of T2 Software Services.

T2 Software Services offers a wide range of people services to its Clients through:

·Consulting Services – IT Supplemental Staffing (Staff Augmentation)

·Project Outsourcing – With full Project Management & Responsibility

·Placement Services – Direct Placement (Contingency Search)

As per my new modus operandi, I will give a follow up post on the meeting in the next couple of days. See you there!