Thursday, July 3, 2014

My PASS Summit 2014 Abstract Feedback

I've just received my feedback from the review committee for the 2014 PASS Summit.  

I'm thrilled with this feedback even though my session was not accepted. 



This is the kind of feedback all potential speakers need going forward.

Thank you to the PASS leadership and the #sqlpass community for making this happen.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Tell me more...

I submitted one session for the 2014 PASS Summit.
I knew it was a long shot because...

It was a "Security" topic. 
I am not an MVP.
I am not a Consultant.
I am not an MCM.
I don't travel to SQL Saturdays outside of Florida. 

The only feedback I got was...

Session not accepted - allocated number for track filled based on session rating and topic coverage

Do I need to stay at a Holiday Inn Express to get accepted?

I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express when I spoke at SQL Saturday #298 in Jacksonville, FL.

Seriously, I've spoken at THIRTEEN SQL Saturdays so far and to my local user group a handful of times.

I have a regular job as a Lead DBA at an insurance company. Insurance companies don't get to the latest stuff as fast as other companies. I've talked about my own real world experience regarding automation and security hoping that it can help people in similar situations.

It's a good feeling to say you've submitted for PASS Summit.

The response when you are not accepted needs to provide more information. 

How did I score? 
Where did I rank among the other abstracts? 
Did I just miss?

I've played sports all my life. Sometimes, I've tried out for teams and didn't make the cut. It's a character building experience when you don't make the team but without additional feedback I've got nothing to build on.

I simply want to know how I scored and what the cutoff was.

Congratulations to all of you who did get accepted!








Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SQL Saturday #298 - I'm speaking!

I'll be speaking at SQL Saturday #298 in Jacksonville, FL on May 10, 2014.

If you work in an organization that is finding it increasingly difficult to allow SQL Server DBAs 24x7x365 sysadmin access to your Production servers, then I think you will find my session "SQL Server Security Easy Button" very interesting.

Attendees will learn how to define a permission set with a single script that allows database administrators to do routine work without sysadmin permission and how to elevate permissions quickly to respond to production emergencies. 

Attendees will leave this session with a complete script that provides the minimum necessary access database administrators require to maintain the database server without granting access to business data. 
In addition, I’ll talk about our real world experience with reduced permissions.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SQL Saturday #273 Recap

I attended and spoke at SQL Saturday #273 on February 22, 2014.


Selfie in @aboutsqlserver session

My presentation "SQL Server Security Easy Button" went off without a hitch. My presentation files can be found here.

This was the first time the event was held at the University of South Florida's College of Business Building on the main campus in Tampa, FL.  It was an excellent facility for a SQL Saturday. No crowding, no bottlenecks, great classrooms. The atrium in this building provided the perfect place for vendors to setup and for people to network. As usual, an excellent lunch was provided by Latam's. A college campus is the perfect venue for a SQL Saturday. They have well-equipped classrooms and it gives students a chance to interact with people who are working the real jobs for which they are studying. 

Our event provided another public service. We were able to thaw out several people from the Great White North. Tom LaRock, Allen White, Grant Fritchey to name only a few were successfully thawed. Thank you for coming. ;-)

The sessions I attended were:
"Eternal story on temporal objects" by Dmitri Korotkevitch.  Dmitri reviewed all the possible temporal objects that SQL Server used and demonstrated the best way to use them. Afterwards, Dmitri told me that his Twitter account gained 25 followers after myself and Grant Fritchey tweeted during his session. He said, he now has more followers than tweets! I told him that he had to be capable of one epic tweet per day. The pictures he used to illustrate tempdb amusingly demonstrated his talking points.





Allen White's "Managing SQL Server Efficiently with PowerShell Remoting". Allen did an excellent job demonstrating how remoting makes it much easier to manage multiple machines and describing the maturation of PowerShell. It's much easier to build and configure a new database instance on Windows Server 2012 with the V4 cmdlets.




Chris Skorlinkski's "Your Best Interview Ever"
I was familiar with most of the material that Chris covered. The main concept I took away from this session was to have an "elevator speech" ready to describe yourself to potential employers. I loved the example he used for it. It accomplishes all the goals of an elevator speech. Identify yourself, describe what you can do, and what your objective is.




Thank you to Pam Shaw, Leigh Freijo, sponsors, speakers, and volunteers for putting on a great event! I especially appreciated that the volunteers printed and cut up the SpeedPass for the speakers!

Also, thank you to Brian Mitchell and Jonathan Keyahias for answering some questions I had related to projects I have in progress at work.

Finally, the best juggler at SQL Saturday #273 was Eric Wisdahl.


video








Saturday, February 8, 2014

SQL Saturday #273 Tampa - I'm speaking!








I'll be speaking at SQL Saturday #273 in Tampa on February 22, 2014.

If you work in an organization that is finding it increasingly difficult to allow SQL Server DBAs 24x7x365 sysadmin access to your Production servers, then I think you will find my session "SQL Server Security Easy Button" very interesting.

Attendees will learn how to define a permission set with a single script that allows database administrators to do routine work without sysadmin permission and how to elevate permissions quickly to respond to production emergencies.
Attendees will leave this session with a complete script that provides the minimum necessary access database administrators require to maintain the database server without granting access to business data.
In addition, I’ll talk about our real world experience with reduced permissions.

I'm looking forward to SQL Saturday #273 in Tampa.

Hope to see you there!


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Troubleshooting requires...

In my humble opinion, troubleshooting requires fundamental knowledge, persistence, patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn continuously.

My Father-in-Law passed away this past week.  After the funeral, we came back to the house to spend time together. That evening, everything in the Family Room connected to electricity started acting very weird. Lights flickering, TV going on and off, etc.  Honestly, my first thought was his ghost had come back to haunt us. 

Then, we began to smell the odor of something electrical going bad.

Let the troubleshooting begin!  

After unplugging everything, I inspected each outlet.

The last outlet I checked behind a bookcase and one that we never use looked liked this...






















The discoloration on the face of the outlet is what caught my eye. 
The picture above is after I removed the cover plate and pulled it from the wall. Don't forget to switch off the correct circuit breaker before doing any of this type of work! 

After fully removing it, I found the full extent of the damage.















Somehow, one black wire came loose on this outlet and it started arcing.

It only cost a $1.15 to repair but it took a couple of iterations of rewiring and re-installing before it started working again.  I broke one of the black wires after the first attempt while pushing it back into the box in the wall. So, that is when the patience and persistence came into play.

Attention to detail and my fundamental knowledge of electricity is the main reason I found the problem. (Thank you, United States Air Force.)

While doing the repair, I learned how multiple outlets are wired together.

The point of this post is that troubleshooting skills are transferable across many situations. I've used my skills to do database administration, aircraft maintenance and fix things at home.

My troubleshooting skills saved a call to an electrician and the TV in the Family Room is ready for the Super Bowl. They've also helped avoid much grief at the day job. ;-)



Monday, December 23, 2013

Restore master database with Dell NetVault Litespeed for SQL Server

The DBA teams asked if I could create a job in our maintenance routines to do a native backup of the master database instead of a Litespeed backup. Their reason was they weren't able to restore master using Litespeed because the database server had to be in single-user mode to do such a restore and Litespeed required two connections to the server to do the task.

I mentioned that there are instructions in the Litespeed help files for a master database restore.

The team told me that it didn't work for them. So, I took the task to validate the instructions found here https://support.quest.com/search/SolutionDetail.aspx?id=SOL13484

I took a backup of the master database at 9:44 AM.










Next, I created a login on the server after the backup called ThisLoginWillNotBeHereAfterMasterDatabaseRestore to prove the master database restore did in fact happen.
This login will no longer exist after the upcoming master database restore because it was not captured by the backup taken at 9:44 AM.





























I stopped the SQL Server services for the instance.  Either SSMS or SQL Configuration Manager can be used to stop the services.  When you stop the database instance, the corresponding SQL Agent will also be stopped.


I started the database instance in single user mode in one command window.






















The instance has started in single user mode.





















I open a second command window and ran the database restore command.























The restore runs successfully in seconds.






















Additional messages are written to the first command window and the command prompt returns.
I restart the database instance using the SQL Configuration Manager.  
I start SQL Server Management Studio to find the login created after the backup no longer exists proving the master database has been restored.






























The database restore was completed in a few seconds. The entire process probably takes less than 5 minutes.  
I took a bit longer because I was taking screenshots. ;-)