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The place where I page to when my brain is full up of stuff about the Microsoft platform

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  • Blog Post: Lab Ops – Working with Azure VMs

    A couple of months ago I had a very interesting chat with Andy a Data Centre admin at CP Ltd about using PowerShell to manage Azure as Andy is partially sighted, and his team mate Lewis is blind (For more on this please read Andy’s post on the TechNet UK blog ) . I wanted to go into some of the PowerShell...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Performance Tuning

    In an ideal world a database engine would self heal and self tune, and the SQL Server product team work long and hard on each release to try and realise this.  However in parallel with this they recognise that they can’t cater for every eventuality and so have provided more and more diagnostics...
  • Blog Post: Farewell old friend – how to say goodbye to SQL Server 2000 Rescheduled

    My TechNet Live Webcast on upgrading from SQL Server 2000, has now been rescheduled for 3 March from 4-5pm.  If you can catch it live you can ping me and the TechNet team with questions during the webcast, but it will be available off-line (together with the inevitable slide deck) if you have other...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 - Transparent Data Encryption

    One of the new things you can do in CTP5 of SQL Server 2008 is to encrypt your databases so that they are protected at rest and so are any backups made from them.  So this prevents anybody from accessing a database without going through the server it belongs to. To move an encrypted database from...
  • Blog Post: Tricking a client into connecting to a SQL Server Instance

    One of the challenges of consolidation and upgrades is that some applications might have hard coded or difficult to find references to the server instance they are connecting to. When you want to point this hypothetical application to the non-default instance on a new server you can often use DNS to...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Upgrade Advisor

    One of the things that made me smile at my launch presentation on upgrading SQL Server was that when I asked if everyone had heard of the upgrade advisor everyone in the room put their hands up. This is because most of the support issues raised by customers about upgrade use this template… DBA...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Filtered Indexes

    I have seen the filtered indexing in SQL Server 2008 mentioned a couple of times over the last couple of weeks but I only got it properly when I got to try it myself in ctp6. I have often needed to constrain a column to a only allow unique values but also allow the column to allow nulls and with filtered...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server and Virtualisation

    I am still getting loads of questions on virtualising SQL Server so rather than blogging away here, I am getting involved with Windows ITPro magazine along with a number of cross industry virtualisation experts to run a virtual (what else would it be!) event “Virtualization: Get The Facts” from 11:00am...
  • Blog Post: A last word on Policy based Management

    If I search my blog for Policy Based Management in SQL Server, I notice there are a fair few posts on the matter. I am not going to apologise for this as it’s a vital tool in any DBA’s armoury in the world of ever increasing databases compliance and risk management.  My blog is also like paging...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft, and Hadoop for Big Data

    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage your applications from System Center. ,  So extending this approach...
  • Blog Post: Must have tool for Migrating Access to SQL Server

    I have a love hate relationship with Access for the same reason, it’s seductive simplicity.  You can knock up an application in no time, which my wife did recently to learn the tool and to keep track of our extensive book collection.  That quick start and get going appeal, starts to pail as...
  • Blog Post: Hindsight is a wonderful thing

    It’s time to spring clean the blog as I have realised that a few of my older posts have been overtaken by events and could be misleading if they were acted upon now. For example: SQL Server 2008 is now supported on VMWare and other virtualisation platforms as part of the Windows Server Virtualization...
  • Blog Post: HD Insight

    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage your applications from System Center . ,  So extending this approach...
  • Blog Post: Primary keys and Clustered Indexes

    One of the many great SQL Server resources out there is SQL Server Central , and this article on there, Worst Practices - Not Using Primary Keys and Clustered Indexes , by Andy Warren caught my eye.  For the most part he’s absolutely right you’d be mad not to have a primary key on a table and to...
  • Blog Post: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, mixing Hyper-V and other applications in Windows Server

    I have got the highest respect for Hyper-V. It’s simple to use I don’t need to learn any new interface (it’s just another mmc snap-in)  in which to mange the virtual world.  However when someone asks me if they can install other roles alongside hyper-V in production I say “Oi mate NO don’t...
  • Blog Post: TechEd Berlin Day 1

    Simon and i are at TechEd Berlin all week, his post on the keynote is here.  I didn’t get to that as I was setting up BI demos al day on the SQL Server stand. I got asked a couple of interesting SQL Server questions I thought I would share: I have SQL Server 2008 but not R2 what BI features do I...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Consolidation Options

    Consolidation of server is a very hot topic as server rooms fill up and cooling becomes ever more expensive. Virtualization is the current darling in this space and indeed it is fantastic for many application workloads.  However it is not the only solution to the problem and this is particularly...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Schema Design

    I have seen some strange schemas in my time which look like a good idea on paper but not on disk. A common scenario is the schema that is created by a tool controlled by a user and so we end up with columns like user21 in usertabel7 and so on. Then I got an e-mail about the poor performance of user defined...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server TV

    One of the Microsoft guys at the last SQL Bits events was Chris Guest who works in the Media Room team which is all about TV over the internet.  I wasn’t sure why he was at a SQL Server event so I grabbed a camera (well two camera and and cameramen) to find out more… Technorati Tags: SQL Server...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008

      I am a huge fan of Windows Server 2008.  I am lucky enough to have a laptop that supports Hyper-V and has 4Gb of RAM so I have a dual boot setup for Vista and Windows Server 2008.  I could just have Windows Server 2008 installed and then virtualise Vista on top, but there there aren...
  • Blog Post: Farewell old friend–time to say goodbye to SQL Server 2005

    It always nice to see historic aircraft , and vintage cars out and about rather than stuck in museums, the noise and even the smell of castor oil add to this nostalgia. However keeping them going requires a lot of effort  and keeping them current with modern rules means that a Fokker triplane will...
  • Blog Post: Expenses on Virtual Earth

    There’s a lot of heat on MP’s expenses so if you want to quickly see how your local MP compares then have a look at them on Virtual Earth here .. What I like about this is that it shows the spikes, so in my neck of the woods this MP is in red because he’s claiming a lot. But what’s interesting...
  • Blog Post: Virtualisation for the DBA part 1 - Are you Bovvered?

      I have been at a couple of trade shows over the last couple of weeks and a consistent theme has emerged, the reluctance of DBA’s to virtualise SQL Server, whether or not that is Hyper-V.  If you fall into this camp please read-on… Hopefully we can agree that many organisations are worried...
  • Blog Post: Upgrading Data Transformation Services (DTS)

    One of the biggest headaches in migrating away from SQL Server 2000 is Data Transformation Services (DTS). The tool is very widely used and its initial simplicity no doubt contributed to that. A good example is of several Oracle sites where SQL Server was sat in a corner simply to move data between Oracle...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Advent Calendar 24 – Upgrade

    It’s Christmas Eve and the last day of my virtual advent calendar on SQL Server 2008.. Hopefully the last 23 posts have given you some idea of what’s in SQL Server 2008 so I thought it might be useful to conclude with a word on upgrade. Firstly SQL Server 2008 has a lot in common with SQL server 2005...