Online Tools for Data Professionals (T-SQL Tuesday #101)

T-SQL Tuesday #101: Online Tools for Data ProfessionalsT-SQL Tuesday #101 is hosted by Jens Vestergaard (@vestergaardj), and the topic is The Essential SQL Server Tools in my stack. There are several tools that I use every single day, such as Notepad++, Redgate SQL Prompt, and BimlExpress. In fact, there are so many amazing tools out there for data professionals that I created an entire session focusing on Tools and Tips For Data Warehouse Developers! Since I have already covered my favorite tools in other blog posts, I want to take a slightly different approach this time and share some of my favorite online tools.

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Collecting Geeky Norwegian Humor (T-SQL Tuesday #99)

T-SQL Tuesday #99: Collecting Absurd Norwegian HumorT-SQL Tuesday #99 is hosted by Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand) and the topic is Dealer’s Choice. What does that mean? Aaron wanted us to choose between two topics: write about something we are passionate about outside the SQL Server community, or write about T-SQL bad habits and best practices. I’m too afraid to argue with Aaron about T-SQL, so I chose the first option ;)

But what did I want to write about? Truth be told, I’m pretty boring. I don’t have any real hobbies outside of tech, just a few interests. I first considered writing about hiking. I need to disconnect completely once in a while, and my favorite way of doing that is to get sweaty while walking for hours up a mountain or waterfall. My Instagram (@cathrinesqueee) is my highlight reel, full of pictures and happy memories from my trips.

Some of my favorite hiking memories are: descending into Thrihnukagigur Volcano, eating lunch on top of the Rocky Mountains, relaxing at the Alluvial Fan, exploring the Garden of the Gods, climbing Seven Falls, overlooking the Norwegian fjords, driving across the never-ending Jotunheimen mountains, watching the fog roll in over Trollstigen, hiking Dinosaur Ridge, crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, taking a break on Mount Falcon, visiting the Loveland Pass, and gazing at presidents at Mount Rushmore.

Mads Eriksen MHowever, instead of embedding all the pictures that are already on Instagram, I decided to write about something completely different. Something obscure. Something fun and geeky from way before I got involved in the SQL Server community. Something from my good old teenage fangirling days…

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My Learning Goals for 2018 (T-SQL Tuesday #97)

T-SQL Tuesday #97 - Setting Learning Goals for 2018T-SQL Tuesday #97 is hosted by Mala Mahadevan (@sqlmal), and the topic is Setting Learning Goals for 2018. Mala wants to know what we want to learn, how and when we want to learn, and how we plan to improve on what we have learned.

It’s always hard to predict what I need to learn in an upcoming year, but 2018 is particularly difficult to predict. Why? Because at the time I’m writing this, I currently don’t have a job :) I finished my previous job last week, and I’m taking the rest of December off. Then in January, a new adventure awaits. I just don’t know what yet! So in this post, I’ll focus on some wants instead. I have picked three main goals: one technical, one personal, and one professional.

I will revisit this post next December and see how things turned out. It will be interesting! :)

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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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Roundup of T-SQL Tuesday #66: Monitoring

T-SQL TuesdayT-SQL Tuesday #66 was hosted by me on May 12th. The topic of the month was Monitoring. We all monitor something while working with SQL Server, and this month’s blog posts covers all kinds of topics by DBAs, developers and BI professionals.

T-SQL Tuesday #66 blog posts:
• Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand) shows how you can use trace flags to babysit slow backups or restores.

• Andy Yun (@SQLBek) reminds us that monitoring in development is important too! Deal with problems before they reach your production environment.

• Angela Henry (@SQLSwimmer) tells how she became a better DBA by creating her own monitoring solution, and how having a monitoring solution in your toolbox can save you from having to look for a new job!

• Ben Miller (@DBAduck) shares his PowerShell script for monitoring tables to watch trends of growth and activity in a database.

• Boris Hristov (@brshristov) encourages IT managers and decision makers to ensure that teams also show how to monitor solutions, and not just implement the latest cutting-edge technologies and expect it to work immediately.

• Cathrine Wilhelmsen (@cathrinew) shows an example of a Real Time Monitoring solution developed in her company.

• Chris Sommer (@cjsommer) points out some of the most important things a DBA must monitor, and also links to his recent post about Monitoring SQL Server Agent Jobs by using PowerShell.

• Daniel Mellor ‏(@sqlsanctum) shows you step-by-step how to use the Utility Explorer to create a dashboard for monitoring and baselining SQL Server CPU and storage resources.

• Ed Leighton-Dick ‏(@eleightondick) explains how to use tables in the msdb database to monitor your backups.

• Jason Brimhall (@sqlrnnr) discusses different monitoring approaches and methodologies.

• Jason Hall (@SQLSaurus) reminds us to monitor the monitoring systems, they are also important parts of your environment.

• Jeffrey Verheul (@DevJef) writes about different solutions you can use to monitor your environments.

• Kenneth Fisher (@sqlstudent144) writes about a three tiered approach to monitoring when your company is unable to invest in monitoring solution licenses for hundreds of instances.

• Lori Edwards (@loriedwards) reminds us that effective monitoring is more than just a high number of alerts.

• Malathi Mahadevan (@sqlmal) uses a combination of third-party tools, out-of-the-box tools and custom tools to monitor environments.

• Michael Bourgon ‏(@Mbourgon) shares a PowerShell script for capturing multiple servers’ Event Logs to a database.

• Mickey Stuewe (@SQLMickey) created a custom solution to monitor all reports and shares the scripts used.

• Nicky van Vroenhoven (@NickyvV) joins the T-SQL Tuesday blog party for the first time and shares what is important for him to monitor as a SQL / BI developer.

• Richard Douglas (‏@SQLRich) writes about the sneaky Error 825 that disguises itself as just an informational message and why this should be explicitly monitored.

• Rob Farley (@rob_farley) shows how to monitor skew in PDW and how it should be tracked over time when your data changes.

• Robert L Davis (@SQLSoldier) explains how to make sense of errors in the Replication Monitor.

• Robert Pearl (@PearlKnows) writes about how important it is to monitor your systems for a healthy SQL environment.

• Robert Verell ‏(@SQLCowbell) shares how to use WMI and WQL with the native alert system to monitor security.

• Steve Jones (@way0utwest) takes a more philosophical approach to monitoring and talks about why it is important to capture and monitor specific information that is critical to you.

• Steve Thompson (@Steve_TSQL) shows how to identify potential bottlenecks by using Performance Monitor.

• Tim Peters (@tpet1433) uses the Legend of Zelda Triforce to illustrate how solutions can be both easy, helpful and cheap.

• Volker Bachmann (@VolkerBachmann) shares his step-by-step approach to implementing base monitoring.

• And finally Björn Peters (@SQL_aus_HH) joined T-SQL Tuesday with a German post: Self-Repairing-Monitoring Solution oder was einem noch so versprochen wird.

Key takeaways
Monitoring is a very wide, but also very important topic for all of us. Be proactive and monitor your databases, servers and environments (even test and development), and make it a goal to discover issues before your end users alert you. Invest in vendor solutions, use the tools available in SQL Server or write your own custom solutions, just make sure you monitor what is critical in your company. Capture data to see trends over time and use PowerShell to automate tasks. Also don’t forget to monitor the monitoring solutions!

Want to participate or read more?
Monitor the #tsql2sday hastag on Twitter the first week each month for the invitations. Steve Jones (@way0utwest) keeps an updated list of all previous T-SQL Tuesday Topics. If you ever need inspiration to write a blog post, just pick a topic and write away.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in T-SQL Tuesday #66! :)

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