Wednesday, May 21, 2008

MidnightDBA is looking better.

OK, I told you guys before that I had my new video tutorial site up and running. Well, it's been just thrown together until now. We finally put some effort behind it and now it's not quite so bad. We've tied it into the main site and it's looking pretty ok... of course, you can expect to see it start turning into a real site here before long, but it's clearly coming along.

I've added lots of vids and I'm adding more every week.

Feel free to check it out. It's totally free and you don't even have to sign up or anything.

So visit MidnightDBA today and sign up for the RSS. It'll tell you when I post new content.
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vids posted

OK, remember back when I said I was going to be making some vids? Well, I've got them done now. I'm doing more all the time. I average about 3/wk. Sometimes more, sometimes less... that's why it's an average. Anyway, they're posted now so feel free to go take a look at them.

My server's slow, and my connection is ok, but it prob won't take much to max it out. But if you keep trying, you'll get them. I don't know how popular this blog is so I don't know how many will see this a rush out to download the vids. But I'm working on another hosting solution and I'll let you know when I have it ready. It could be some time though, huh.

So let me take a couple mins to explain about these vids. This is me sitting up at night doing camtasia after everyone's in bed. They're not meant to be these superly produced movie type productions. They're just me at the computer talking about whatever topic happens to cross my mind that day. I try to do them in small chunks on specific topics so you can get just the info you're looking for. There's no need to bog you down with crap about backups when I'm talking about SSIS. So I do my best to stay on topic. And I like to throw some practical advice in there whenever possible. And if I took the time to do any real production on these guys, it would take me weeks to get a video out the door. As it stands, I can make the vid, produce it, and post it in about an hour. This way I can get a lot of vids up instead of spending all my time producing. And it's only screencast, so you don't have to look at my face.

Anyway, here's the link. I look forward to criticism. I'm fairly new at this so I'm still kinda getting my rap down. And I take requests, so if any of you have anything you'd like to see, just shoot me an email and I'll do my best to get it done for you.

Also, there's a blog I use to notify you of new vids... I've got a lot of vids up, and only a couple blog entries, so I haven't been really good at sticking with it, but I'll get better.

Just click on the SQL Server link there. It doesn't look like a link, but it is.
Thursday, May 08, 2008

Spoil your users

It happens sometimes when things just don't go as planned. One of the things I always do is to make sure that things I may need in a hurry are ready. Restores are just that kinda thing. I go out of my way to make sure that for any given box, I can access complete restores within just a few secs. I'm using LiteSpeed, so I've written my own code that will create a list of restore statements for me based off of the last full backup and all the logs since then. And I can produce hundreds of lines of restore code in just about 5secs, including opening the script.

Well, it happened today. My first restore in a while, and it happened to be on a box where the LiteSpeed process had stopped logging to the central repo so I didn't have my usual list of backups to use to create my statements. So there I was building statements by hand, which wasn't too hard because I got lucky and they only needed a few. Then about 15mins later, the manager of that group came up to me and said that I had forgotten to send the email that the restore was done. When I told him that it was because I hadn't started it yet, he was like WHAT? What's taking so long, this kinda thing only takes a couple mins usually.

And that's what you want to hear. You want your users to get spoiled to getting these kinds of things fast. I've since fixed my LiteSpeed glitch and the next time he'll be good to go. But I love it when stuff like this happens because it means I'm doing a good job and the users have come to count on me being reliable and fast.
Thursday, May 01, 2008

At a Loss

OK, this is where the rant portion of this blog comes in. I'm completely at a loss and I just don't know where to go from here.

I was approached by a dev/admin the other day with a problem on his SQL box. His job isn't kicking off and there are no errors or anything. It's just not being run by the Agent. And when he runs it by hand, the history isn't logged. OK, so I check the usual suspects and don't seem to get any love. So I start asking him... has anything changed, have you added anything, have you deleted anything, etc.

He says no, nothing has changed and it just started having problems Mon. So I dug a little deeper and did some testing and was able to reproduce the problem with ease, which is a huge advantage in something like this. So I made a couple changes that looked like they may fix the problem. So the next day when his job ran he had the same problem. OK, so back to the drawing board.

I looked into a couple things only now it's getting pretty dry, right? The number of things that could cause this problem is dwindling. I managed to make a small change and now there was nothing to do but wait. So the next day came and the same issue was there.

So I went to ask him again... has anything changed, anything at all... I need to know if you've changed the wallpaper or put a txt file out there. No matter how insignificant you think the change is, I need to know about it. What's changed? \

Again, I get the answer, nothing has changed.

So I spend another day looking at this and I found that there were a bunch of Agent jobs that had been hung for a long time. And apparently this is happening every day.
I burped the services and all was well. However, the next day the problem came back and so did the hung jobs.

And this guy, with whom I've been working for almost a week, and for whom I've been racking my brains, tells someone else that he wishes he could finally get this issue worked out because it's been happening off and on for months... ever since they moved it to the new box. WHAT? What the shit dude? Didn't I just spend almost a week asking you if anything had changed? And somehow you didn't find it relevant to tell me that you had switched boxes and that this was an ongoing issue?

I'm just at a loss. I don't know how many more ways I can ask you what's changed on the box. What does it seriously take to get you to tell me something major like that?

But this is the nature of our work isn't it? All support people deal with stuff like this, and it seems that even IT people are prone to this as well. I would figure that since he's in IT, and an admin himself, that he would be able to give me at least the large pieces of info like this. So I guess when people have problems with something they're not responsible for, they just turn off their brains or something. I don't know.

About Me

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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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