T-SQL Tuesday #081 – Sharpen Something

Invitation and roundup from Jason Brimhall.

It has now been 30 months since the last time I hosted a TSQL Tuesday, that was TSQL Tuesday 51. I recapped that event here with the original invite here. I can’t believe it has been that long since I last hosted. It only seems like yesterday.

sqlskillsharpener_pigComing into the present day, we are now at TSQL Tuesday 81. For this month, I would like to try and up the ante a bit. Usually we only get about a weeks notice prior to the event to think about the article to write for the event.

This time, I want to invite everybody just a little bit sooner and will follow-up with a reminder seven days prior to the event. The reason I want to do this is because I think this may be a touch more difficult this time.

 

This month I am asking you to not only write a post but to do a little homework – first. In other words, plan to do something, carry out that plan, and then write about the experience. There is a lot going into that last sentence. Because of that, let me try to explain through a few examples of what I might like to see. Hopefully these examples will help you understand the intent and how this month the topic relates to “Sharpening Something“.

EXAMPLES

  1. You have learned about a really cool feature called Azure DevTest Lab. Having heard about it, you wish to implement this feature to solve some need in your personal development or corporate environment. Develop a plan to implement the feature and tell us the problem it solves and about your experiences in getting it to work from start to end. An example of how I might try to use this might involve the creation of a disposable and easy setup environment for Precons, Workshops, and various other types of training.
  2. There is a really awesome book about SQL Server you heard about and you decided to buy it. Plan to sit down and read the book. Take a nugget or two from the book and tell us how you can use that nugget of information within your personal or professional environment.
  3. You know you are extremely deficient at a certain SQL Skill. Tell me what that skill is and develop a plan to get better at that skill. Report on the implementation of this skill and how you are doing at improving. Maybe that skill is about Extended Events, PoSH or availability groups.
  4. Similar to the skill deficiency, you know you do not understand a certain concept within SQL Server as well as you feel you should. Maybe that concept is indexing or statistics (for example). Create a two week plan to become more proficient at that concept. Follow that plan and report on your progress.

In recap, this is an invite to make a short term goal covering the next two weeks. Tell everybody what that goal is (in your tsql tuesday post of course) and how you went about creating a plan for that goal and how you have progressed during the two week interval.

T-SQL Tuesday #078 – Learn Something New

Invitation  from Wendy Pastrick.

Plenty of heads-up for this installment of #tsql2sday because this time, I’m challenging you to learn something new and blog about it!

There are so many new things to play around with, some brand-spanking newly released, and others that have been around for a bit, but you’ve probably still not taken any time to try it out.

Here’s a short list of ideas to get you started:

  • PowerBI
  • Azure (remember you can get $150 monthly credit just for trying it out!)
    • Virtual Machines
    • SQL Database
    • Stretch tables
  • SQL Server on Linux
  • SQL 2016
    • Always Encrypted
    • Query Store
    • Row Level Security

T-SQL Tuesday #036 – What Does Community Mean to You?

Invitation and roundup from Chris Yates

The Invitation

Merriam-Webster defines Community as “a unified body of individuals”. For me the SQL Community is something that has helped me in my career; whether it is questions that I’ve had along the way where I was stuck, helping other DBA’s with issues they were having, networking with other DBA’s or making contacts for the future. The SQL Community is just that; we are a team. All on the same team; if one falls we pick each other up. I’ve never been part of a group of people who want to help each other more so than the SQL Community.

One of the best conferences I’ve been to is the PASS Summit. I was fortunate enough to attend last year and this years will provide new attendees the same fortune and opportunities that I have had. Sitting and seeing some of the top DBA’s in the industry learning in sessions along with me…..yeah I was floored.

So my question today is a simple one; I had several topics to choose from technically but I’m curious as to what others think about our SQL Community. Not just some off the cuff answer but really what do you think about it and how has it helped you?

Below are some thoughts I had in creating this topic:

  • How has the community helped me in my career
  • How can I better the community
  • How can I preserve what we already have
  • How can I help other people in the community

T-SQL Tuesday #35 – Soylent Green

Invitation and Roundup from Nick Haslam

Over the past couple of days I’ve been attending a training course in Paris, and one evening, to relax I watched ‘Soylent Green‘, a classic science fiction film. If you’ve not seen it, I recommend it, and go and watch it …

So, what I’d like to know is, what is your most horrifying discovery from your work with SQL Server?

We all like to read stories of other people’s misfortunes and, in some ways they help to make us better people by learning from them. Hopefully, there is nothing as bad as Charlton Heston’s discovery, but there may be in its own way.

A couple of extra thoughts for motivational thinking…

Soylent Brown – You did a post, Great Job!!

Soylent Orange – You did a post, it made me wince!

Soylent Green  – You did a post, it made me wince, and it included some T-SQL.

T-SQL Tuesday #030 – A DBA’s Ethics

Invitation from Chris Shaw.

I was in the first few months of my second database administrator job when the CTO told me that I needed to give the CFO direct table access into the database that I had designed.  Not 3 months later we were having a company meeting so the executive staff could explain to the company that the CFO had stolen our client list and was out luring our customers away.  Sound like a security issue? Not the way that I see it.

I had an ethics issue on my hands.   From that day in 1997 I have always had my eye out for ethical issues, and more importantly looking for ways we can police ourselves.  It does not take long for a new database professional to see that when you have access to data that there is going to be sensitive data in there somewhere.  The obvious ones are the HR databases, or the financial databases that reside on our SQL Servers.  But there are so many more areas that we need to look before we can get a good handle on how to solve these ethical dilemmas. Take a look at something that I posted a while back that threatened the security of the United States.  I cannot imagine that it would take long for an ethical person to say, “Really?”

A few months ago I had to get a security clearance, and pass the Security + certification so I could do a short contract with the Air Force.  As I was going over study material in a book I was supplied, I ran across a couple of short notes about ethics.  I followed a link or two and I ended up here.  When I first started to look at the list of ethics that they had listed, I was really impressed.  As I got deeper into what they were saying I became a bit concerned, however. The company that produced this is a corporation, not an organization that has the best interests for the industry as a primary goal.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a for-profit, I know I work for one, and well, as an individual I am for-profit.  My issues with the code is the code itself appears to be pointed and making the company a profit, at least it does to me.  If that is the reason they sponsored the Code of Ethics, then well they violate their own ethics when they say:

“I will not advance private interests at the expense of end users, colleagues, or my employer“.

So here is where that leaves us:

For this month’s t-sql Tuesday question I wanted to highlight the need for Ethics in our industry.  Don’t consumers and business owners have to trust someone at some time with their data?  This month, take time to participate by talking about DBA ethics.  I really hope to see someone address topics such as:

         Should we have an ethics statement?

         Have ethics issues impacted you? What did you do about it?

         Security Audits: how do you police what you and others are doing in the database?

         Does a Code of Ethics mean anything to anyone? How do we as a community enforce a Code of Ethics?

         Do you have an issue with this Code of Ethics?

         What do you believe our Code of Ethics should say if we the SQL Server Community have one?

Have fun, but take the time to dig deep and do some real soul searching.  I know with large number of really smart professionals that we have in our community we can think of something.  I will do up a summary once I have returned from my trip that week, but to be honest I hope this discussion goes on long after May 8th.

As with each of the T-SQL installments I ask that you follow some basic rules.

T-SQL Tuesday #028 – Jack of All Trades or Master of None

Invitation and summary from Argenis Fernandez.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that phrase.

Are you specialized? On something? Or anything at all? Has that been a good or a bad thing? Why?

Are you the SQL guy at work? Or the one who does everything?

Do you code? And configure wireless routers at work also?

If you had to pick one thing to specialize on, what would it be?

Over the course of my career I’ve worn many many hats. I always felt I was doing fine, had a stable job, but wasn’t quite fond of my prospects for the future. Then a friend said that I should focus on one thing and be the best at it. And while I’m most certainly NOT the best at it, I’ve gotten progressively better on it, to the degree that I’ve been called an ‘Expert’ by some (hate that word!) – I’d rather be called ‘knowledgeable’. My career took off like a rocket after I specialized, and certainly choosing to focus on one thing (SQL Server, in my case) has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve also been careful of not forgetting my roots as a SysAdmin – and always try to keep up with changes on the Windows/SAN/Networking front, but not with the same level of intensity.

So, in this installment of T-SQL Tuesday I’d like to ask you to blog about your experience. Tell us why you specialized, or why you’d like to specialize. If you don’t think that specialization is a good thing, tell us why. Discuss. Argue your point(s).

T-SQL Tuesday #012 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

Invitation and summary from Paul Randal.

Invitation to participate in T-SQL Tuesday #12 – Why are DBA skills necessary?

This month I’d like to step back from the deep technical stuff and ask “why are DBA skills necessary?”

I don’t want to color people’s opinions by giving my own yet, but some things to consider are:

  • What problems have you seen in your career that could have been avoided with some DBA skills?
  • At what point does a SQL Server installation need a real DBA to look after it?
  • How could DBA input help prevent design problems in data applications?
  • Should there be cross-over been developer skills and DBA skills? What about architects? Storage admins?
  • How can business continuity be affected by lack of DBA skills?
  • How much can we rely on auto-tuning to ensure performant work loads?
  • Is Microsoft doing enough to foster DBA skills as a point of excellence?
  • What about on other RDBMS platforms? What about no-SQL?

I could go on for hours… I’m really looking forward to seeing where you take this topic and I’m expecting some great posts.

T-SQL Tuesday #008: Gettin’ Schooled

Invitation and roundup from Robert Davis.

This month’s topic will be all about learning and teaching.

We return to our days of youth to take a fresh look at learning. How do you learn? How do you teach? What are you learning or teaching? Or the coup de grace post would be learning something new and telling us about it.