Friend of Redgate 2019

FORG logo 2019The crew at Redgate has deemed me worthy enough to be in their Friend of Redgate program for another year. I continue to be honored an humbled to be a part of something in which I believe in.

“The Friends of Redgate program is an exclusive group of influential and active community members, such as popular blog writers, speakers, consultants, as well as Microsoft Data Platform MVPs.”

Back in 2011 I was new to PASS, I attended my first PASS Summit and was just figuring out what the SQL Community was. Redgate was the first company to allow me to be part of a program such as this, and for that I am grateful.

I, personally, have been a product user of Redgate for many years and look forward to much continued success in the products that they produce. If you get time go check them out.

Thanks Redgate; it is an honor and privilege!!

SQL Doc by RedGate

SQL DocI recently was on a call where a technical unit indicated they did not receive any form of documentation around the vendor database that was created. Now, seeing that I fall into the database profession it sparked my fancy. I began to ask a few questions to the individual who was asking for this documentation; these are important questions in that you have to determine if there is a need for what was running through my mind. Sure enough, the technical team, was just needing some guidance on overall structure and what they were dealing with in terms of tables, procedures, and so on. This group was trying to review and write a process around information they were not privy to.

My mind went straight for the SQL Doc utility that RedGate has available. It’s a simple utility really to utilize and often times can save the day for such cases like the one above. Check out the steps below on how easy the utility allows you to document a database on the fly:

Step 1: As you open the application you will be prompted to enter a server location followed by how you’d like to connect to it (Windows or SQL authentication). In this case we’ll just hook up to a local instance I have on hand.

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Step 2: Once connected you’ll have some default settings. There will be a cover page option along with the databases that you want to document.

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Step 3: Looking at the project you’ll begin to review some of the following information:

  • Database Selection
  • Server Properties
  • Server Settings
  • Advanced Server Settings
  • Sections that are included in the report

For this specific test I’m just going to take a look at the TempDB

image

The screen capture will note that under Object Types you are able to drill into and get as granular as you can. The below example will show you a snippet from a table in the TempDB and will also show that you can enter a description of what the field is utilized for in the far right hand column under Description.

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Step 4: If you have to save this documentation out for any meetings or other purposes you can create a cover letter along with any logo information and description. Simply click on the cover page option on the left menu and complete the following:

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Step 5: After all the choices are made you can click on the General Documentation Go button on the menu and be prompted for the following:

image

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Give the location and file a name and BOOM; you’re done.

Summary

You may find yourself in a situation where you are needing a quick hit for documentation purposes. If you are an avid RedGate user and enjoy using their SQL Doc product; or maybe you had this product and didn’t even know what it was then you can benefit greatly from documenting multiple databases in a matter of minutes. This post is to show you what type of utility SQL Doc is and what it can actually be used for in a real life circumstance. In the end it was the right product and right time to use it for a technical team in need. Well done RedGate, well done.

Why Use Red Gate’s SQL Multi Script?

Someone once told me at the shop that we have plenty of software utilities laying around that could be very useful that no one is utilizing. I got to thinking about that from a DBA standpoint; we are fortunate enough to have the Tool Belt from Red Gate and with that comes a plethora of utilities such as SQL Data Generator, SQL Document Manager, SQL Compare, SQL Data Compare, and the list could go on (full listing).

One of those said utilities is a little gem called SQL Multi Script. For me I have found this utility most useful. First of all I’m a heavy SQL Compare (why use SQL Compare) user. We utilize it here in the shop daily for the most part and I like the ease of how to call all of Red Gate’s apps from one location:

By clicking on the icon in top left you will be presented with a list of utilities in your tool belt (pending on your licenses and I’m using version 12.1)

RedGateIcon

As you can see the SQL Multi Script utility is the last on my drop down menu:

RedGateIcon2

The Why?

So, now that we’ve established how easy it is to call the utilities from any said location within the product line; exactly what does multi script mean for me? Glad you asked; I’m going to try to take you on a journey inside a utility while painting an example of how to use to tool in a real life example.

When you first come into the utility you will see a screen similar to the one below:

RedGateIcon3

What I like about the utility is the ease and flow of the product. It didn’t take long to get up and running with it. If you notice on the left hand side you have the option of adding existing or new scripts to the template. In my case for releases this allows us to save multiple schema changes for various databases and incorporate them into one setting for a quick review and execution. One thing that I have ran across, that is no fault to the utility, is static data scripts that may need to be run in a certain order, but that is up to me to put in the correct order of execution once I get the scripts into multi script. I will show an example below of what multiple scripts look like within the utility.

On the right hand side you will see  a distribution list. By clicking on configure you can set up a list of servers that you normally deploy or execute to in one location. One thing to keep in mind is to execute the scripts according to which server (databases) you select. Be cognizant of which ones you are selecting within the utility.

Example of adding existing scripts:

RedGateIcon4

Example of configuration set up:

RedGateIcon5

At the far right you can see I have a test distribution list set up. This affords me the ability to add servers from the list on the left or I can add any SQL server into my listing. From there I can pull down exact databases on that server to execute scripts against. For this purpose I’ll pick a couple of databases from the local server for review:

RedGateIcon6

I have two scripts I want to execute against two databases on my local. I can execute both scripts if I want at the same time or I can execute one script at a time. I also have the ability to select only one database I want to run the scripts against or I can select both databases to run the script against (think of syntax and proper use of database names if you go this route in the script). This is just flexible functionality in which the utility presents.

Back to my case at hand; since we deploy to multiple servers against multiple databases also think about the big picture. I can include databases from all over the enterprise environment if needed and let the Multi Script utility control when to run what, where, and in what order. If you look closely you will notice a blue arrow pointing down in the “Scripts to Execute” section. This arrow, along with the up error next to it, allows me to move my scripts up and down in the order I want to. So I can add all the scripts I want at one time and then come back through and organize them when I am ready.

The Results

Now, after the script execution is complete you can review the results in the lower window pane of the Multi Script utility. Will look similar to results window below:

MultiScriptResults

A feature I like is the ability to save multiple script executions in different formats on work that was completed; this comes in handy when supplying back a summary report of what was changed to a:

  • Change Management Team
  • QA Team
  • Dev Team

MultiScriptSaveResults

Said All That To Say This

There are various utilities available to us that we may not even have explored yet. This little utility by Red Gate has come in real handy for myself and my team. Take the time to look at what is available to you and see what may fit your needs. This concept does not just pertain to Red Gate utilities. Look at various things in your everyday routine and ask yourself:

  1. What can I utilize to become more efficient?
  2. Why am I not utilizing the utility?
  3. Is there a lack of knowledge?
  4. Where are my gaps that I can improve on and how do I get there?
  5. Is there a utility out there where I won’t have to reinvent the wheel?

Look for the hidden gems and continue to provide “Leadership Through Service”

PASS Summit Recap and Experience

IMG_20151027_142416The day finally came and I was fortunate, no I was blessed to be a part of the PASS Summit held out in Seattle, WA. This year would be my fourth year attending in five years. I did miss when it was held in Charlotte, go figure it was closer there to me. In any sense this year did not disappoint.

It’s almost hard to put into words the experience you get when attending, by that I mean the learning, sessions, people, community, and much more. I am always pleased to see all the first timer ribbons on badges as I remember when it was my first time attending the conference and the overwhelming factor you may feel. I try to make a point to seek out a few first timers and introduce myself, oddly enough I had a few actually say hey, your Chris this time around – very weird to me.

I doubt I can do it justice with a blog post, but nevertheless I will do my best to let you have a look into what kind of an experience can be had by attending such an event.

FreeCon

IMG_20151102_135407I started my journey a bit earlier due to being invited to Brent Ozar Unlimited (blog | twitter) FreeCon put on by Brent Ozar (twitter), Kendra Little (twitter), and The Doug Lane (twitter). A full day of learning on a wide range of topics got the week off started on the right foot. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Brent in the past; this year I had the pleasure of getting to know Kendra and Doug a little. All three are some phenomenal and stellar individuals who truly care about the community.

One thing that stuck out to me was the authenticity shown by both Brent, Kendra, and Doug along with the 50 or so of us who were asking questions. It was very nice to hear real world issues from other colleagues and walking through thought processes. Very captivating.

Some of my cohorts in crime from the community from Mike Fal (blog | twitter), Mala Mahadevan (blog | twitter), Gareth Swanepoel (blog | twitter), Mike Hillwig (blog | twitter), and Vicky Harp (blog | twitter). The event was truly an awesome experience and one that I am not taking for granted. I walked away from it with a ton of notes and things to implement in my own career!

Live Blogging

IMG_20151029_075507Interesting enough I found myself at the Live Blogging table for some events this year. I was able to cover the two Key Note addresses on consecutive days right after breakfast, and let me tell you this was one of the highlights to my week. I’ve attended the Key Notes in previous years; however picking up key pieces was essential along with having a good plug-in to the blog for doing live blogging. I did some homework prior to and talked to a few individuals who had done live blogging before at the event just so I could prepare a little. Being able to capture events such as Dr. Dewitt and Rimma Nehme (twitter) talking about their last Key Note at PASS Summit was something that sent chills through me.

It was truly and honor and privilege to be a part of the event with so many people I have looked up to in my brief time in the community – Tim Mitchell (blog | twitter), Allen White (blog | twitter), Jes Borland (blog | twitter), Erin Stellato (blog | twitter), and many more.

The People

IMG_20151028_080141This is definitely one that I could spend a whole topic on from community zone, to side bar meetings, to talks with vendors, and the list could go on. I will say that I spent a majority of time having face to face meaningful conversations with peers, vendors, and colleagues. I cannot list them all here nor would I attempt to; many of you took the time to come up to me – even individuals who I did not know or met before and I appreciate that. I wish I could have spoken to more individuals, but if you ever see me around feel free to reach out.

Community Zone and Community Wall

IMG_20151027_122501This was some time well spent where you could meet friends, peers, other data professionals from all walks of life. I was first enamored by this last year in 2014; it’s a cool place to hang out or just detox from what you have learned. Many insightful conversations happen here; not just from work load or issue perspective, but ideas on what others are experiencing and doing as well. If you have not taken advantage of the opportunity to speak to some of the community members I strongly urge you to if you make it back. Community is a big aspect of the PASS Summit and you will not be sorry for taking advantage of such

The Sponsors

IMG_20151028_180828One of the big reasons we can do what we do are the sponsors, volunteers, and tireless countless numbers of workers who put in hours, money, and sweat into pulling an event off for 5k-6k individuals. A huge thank you goes out to them for their hard work and effort.

I did like the fact, not sure how many others feel this way, that PASS Summit recognized the sponsors where people could see as they walked back and forth to the community zone, breakfast and lunch area, and vendor area. It allowed me to take a quick snapshot of the pic to the left.

If you haven’t had time yet, some of you may even be customers. Shoot them a thank you note; they do appreciate it.

For me specifically a big thanks to Red-Gate, SQL Sentry, PureStorage, and Linchpin People.

Argenis Without Borders

IMG_20151029_125707This year alone this initiative brought in over 22k dollars. Argenis Fernandez (blog | twitter) and Kirsten Benzel (twitter) started this a few years back; now some of you maybe have wondered why people were all dressed up for in the middle of the community zone; well certain targets needed to be hit for certain, shall we say, fun to take place. Not to many places you can see people dressing up and Mike Fal playing a trombone. Heck they even through in some individuals getting tattoos since record numbers were broken.

In all seriousness this is for a great cause put on by some great people. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be a part of it take a look here; every little bit helps.

Highlights

There were a ton of highlights for me. Conversations that were had along with meeting some new people along the way such as Warwick Rudd (blog | twitter), Ben McNamara (twitter), Karla Landrum (twitter), Alex Yates (blog | twitter) to name a few made my day and getting time to spend with a lot of my friends made for a good week.

I am pleased to say that I will begin helping with the HADR Virtual Chapter in the very near future. More to come on that in future posts, but am thankful that John Sterrett (blog | twitter) and David Klee (blog |twitter) are taking a chance and investing some time in me.

Sessions were strong this year. I got to see a few from my good friend John Morehouse (blog | twitter), Mike Fal’s awesome session on PowerShell, to the outstanding session Erin Stellato gave on XE. If you missed any make sure to visit the PASS Summit website and purchase the sessions; you won’t be disappointed and it is an investment for your company.

Closing

Being part of the PASS Community is something that has changed my career. I’m living proof that what we do on a daily basis works and is working. If each one reaches one then our mission is complete ~ I’m thankful yet humbled to be on this journey.

It’s always a pleasure to see everyone at PASS Summit and look forward to many more conversations, collaborations, speaking engagements, and demos. Let’s keep moving this community forward one day at a time and keep investing time in others. What you do today influences someone else tomorrow – Let’s Roll!

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Friends Of Red Gate 2015

forg-logoI’m excited that I’ve been asked to be back involved for another year in the Friends of Red Gate program. This program allows influential community members, community bloggers,  MVP’s and intuitive minds an inside track on helping with pre-existing and existing utilities that Red Gate has in their arsenal.

I am a Red Gate user and thankful that my shop is a Red Gate shop. The tools that they provided are second to none in the life of a data professional. I always look forward to doing some sessions on some of their products at various events so if you are eager to learn then send me a note.

It’s an honor to be considered for this program and I’m humbled to be able to continue to be associated with a company as Red Gate.

Let’s get 2015 started and start making that sweet SQL music.

The Question – Why?

whyThe question I get asked a lot by other data professionals at conferences, events, speaking engagements, family, friends, etc. is Why do you do what you do? Why do you put yourself through some of the things that data professionals have to endure at times with the non stop phone calls, system crashes, data breaches? What keeps you coming back for more?

Everyone is different, some may say they like the financial gains that come along with it, some may say they want that notoriety and accolades, and then some may say it is a stepping stone for climbing the ladder to future gains.

For me, being a DBA is a humbling experience. The potential for growth is great and the desire to gain continual knowledge in the skill set is prevalent. With being a data professional comes great responsibility, and it is a career that is not for the faint of heart. You will have late nights, long hours, and frustration on issues but all that molds, makes, and shapes you on your career path.

Grant Fritchey (Blog | Twitter) has one of the best articles, for myself, when he talks about Leadership Through Service. There are a handful of articles that really resonate with me over time and this is one of them. Whether you are in a shop, consultant, etc. you are providing a service and with that comes that word again ~ responsibility.

Opportunities

How can I get involved? This was one of the biggest areas I wish I would have learned earlier on in my career and now speak loudly about. Have you ever seen a new data professional just starting out? If you have then you know what I am talking about – the fire in their eyes and the drive and passion in their voice. That is something that I hope I never lose. I worked 11 years in the industry before really getting involved with community efforts and PASS. So the question remains how can you get involved?

Forums – some of the best opportunities lie within forums themselves. You can find information that you aren’t up to speed on and start studying to find what the answers are thus improving your knowledge gaps. Some of the ones I like to frequent are but not limited to:

  1. SQL Brit Forum
  2. SQL Server Central
  3. Stack Exchange
  4. Red Gate Forum (specializing in database professional products)

Blogging – if you aren’t blogging then you ought to try it. I have found for myself that it is a good learning tool and can be a repository of items learned along the way. As with anything writing takes practice, but be your own person. Once you have started you will wonder why you didn’t start down this venture sooner.

Email – Subscriptions – there are some golden nuggets to be had on email subscriptions from others in the industry. Some ones that would be of importance, but again are not limited to:

  1. PASS News Letter
  2. Paul Randal and the SQL Skills Team
  3. Brent Ozars LTD
  4. MSSQLTips
  5. SQL Server Central

Industry leaders – look at the industry you are in. Within any one industry you will see leaders in the community and our SQL community is no different. I won’t go into to much detail but check out the blog roll section over on the right and side of this site and you will see some renowned leaders. Follow them, see what they have to say, and learn some of there techniques. Somewhere along the way you might just pick up some good habits and practices.

Events – this is something that has greatly helped me over the years. There is a wide arrange of events both free and paid that one can attend. Some of those you don’t even realize are available:

  1. SWUG webinars
  2. SQL Saturday Events (check out my section here for most up to date events or by logging on directly to SQL Saturday’s home page)
  3. PASS Summit
  4. SQL Bits
  5. Dev Connections
  6. Brent Ozars’ weekly webinar

Social Media – what a way to connect with many people at one time. If you haven’t yet check out some of these avenues below:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter (check out the #SQLServer, #SQLHelp, #SQLCoOp tags)
  3. GoogleGroups
  4. Facebook

The list could go on; these are just a few to mention. In today’s society it is even more prevalent to take advantage of items that are free training yet still exceptional. Why not take advantage?

Speaking – I’ve heard people make the comments that they would never speak or they don’t like getting up in front of people. This is true everyone is different, but what I’ve found in speaking is that it causes you to know and learn your stuff. You can’t get up in front of 100 – 500 people and fake your way around. It has been a tool and a motivator again for learning and gaining knowledge. If you haven’t tried it then maybe try it out on some friends at work then move up to a local user group.

Career

Your career is just that – your career. Own it and make it what you want. I’ve been told all my life I couldn’t do things; from being a 6’0 ft point guard in college to diving into a SQL Technology. Those naysayer’s have proved one thing to me – I like competition and once you’ve challenged me it is game on. I’ve been proving people wrong this long so I’ll keep continuing down that path ~ point here is you take your career by the reigns and make it yours. Don’t let others dissuade you or deter you from your goals.

Mentors

There is nothing wrong with having a mentor. I’ve had some of the best and they have lead and guided me through my SQL journey. Wait a second, just the paragraph above you said be “your own person”. Yes I did, and you should. With that though comes the ability to differentiate and think on your own two feet, that doesn’t negate the fact that having a seasoned mentor who has been in the trenches would not be beneficial. Will you always agree with a mentor – no; but the insight into some of the mistakes made along with knowledge that can be provided is priceless.

To those that have mentored me, and you know who you are, I thank you for it is because of you I am that much further along in my career.

The Why

So back to the infamous question “Why”. I do what I do because I enjoy coming in everyday and being a DBA/Data Professional. I get to work with some of the finest people in the profession and learn from some of the best. I’m not in this game for the notoriety; I enjoy seeing and helping others succeed. Each day presents knew obstacles or hurdles to overcome; while some days are longer than others (as any data professional will tell you) there is a passion there that I have for the SQL Community as a whole and I hope that passion never burns out.

Some people have jobs they go to that they hate and it is just a job and sure you’ll find some data professionals like that. I’m blessed to say that I enjoy what I do on a daily basis and that I enjoy coming into work. There will always be that hunger to learn new things within SQL and the SQL Community and that will continue to be my driving force.

One thing I’ve noticed about the SQL Community is, while a passionate group, and one that sometimes disagrees that is okay because that means we are a healthy community. When I’ve seen someone hurting or needing a hand with a question it is a mere minutes before responses start flowing in. That’s the kind of group we are; dedicated data professionals who for the most part enjoy helping others.

I had a coach who I thought a lot of growing up….one time he told me as I was huffing and puffing at 3:00 a.m. from conditioning drills – “Somewhere, someone is practicing getting better than you. What will it take for you to be motivated?” That has kind of stuck with me. I know right now as I sit here and type this that there will be others that know more about certain topics, but just like basketball did it drives me to get better. Don’t settle.

Conclusion

So, now it is my turn to ask you – instead of why my question to you will be “Why not?”

Are you knew to the SQL game? Good then get involved

Are you a season vet who has been jaded so many times? If so then I ask you to remember back to when you first started out and the fire you had within you to conquer the SQL world. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about – find that fire once again and get involved.

For those that are involved my hats go off to you as coming from experience I know what it takes. I’m proud to be apart of this SQL Community and I plan on being here for a long time or as long as they would have me.

 

 

 

 

SQL Prompt 6.4 – Get It

SQLPrompt

This guy looks just like me a few weeks ago only one difference…..he has hair!!! Okay seriously though, I felt just like this guy not long ago and the reason for this was due to the fact I have become accustomed to specific tools and utilities that I utilize on a daily basis. Is this a good thing, eh, maybe or maybe not but end of the day I like to be efficient, dynamically nimble (if that is an expression), and in control of what my work entails daily.

Now, leading up to this extraordinary blog post you have to understand something. I’m in a RedGate shop pampered with some very nice utilities at my disposal. One such utility is their SQL Prompt utility.

One of the nice features I like about the utility is the recover tab within SSMS that shows me past history of tabs I had open within SQL. Can I tell you how many times this has come in handy? If that doesn’t meet your fancy then how about the code snippets that you can save and reuse later, or maybe the nice IntelliSense it provides while coding.

This leads me into why I looked like our Data Professional up above…..I recently was without my SQL Prompt and you thought I’d been taken back to the stone ages. I went to type out some code and low and behold nothing, I got NOTHING. No tables popping up; no columns to review…..nothing. After the sheer shock and awe subsided I knew I was in for a long day. Needless to say it didn’t take me long to figure out what went wrong with my prompt and how to get it back.

What’s this mean for you guys who are reading this? Glad you asked.

Red Gate’s new version is out so go check it out. Some of the new enhancements are noted below:

  • Execute current statement
  • Insert semicolons
  • Code highlighting
  • Use object definition case
  • Rename variables and aliases
  • Suggestions improvements
  • Qualify object names improvements
  • Remove square brackets
  • Nullability of columns
  • Choose environments to install to
  • New formatting options
  • New tab history options
  • Improved loading dialog box
  • Support for restricted accounts
  • Various usability improvements
  • Many bug fixes

So download the free trial and test drive it; what do you have to lose? Maybe you’ll like it and maybe you won’t but don’t wait and let time go by when you could be becoming more efficient in your everyday work.

If you use the product already drop me a line; if you don’t use the product then tell me why not.

SQL Prompt – The Power Within

*Photo by Red Gate

*Photo by Red Gate

Come a little closer; no seriously come on over just a little closer as I don’t want to you to miss this. Can you hear me? Good, listen if you are in this Data Professional game for very long than you will have some “go to” utilities when you need them. Over my 14 year career thus far I’ve accumulated many scripts, procedures, techniques, and vendor related products.

One product that has remained steadfast for me over the past several years is Red Gates’ SQL Prompt. If you are already using this utility than you know what I am talking about; if you haven’t then you are missing out. I’m continuously amazed at some of the options the product contains. A brief overview and you will find the following:

  • IntelliSense-style code completion
  • Customizable code formatting
  • Save code snippets
  • Refactor SQL code
  • Tab History – save, search, and recover tabs in SSMS

Why did I bold Tab History you may ask? Well pull up a chair, sit down, and listen up.

The Setting

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wished you would have stayed in bed, perhaps one might call it a “do over”. Well that was me not long ago; the day was actually fitting as the rain was pouring, had no umbrella present, and forgot the ole key card to the shop. For the ones that know me also know that I quit drinking coffee a while back. Ha, yes, I usually get the jaw drops for fellow co-workers and beyond; if there ever was a day I needed some then it was that day.

I sit down, fire up the laptop, and off we go. I starting looking at my plate and opening up a script I had saved the previous day; or had I?!?!? I go to my repository and nothing, absolutely nothing. As I mutter the words to myself, you got to be kidding me, I dive further into my folder structure thinking I might have misplaced it. Aha (there will be more coming in a future post about this little word), I know what let’s open SSMS and check the most recent files. I know I saved it the day before and I probably just put it in the wrong place. Wait, what, wait a minute – nothing there either.

Well this day is just off to a great start; isn’t it?

The Power Within

As I stand up and start walking to the break room to clear my head, get back on track, and re-asses the events thus far I remember something. SQL Prompt has a built in feature that might save the day. I come back to my desk and look at the following:

Tab History

Tab History – two words. Who knew that they would be so important on a day that started off bleak. I click on the Tab History and complete a search of the word “local” since I knew what was inside the script:

Info

 

Scrolling down through on SQLQuery7 I found my script I was looking for! Yes, if you heard a loud clasp of thunder or the earth moving some more on it’s axis that was me doing a SQL Happy Dance. This one feature saved my bacon due to deadlines that I had to meet the next day.

While this utility is a nice feature, we need to look at the utility in terms of a broader scope. SQL Prompt offers much more.

  • Allowing the ability to write code more smoothly
  • You can customize your SQL Code formatting rules
  • Affords you the ability to save code snippets and better yet share them across your team
  • Refactors SQL code
  • Exploration of your database (another feature I like)

Conclusion

A data professional is always looking for ways to improve their processes and become more efficient. SQL Prompt is a utility that accomplishes that goal. If you are a seasoned vet of it then great; however if you have never tried it then give it a go. You will be glad you did.

I tell you what; check out what my other colleagues have to say on something they learned recently:

On a SQL Collaboration Quest

Four SQL professionals gathered from the four corners of the world to share their SQL knowledge with each other and with their readers: Mickey Stuewe from California, USA, Chris Yates from Kentucky, USA, Julie Koesmarno from Canberra, Australia, and Jeffrey Verheul from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. They invite you to join them on their quest as they ask each other questions and seek out the answers in this collaborative blog series. Along the way, they will also include other SQL professionals to join in the collaboration.

 

Worst Day As A DBA

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I remember the day pretty vividly, it was in the summer months and I was as green as green can be coming into the technology field. Walking through the doors to the start of my career  I was ready to tackle the world. The training for new hire sessions had already been completed and it was game time. I didn’t know what a SQL High Five meant at the time but I would have given one to everybody as that is how I was feeling walking through the doors.

The introductions began and I got the normal “new guy”, “fresh meat”, “greenhorn” labels that most people call newbies. As we turned the corner I noticed something that looked a bit off to me. A pen cap stuck in the keyboard by one of the developers. Hmm that is odd, they didn’t teach anything about pen caps in keyboards in college. That person was not at their desk at the time but we did find them in the break room and he was introduced to me as one of the developers.

Time past and the introductions complete I went back to my desk in my little cubicle and couldn’t help but think back to that pen cap. The curiosity was too great so off I go; back over to the desk with the pen cap, mind you this is about an hour later.

Hey man, I got to ask you a question. What’s up with that pen cap?

“Oh, yeah I was building an import process and I forgot and left a MSG box in there. I started to load the files in and instead of stopping it I figured this was a quick way to get through it.”

Hmm, interesting tactic but the red flags and sirens started to go off in my head. Being the new kid on the street and the youngster I went to one of my peers and started poking around a bit. Explaining what I saw I was amazed to learn that this in fact had happened before.

“Before”, little did I know those 6 letters would start to build the foundation of my DBA career. What, wait a minute….”before” you say? Yeah, ole Billy (no not his real name) over there has done that “before”. Nice, so I go back to my desk again and sit down. I take out a pen and paper and start writing down my questions.

1. Where is Billy loading this data?

2. What kind of data is Billy loading?

3. What kind of access does Billy have?

4. Does my boss know this?

5. What method is being used to import the data?

6. Who is the business owner?

Now realize I hadn’t even turned my computer on yet to get the lay of the land. Off I go with my questions.

Um Hey Billy, just out of curiosity where you loading that data? Prod he replies

My heart sunk, I knew the writing on the walls and where this was going. What kind of data are you using? Client data for our system. Back to my desk I go; sit down flip on the computer. I started researching, digging, and sure enough my thoughts were now a reality.

Dev Ops had gone rogue and had access directly to prod. Remember the pen cap; well after realizing that the import was loading more data than the file had in it we discovered the app didn’t have a stopping mechanism and no duplicate checks. In the end we were loading a 100,000 record file 8 times!

Light bulb goes off in my head, as I turn to colleague. Hey where is the last backup? It is on x drive but it won’t do you no good. Why is that I ask; yeah it’s a week old. We run them manually before we leave for the day.

In the end that worst day started off my worst week but looking back I believe that worst day started the groundwork for a solid foundation. How or why is that you ask?

1. Security – I’m a huge proponent of it and probably rightfully so after enduring the major cleanup that ensued.

2. Documentation – no documentation was found anywhere; we all can do a better job of this; me included.

3. Don’t be afraid to speak up; if something is off to you question it. Research it. Dig in and figure it out.

4. Just because something is done one way for years doesn’t mean it is the right way. Evolve and become more efficient. Do you think having a pen cap on an enter key to load data is efficient?

5. If you are a newbie and seasoned vet review your systems on a routine scheduled basis.

6. Backups – are you taking them? If so are you in turn testing them or validating them?

Some of the things I know now that I didn’t then are handy utilities such as Red Gate’s SQL Backup Pro that could have benefited me; take a look at their arsenal for the data professional. A wide range of products that will allow you to streamline your processes and tasks.

I look back on my time there and we brought it so far. We righted the ship but it was no easy task and is not for the faint of heart. It taught me to chip away at the wrongs and turn them to rights. I speak a lot about being a game changer. That means if you see something amiss go after it. Make it right.

While I have had a few “worst” days since then, I’ve learned one thing about being a Data Professional ~ being one comes with a price tag of having great responsibility. Don’t abuse it.

 

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RedGate SQL Search Has What????

CollaborateImageThis week I am back at it with my SQLCoOp friends in sharing the goodness of a utility that has helped us all ~ RedGate’s SQL Search plug in for SSMS.  This utility has always been helpful in perusing through the schema of any SQL architecture in the search for the gems that we as data professional look for.

The Quest

The outlook was grim and bleak recently one day at the shop. I could recall a portion of a job name and step name for that matter but couldn’t find it for the life of me. The server I was on at the time had a vast amount of jobs on it which I will save for another day.

I will admit frustration started to set in and I started to just open up a query analyzer and start writing some code then it dawned on me…..I had just downloaded a new version of RedGate’s SQL Search Utility. I recalled from the version that they extended the search into SQL jobs; at that moment it was like a light bulb went off in the old noggin.

Now, if we are honest, we all like to work smarter not harder and save time along the way; with that said I decided just to crack this utility open and give it a shot.

Let’s Go

First thing I needed to do was fire up SQL Search inside SSMS. To do this and for the sake of explaining I will be showing this use case on my local, because well, we shouldn’t be showing the world our prod servers now should we! As you can see below firing up SQL Search is simple an easy. While on my local instance if I click on the SQL Search highlighted icon it will bring me to my SQL Search screen where I can then expound on my search criteria.

FiringUp

I had to define my search; I knew a phrase in my job but didn’t know the whole name….so with that said typing in what I knew and not selecting the exact match I knew would pull back the full job name; or so I thought.

 

Phrase

Now this is where it gets really good and makes the SQL Professor very happy. RedGate decided to go on and throw job search functionality into their updated utility. If you click on the All Object Type drop down you will see a Server Object called jobs. Simply go ahead and check that. Now for my use case I went on ahead and checked them all.

Jobs

So, what have we done up to this point is type in our phrase, ensure the jobs server object is check then it’s giddy up and go time. After letting the search occur in all databases I find the results I’m looking for:

JobResults

My job name pulled back along with the actual step detail. Whoa wait, I had no clue I’d get the detail with it as well. Hats off RedGate this is something that every Data Professional can utilize and is a tool that saves time. It took me less than a minute to do a quick search and pull the information that I required.

Like What You See?

Listen, this just is one avenue in which RedGate has enhanced this product. I’m an everyday Data Professional that goes into work everyday and wants to work efficiently. Check this product out for yourself here

Some of the other enhancements made are:

  • Search in jobs
  • Select multiple object types and databases to search in
  • Improved indexing
  • Search with % wildcards
  • Search with Boolean operators

I tell you what; check out what my other colleagues have to say on the matter and how they have benefited from this utility:

If you want to read more about the newly released SQL Search, don’t forget to check out these blog posts:

 

On a SQL Collaboration Quest

Four SQL professionals gathered from the four corners of the world to share their SQL knowledge with each other and with their readers: Mickey Stuewe from California, USA, Chris Yates from Kentucky, USA, Julie Koesmarno from Canberra, Australia, and Jeffrey Verheul from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. They invite you to join them on their quest as they ask each other questions and seek out the answers in this collaborative blog series. Along the way, they will also include other SQL professionals to join in the collaboration.