Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ada Lovelace Day 2014 - My Heroes - #tsql2sday

 Well here it is, Tuesday again and another installment of #TSQL2sday this time brought to you by Tracy McGibben (t|b) in honor of Ada Lovelace Day! Many bloggers today will write in honor of her accomplishments and where we are in technology today because of her work. Cool stuff :)

While Ada is certainly one of my personal Women In Tech heroes, there are many others who have paved a path more recently contributing to my career in tech. I couldn't write about heroes without a significant nod to my Mother who raised two girls on her own in a time when being a single parent was seriously frowned upon and without a higher education. Mom, you will always be the pinnacle of inspiration for me!

This year, I want to honor those wonderful women I have worked with in the past 12 or so months. Whether you realize it or not, you all have inspired me in one way or another, specifically professionally. Without further ado, my list of inspiring women:

Hope Foley (@hope_foley) - Hope's work ethic alone is enough to inspire anyone!
Kathi Kellenberger (@auntkathi) - Kathi's ability to take any technological problem and break it down into understandable pieces is something I aspire to do!
Ginger Grant (@DesertIsleSQL) - Ginger can tackle any problem put before her with finesse and polish!
Melissa Coates (@SQLChick) - Melissa loves what she does and it shows in everything she presents!
Kim Hathaway - Kim knows her stuff and she is never afraid to share her expertise!
Kathy Vick - Kathy knows more about SQL Server (the whole stack) than anyone I've met. It doesn't matter what questions I come up with, Kathy has an answer!

Thanks, ladies for being an inspiration and making me want to be a better Woman In Technology.

Monday, October 6, 2014

SQL Server in Azure : Additional Storage

When you provision a SQL Server virtual machine (VM) in Azure, by default you are given two drives:

The C:\ volume is, as you would expect, where all of the system files and system databases have been created. As a DBA, I know I don't usually want to store my database and log files on the root directory. Call it habit, but it still doesn't seem like the right thing to do, even in Azure. Plus, there is only about half the drive available anyway. That is not going to scale as my database files grow. Time to look elsewhere.

The D:\ volume looks very tempting at 192 GB of free space! To be fair, the size varies depending on the server size you choose - this example used a D4 VM allocation. Officially, MSFT states that this drive is used to save the system paging file. While you can save files here, it is at your own risk. Since this drive could and likely will be recreated on occasion, anything you save there will be lost. Remember these are VMs, and any reason for the VM to move to a different host will cause the D:\ drive to be rebuilt. Full details regarding the "Temporary Storage" can be found on the Microsoft Azure Support Team Blog.

Okay, so let's create our own, persistent storage for this server. This way, we can determine what allocation to use. It is very simple, just locate your VM, and select it. You can do this from either the Virtual Machines dashboard, or the individual VM dashboard. 

Just make sure you have the correct machine selected before you "Attach". You will be prompted to choose a size for disk, and that's all you need to go! Now, when you connect to your SQL VM, you will see the additional Data drive on E:\. You can attach multiple drives, so if you want to isolate your log files and TempDB as you would normally on-premises, you can.

So, how much is this going to cost? At the time of this writing, storage in Azure is really on the reasonable, if not downright cheap, side.

Depending on how much Azure-related redundancy you want to configure for your additional drives, you can pay as little as $0.024 per GB (up to 1 TB). Yes, that is UNDER 3 cents per GB - per month. So, let's say you need 100 GB, over a year's time, that will cost you $7.20 x 12 months = $19.20. That's it!

Full pricing on Storage and information on redundancy can be found here: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/storage/

I hope to continue my SQL Server in Azure series over the next serveral months, so thanks for stopping by and check back again!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PASS Summit 2014....here it comes!

Once again, the PASS community will come together in Seattle for the annual Summit. If you haven't registered yet, there is still time (the countdown is on)!

For those who have not attended previously, there are some things you should know about visiting Seattle and making it through Summit with the best possible experience. To that end, PASS is putting together a series of 'Get to Know Your Community' sessions throughout the event. Hear from these great SQL Community voices on how to get the most of out Summit and your PASS membership! Full details can be found on the PASS Summit Schedule page.
Kevin Kline  |  Mark Broadbent & Buck Woody  |  Jose Rivera  |  Wendy Pastrick
Jes Borland & Kendal VanDyke  |  Ryan Adams  |  PASS Program Committee 
 I also have some tips and thoughts to share. Before you leave home, a little prep work will make your trip better. There are a few things I like to do before Summit:

  1. Get a flu shot. It's a long week of shaking hands and making new friends, so I'm scheduling my flu shot for 2 weeks before Summit arrival.
  2. ELECTION TIME! In the USA, it's time to vote, so make sure you do your civic duty and get that Absentee ballot in. You will be in Seattle on election day.
Packing Tips
  1. Shoes - you will be walking. Bring comfortable shoes. Bring a spare pair of shoes. The Convention Center is massive and just about everything in the evenings is a short walk.
  2. Don't bother with an umbrella. Many of the buildings downtown have awnings for the misty, drippy substance that falls down most of the time. It is rare to have a full downpour, although it HAS happened and if you need to go more than a few blocks, just catch a cab. Best idea - bring a coat with a hood!
  3. Ladies - consider a small purse you can wear under your jacket, or opt for pockets only when going out for the evening. 
Seattle is a really awesome city. My father lived there for several years and I got to know the area well over that time. This year will make 11 (12?) years I've been attending Summit. There are some tips and info I'd like to share to make your stay more enjoyable.

  • Take the train! When you arrive at SEATAC airport, you could hop in a cab and it will be about $40-60 to your hotel and will take about 30 minutes. Another great option is the Central Link Light Rail which will run you $2.75. The ride is about 40-45 minutes and if you come in on Sunday, you might get to witness all the Seahawks fans going to watch the game.
  • Pike's Place Market is a Must See. After your full day of brain stuffing, walk down the short 6-7 blocks from the Convention Center toward the Sound, and you can't miss Pike's Place area. Tons of food options (watch out for flying fish!) and catacombs of shopping to explore here! This is the perfect spot to pick up those souvenirs to take home. 
  • A host of other museums and fun spots abound (Space Needle, Science Museum, etc). Check them out here and learn how to access them via the Monorail!
  • Eat Seafood! You are in Seattle, and many awesome restaurants are along the piers - just down, down, down the stairs from Pike's Market. Grab a group of your new SQL friends and have a nice dinner out.
  • Go off the beaten path and hit up some clubs in the Pioneer Square area, or check out some local breweries, or - you do know that Seattle has awesome bands, right? A host of spots can be found on Seattle Nightlife.

Nightlife around Summit is the best time to meet people in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. There are a few places you are bound to see many Summit attendees.
  • Tap House Grill, not even a block from the Sheraton, is open late and anyone still out after midnight often will congregate here.
  • Bush Garden is the #sqlkaraoke spot. This one is a good walk for those so inclined, but many take a cab. Singing not required. Just go and have a good time!
  • Speaking of #sqlkaraoke, Mr. Denny Cherry and SIOS host another party on Tuesday night.
  • Many vendor parties spring up as the dates draw nearer. If you don't hear about them beforehand, don't worry - many give out wristbands or tickets at the Exhibitor Reception or just by stopping in at the booth before the evening festivities.
  • A whole list of After Hours Events are posted on the Summit site, too! This is updated frequently, and some require RSVP, so check back now and then.
Get out, meet people, enjoy the evenings; this is what makes Summit the best conference for SQL professionals! 

Final note - as with any major city, keep your wits about you as you are getting around. Don't walk around with your nose and eyes in your smartphone. There are a lot, and I mean a LOT of homeless people in the downtown area. They will constantly hit you up for a dollar, or whatever. Mostly they don't cause any trouble, but it's always best to walk with purpose, keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.

I'm looking forward to meeting you in Seattle. Just stop by the Community Zone and say "Hi!"