Tag Archives: SQL

Meme Monday – Backup Fun

Thomas LaRock (blog|twitter) has started Meme Monday and challenged folks to write a blog post in 11 words or less.

Daved Howard (blog|twitter) has tagged me so here it goes.

“SQL Backup you’re killing me, please stop failing, just work please”

Bottom line is I have been working along with the team on getting backups great. Not sure there is such a thing. One of the first things every DBA should be doing but seems to be the hardest to get right. Been working on this quiet a bit lately so it seemed appropriate for this fun blogging tag game.

Dave Levy has been quiet so I’m tagging him.



Powershell Baby Steps

T-SQL Tuesday

First timer for T-SQL Tuesday so not even sure if I’m doing this right. I was going to write this post at some point but kept putting off. However reading all the great posts today and my passion for automation have driven me to share.

Old Backups
The way we have our SQL backups setup we have a few servers with numerous shares on them. So each servers backups are mapped to a specific share on the backup server(s). Our backup jobs are set to remove backups over x hours old when a new one is created so we should never have bak files over x hours on the backups servers.

In a perfect world we would never have old files but the world is not perfect. The problem starts to occur when servers are decomissioned or files are put in folders for a restore and forgotten. Essentially overtime we end up with 100’s of GB’s worth of old BAK files out on our backups servers. Eventually they get noticed and cleaned up when we get low disk space alerts on our servers or someone stumbles upon an old file. Not a huge problem but there is no reason to have these old files out there so why waste the space.

So one day I was frustrated by the amount of old files out there as I was arguing with someone over needing more disk space for another project. I was having an angry day and started looking through the folders manually one at a time. I decided that was a colossal waste of time so I did some windows searches on files *.BAK that were older than 60 days, etc. After asking Dave Levy (blog | twitter) how to copy out my Windows Explorer search results to excel to share with the team he challenged me to just write a Powershell script to dump to a CSV file.

I don’t get to code much these days in my role so I took the challenge. Well actually Dave sent me a script and I made  2 small changes to it and ran it. Magic! I had a file in seconds that I could send out to the team so they can go clean up the files. I’m sure you POSH experts are saying Duh that’s a no brainer. Keep this in mind, I turned in my coding badge years ago and struggle at times to grasp new coding concepts.

My Script

Get-ChildItem -Path \\YOURBACKUPSERVERNAME\d$\ -recurse -include *.bak | Where-Object {$_.lastwritetime -le ‘1/1/2011’} | Export-Csv OldBackupReport.csv

Within 1 day we re-gained 1TB on our backup server drive and no need to buy more disk!

Can you guess what day I sent out the report?

Look at all that disk we saved!

This could be an automation stretch as I’m pretty much dumping out info to a file to have people go manually delete the files. I could have the script delete them I’m sure but I wanted to make sure we were not removing files that may be in process for a restore. I also considered scheduling this to run monthly and email the team which is something I might do in the future and post about at a later date.

Learn Something Every Day

Something I’m always trying to drive others towards is continuing to learn. I’m all about career development and taking control of my future via continued learning. To a fault it’s sort of a passion of mine. There are so many ways to do this it’s mind boggling. Reading books, blogs, online training, classroom training, #sqlhelp on twitter, etc. It makes me wonder why some folks don’t do anything at all.

I was in a meeting the other day and was told by someone that they simply don’t have time to learn anything new or time to get better at what they do today, they are simply too busy. This totally shocked me and I really tried to reach out and help guide this person to look inward and focus on themselves. One of my points was how will you ever get more time unless you optimize how you are working today. Sure, the we need more help argument, is always there but that is not in your control most of the time. So how can you get more time, well how about learning how to do something better.

And that’s what I’m going to share today.

Zero! Better get learning

One learning opportunity that I have been tracking on lately is SQL Share I get an email every day with a 1-5 minute short training video. If the content interests me I watch it, learn something new. If not I just delete the email and move on. What is great is it keeps track for me so every day I get a reminder of how much time I have spent. It’s totaled by month and there is a nice track record on the site for me to review what I have watched. My kids have reading logs at home they need to complete each month for school. They are crazy about beating there total hours one month to the next. Well this is my log. It drives me nuts when I start to lag behind. When I watched less one month to the next it irritates me and I’ll hammer off 3 or 4 in a row and get that number back up. This type of daily learning via short videos really appeals to me and my way of learning.

I’m not a big on reading technical manuals or books. I like blogs but if a blog post get’s too long and detailed I quickly move on to something else. When reading a BOL like Jen McCown is planning to do as described in her blog my eyes to to go blurry after about 2 minutes. That’s just not my style. Everyone has there own way of learning. I am really looking forward to following along as Jen reads BOL and blogs on it as I hope to let her do all the hard work and get what I need from her posts.

In summary I have found something here that works for me and I wanted to share. So if you are interested check it out, let me know if it works for you.

Thanks Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and Steve Jones for yet another great learning opportunity.
About SQL Share

Head in the Clouds

My last post was quite some time ago. I explained that I’d be away for a while as I had committed my self to what ended up being almost another full time job. It was a great experience and is now winding to a close. Last game is this Saturday. I have one more film night and practice and then the game. We will have some post season parties etc but I should have some more time on my hands.

My Other Team

Me mentoring my other Team!

So what’s next… Well I just returned from a 3 day trip to Redmond to visit the Microsoft campus and learn about the technical road maps of some very interesting technologies. Being currently in a role where SQL is my blood I was excited about what is coming. The thing that really stuck with me however is this idea of the cloud. I have been hearing about it but not quite grasping what it really means. I have seen demos on SQL Azure at SQL Saturday’s and such but I couldn’t correlate it to my day to day activities. Seeing it explained by the people that are paid to explain it shed some light on it and really made the idea sink in.

Essentially the cloud ends up being different for everyone. There are probably pieces of it in your infrastructure today and you probably don’t even realize it. I drew some tangents to our talent acquisition and performance management solution we use at my company. We are using this as a cloud app. Essentially its is saas or Software As A Service. We don’t have servers running apps here in our data center. I’m not supporting this tools SQL Database. It’s simply a website that is the app and it’s all hosted off site. This is essentially an application running on the cloud that is critical to the management of our talent.

Additionally we have been doing more and more integration with virtual servers via various technologies. We often look to go virtual first on new installations as the flexibility and built in support and recoverability are such a win. In essence this becomes a mini private cloud that our internal IT staff is supporting.

So those are 2 small real examples of what the cloud is to me at this time. I hope to keep researching and learning more about how others are using this. Additionally I have a personal goal to find a real project here that I can implement on the cloud.

It’s starting to make sense and I see the road ahead and I’m excited to jump on the puffy white clouds!

Turning 9

Time Flies
Wow it will be September in 2 days. It is simply amazing how fast time can go by when you are busy and how at one point you can be so focused on one thing and life can quickly take a left turn. I started out the year with some goals in mind that I posted on this blog back in January. I’m a checklist, goal kind of guy. I like to set goals or have a list for everything in my life. My wife asks me to do something I have to write it down or I will forget. Too much going on in my melon to remember anything these days.

Check Point
I have been able to do a good job completing most of the goals. I have blogged at least once a month and often more that than. The topics have varied a bit and not as technical as I planned at the start of the year. There are reason for this as my role is one of leading and managing and less on the technical side of things so it was hard to bridge that gap.  I was able to re-dedicate my self to health and fitness and beat my 1/2 marathon goal. I have run a few more races than I planned actually and hope to keep doing some this fall. I have not trained since early August but have some reasons behind that below. As for my SQL Community involvement I started off the year really good but have slowed down  lately. I need to see how this is going to fit in my future but am keeping my finger loosely on pulse at this point. I was a daily twitter user for much of the first half of the year but now rarely open it as my focus is elsewhere. I do continually encourage my team to take advantage of what there is to offer and drive them to these great resources so consider me an advocate.

So with all that success I need to understand what the rest of the year holds. It’s just past 1/2 way point we have 4 months to go in 2010 and I need to have a list or some goals to keep me focused.

The Left Turn
Not sure if I promote it much but I am pretty avid sports fan. By biggest passion being football. Fall is football time and in August football began for me. This year I am head coaching a 9-10 year old tackle football team which was much more of a commitment than I could ever imagine. To be honest I am probably putting more into it than I need to but my passion for this has driven me to go that extra mile. This has been my undocumented goal for the 2nd half of 2010. To really put forth the time and effort to make a great football experience for the players, coaches, and parents that I work with on pretty much a daily basis. This has involved everything from organizing the league draft info, to setting up my teams practice plans and playbook. Countless meetings with other coaches, emails to parents, learning about new drills and player safety. I even was able to go to a mentoring night sponsored by our league the TCYFL where Tony Dungy was the guest speaker. Now that we playing games it’s reviewing film, working on coaching fundamentals, and working with team parents to ensure the boys are having fun.

It’s amazing the tangents that I’m able to draw from the football field to the boardroom so to speak. I was recently involved in a management training class from my employer around communicating with impact. As I sat in this day long session learning how to speak on my feat, resolve conflict, and motive people through words I could not have imagined how useful these skills could be outside of the office as well.
New Goal
So my goal for the rest of the year is to really focus my efforts on good communication and team development both on and off the field. I hope to leverage the learnings on the football field to helping coach my team at the office and really drive a fun and productive team of SQL DBA’s. In additional I’ll continue to use my mentoring and management skills learned at work on the football field to hopefully help my team drive to some victories. If nothing else I hope that my efforts in both of these areas of my live will result in a fun and positive experience for all of those around me.

Busy Month

Spring Break

Just got back this week from a wonderful spring break trip up to Boyne Mountain Michigan with the family. I highly recommend this place. This is our second trip up there, we have been there once in summer and now in early spring. We were able to get 2 days of skiing in and also 2 days of pool side with 80 degree temps. Can’t beat that! Learn more at Boyne.com.

SQL Saturday

SQL Saturday Chicago is right around the corner. Can’t wait to see my coworker Dave Levy (Blog|Twitter) presenting as well as the many other folks I often communicate with via Twitter. Looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can. I have volunteered to help out wherever I’m needed  and look forward to the great sessions.


The 1/2 marathon I have been training for is finally 2 weeks away. Still time to make a charitable contribution to a great cause so please click here to donate. I have had a minor setback in my training as upon return from the trip I did something to my back. Have not been able to train for a week but frankly I was burnt out. I started early and was up to 11 miles before my recent setback. I even did a 4 miler over Boyne Mountain while on break. I needed a break and hope that I can be cleared by the doctor to run again this weekend and get back to where I was quickly.


Additionally baseball and softball starting up, yard work, and various home projects I have planned are keeping me very busy. Not to mention the beloved Chicago Blackhawks dominating and making the playoffs as well as the start of baseball season and the nightly White Sox games. I’m a busy guy.

Hope to keep the writing going and want to keep going on the technical and career oriented subjects as much as I can.