Author Archive for

14
Sep
10

More on Partitioning

Partitioning for manageability…Having to deal with large tables and expecting performance to be optimal can be a pretty tough task. I was supporting a client that kind of had this scenario where they had a ton of data and no delay when asking for it. It was actually one of my peers on this blog that introduced me to data partitioning. What ended up happening is that the data was partitioned off by date – Jan 1, 2010 – March 31, 2010 on one partition, etc… you get the picture. It helped tremendously by not bogging down the system and kept data access optimal (there was a lot of other “tweaks” which I will not get into).

This next chapter by Dan Guzman does an excellent job of explaining how to manage a large amount of data with partitioning. He goes through execution plans to show the differences with partitioned and non-partitioned data and the costs of each. Of course there are examples that you can try out yourselves. He also writes about some “gotchas” and offers tips so that you can “achieve a successful partitioning implementation”.

This is a great read just like all the others. Don’t forget to try the examples. Thank you for reading this week. Have a good one.

27
Aug
10

Reusing space

Reusing space in a table…While reading this chapter, I kept thinking about the TRIM functionality for SSDs (sold state drives). Where a file is written to the drive and if it is deleted, the OS will recognize that and then release the space so that it can be used again (really a high-level overview, it does a little more than that but that is the basic function). SQL Server has a similar function when is comes to releasing previously used space. It is automatic when it comes to reusing space but in certain cases, you will have to “force” SQL Server to free up that used space. Joe Webb is the author of this chapter titled “Reusing space in a table”. This is another great informative read because when it comes to data and releasing the space that was being used, I really never gave it any thought. When it comes to SQL Server not releasing the space, the author writes about the function that can be used to release the space. Read this chapter and try the examples that are provided, it is a great way to see what can be going on with your databases and the space that it is using.

Thank you for reading and staying with us. Have a great week.

20
Aug
10

Practical Auditing

Practical auditing in SQL Server 2008…Capturing audit items in your system is, I think, absolutely necessary. This is necessary in my case because I sometimes get sidetracked (either by drive-bys or hot issues) and have to remember if I ran this or that against a database. So, if I need to, I will query the ddl log to check myself.  This next chapter by Jasper Smith talks about SQL Server 2008 and how to setup auditing within it. He steps through in how to setup and capture server audits, from the Windows Security to the File targets. Also setting up auditing items on the database level is written out in this chapter. Not to mention how to look up the data that you just captured. It’s like being “big brother” on your systems which I really don’t mind. There is nothing wrong with spot-checking once in a while to see who or what is accessing your systems.

On a side note, in the summary of the chapter, the author’s website is provided www.sqldbatips.com. I went over to check it out (as with the others that have provided their website info in this book) and I found some really cool items in there. Spend a few minutes to take a look at the site.

I must apologize for missing last week. I was vacationing in Las Vegas and California and was having a grand ole’ time.

Thank you for reading this week. Have a good one.

03
Aug
10

Powershell in SQL Server

Powershell in SQL Server…I attended a speaking session where the topic was around using Powershell in SQL. Prior to that I have not used Powershell, I have heard of it but never used it. So while I sat in the session and I learned more about Powershell, I started to think about “what can this be used for in the environment I am currently supporting?” Much to my surprise, I was able to come up with quite a few things. I never knew that Powershell was a powerful little program. Needless to say, I started trying out Powershell after that session but unfortunately didn’t spend as much time on it as I had hoped.

This next chapter really renewed my interest in Powershell. Why did it renew my interest? Well, it would really work well here in my current job and I really like working with cmd line interface. The author, Richard Siddaway, writes about a few of the common features in Powershell that you would use. He also provides a list of issues that beginners usually run into and, of course, scripts to try. My favorite is there is a section on how to access SQL data with Powershell and he explains every line and what that particular line is doing or what data it is calling. If you are a developer, you could probably decipher the code but to a non-developer, it’s all just code that is supposed to do something.

If you are interested in Powershell, this is great chapter to read to get you started.

Thank you for reading this week. Have a great one.

22
Jul
10

Maintenance Plans

Maintenance plans…When I was working as a systems admin, I was tasked with setting up backups and their schedules; this also included the SQL databases. Setting up maintenance plans was my “foot-in-the-door” for getting to know more about SQL. It was first isolated to just backups and as I started learning more and more, I was setting up maintenance plans to re-index databases, update stats, etc…and knowing what each task did. I also sometimes grabbed the code from the maintenance plans and placed them in a custom job.

This next chapter by Tibor Karaszi is an awesome read if you are new to SQL maintenance plans. He does into detail the functionalities that the maintenance plan tasks have and when they are typically used for. He also writes that some folks don’t even use maintenance plans. I can see that happening when you really want to customize the job.

This is a chapter you can’t miss to read. You may look at the title of the chapter and say “Oh I know too much about maintenance plans already”, even if you do, there is nothing wrong with refreshing your mind. You may even find something out that you didn’t know existed in maintenance plans.

Thank you for reading this week. Have a good one!

15
Jul
10

What does it mean to be a DBA

What does it mean to be a DBA…I get asked a lot what I do for work. My usual high level response is “I work in IT.” That is usually followed up with a tech support question or another question asking specifically what I do. If I get asked that I will explain that I am a database administrator and I manage data. The conversation can go on from there with me going into specifics if the person is genuinely interested. With those specifics, I can go into some detail with DBA work. This next chapter by Brad McGehee is a great one. He writes out a list of tasks of what a DBA can be responsible for and as I was reading the tasks, I was able to relate to almost all of them because this is what I do daily, among other things. Along with the explanation of tasks, the author writes about specialties that a DBA can get into. I have had conversations with my fellow bloggers about the path to take as a DBA and it basically comes down to what you are passionate about. Me coming from a system administrator background, I lean more towards the DBA System Administrator role with a sprinkle of DR specialist.

So the next time I get asked the question, “What do you do for work?” I can point them to Chapter 24 of the Deep Dives book and that will give a better explanation of what I do for work.

Thank you for reading along. Have a great rest of the week.

08
Jul
10

Mobile data strategies

Mobile data strategies…This chapter goes in line with the previous and how to keep “updated” while on the road. The author speaks about the different strategies to keep data synchronized with the mobile user and goes into detail with the MSF (Microsoft Sync Framework) from setting up the service to synching the data. It was a very good read about MSF and how it is setup and used. Merge replication and remote data access is also mentioned and the one I am most familiar with is merge replication. I have had many instances where I have to setup merge replication and to be honest with you, after spending a lot of time with it and getting to know it, I really like it (sounds like something you find in a harlequin romance paperback). The author provided a comparison list to show the features of what each synch option provides and each have their own differences. This is a great list as you can easily identify which is best for you. So if you are looking for a replication strategy, this chapter is one to look at.

Thank you for reading this week. Have a good one.




Chapters

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