Marathon Schedule

Categories: News, Professional, Running
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 30, 2010

Finally I am putting down to paper my marathon race list for this season. Some of my favorite races are Hurricane Half Marathon, HobbleCreek Half Marathon, Top of Utah Half Marathon, Top of Utah Marathon, St. George Marathon, and the Deseret News (Pioneer Days) Marathon. My normal season would have included all of those races. This year I already missed the Hurrican Half (it used to be a late summer race and now is in the Spring). I also find it unlikely to do the Deseret News Marathon.

That leaves me with TOU Half, TOU, St George, and Hobblecreek from my favorites list.

The Dates for these races are:

HobbleCreek – Aug. 21, 2010

TOU Half – Aug. 28, 2010

TOU – Sep. 18, 2010

St. George – Oct. 2, 2010 (subject to lottery).

One more race that I would like to do is the Tucson Marathon.  It is Dec. 12, 2010.  I would like to do this one, but may have to find a Marathon either further out in the year or one closer to home (like the LV Marathon).

I am not sure about the week separation for HobbleCreek and TOU/2 – especially with travel involved.  However, these are great races and I really would love to get back to doing them.

My goals are still to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I would like to do that this year.

There is one more Marathon I haven’t done that I am considering.  They have a full and a half and it is in Mesquite Nevada.  This marathon used to be called the Tri-State Marathon due to the course.  It has been re-branded as the Mesquite Marathon.  This one will be held November 20, 2010 which works well with my schedule.

Blog Script Nuances

Categories: Blogging
Tags:
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 30, 2010

I recently ran across an issue that is really annoying. I use a plugin to display my TSQL scripts in the original formatting. Unfortunately it does not maintain that original formatting in all areas.

The specific case I ran into deals with the word “TEXT.” When using that word as a part of a FOR XML Path statement, it gets upper cased. Upper case version of text is not a valid command for the FOR XML Path statement. It will cause an error. The code still showed it as lower case when I went to edit it, but the display of the code was what was changed.

The only workaround is to leave a note stating that it should be LCASE instead of UCASE.

Exercise Catch up

Categories: Running
Tags:
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 30, 2010

Well, once again I haven’t been very diligent in posting exercise success.

Quick recap – this week I did 10.75 miles on tuesday and 5.25 miles on thursday. Monday and wednesday were strength and conditioning.

I was toasted after the Tuesday workout. I maintained about 170HR and 7m27 per mile. Now I need to start transferring that to the roads.

Thursday workout was about 7m31 per mile. I wanted to take it easy but I have a hard time with that.

BLOB Index Columns

Tags: , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 27, 2010

For the April T-SQL Tuesday, I blogged about a report to find information on the BLOBs in a database.  I have since seen a request to add to that script.  The addition would add some good information concerning the columns involved in a BLOB index.  This information is to find all of the columns that are involved in the index that includes a BLOB in the index.

Base Script

In that article I posted a script to help arrive at the final report.  There were a couple of things required for the setup.  I am including all of that information here in a single script.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

In this script, I made a slight alteration from the article I posted.  In that article, I somehow missed a change to the script I had been testing.  That change is in the Temp table that I created (to properly support the Join statements on each side of the Union Select statement).  I simply added the object_id.

The Change

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

The guts of the change to add in the columns for this script comes with the following segment of code.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

With that snippet, I also needed to Join it to the select statements, and thus it was added on both sides of the Union statement as illustrated in the next example.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

In the above CTE, you will note that I used the STUFF function along with a FOR XML Path statement.  The combination of these statements allows one to concatenate a list into a comma separated list as I have done with the ColList (column list) column.  I also want to note here that I am using the text() keyword along with the FOR XML Path.  There are other methods of returning information back to the screen when using FOR XML Path.  I chose to use the text() in this case because I am just returning a concatenated list of columns that really only should read as text.  If I were returning a SQL statement, I would choose a different method to make the text more readable.

Conclusion

I chose to make this subtle change via the CTE due to the ease of understanding and readability of the code for me.  By illustrating the columns involved in an index that is on a BLOB column, one can gain greater insight into the use of the database.  I am glad that this change was requested because it makes sense to me.

I hope you find it useful.

Edit: Made a correction to the first script

Index Stats Duplication

Tags: ,
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 21, 2010

I came across a recent posting about seeing multiple entries in sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats for the same index.  This kind of behavior can be somewhat concerning since that view should have a unique entry for each index.  As described by Microsoft, this view

“Returns counts of different types of index operations and the time each type of operation was last performed.”

You can read more about it here.  Further in the same document, one will read

“When an index is used, a row is added to sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats if a row does not already exist for the index. When the row is added, its counters are initially set to zero.”

Thus, I started checking to see if I could reproduce the same sort of results.  While investigating, I determined that I should Join that view to the sys.indexes view.  Since the sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats view does not contain an Index Name, I felt it necessary to be able to see the name and not just a number.

My first run at the query to try and reproduce the results is displayed below.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

Well this appears to produce results that are consistent with the description offered by Microsoft.  So I wanted to verify and added a windowing function into the mix.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

You will notice the line with Row_Number().  This gives me a count of each time that IndexName appears in the system view.  Well, now having verified further, I still have results consistent with the documentation from Microsoft.  I decided to work backwards from this script (yeah I know).  I will reduce the number of fields I have returned and try to get a duplication on a base level and then re-expand the fields being gathered.  The next stab at this looked like the following script.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

So for this revision, I simply removed any of the counter fields and the group by clause.  I was hoping that my Group By would reveal the answer.  Lo and behold, I am still unable to reproduce the results.  Ok, time to trim a little bit more as I work backward trying to create the same results.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

This time, I removed a Join condition of s.database = db_id() and the database_id and DatabaseName.  When I run the query now, I start to see the same results.  So the immediate indicator to me is that there is a duplication of indexes but not within the same database.  The duplication appears across different databases.  To verify, I know need to expand my query just a bit.

[codesyntax lang=”tsql”]

[/codesyntax]

Here, I was able to verify that the places where RowNum did not equal one – I had an index in a different database by the same name.  Not only is the index name the same, but the Object holding that index is also the same in the other database.  Now, if I want, I can expand my query all the way back to the original query knowing that I verified that the entries in sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats are unique for each index.  The conclusion I would draw from this exercise is that a query can have an impact on the results displayed.  One should check and then double check to make sure the results jive.  Try the query a few different ways and see if the results are consistent.  If not, what factor in the query was changed that changed your results?

Or is it?

While exploring this further I decided to verify some of the objects in different databases.  For instance, I might see the object being reported in the ReportServer database, and then also in msdb and then again in another database.  But the object only exists in ReportServer.  Why is this happening?  My thoughts on this are currently just an educated guess.  It appears that a connection is established in one database and then makes a call to an object in a second database and causing a use against the actual index in the call to the second database.  The record gets inserted into the metadata tables that this view pulls from with each database that was touched – but each time with the object_id and index_id of the second database.  Does that make sense?

SQL 2008 R2

Categories: News, Professional
Tags:
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 21, 2010

Really short post here.  I just found out that Stacia Misner (blog |blog 2 | @StaciaMisner) and Ross Mistry have released the SQL 2008 R2 book.  I knew this book was in the works from speaking to Stacia over the last few months (she’s in my UG).  Anyway, the book is available for free download.

Check it out, it should be well worth it.

Stepping Stone Cert II (ssp)

Tags: No Tags
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 20, 2010

Back on March 30, I wrote about a Stepping Stone Certification that seems to be missing between the MCM and MCITP.  I had planned on keeping regular updates about the topic on my blog and have been slacking a bit.  It is certainly time to post an update.

Since that post, the forum chatter has slowed a bit, but it has also been more focused.  Yes, we recently ran into a lull – but that is not an indication of the direction we hope to push with this effort.  We had been tossing the name MCJ around – that has changed.  Jack Corbett has posted a blog on the same topic, you can find his post here.  There has also been mention of it by Steve Jones in his blog here.

Recap

So what have we been up to?  We have been discussing the items listed under “Bridging the Gap” in my first article on the subject.

We have also been working on trying to spread the word and get a better feel for what the community wants and sees fit.  Several of us have taken the topic to our Users’ Groups and presented the idea.  There has been good feedback from those groups and many are on par with what we have discussed so far.  The biggest consensus is that the MCITP means little to nothing to a lot of SQL Server Professionals, and the MCM is too restrictive for many to even attempt.  Along these same lines, a SURVEY has been setup with a few questions to get a general feel for how the community thinks the certification should be handled.  We really want this survey to reach as many people as possible.  The more input, the more valid the findings would be.  Please take the survey – and pass it along to anybody else who you know.

We have also come to a decision that we need more help from the community in getting this thing rolling.  This is a volunteer type effort and would be a pretty big commitment.  It could mean quite a bit of change for the community as well.  More information on that will be forthcoming.

We also think there is a need to find a good name for the certification.  We do not believe at this juncture that the MCJ would be an appropriate name.  It should be something to designate that the certification is specific to SQL Server, but that it is not endorsed / sponsored by Microsoft (Microsoft would likely not be implementing this very soon).

Specifics

Time In Service

A general consensus on this topic was reached with the following criteria.  The candidate would sign a statement attesting to this.

The candidate attests to a minimum of 18 months hands-on experience in SQL Server. Willfully misrepresenting (lying) about this is subject to a permanent revocation of this certification.

This does NOT mean an equivalent of 18 months of 8 hr days with hands-on experience; this means 18 months of any hands-on experience. This can be as a developer, DBA, or in BI (SSAS/SSIS/SSRS).

Review Board

The review board should be a panel of 3-5 people (with a preference for an odd number).  The review board may consist of people from local chapters, at least one member of the review board must be a disinterested party (not from the local chapter).  These reviews may be done in person, via phone conference, and may or may not include an interview of the candidate.  Anybody on the review board will be required to sign an NDA as well as some confidentiality agreements.  This would be a volunteer type position.  Those we have discussed as being qualified to be on the board would be 1.  MVPs, 2. Individuals already holding the certification, 3. Recognized industry Gurus on the topic.  These review boards may also be potentially performed at User Conferences.

The review board will need to review all materials pertinent to the candidate being certified.  This includes reviewing the Time in Service, Labs, presentation reviews / scores, interview, and exam scores.

Renewal

There are three facets to renewal.  The first facet is a need for continuing education credits.  The idea here is that the candidate will continue to contribute in the community, provide evidence of the contributions or retake exams to maintain certification.  The second facet is that the candidate will have a review after a period of time (not yet determined as to the interval of the renewal requirement) by the review board.  The third facet is closely tied to the first two facets – a review is required for any elective exams taken after the initial certification.  These exams may be counted as continuing education credits.

Focus Areas for Exams

There is a need to test candidates in specific areas of SQL Server.  However, a candidate need not take all of these exams.  There should be a set of core exams and then some electives.  The electives allow you to add an emphasis to your certification much the same as many Bachelors Degree programs (i.e. MCJ with an Emphasis in DR/HA).

TSQL

  • Basic ANSI SQL
  • T-SQL Enhancements (from 2005/2008)
  • High performing T-SQL – Covering improvements that avoid RBAR type solutions and write code that performs extremely well.

HA / DR

  • Clustering
  • Mirroring
  • Log-Shipping
  • Backup / Restore
  • Replication

Administration

  • DMV
  • T-SQL
  • Backup / Restore
  • Indexing
  • Performance Tuning
  • Execution Plans
  • Corruption
  • Notification Services
  • Troubleshooting?

BI

  • SSIS
  • SSRS
  • SSAS Administration
  • SSAS Development

SSBS – SQL Server Service Broker

  • Not sure where to place this one.  I can see it fitting in a few spots.

Development

  • CLR
  • PowerShell
  • TSQL

It has also been noted that we need to develop a curriculum with specific study materials and resources.

Conclusion

There are more areas to add.  We need more input on what needs to be added.  These are the groupings and notes I have to date.  I am sure I have missed something – however, this is a good amount of information.  So far, we have had some really good discussions.  We have many more good discussions to come.  I hope that this process takes on a high adoption rate and is accepted by the community.

Stepping Stone Cert II

Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: April 20, 2010

Back on March 30, I wrote about a Stepping Stone Certification that seems to be missing between the MCM and MCITP.  I had planned on keeping regular updates about the topic on my blog and have been slacking a bit.  It is certainly time to post an update.

Since that post, the forum chatter has slowed a bit, but it has also been more focused.  Yes, we recently ran into a lull – but that is not an indication of the direction we hope to push with this effort.  Currently there are two threads at SQLServerCentral that discuss this middle ground certification.  We had been tossing the name MCJ around – that has changed.  You can find the threads here and here.  Jack Corbett has also posted a blog on the same topic, you can find his post here.  There has also been mention of it by Steve Jones in his blog here.

Recap

So what have we been up to?  We have been discussing the items listed under “Bridging the Gap” in my first article on the subject.

We have also been working on trying to spread the word and get a better feel for what the community wants and sees fit.  Several of us have taken the topic to our Users’ Groups and presented the idea.  There has been good feedback from those groups and many are on par with what we have discussed so far.  The biggest consensus is that the MCITP means little to nothing to a lot of SQL Server Professionals, and the MCM is too restrictive for many to even attempt.  Along these same lines, a SURVEY has been setup with a few questions to get a general feel for how the community thinks the certification should be handled.  We really want this survey to reach as many people as possible.  The more input, the more valid the findings would be.  Please take the survey – and pass it along to anybody else who you know.

We have also come to a decision that we need more help from the community in getting this thing rolling.  This is a volunteer type effort and would be a pretty big commitment.  It could mean quite a bit of change for the community as well.  More information on that will be forthcoming.

We also think there is a need to find a good name for the certification.  We do not believe at this juncture that the MCJ would be an appropriate name.  It should be something to designate that the certification is specific to SQL Server, but that it is not endorsed / sponsored by Microsoft (Microsoft would likely not be implementing this very soon).

Specifics

Time In Service

A general consensus on this topic was reached with the following criteria.  The candidate would sign a statement attesting to this.

The candidate attests to a minimum of 18 months hands-on experience in SQL Server. Willfully misrepresenting (lying) about this is subject to a permanent revocation of this certification.

 

This does NOT mean an equivalent of 18 months of 8 hr days with hands-on experience; this means 18 months of any hands-on experience. This can be as a developer, DBA, or in BI (SSAS/SSIS/SSRS).

Review Board

The review board should be a panel of 3-5 people (with a preference for an odd number).  The review board may consist of people from local chapters, at least one member of the review board must be a disinterested party (not from the local chapter).  These reviews may be done in person, via phone conference, and may or may not include an interview of the candidate.  Anybody on the review board will be required to sign an NDA as well as some confidentiality agreements.  This would be a volunteer type position.  Those we have discussed as being qualified to be on the board would be 1.  MVPs, 2. Individuals already holding the certification, 3. Recognized industry Gurus on the topic.  These review boards may also be potentially performed at User Conferences.

The review board will need to review all materials pertinent to the candidate being certified.  This includes reviewing the Time in Service, Labs, presentation reviews / scores, interview, and exam scores.

Renewal

There are three facets to renewal.  The first facet is a need for continuing education credits.  The idea here is that the candidate will continue to contribute in the community, provide evidence of the contributions or retake exams to maintain certification.  The second facet is that the candidate will have a review after a period of time (not yet determined as to the interval of the renewal requirement) by the review board.  The third facet is closely tied to the first two facets – a review is required for any elective exams taken after the initial certification.  These exams may be counted as continuing education credits.

Focus Areas for Exams

There is a need to test candidates in specific areas of SQL Server.  However, a candidate need not take all of these exams.  There should be a set of core exams and then some electives.  The electives allow you to add an emphasis to your certification much the same as many Bachelors Degree programs (i.e. MCJ with an Emphasis in DR/HA).

TSQL

  • Basic ANSI SQL
  • T-SQL Enhancements (from 2005/2008)
  • High performing T-SQL – Covering improvements that avoid RBAR type solutions and write code that performs extremely well.

HA / DR

  • Clustering
  • Mirroring
  • Log-Shipping
  • Backup / Restore
  • Replication

Administration

  • DMV
  • T-SQL
  • Backup / Restore
  • Indexing
  • Performance Tuning
  • Execution Plans
  • Corruption
  • Notification Services
  • Troubleshooting?
  • Event Notifications
  • Query Notifications

BI

  • SSIS
  • SSRS
  • SSAS Administration
  • SSAS Development

SSBS – SQL Server Service Broker

  • Not sure where to place this one.  I can see it fitting in a few spots.

Development

  • CLR
  • PowerShell
  • TSQL

It has also been noted that we need to develop a curriculum with specific study materials and resources.

Conclusion

There are more areas to add.  We need more input on what needs to be added.  These are the groupings and notes I have to date.  I am sure I have missed something – however, this is a good amount of information.  So far, we have had some really good discussions.  We have many more good discussions to come.  I hope that this process takes on a high adoption rate and is accepted by the community.

Edit:  added Event Notifications and Query Notifications (left Notification Services though it is not in 2008)

Cardio 2010.04.16

Categories: Running
Tags:
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 16, 2010

Just an hour of cardio today.  Kept heart rate above 150.  Decent workout.

Exercise update 4.15.2010

Categories: Running
Tags:
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 15, 2010

Well, it has been quite a while since I last updated on my exercise routine.  Some of that is due to being caught up in the work routine and not exercising.  Some of that is because I started to question whether I should be blogging that information like that.  Posting what time you exercise and then if it becomes a pattern – seems to be very predictable.

Both are lame excuses.

I have resumed exercise.  I am working on a routine currently and am about to take that routine up to two-a-days.  I like two-a-day workouts.  They are hard on the body – but the rewards are high.  I am hoping that it will be enough to kick my butt into gear for a while.  Then I will back off to single workouts and then back to two-a-days in preparation for marathon season.  I will allow myself two to three weeks (off two-a-days) before the first marathon to let the body recover.

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