Resume Generating Event (RGE)

No, I haven't lost my job. This is just one of those topics that's good to get out there. There are honestly few things that can cause you to question if you still have a job the next day, but those things still exist. There are ways to mitigate RGEs, but do you know what they are in your area?

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Gathering information on exactly how important a database is required for a real disaster. Disaster recovery planning is reliant on knowing your SLAs. You need to know how long a database can be down, which one is the most important, at what point do you have to start calling 3rd party people (customers, vendors, app support), how much data can we afford to lose and at what point you should stop fixing the broken server and failover to other hardware. I know, I know... No one likes giving these answers. My experience normally goes like this.

Question: How long can the database be down?
Answers: It should never be down. As little as possible. Why? Are we having issues?

Question: Which one is most important?
Answers: They're all important. Can't you bring them all up at once?

Question: What point do I start calling 3rd party people?
Answers: What's wrong now? That's case by case, call me first.

Question: How much data can we afford to lose?
Answers: None. None. None. Why? What have you done? None. We should never lose data.

Question: What point should I just stand up a new server?
Answers: We don't have spare servers. Why would you need a new one?

What can I do now?

Well, we can take some preventive action. Some of this is harder than you'd expect without first knowing what your SLA's truly are. Here's a few things you can do anyways today to help until you get these answers.

Find where your backups are stored.
Make sure the backups are stored on a different physical medium than the databases.
Make sure you test your backups occasionally to see if they're even good.
Make sure you have all your drivers for anything that's not standard.
Keep a log of what all databases are on a particular server.
Keep a log of the average size (uncompressed) of your databases per server.
Keep a log of the standard settings you might use for that server. (Ram, drive structure, version number)
Update the phone logs or at least your personal contacts with everyone you need to call if a 2AM incident happens.

Is there some sort of form that can be used?

My next post will include a list of the questions I'd want answered for each database as well as a short list of questions I need to ask myself. Having a printed list for each database, or set of databases if they have the same requirement, can be a career saver.

I plan on making a form to make this a bit easier. I will at the very least create an Excel or Word list with examples. I think this is good to have from your highest Sr. DBA to your multi-hat Network Admin who's being forced to manage a rogue database. Having this signed off by your boss may make the difference of keeping your job during a major outage. A little CYA never hurt anyone.


5 Years Running! OKCSQL!

I want to congratulate OKCSQL on a 5 year run. 

I personally wasn't here for that whole duration, but we have leaders and members that have been. We’re still growing and have plenty of room for new members. We have an awesome group! We have some fantastic sponsors even. GDH has been a sponsor for our group the entire 5 years. This month we have additional sponsors as well, Principal TechnologiesRedgate and Dell.

Jen and Sean McCown are speaking in person for us!

They're even doing a special double header for us. Here is a quick copy and paste from the OKCSQL site:

"Sean McCown is our first in person speaker and The title for the talk is: DIY Performance Reporting, it will start at approximately 6:15 and will cover:
Stop relying on vendors to provide you with performance data. Between Windows and SQL Server you've already got all you need to collect and report on server performance. And it’s far more flexible than you’ll ever get from a vendor. This is often called a poor man’s method, but it’s so much more than that. I’m going to show you what your options are for collecting performance data for free and you’ll even walk away with a framework you can plug into your own environment and start using tomorrow with very little effort.

Jen McCown is our next in person speaker and The title for the talk is: How to Build a SQL Solution, it will start at approximately 7:15 and will cover:

In this session, you’ll learn about SQL Server stored procedures (SPs): what they are, when and why you’d use them, and how you’d go about developing a solution with one. We will address common SP myths and learn about planning for performance. Most of all, we’ll walk through examples to explore the process of solution building in SQL Server."

This is a completely free event. We have prizes, pizza, and great training. Everyone is invited. Please come visit us and get some free training. We meet every second Monday of the month. I hope to see you there!


I'm Speaking at SQL Saturday Houston, May 10th.

I will be speaking at my first SQL Saturday. I'll be in Houston May 10th. I'm rather surprised to be honest. No, I don't have that sinking feeling that my presentation isn't good enough or that I'll show up at the event in my underwear with everyone laughing... those fears will come the few nights before. Honestly it's just because this is the first SQL Saturday I've ever submitted too. I expected to see rejections the first few times.

I have submitted to 4 SQL Saturdays this year. I will be submitting to a 5th once they solidify the date. My hopes were to speak at one event at least. I'm rather ecstatic. I would be happy to present at each and every one of them. (I'm sure the shine will wear off in time) My presentation will be on Fill Factor: Performance or Nuisance? The premise behind this presentation is not a deep dive into how the internals work. It's more built around why the changes matter, how they impact the system and how it can or cannot help. 

I'd be happy to see you all out there! I'm hoping to get out and meet more people. So far my interactions with SQL Saturdays is making sure the rooms are ready, tables setup, cookies in the speakers room... that sort of thing. It'll be a little strange seeing it from the other side.

I've written before about the list if things I'm taking with me to make sure everything works. My list has both grown and shrunk. Below is the list of what I'm planning on taking. If you have any suggestions, I'd be more than happy to listen!

Presentation Items:
Laptop and power cord.
Spare laptop (eventually something more like the Surface Pro... but for now just a spare laptop)
DVI to VGA converter
USB to DVI/HDMI converter
USB backup of my presentations, databases and installs
External mouse/Presentation mouse (I still need to pick one up... and soon)
Wireless Hotspot (Just in case)
Print outs of the slides in case the projector has issues( Thanks Andy Yun!)

Travel Items:
Extra complete change of clothes including shoes. Changes of clothes = Days Traveling +1
Travel toothpaste/brush
Power inverted (car)
Refrigerated cooler (car)
Travel pillow (plane)
Bathing suit
Cash: Tolls + 1 Tank of gas

I think that about covers everything. I'm not entirely sure. Any other suggestions?