Costumes for Charity at PASS Summit 2015

Argenis Without Borders at PASS Summit 2014If you attended PASS Summit 2014, you probably noticed the Rainbow Unicorn Hoodie, the Fluffy Rainbow Leggings, the Rainbow Wings and the I ♥ Unicorns ribbons. It was the result of Argenis Without Borders and the SQL Server community raising over $13000 (!) for Doctors Without Borders.

And they’re doing it again with Argenis Without Borders 2.0! Please help support a good cause and let’s have some fun while doing it :)

PASS Summit 2015 is close to Halloween, so this year it’s all about Costumey-Crazy Hat-Crazy Fun. #SQLFamily raised over $1000 and reached the first goal in just 1 hour (!) and we all look forward to seeing Argenis in a Ted costume :D

The next goal is $5000. A whole bunch of people from the SQL Server community, myself included, will dress up in costumes and/or hats during PASS Summit when we reach this goal. At $10000, one lucky donor will win a PS4 or Xbox One. (Hey, even if you don’t care about supporting a good cause, donate anyway for the chance to win a really cool prize!) And there are more fun things to look forward to if we do better than last year. Can I tempt you with some embarrassing dancing to beautiful trombone music?

This is such a fun and silly event that it can be easy to forget what it is all about. We can help save lives. Imagine what Doctors Without Borders could do if each of the 5000 PASS Summit attendees donated just $5? What if we decide to skip a drink during PASS Summit and raise the amount to $10? So little, yet so much.

Donate to Argenis Without Borders 2.0 today! :)

Speaking at SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg

SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg, SwedenThe very first SQLSaturday in Sweden, SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg 2015, will be held on September 5th. I’m very happy to announce that I will be speaking! I will be presenting an updated version of my Biml for Beginners session, and I will also be available the rest of the day if anyone wants to chat about Biml or learn more about the advanced features :)

I was planning to attend this event even if I wasn’t selected to speak since it is the first SQLSaturday in Sweden. It’s so great to see the Nordic PASS community grow, and I want to help and support my neighbors in any way I can. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks for me doing the whole Scandinavian SQLSaturday tour: SQLSatOslo on August 29th, SQLSatGothenburg on September 5th, and SQLSatDenmark on September 19th. Yay!

Take a look at the great schedule, register, and I hope to see you in Gothenburg! :)

I’m a Microsoft SQL Server MVP

Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional)I spent most of July 1st relaxing in the sun, reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and enjoying my vacation. I spent the rest of July 1st reading, re-reading and re-re-reading the e-mail I received from Microsoft congratulating me with my first MVP Award.

On July 1st 2015, I became a Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in Norway.

Unfortunately my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy did not have Don’t Panic written in large, friendly letters on the cover. So I panicked a little. I think I may have panicked more than just a little. Actually, I’m pretty sure I panicked a lot:

Sheldon Panicking

You see, I had mixed feelings about becoming an MVP. I am truly honored and thankful, but it is also very intimidating to be part of a group with so many talented people that I admire. I don’t have decades of experience, I’m not a SQL Server expert, I haven’t published any books and I haven’t created any scripts that are used all over the world. Why should I deserve to become an MVP? I panicked a little (or a lot) because I compared myself to those who are years ahead of me down the road, and because it felt like I cut in line in front of amazing people who deserves the award more than me.

So I took a step back and thought about what the MVP Award means to me. To quote Microsoft: MVPs are community leaders who’ve demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. They share their exceptional passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

To me, it’s all about community. I may not be the most experienced SQL Server expert, but I helped restart SQL Server User Group Norway. I was the main organizer of the first SQLSaturday in Oslo and currently organizing the second one. I’ve volunteered and presented sessions online, in Europe and in the US. I blog, I tweet and I do my best to help others.

And I love it. Being recognized by Microsoft and getting a thank you for what I have done this past year means so much to me. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me and believed in me, it means more to me than I can say. Receiving the MVP Award inspires me even more to give back and pay it forward, to keep learning and sharing my knowledge, to help grow the Norwegian SQL Server community.

I’m just getting started :)

Batch update properties in SSIS packages (T-SQL Tuesday #68)

T-SQL TuesdayT-SQL Tuesday #68 is hosted by Andy Yun (@SQLBek). Many SQL Server defaults are not ideal, and most of us have a list of defaults we always change. Andy wants us to Just Say No to Defaults and blog about what, why or how we change defaults.

If you are an SSIS developer like me, there is a big chance that the ProtectionLevel in SSIS Packages is on top of your list of defaults to change. The default ProtectionLevel is EncryptSensitiveWithUserKey (ugh), but most of the time it is not the best option. Raise your hand if you have ever asked your favorite search engine for advice on issues like “SSIS package fails in SQL Server Agent job” or if you have ever heard someone exclaim “but it works on my machine!?” :)

There are many great blog posts about the different ProtectionLevels, why you probably want to change to DontSaveSensitive as your default, and how to use configurations and parameters instead of encrypted SSIS packages. I will not go into details about any of that in this post, but I will use ProtectionLevel as an example default property you want to change in many SSIS packages at the same time.

How do you batch update properties in existing SSIS packages? You probably don’t want to open up every single package and change them manually?

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Biml Extension Methods: GetDatabaseSchema

Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language)There are three Biml extension methods for importing metadata from a database. GetDatabaseSchema, ImportTableNodes and ImportDB. They all return an ImportResults object that contains SchemaNodes (schema metadata) and TableNodes (table and view metadata).

This post is an introduction to GetDatabaseSchema (which is currently not documented in the Biml Extensions Quick Reference). How do you use this method and how is it different from ImportTableNodes and ImportDB?

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