August 2010 - Posts

Oops posted before I finished. complete version be up in the next few days


Posted by simonsabin | with no comments

I thought I’d have a little count up and I’ve found that over almost 50% of the sessions will be delivered by current or former SQL MVPs. How awesome is that.

Whats great is that we have MVPs from all over the world attending SQLBits. Which goes to show what a truly fantastic event SQLBits is.

As a sample we’ve got

1. Brent Ozar doing a precon on Virtualization, SAN, and SQL Server: The Perfect Storm and two regular sessions SQL Server Storage - 1,000GB Level and Virtualization and SAN Basics for DBAs 

If you are doing virtualisation or using a SAN and who isn’t  then you have to get to see Brent’s session. He’s also one of only 5 people outside of Microsoft that are Microsoft Certified Masters

2. Christian Bolton is doing Consolidating data collection with SQLDIAG and analysing it all with SQLNexus 

If you want to do performance analysis then get along to Christian’s sessions. Oh and he’s not just one of the other 5 people that is an MCM but is also a Microsoft Certified Architect MCA.

3. Jamie Thomson is doing SSIS Dataflow Performance tuning

Jamie is MR SSIS so if you want to know about SSIS then SQLBits is for you. I should also mention that Allan Mitchell and Darren Green are also going to be presenting, they founded and so we truly have the top people presenting at SQLBits


If you want to look at previous content to see what you are missing if you don’t come why not look at Bob Duffy’s Project Gemini (aka Powerpivot) presentation Did I mention that Bob is also a Microsoft Certified Architect.

In addition to the MVPs, MCAs, MCMs that we have at SQLBits we will also have the SQLCAT ( team present, have a look at Thomas Kejsers IO session from SQLBits 5. This is one of the best IO sessions I’ve seen


So whats stopping you. Get registering know, and for only £350 you get 3 days or awesome training from the best people in the industry. Whats more, unlike a normal training course, you get to cover the topics you want to cover and are relevant to you. I can also give you a 20% discount to make it even cheaper if you contact me

Register now before the 3rd September to save £100

Posted by simonsabin | 3 comment(s)

If there is one thing that annoys the hell out of me its dexplore.exe.

What is dexplore.exe you ask.

Well you know you install a new machine and open VS and then inadvertently hit F1 instead of CTRL+F1 and up pops a window saying

“Configuring help for first use” or some similar message and sits there for 10 minutes.

Thats dexplore.exe


Why, you might think, does this helpful (excuse the pun) app annoy me so. Well if you find that you shutdown your machine and Management Studio doesn’t shutdown then its 99% because of this little app.

What you have to go into task manager and kill dexplore.exe 4 times. Thats right not just once. This thing has 4 lives.

Once you’ve finally slain the beast Management Studio will close.


I think I’ve got to the bottom of it but I’m not sure. I think the problem only occurs on a fresh install when help pops up saying do you want to use online or offline help. For some reason the shutdown launches dexplore.exe and thus this popup pops up. But thats the catch it doesn’t, so you can’t chose, so it just sits there.


Visual Studio 2010 has dropped dexplore.exe and so we will see what happens in the future for SQL given Management Studio is a Visual Studio Shell.

Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)

The key to blogging is making it easy. If you have to go through a load of steps to put something up then you won’t get into it.

The tools

Initially I use custom built plugin for Omea ( ) this allowed me to cross post blog items and also allowed me to put standard code for tracking etc. Omea isn’t being developed and with the move away from newsgroups (something else I used it for), I’ve stopped using it preference for Windows Live Writer

The reason is that its really really simple and has lots of plug ins. What’s more one of the biggest plus points is handling of images.

If you know about html you know that html doesn’t contain the image but references an image. This is the same for blog posts and so you need to have something that can upload your images somewhere and then upload the blog post referencing the image. Live Writer does this seamlessly.

So then comes the question of getting the screen shots.

1. Print screen – this is the heavy weight option and captures the whole desktop or the active window and puts it in the clipboard

2. If using windows 7 there is a snipping tool. That allows you to capture a portion of the screen. The nice thing is that once you snip it launches a tool where you can edit the image with simple drawing tools. To launch the tool type snipping in the start box.


3. However I use snagit from techsmith. This tool takes snipping to another level. Its very similar to the snipping tool but with loads more options.

You can put borders/finishes around the image


You’ve got callouts (notice the torn finish applied from selecting the option above)


Highlighting options and much more


The content

Now you have the tool you need content.

You can write long blog posts but don’t expect them to take a few minutes. A good detailed blog post that doesn’t mislead and is accurate can take hours to produce.

Initially keep it simple. I started off just writing short notes about things I found. Especially error messages and the resolution I found. People find these very useful.

Once you’ve got the knack then you can write long essays. But, and this is my view and possibly not held by others, in writing posts you are putting information out in the wild that people will act upon. The longer the post the more credibility it holds. So you, as a blogger, have responsibility in making sure it is accurate. You will likely be told if it isn’t, don’t take that the wrong way and take any advice given onboard. There are many people out their that will help you.

Where to blog

The final thing about blogging is where to blog, it helps to blog amongst others so that you content can be read in aggregated feeds, but most sites now allow cross posting/syndication of blogs so you need to decide if you want to be on your own or part of the crowd. If you want blog then we can provide you a blog at others that can help are Adam Machanic at Steve Jones at Tony  at or you could go with the more generic sites like or  


Its very easy to blog, so get blogging

Posted by simonsabin | 3 comment(s)

Copying large files has always been a pain on a SQL Server as it can result in the OS taking memory from SQL. This is something you don’t want to happen. In the past, and probably still, it can cause

What i noticed recently on my windows 7 machine was that xcopy now allows for unbuffered copying of files. This means it shouldn’t use the OS memory and thus push try and take some memory of SQL Server.

The option is /J and is described by “Copies using unbuffered I/O. Recommended for very large files.”. I haven’t seen it on a server yet so maybe on a server it is always unbuffered.

I wonder if you can just copy Xcopy from a windows 7 machine to a 2008 machine. I can’t see why not.

Here are the current options


Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)
Filed under:

I was looking last week for a tool that allowed me to change the DVD from within my guest image without going to my VMM server or the host.

Couldn’t find one so I wrote one.

The tool should detect you are connected as a Hyper-V guest

You can select search folders for your iso files. This needs to be a network share that your Hyper-V server can see (and you as well). The tool checks you can see the folder and if not the line goes red.


Once you have selected your search folders you can insert a file into the DVD. You don’t have to use search folders you can type the filename in or use the “browse for file button”

If you have a lot of files you can type a partial name in the top and the list will be filtered.



I haven’t nailed down the minimum permissions yet so you probably need  admin rights to the server and the relevant remote admin features enabled.

This is very much version 1 so please feedback. It will go on codeplex soon.


Posted by simonsabin | 2 comment(s)

Replication is a very old beast that has been developed over the years. Because it communicates to other machines in interesting ways it has some quirks.

One of those is the server names. We all know and love @@servername but that doesn’t have to be the name of the server. This means that if replication used that to try and to connect to another server it may fail. So they use serverproperty(‘servername’). This returns the servers real name.

The really awful thing is that in the code in some places @@servername is used and others serverproperty is used and cruically stored in tables in the distribution database the subscribers and the publishers. This means that if you change name of the server if the other tables aren’t changed which they are not then you will encounter odd problems. For instance not being able to script the replication setup.

Whilst you could possibly hack the system tables I strongly advise this with replication as you can get into all sorts of troubles and with upgrades you never know what you might screw up.

This is one of the reasons that providing a HA solution for your distributor is a far from easy task.

Therefore lesson learnt is do not change the names of servers in replication topologies unless you want to setup from scratch

Posted by simonsabin | 3 comment(s)
Filed under:

You may have seen my last post (  about the SQLCAT team showing the next version of SQL Server (Denali) at SQLBits.

If you’re in the US and probably not likely to be coming to SQLBits and want to get involved in helping shape SQL Server 11 (Denali) then read Bucks post

This is the time to be heard. or forever hold your peace.

Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)
Filed under: ,

Its not enough to have the SQLCAT team at SQLBits in the form of Thomas Kejser, Ewan Fairweather and Mark Souza, who are doing some sessions on high performance systems and also a panel discussion on SQLCAT and high end SQL. They will also be showing some features from SQL 11.


So make sure you register before places run out.

Posted by simonsabin | 2 comment(s)

Working with SQL Server has endless possibilities both from the breadth of the product and the depth of implementations there are out there. This also leads you to the problem of what you should do your self.

Should you focus on one thing and become a specialist or spread yourself across everything. You then have the dilemma of how to gain more knowledge. I know from my time working in companies that you end up focusing on the technology and specifically the implementation of that at your company. So you can we working with SQL server for years but only touch a small part of SQL Server like replication and never touched service broker or encryption or any of the many other features, getting additional knowledge so you can take your career forward is essential.

I only specialised in SQL server 5 years ago, yeh ok it was a major part of what I did before but I also did more development as well. Since then I’ve learnt so much and still am.

But what are you going to do about your career?

Well Buck Woody is doing a training day at SQLBits on exactly this topic.

Buck is an excellent speaker and has been around in the industry for quite a while and can give you multiple views on developing a career. From being the sole DBA, to working at the product team, to now being an technical specialist for SQL within MS. Its going to be a great day and one that will really make a difference for you and your career.

For only £200 (with one of the discount codes available, contact me if you haven’t got one) this is a real bargain.

Places are limited so register quick

A bit about Buck

Buck (blog | twitter) is a SQL Server Senior Technical Specialist for Microsoft, working with enterprise-level clients to develop data platform architecture solutions within their organizations. He has over twenty years professional and practical experience in computer technology in general and database design and implementation in specific. He is a popular speaker at TechEd, PASS and many other conferences; the author of over 400 articles and five books on SQL Server; and he teaches a Database Design course at the University of Washington.

For more on buck and what he’s done in the past look at his resume

Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)
More Posts Next page »