Murder In Utah

I am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

goldspike

 

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 349 in Utah will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in this all day workshop event.  The session is one of two all day sessions for the event in Lehi, UT (just south of Salt Lake City).

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles at www.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Salt Lake City SQL Saturday site – here.  There are only 75 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $150 (plus fees) up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to tell your coworkers and friends.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Utah for this workshop, I will also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on October 25, 2014 (the day after the workshop which is Oct. 24, 2014).  You can view the available sessions here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some workshop sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Virtual Box is TOO Small

Comments: No Comments
Published on: August 5, 2014

I have been working on upgrading my laptop.  Since my laptop housed a bunch of my virtual machines for various presentations and labs, that means also upgrading and/or converting my virtual machines.

The new laptop is Windows 8.1.  With the new laptop I was interested in converting a bunch of my Virtual Box machines to Hyper-V machines.  That desire was put on hold after discovering that I needed to first convert the virtual disks and then import them.  That wasn’t what put me off to it for awhile though.

The fact that I had to install Virtual Box on the new laptop to do the conversion made it less desirable. You see, in order to make Virtual Box work, I had to uninstall Hyper-V from Windows 8.1 because HV disables settings that are required by Virtual Box to work.  Jumping through those hoops just makes me less inclined to hurry and try the conversion to Hyper-V.  Maybe someday down the road.

That said, with the new laptop supporting a resolution of 3200 x 1800, I found that my virtual machines started displaying extremely tiny resolutions.  No matter how I scaled the machine, the internal machine resolution was remaining tiny.

Come to find out, the virtual machine was using the 3200 x 1800 resolution of the host despite setting the virtual machine (internally) to resolution settings as low as 640 x 480 (which just produced a small window on the desktop).  In the settings for Virtual Box, I could not find a means to override that behavior.

What I did find though was a setting in the Windows 8.1 host control panel that affected the virtual machine size.  In the Display control panel there is a setting  saying “Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays”. That seems to help with this scaling issue.

As it appears, many applications automatically adjust the scaling on such a high resolution device.  Virtual Box does not automatically scale and just adopts the host machine resolution.  In my case, it was also always adopting the host machine max resolution.

I changed that setting, adjusted my resolution to 1920 x 1080, and then also adjusted the scaling factor to 150%.  This fixed the issue with the excessively small screen on the virtual machines.  Sure, I could have continued to use the windows “+” combination to zoom in an out constantly, but that was more of a hassle than convenience.

We’ll just have to see how it goes for the time being.  Maybe in a few weeks when I have time to try the Hyper-V conversion again, I will be able to jump back to the higher resolution.  We’ll find out then if that scaling issue is an issue for Hyper-V just as it is for Virtual Box.

Murder in Raleigh

sqlsat320_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

raleigh_traini

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 320 in Raleigh will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in this all day workshop event.  The session is one of two all day sessions for the event in Raleigh NC.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Raleigh SQL Saturday site – here.  There are only 25 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $110 (plus fees) up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to tell your coworkers and friends.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Raleigh for this workshop, I hope to also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on Sep 6 2014 (the day after the workshop which is Sep 5, 2014).  I hope to update with the selected session(s) when that information becomes available.

You can see more details about the topics lined up for this event – here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some workshop sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Murder In Denver

Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: July 14, 2014

sqlsat331_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

train

Time to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 331 in Denver will mark the next attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in this all day pre-con / workshop event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Denver CO.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Denver SQL site – here.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $125 up through the day of the event.  When you register, be sure to choose Wayne’s class.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Denver for the Precon, I hope to also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on Sep 20 2014 (the day after the precon which is Sep 19, 2014).  I hope to update with the selected session(s) when that information becomes available.

You can see more details about the topics lined up for this event – here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Murder in Richmond

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: February 6, 2014

sqlsat277_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

loco_stoppedsailingTime to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 277 in Richmond will mark the second attempt at what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in our first all day pre-con event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Richmond VA.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us.  You can find registration information and event details at the Richmond SQL site – here.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

The cost for the class is $99 if you register by February 20th, when they raise to $125.  When you register, be sure to choose Wayne’s class.

Wait, there’s more…

Not only will I be in Richmond for the Precon, I will also be presenting as a part of the SQLSaturday event on Mar 22 2014 (the day after the precon which is Mar 21, 2014).  I have the distinct pleasure of presenting a really fun topic.  My session on table compression was selected for the main event.  So, if you can’t make it out for the precon, at least come out for the main event.

You can see more details about the topics lined up for this event – here.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Murder They Wrote

Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: November 5, 2013

sqlsat233_webI am about to set sail on a new venture with my next official whistle stop.  This year has been plenty full of whistle stops and I plan on continuing.  You can read (in full) about previous whistle stops and why they are called whistle stops here.

Suffice it to say at this point that it all started with a comment about a sailing train a few months back.

loco_stoppedsailingTime to sink or sail, so to speak.  SQL Saturday 233 in Washington DC will mark the premier of what I hope to be a repeat performance – many times.  I will be tag-teaming with Wayne Sheffield in our first all day pre-con event.  The session is one of three all day sessions for the event in Chevy Chase, MD.

If you are a DBA or a database developer, this session is for you.  If you are managing a database and are experiencing performance issues, this session is a must.  We will chat with attendees about a horde of performance killers and other critical issues we have seen in our years working with SQL Server.  In short, some of these issues are pure murder on your database, DBA, developer and team in general.  We will work through many of these things and show some methods to achieve a higher state of database Zen.

Description

Join Microsoft Certified Masters, Wayne Sheffield and Jason Brimhall, as they examine numerous crazy implementations they have seen over the years, and how these implementations can be murder on SQL Server.  No topic is off limits as they cover the effects of these crazy implementations from performance to security, and how the “Default Blame Acceptors” (DBAs) can use alternatives to keep the developers, DBAs, bosses and even the end-users happy.

Presented by:

wayneWayne Sheffield, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, started working with xBase databases in the late 80’s. With over 20 years in IT, he has worked with SQL Server (since 6.5 in the late 90’s) in various dev/admin roles, with an emphasis in performance tuning. He is the author of several articles atwww.sqlservercentral.com, a co-author of SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Recipes, and enjoys sharing his knowledge by presenting at SQL PASS events and blogging at http://blog.waynesheffield.com/wayne

 

 

 

JasonBrimhall

Jason Brimhall has 10+ yrs experience and has worked with SQL Server from 6.5 through SQL 2012. He has experience in performance tuning, high transaction environments, as well as large environments.  Jason also has 18 years experience in IT working with the hardware, OS, network and even the plunger (ask him sometime about that). He is currently a Consultant and a Microsoft Certified Master(MCM). Jason is the VP of the Las Vegas User Group (SSSOLV).

 

 

 

 

Course Objectives

  1. Recognize practices that are performance pitfalls
  2. Learn how to Remedy the performance pitfalls
  3. Recognize practices that are security pitfalls
  4. Learn how to Remedy the security pitfalls
  5. Demos Demos Demos – scripts to demonstrate pitfalls and their remedies will be provided
  6. Have fun and discuss
  7. We might blow up a database

kaboom

 

There will be a nice mix of real world examples and some painfully contrived examples. All will have a good and useful point.

If you will be in the area, and you are looking for high quality content with a good mix of enjoyment, come and join us by registering at this eventbrite site.  There are only 30 seats available for this murder mystery theater.  Reserve yours now.

Between now and November 8th, the registration is discounted to $99 (plus transaction fees).  Use this code for the discount: SQLSATDC.

Shameless plug time

I present regularly at SQL Saturdays.  Wayne also presents regularly at SQL Saturdays.  If you are organizing an event and would like to fill some pre-con sessions, please contact either Wayne, myself or both of us for this session.

Join The SQL Crazy Train

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: September 13, 2013

viewfromsqltrain

One of the best lines I heard in the past few weeks was “That train has sailed.”  Combine that with a crazy schedule and we now have a SQL Crazy train that floats from event to event.

Next whistle stop is Providence Rhode Island at…

logo

 

Event Details

Event Date: September 21, 2013
Time: 8am – 6pm
Location: 1408 Division Rd East Greenwich, RI 02818
Directions: Available on the Location page
Twitter: Join the conversation with #sqlsat213

 

I was able to present at Providence last year and I have been lucky enough to have been asked back.  This year I will be giving two sessions, and they are the same sessions as last year.  Let’s see how well we can do this year.

I am looking forward to this trip.  There are a few people I haven’t seen for a while on the east coast.  This will afford me the opportunity to chat and network with these folks again.

If you visit the event website, you might even catch a glimpse of the featured speakers.

Here are some of the courses that stood out to me.  Sadly, some of them are in direct conflict with my presentation times.

Paresh Motiwala (twitter)

Database Forensics – Part 1 and 2

These are the days of increasing cyber and computer crimes. As DBAs and guardians of corporate data, it is your paramount duty to not only prevent any data loss but also discover lost , damaged or sabotaged data. But how can you do that without destroying evidence? Remember electronic evidence is extremely fragile. In this the first of the two part session, we will explore the following: 1. Fundamentals of Computer Forensics 2. Tools to use in Computer Forensics–Data Acquisition 3. Processing a crime scene 4. Network Forensics and Live Acquistions. 5. Submitting reports

Session Level: Advanced

 

Mike Hillwig (twitter)

What the VLF?

Experienced DBAs know that SQL Server stores data in data files and transaction log files. What is less commonly known is that the transaction log file is broken up into smaller segments known as Virtual Log Files, or VLFs. Having too many VLFs will cause performance to suffer. And having too few will cause backup performance to suffer. How do you strike the right balance? In this more advanced session, veteran DBA Mike Hillwig will show you what VLFs are, how they’re created, how to identify them, and how to strike the right balance between too few and too many.

Session Level: Advanced

 

DBA’s Rules for Dummies… And Developers

In many organizations, there is a rift between DBAs and developers. The root cause is that there isn’t often an established framework between what the DBAs need to manage the data and what developers need to help solve business problems. Many DBAs think that developers just write code without considering the impact to the data. And many developers think that DBA means ‘Dont’ Bother Asking.” In this session for developers, veteran production DBA Mike Hillwig will help you understand the DBA’s needs in order to help you bridge that gap in your organization and work better to help solve business problems.

Session Level: Beginner

 

Sebastian Meine (twitter)

15 aspects of SQL Server indexes that you might not know

You probably know that indexes make you queries faster. But do you know why? Knowing how the different index types work under the covers will help you make the right decisions when (re-)designing you indexing strategy. After attending this demo rich session you will be able to – Explain the differences between SQL Servers 9 “index” types – Identify the layout of SQL Server data on disk – Decide which index types are the right ones to use for a given query – Assess the impact of the Key on access speed

Session Level: Intermediate

I am curious about the forensics.  I am intrigued about the presentation that Sebastian is doing on indexes.  I want to sit in on Mike Hillwigs topics because I heard he wants to be ribbed and heckled.  Both of Mike’s sessions are at the same time as mine.  I’ll have to catch him some other time. Unless…

DB Forensics 2 and Sebastian’s presentation are at the same time, so I will only be able to hit one of those two as well.

That means, I will probably float around from session to session or in the hallways or maybe in a lounge somewhere to either network or talk shop with anybody who might be doing the same thing.  There are a lot of good sessions and it is really hard to play favorites and pick just one and sit in that the whole time. ;)

So I have to ask. Will you be joining the SQL Crazy Train at our whistle stop in Providence? If so, come say hi and we can chat.

Fast Starts

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: January 8, 2013

We are barely under way with the New Year and it is shaping up to be a busier year already.  Not quite as busy as has been published by the folks at Confio – but busy nonetheless.

The first thing up for me is to get my SQL Learn on.  I will be joining a bunch of geeks and some of their families for a week at sea.  Yes, you heard that correctly – at sea.

I will be SQLCruising out of Miami through the Caribbean.  This should be a good learning/relaxing SQLcation.  Yes Tim, I took a little liberty to add the water ripple to that logo.  Just getting excited to be on the water and rippling water helps.  It’s almost time to go pack for this trip.

Right after I get back from Cruising, I will be in Albuquerque for SQL Saturday 183.  I will be joining people like Steve Jones, Aaron Bertrand, Tjay Belt, Denny Cherry, Ben Miller and a host of other talented people.  You can see the schedule here.

Here is what I am thinking about attending.

Time Presenter Topic
8:30 AM Jeff Renz Data Vault Data Warehouse Architecture
10:00 AM Carlos Bossy Using Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server 2012
11:15 AM I will be presenting
1:45 PM Rob Mandeville Virtualizing our Environment
3:00 PM Michael Fal Exposing the Core: SQL 2012 on Server Core
4:15 PM Chris Shaw Outages: Dispatchers, Cops and Detectives

That brings us to early February.  At some point I expect to retake the Lab exam in February or March.  And then I expect to be presenting at a couple more SQL Saturdays within the next few months.

On the Twelfth Day…

Bacon wrapped frog legs (twelve of them) for Christmas.  No more drumming for these guys!!

What could be better than bacon wrapped frog legs?  Oh yeah, more Virtual lab setup.

We will delve into setting up a SQL Cluster today.  We will also cover some high level tips for dealing with virtual box.  This will be good information and the type of stuff I would have like to have known heading into setting up a Virtual Lab.

Season Cleaning First.

On the Twelfth Day of pre-Christmas…

My DBA brought to me a Virtual SQL Cluster.  And with that cluster, we have a a few tidbits for Using VirtualBox.

The first tidbit is an administration aid.  Occasionally it is good to have similar machines grouped together.  At the same time, it is also necessary to start multiple virtual machines at the same time.  This is done through groups in VirtualBox.

Here you can see some of the groups that I have created.  If I right-click on a machine name, I will be presented a menu that has the Group option.

Once I have a group created, I can get a few different options if I were to highlight the group name I would get different options as shown in the following image.

The notable options here are to “Ungroup”, “Rename Group”, and “Add Machine.”  Another option is “Start.”  Though this option is present for the machine menu, the behavior is different.  This option allows you to start the entire group.  This can be a handy tool when dealing with a cluster for instance.

The next handy tidbit is the snapshot.  A snapshot allows point in time image of the VM to be taken so different configurations can be tested – and then quickly reverted i necessary.  Here is what I have for one of my VMs in the snapshot manager.

From this very same screen you can also see one of the many methods available to create a clone of a virtual machine.  The clone icon is the little button above the right hand pane that looks like a sheep.  Cloning a VM is a quick way to create several machines for various purposes.  As you will hear from many people – you should build a base image first, then run sysprep against it.  Sysprep is necessary in order to help prevent problems down the road.

The next tidbit for today is in regards to the file locations for virtual machines and virtual disks.  I recommend changing the default path for the VM files.  This can be done through the preferences option on the file menu.  Shown in the attachment is what it may look like if you have not changed it.  Notice that the default path goes to your user profile directory.

Ignore the red text on this page for now.  We will not be discussing the Proxy.

The last tip is in the network settings within the preferences that we already have open.  In the network settings, we can find an option to configure DHCP settings for the Host-Only Ethernet Adapter.  These are settings you may want to configure to ensure you have more control over the environment.  It is also helpful when looking to configure those IP settings for the FreeNAS that we have already discussed.

As I wrap up these tidbits, I have decided that this is a lot of information to soak in at this point.  So in the spirit of Christmas, I have decided to finish off the clustering information in a 13th day post.  This final post may or may not be available on Christmas day.  Worst case it will be available on the 26th.

Part of that reason is I want to rebuild my lab following the instructions I will be posting and I need time to test it.  I want the instructions to be of great use.

Please stay tuned as we conclude this series very soon.

On the Eleventh Day…

Yesterday we had an introduction into setting up a virtual lab to help the DBA learn and test new technologies while improving his/her own skill set.

Today we will continue to discuss the building of a virtual lab.  Today we will get a little closer to the SQL portion of things as we will be installing a familiar operating system to SQL Server.

The Operating System will be 2008.  And the version of SQL Server will be 2008 R2.  I chose these specifically because at the time that I built out my lab, I was setting up the environment to help me study for the MCM exams.

As a sidebar, I was just informed by a friend of another blog series that is also currently discussing setting up Virtual Machines in Virtual Box.  Fortunately, his series is based on Windows 2012 and SQL 2012 – so there is a bit of a difference.  The author of that series is Matt Velic and you can read his articles on the topic here.

I’ll be honest, upon hearing that news I had to go check out his articles to make sure I wasn’t doing the exact same thing.  And while there may be a little overlap, it looks like we have different things that we are covering.

And now that brings us to recap time.

On the Eleventh Day of pre-Christmas…

The next pre-requisite for this lab is to install a Domain Controller and Active Directory.  For this Domain Controller, I have the following Virtual Box settings.

  • A single Dynamic Virtual Disk of 20GB
  • 2 Network Adapters (1 NAT and 1 Internal)
  • 1024 MB memory

To install the operating system, we will mount the iso image the same as we did for the FreeNAS in yesterdays post.  This is a Windows setup, and I will not cover that.

Once you have installed the operating system, the first thing to do is to install the guest additions for Virtual Box.

With guest additions installed, next we will turn to the network adapters.  I have two adapters installed for good reason.  One adapter is visible to the virtual network and will be used for the VMs to talk to each other.  The second adapter is installed so I can get windows validated and so patches can be downloaded and installed.

Talking about patches, this is where we want to make sure the operating system is patched.  Run windows update, finish all of the requisite reboots, and then come back to the network control panel.  Prior to installing the domain, disable the external NIC.  We will do this to limit the potential for errors when joining the subsequent machines to the domain.

For the Internal adapter, I will also configure a static IP address as shown here.

Let’s now setup the domain and domain controller on this machine.  From Server Manager, right click roles and select Add Roles.  From the new screen, select Active Directory Domain Services and DNS Server.

You are now ready to configure your domain.  I am going to allow you to use your favorite resource for the directions on configuring a domain in Windows 2008.  After the domain has been configured, then enable the external network adapter.

The final step is to configure DNS.  The main concern in DNS to configure is the reverse lookup zones.  I have three subnets (network address ranges) that I will configure.  The relevance of these three zones will become apparent in the final article of the lab setup mini-series.  The configurations will be along the lines as seen in this next screenshot.

This gets us to where we can start building our SQL Cluster.  We will cover that in the next installment.

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