Another change in jobs: and upcoming events

Recently I was forced to make a job change. 

I am now working for a reputable local bank as a DBA and I am no longer a consultant.  l enjoyed my time as a consultant even though I never could get used to the idea of being “billable”.  And putting the fate of your job in the hands of other individuals (sales department) was nerve racking to say the least.  But I learned valuable skills and information from my time as a consultant.

I hope to continue participating in the SQL community.  In fact, I am presenting my newest presentation “You want me to Isolate What? An Introduction into Data Integrity and Isolation Levels of SQL Server” THIS Saturday at SQL Saturday Pensacola #617.  Of course I will upload my slide deck and demos after this weekend.

And you can catch me in two weeks at SQL Saturday Houston #651.

Hope to see you there!

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Expanding a DBA’s Role

I have never really considered my self a System Administrator, but I am familiar enough with the Windows Operating System to consider myself a little dangerous. However, with more and more of our clients utilizing the power of Microsoft Azure VMs I see my role as a SQL Consultant starting in encompass System Administrator duties.

Recently a client found this article on “Best Practices for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines” and wanted to re-provision his volumes to adhere to them.

No my first thoughts was wait, I’m a DBA, not a System Admin that’s not my role! But thinking more about it I realized the client views this as a SQL Server issue and I am the SQL Server Consultant and that it is my job to remedy this problem.

Not being 100% confident in Azure, I spun up a VM SQL Server and attempted to add some volumes.  To my surprise, this was way too easy.

After selecting the server I wanted to manage….

Step 1:    Select Disk on the left menu and then click “+ Add Data Disk”AddingDisks1 

Step 2: Configure Disk

  • You will need to provide a name or you can use the pre-populated name
  • Select Source Type, in this case I left it at the default “New (empty disk)”
  • Select Account Type, again, left it at the default of “Premium (SSD)”
  • Choose the Size.  From 0 t0 1023 which is a Terabyte of space.
  • Select Storage Container.  This will open another tab and just pick the one you want or create a new one
  • Storage Blob name – once again you can use the pre-populated name

AddingDisks2

Step 3: Select a Container

This is where the actual VHD file will reside, you can use an existing container or create a new one for these files

AddingDisks3

 

That’s it!  That is all that is need to mount a new volume to an existing VM SQL Server. It automatically populates in the OS Disk Management where you will need to create a “Simple Volume” (or however you would like to do it) and format the drive (remember MSFT recommends 64K for data and log drives)

You are now ready to do. 

And removing an existing drive is even easer.  At the top of the Disk Panel is the work “Edit” click there and you are given the option to delete. It will automatically remove it from your server, no reboot no warning!  So be careful.

Heck, maybe being a System Administrator in Azure isn’t so tough after all! 

My first time, lessons learned!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of doing a presentation at SQL Saturday #514 in Houston Texas.  I had been to other SQL Saturdays before as both a participant and a “volunteer”; but I had never have spoken before.

Speaking in front of people is usually no big deal to me.  I have been designing, presenting, hosting and administrating all types of training for the Boy Scouts for many, many years.  I have taught Scouting newbies how to tie a knot to presenting on topics like “Project Planning and SMART goals” (email me if you want to know what SMART goals are).  I have even coordinated an all day training event very similar to SQL Saturday for my Council called University of Scouting.

But what was different about this experience was the topic.  I have been active in the Boy Scouts since I was eleven.  I know Scouting information, concepts, and topics backwards and forwards. I have been facilitating trainings (presenting) since I was 15. So Scouting is 2nd nature to me.  But presenting on SQL Server topics was somewhat nerve wracking.  For me it was a test of not my presenting abilities; but my SQL DBA abilities.  As an “Accidental DBA” I have always questioned my abilities with SQL Server.  Everything I have learned about computers I have learned my self, so I am always 2nd guessing myself. 

As a “First timer”, I thought it would be best to cover Beginning Level topics.  My thought was 1) I knew the material and 2) after reading Tim Ford’s #EntryLevelChallenge it motivated me to remember my fellow newbies.

I won’t go into the topic of my presentation today as this is more about the experience.  The audience, which I had 14 in attendance, was very attentive and I don’t think I put anyone to sleep!

I do need to work on my demos.  They all worked as expected; but switching between laptop and projector, throwing SSMS on the projector screen, changing screen settings from duplicate to extend was all too much.  There has to be a better way to switch between PowerPoint in presentation mode and SSMS to do demo. So I will practice that.

I thought I did best on time management.  The time allotted was 60 minutes, I said “Thank you for your time” at 59 minutes and 30 seconds. 

Over all the experience was well worth it. By the responses I received from the speaker evaluations, I think I did an OK job.  I had no major criticisms except to slow down, I assure you that was nerves at the beginning. 

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day

On Monday, September 14th, I began a new chapter in my career as a SQL DBA Consultant for a local IT Service/Consultant firm here in Baton Rouge, LA.

After almost 10 years of being a “jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none”, I have decided to concentrate my efforts on DBA work and do my best to help others.  Over the last 10 years, I have been a SharePoint Admin, .NET web developer, .NET desktop developer, a BI Analysts, a SQL Developer and a SQL DBA. It was time to dedicate my career.

The company I am working for now believes in the concept of “transferring knowledge”; not just fixing their problems.  I like that approach and I like the idea of something different everyday!  Hopefully, this transferring of knowledge translates to more blog posts!

The concept of “billable time” is definitely something to get used to; but aren’t there new things about every new job?