Musings of a Data professional

Stuart Moore

Month: January 2014

Doing something a bit different at SQL Saturday Exeter 2014: PowerShell for the curious SQL Server DBA

sqlsat269_webHaving had such a great time at last years SQL Saturday in Exeter, I was very happy to see the SQL Southwest team announce another one for 2014 on Saturday 22nd March (Register here).

So, I’ve been offered the chance to present 2 consecutive sessions covering 1 topic, 100 minutes to fill with something new. I’ve decided that based on feedback and questions from my “Using PowerShell for Automating Backups and Restores with PowerShell” presentation I’ll be filling the 100 minutes with:

PowerShell for the curious SQL Server DBA

Automation: Making the boring slightly more interesting

T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday time again. This month SQLChow (b|t) is has set us the homework assignment to talk about SQL Sever Automation. So here’s my take on the subject:

Every job has those mundane repetitive tasks than you HAVE to do, day in day out.

As SQL Server DBAs we have a particularly long list of things that we have to do to make sure our databases are working properly, and also to ensure that when they’re not we can fix them quickly enough that we’re not looking for a new job!

Using PowerShell to add images to mp3 files

PowerShellI spent a fair chunk of the Christmas break ripping yet more of my CD collection to mp3s so I can shove them on the home NAS, put the CDs in the loft and reclaim a load of space. Ripping them was a fairly predictably repetitive job of shoving CDs into the drive, waiting for the FreeDB lookup to run (or fail, which meant a bit of typing) and then hitting the go button.

Not the most fun of jobs, but still a lot less work that when I digitised some large parts of my vinyl collection a few years ago After a couple of days I had a nice collection of mp3s all sat there on a disk ready to be imported into the main collection folder.

Just one job remained, getting the Album art together. This is always a fun job of getting the right image. I’ve been using Album Art Downloader for this for a while, as you can set plenty of options to remove most of the effort. But, it doesn’t embed the images into the files. Which as an iDevice user I want so I can have the pictures transfer across when I sync. This got me thinking. I’ve got a windows file system with a nice hierarchical folder structure containing files, and I want to perform an action on each of the files in that structure.

Now if only there was some sort of Windows scripting language that was good at this sort of thing……..

2014 Goals, SQL Server and Personal

Not resolutions, oh no! A resolution can be broken by one relapse, goals are something I can keep working on even if there’s a setback!

Just putting them here, as once they’re shared it’s very hard to ignore them.

SQL Server related ones:

1) Get more inventive with BI work, and get involved in some Big Data technologies

  • Want to get involved with some BI work that’s pushing the envelope a bit. Either Volume, Velocity or Variety wise. Also want to get involved in a few projects that are using newer technologies/ideas to extract information from data.

2) Automate even more of my workload

  • Mainly because I can, and because it will free up more time to pursue the other 9 goals in this post!

3) Get really down and dirty with SQL Server Clustering and AlwaysOn

  • I want to get to a really solid position with the various SQL Server HA and Replication technologies. I can build them, and debug them, but there’s always a suspicion that there’ll be something I don’t know. So lots of building test environments and finding inventive ways to break them! Also signed up for training from the master, Allan Hirt (b|t), being put on by Technitrain

4) Present some open access training courses.

  • I’ve run training in house courses and sessions for various companies, tutored a few people via email, and spoken at a number of SQL Server community events. Now I’m looking forward to offering some longer sessions to the general public. Discussions are underway about offering some day long SQL Server DBA PowerShell training in the Nottingham/East Midlands area, and possibly a day on Extended Events as well

5) Speak at more SQL community events, maybe overseas

  • I’ve really enjoyed the SQL Community events I’ve attended and spoken at during 2013. So I’m keen to speak at more in 2014. I’ve been sounded out about trying something new at SQL Saturday Exeter, which I’m really looking forward to (but not sure if I can completely announce it yet!) And there’s a number of User Groups I’ve not spoken at (think I’ve pretty much promised to make it up to SQL North East at some point), and some I’d love to go back to. Also very tempted to submit a session for a non UK event.

And because it’s not all about work, here’s some Personal ones:

1) Keep on at my OU Maths Degree

  • I’ve been working at getting a BSc in Mathematics for the last 4 years. So I’ll be continuing the studying this year, with a residential school to look forward to and also beginning on Level 3 modules, which should bring a change of pace

2) Once I find out about what I can do with my knee, target a 100km audax or a marathon

  • Following an altercation with a section of Nottingham’s tram tracks I’m currently not cycling or running due to knee damage. Once the doc’s given me the prognosis I’ll make a decision about what sporting target to go for this year. Either another 1000km+ plus Audax ride, or getting round to running a full marathon

3) Read more fiction and non-technical non-fiction

  • It’s not been a great year for non-technical orĀ  non-degree reading, so I want to turn that around in 2014 and read a bit more for pure enjoyment. Will probably pick back up on my GoodReads list, and use that as a way to measure success

4) Pick my photography back up a bit

  • Apart from a couple of weddings in 2013 I didn’t do much with my camera kit. Partly because our current kitchen layout isn’t good for film processing, and partly due to just not having one with me a lot of the time. So, I’ve got a new work bag which will make it easier to carry a camera with me, and I’ll get the crack across the lens of my iPhone repaired so I can use that as well. Hopefully be updating my Flickr account a little more often.

5) Find and settle into a new home

  • We’re currently renting a house. This years big task is to find and buy a home. Plenty of planning has been done, now we just need to find somewhere and enjoy the legal niceties!!

What are your goals and hopes for 2014? Feel free to share them with us in the comments.

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