Archive for January, 2011

I finally got my first smart phone a couple of weeks ago and there’s no looking back! 


Anyhow, if it weren’t for my BlackBerry, I wouldn’t have rediscovered Twitter… and if it weren’t for the rediscovery of Twitter, I wouldn’t have started following the SQL gurus and personal heroes I look up to such as Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, Brent Ozar, and Bob Beauchemin.  I’ve been lucky enough to attend sessions presented by many of them at past SQL conferences, and when I took a look at the new Master Immersion Events being offered by SQLskills throughout the year, I immediately told my manager that “attendance of any one of these classes would supplant my biennial yearning to attend the SQL PASS conference” (despite my love of the event and the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places, Seattle).

So, a little background into the need:  executive level decision making shenanigans are afoot at my health care employer that look to bring down the SQL empire at least a couple of notches in the food chain.  Co-DBAs are being reallocated to manage a new non-SQL core system (can you say cache “database”?  whoa… at least the DW component is SQL) and I’m pegged to keep all the other environments that need to persist on SQL running in tip-top form so we have less to worry about while undertaking the aforementioned initiative.  These include a hefty SCOM set-up, a brand new SharePoint environment, HA systems that utilize DB mirroring to host databases for our websites, a home-grown warehouse, plus a random smattering of one-offs.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Well, I’d like to think I’ve been around the database block a few times, and that I’m no wet-behind-the-ears database administrator (an old colleague of mine from my IMS/DB days loves to refer to me as “one steely-eyed DBA”) but the truth of the matter is that, especially in the IT field, we’re never done learning – and as soon as you make the decision to rest on your laurels, you might as well kiss the sanctity of your career goodbye.

Here’s my situation:  most of our systems are still running on SQL Server 2005, so I’m pushing every available button to convince folks to let me upgrade non-vendor-restricted environments to SQL2008 & R2 despite having very little experience with the products.  I run into issues with tempdb and general system I/O.  Replication breaks, and there’s a mad scramble to fix it.  Reindexing is not performed like it should be.  Systems fall victim to blocking, and though the offending process can typically be killed in short order, I’m frequently left scratching my head in regard to how to assist the programmers in fixing the underlying code and design.  You name it, we’re probably violating it in some way or another from a best-practices perspective.  Thus my strong desire to attend the 5-day Internals and Performance class in Dallas, February 21-25.  This training looks to address all of these topics and more, doing a deep-dive into the mechanics of the SQL engine from a bit-twiddler level, surely capable of bolstering the gaps in my experience and knowledge.  When I saw the gauntlet thrown down by Paul Randal to blog about my need and my desire, I had to step up to this challenge.  I would positively learn a ton… plus stave off the dreaded EPIC beast! 



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Once I finally figured out how to get the links back on my sidebar, I began adding…

and adding …  I’m still at it!  Probably will be for some time.  Now that I’m social media mobile.

Spent some time with my buddy Paul yesterday.  After meeting him for lunch to try a new pizza place down the road from work, we talked of when winter might end and we could get back to grilling meals outdoors.  I proposed we get together for a winter grill out, as neither of us had anything going on Saturday.  How was I to know this simple proposal would turn into such an adventure?

I arrived at Casa de Paulieworks a little too soon to eat, so he recommended we check out a new place called Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park – what a find!  Can’t wait to try it out some day in the near future.  Starting to feel hungry but deciding that it was a little cold to stand outside and sip Miller Lite while tending a grill, we came up with a plan – each pick a place we’d never eaten before – a Pub/Grill kind of place – visit both, have a little something off the menu plus a beer or two.  McBob’s instantly sprung to mind, having heard about it from co-workers but not yet having the opportunity to check it out.  So minutes later we were off… and the place didn’t disappoint.  Best corned beef sandwich I believe I’ve ever tasted, and good beers on tap.  Nice, dark-but-clean atmosphere… your all around classic Milwaukee bar.  A while later Paul hadn’t thought of his pick, and I had thought of a second one – in the 3rd Ward.  It was a place I spotted years ago while working downtown, out on lunchtime walks.  We drove down there, only to be disappointed by finding it vacant.  Not to be deterred, I suggested that since we were on the East side now, and knowing there had to be tons of places that would fit the bill, we should just head up to the Brady Street area and see what was going on.  We ended up at Pitch’s – but they didn’t serve lunch.  Jimmy (Pitch) recommended a place back down on Brady and Van Buren called Libby’s, and to ask for a guy named Dennis (not sure what to ask him for, however).  We did, and were quite amused to find the place devoid of customers save ourselves, with a real salty dog bartender named Gio who provided more than a few laughs.  We sat there reminiscing about the last time we were out on an adventure like this and he recalled drinking with an old friend we called “Lunchbox” – because he liked a drink called a lunchbox.  Paul looked it up on his phone and instructed the bartender to make him one, and we could tell Gio was none-too-happy about this order.  It involved filling a glass 3/4 full of beer, topping it off with OJ, and dropping in a shot of Amaretto.  It was actually quite delicious!  We walked back to the car and drove back to Paul’s in time to watch the first NFL Divisional playoff game of the day between the Steelers and Ravens.  I headed home in time to catch the Packers/Falcons game.  Wowzer.

It was a great day and it’s clear I need to get together with old friends like Paul more often.  We were both sad that Mente couldn’t join us, but we vowed to plan another outing around his schedule so he can partake in the revelry.

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