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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.

A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.




Are Windows Containers a Good Choice?

I like containers. I think they're the future of the SQL Server data platform. I also think this is likely on Linux, with Linux versions of SQL Server. You might disagree, and that's fine, but that is where I see this moving over time. Why? I ran across a great post from Joey D'Antoni of DCAC that outlines one reason: Kubernetes. This is the way we will start to orchestrate SQL Server instances in the future, whether disparate or scaled-out, and this is really Linux technology. If you go...


The AI Manager

One of the advantages of a computer is that it will handle repetitive tasks very well. That's one reason the DevOps world pushes for automation of simple tasks, like compiling code or copying files between machines. We know the software will perform the task the same way every time, giving us a reliable, repeatable process. Even in many AI systems, the structure of the program ensures some level of reliability, though the actual actions or results may vary dramatically based on the...


DevOps and OSS Can Scale

Microsoft has changed quite dramatically in the last decade, in many ways. One of the more surprising ways to me is their embracing of open source software, while still building products that customers want and use. This is quite a change from the Microsoft that I knew back in the early 90s when I started working with SQL Server. Open Source software was seen as a complete anathema to the Microsoft way. One of the very interesting ways that Microsoft works in the open is their use of GitHub...


The Changing Nature of Data

Are addresses sensitive or private information? It's a good question to ask since many of us have address data in our databases. I asked this recently at a SQL in the City event and the room was split. I come down on the side of "no", for addresses in and of themselves. After all, the domain of addresses is known. It's public information in most every country.A few people pointed out that while the address isn't private data, when it's linked to a particular person, it is private. It's not...


Ransomware and DevOps

Ransomware.A scary topic and one attack that is apparently more common than I suspected. Before you go further, if you haven't restored a database backup in the last month, stop and go verify your DR plan works. That's one of the overconfident issues facing lots of government and businesses. While this might not help your entire organization, at least you'll have some confidence in your process and that you can recover a database. Read the rest of Ransomware and DevOps


Learning to Stop Being a Hero

A few weeks ago I re-published a piece on whether we might be giving too much of ourselves for our employers. At the time I was on holiday with my family and since this was a popular piece years ago, I decided to run it again. I was surprised at the response, with quite a few individuals writing about their experiences in their current positions. A good friend of mine read the editorial and then sent me a link to a post by Paul Cunningham that looks at the IT hero. This talks about some of...


Waking Up to No Support

When you wake up on July 10, SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be out of support. Microsoft has been talking about this for some time, there's been a Migration Tour from PASS with live events in quite a few cities, webinars, and more to let you know that you might want to upgrade to a supported version. While I typically think that systems that run are fine and don't necessarily need support, there are compliance and security concerns here. If you work in a regulated industry, you might...


The Clear Cloudy Future of Databases

One of the things I've advocated across the last few years is the need to learn more about the cloud and be aware of the database options. I have written many pieces, including asking the question of whether or not you should be thinking cloud first. More and more companies are thinking that way, as you can see in the revenue growth from Azure, AWS, and GCP. This is a trend that is continuing to grow and I doubt it will stop anytime soon. I see many management and technical people more...


Summer Break

This feels like a strange day in the summer, with a holiday yesterday (Fourth of July) and the weekend starting tonight. This is similar to the Friday after the US Thanksgiving holiday, which is usually a day when very little gets accomplished in most offices. I'll be a little more productive at home than I would be in an office, but I'll still have a bit of a holiday lull from yesterday and a weekend coming up. Actually, maybe I'll get plenty done since I'm sure my body is tired after...


Fines for Data Access

Most of us know about the principle of least privilege. After I wrote about network segmentation recently, I'd hope that most of us know that limiting access to production data from all workstations might also be a good idea. Many of us also know that unusual patterns of access might indicate an issue. I wonder how many of us have a system in place to look for unusual access, especially this is something that might help us prevent, or at least detect, potential hacking activities. I wonder...


Balancing Hard and Soft Skills

Many of us would prefer that the technology industry were a strict meritocracy. One where we get opportunities and are compensated according to our skills. We learn to code better, or manage more systems, and we're seen as more valuable (and rewarded appropriately). Or maybe many of us would prefer that things stay the same, since we might worry that we'd be paid less because our skills aren't as sharp as our co-workers or our competition for that next job. In any case, we don't work in a...


CCPA Preparation

There's an old Ron White joke about a small airport also being the tire repair center and hair salon. I thought about that when I saw a law firm became a software developer. I don't know what other enterprise might make a fun trio of businesses, but perhaps a sunglasses shop? Divorces, software, and a new look? The CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). takes effect in less than a year. This is a law based on the GDPR, and the first strong attempt to regulate data in the United States. I...


The Road to Better Data Handling

Recently I was on an internal communication thread with multiple people at Redgate Software. We have various ways to keep our (semi-) distributed teams in touch with one another and handle issues. While email works, I think many people like Slack better for quick discussions. I appreciate that as a remote worker since I'm not around to hear a conversation around a desk. To be fair, with a busy staff, others often aren't as well, so a thread in Slack often saves details others can see...


The Non Profit Cloud

I ran across someone awhile ago that works with a nonprofit charity. The organization was seeking to move some of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. This person was wondering if Azure had any discounts or programs for charities, and it didn't appear there was any type of program when I looked. That was disappointing as many charities work hard to help those affected in some way, but budgets and money are always tight. I wish I'd know at the time that Microsoft had announced a program...


Spread the Word about Basic Security

I went with my daughter the other day to set up her bank account. She's now an adult and this is one of those items we need to get done, especially in today's world of electronic banking and money transfers. It's time she takes another step towards being responsible and accountable for her finances. As we went through the process, one of the steps was her setting up an account with the online presence of this bank. I told her to be sure to use a new password, one not in use anywhere. She...


Killing FTS

In almost every application that I've helped build, we had a need to perform textual searches of fields. Sometimes this was in short fields, like names, where we usually needed some sort of wildcard search to let users find information. When we got to larger volumes of text, such as note or description fields, it was essential that the application allow a way to find information that doesn't exactly match some term. SQL Server has had the Full-Text Search (FTS) subsystem for a long time....


Practice Those Scripts

I've written lots of scripts that were deployed to production. I've often had another set of eyes look them over, and still, we made mistakes. In fact, a recent Salesforce outage was blamed on a poorly written database script that gave users more rights than they should have gotten. There wasn't an actual outage caused by the script, but since customers might have been able to see data and change from other customers, Salesforce took its own service down to prevent anyone from doing...


Technology Flows Downstream

A few years ago, I was listening a session on Azure SQL Data Warehouse at an event. At the time, one of the features I found fascinating was the separation of the storage from the compute portions of the service. We could load a lot of data in the system and pay for the storage, but we could spin up and down compute nodes to essentially scale out query processing to match our workloads. Azure Data Lake has something similar, and I was excited. I wasn't excited about ASDW or ASDL because I...


An Alert Philosophy

Many of you reading this will be responsible in some way for managing a system. This might be a test/development system or a production one, but often you want to know how well the system is working. Or maybe you want to know if the system is working at all. Even developers care if their server is up. There are plenty of ways to get information about a server. Some of us monitor in an automated fashion, some of us check when we think something is wrong, but no matter what you do, you are...


Upgrading Your OS

I loved Windows 7. I haven't felt that way about many of the Windows systems. I tolerated 3.1, preferring DOS and Solaris at the time. Windows 95 was great, with me skipping Windows 98 after installing it on a few PCs at work. I thought Windows 2000 was OK, and did really like XP. I avoided Vista, running XP until I got a beta of Win 7. Then I thought Microsoft had made a great move, slimming down the OS and making it faster on the same hardware. I skipped Windows 8 and moved to Windows 10,...