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SQLSaturday #85 Orlando: Pragmatic Works BI Pre-Con!

I’m very proud to announce that Pragmatic Works will be presenting a Business Intelligence Workshop pre-con for SQLSaturday #85 in Orlando on Friday September 23rd! In this session you’ll have not one, not two, not three but FOUR Pragmatic Works consultants walking you through how to develop a full business intelligence solution from the ground up! Your instructors for this awesome pre-con are:

Jorge Segarra (Twitter | Blog)

I’m a BI Consultant for Pragmatic Works and a SQL Server MVP. In addition to being a member of the Jacksonville SQL Server User Group (JSSUG) I’m also a PASS Regional Mentor for the U.S. Greater Southeast region. I have also co-authored the book from Apress “SQL 2008 Pro Policy-Based Management“. Redgate Exceptional DBA of the Year 2010 Finalist.

Mike Davis (Twitter | Blog)

Mike Davis, MCTS, MCITP, is a Senior BI consultant at Pragmatic Works. He is an author of a few Business intelligence books. Mike is an experienced speaker and has presented at many events such as several SQL Server User Groups, Code Camps, SQL Server Launches, and SQL Saturday events. Mike is an active member at his local user group (JSSUG) in Jacksonville, FL.

Brad Schacht (Twitter | Blog)

Bradley is a consultant at Pragmatic Works in Jacksonville, FL. He was an author on the book SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence 24-Hour Trainer. Bradley has experience on many part of the Microsoft BI platform. He has spoken at events like SQL Saturday, Code Camp, SQL Lunch and SQL Server User Groups. He is a contributor on sites such as BIDN.com and SQL Server Central as well as an active member of the Jacksonville SQL Server User Group (JSSUG).

Kyle Walker (Blog)

Kyle is a Business Intelligence consultant for Pragmatic Works. His current and past work experience includes Integration Services, data warehousing concepts, Reporting Services, and Crystal Reports. He is active in the local and online community as a speaker for SQL Lunch, Jacksonville SQL Server Users Group, and past SQLSaturday events, as well as a blogger on BIDN.com.

Abstract:

In this full-day workshop, you’ll learn from the author team of Jorge Segarra, Mike Davis, Brad Schacht, and Kyle Walker how to build a data warehouse for your company and support it with the Microsoft business intelligence platform. We’ll start with how to design and data model a data warehouse including the system preparation. Then, we’ll jump into loading a data warehouse with SSIS. After SSIS, you’re ready to roll the data up and provide the slice and dice reporting with SSAS. The team will walk through cube development and data enrichment with things like key performance indicators, which are essential for your future dashboards. Lastly, we will cover how to report against the data warehouse with SSRS including a primer in how to write MDX queries against the SSAS cube.

Take Home Skills:

  1. Practical knowledge of building a Dimensional Model
  2. Designing a simple ETL process using SSIS
  3. Designing a Cube
  4. Designing simple SSRS Reports
  5. Building an integrated process that fully leverages the entire MS BI stack to load a Data Warehouse

See you all in Orlando!

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OMG I’m an MVP!

I can’t believe it, but I can finally say that I’m now officially a Microsoft SQL Server MVP! Last week I got the great news from my MVP lead, Ryan Bolz (Twitter) in…a peculiar way. Allow me to explain. Typically MVP renewals and new awardees are notified four times a year, once every quarter. This past quarter’s notifications went out on July 1st. Like so many in the community, when the quarterly MVP day rolled around I was guilty of refreshing my inbox every 5 minutes for 24 hours hoping for that magic Wonka ticket into MVP-ville.

Felt a little something like this...

Alas, July 1st came and went with no email. Disappointed turtle was disappointed. Now I say I was disappointed since I knew I’d been nominated the last few quarters but hadn’t heard anything yet. And yes, I know “it’s the award you’re not supposed to want”, but still it’s stressful knowing you’re up for it but not hearing anything one way or the other. This time around I figured “oh well, keep it up and eventually…maybe”. Anywho, last week as I was at the JSSUG meeting when I got a DM from Ryan with the following: “Hi Jorge — Congratulations! You are a MVP. Call me so I can explain it all to you.”

Say WHAT?!? I checked and double checked the message to make sure it wasn’t some sort of sick prank. As soon as I got out of the meeting I gave Ryan a call to find out what was going on. I’d heard of folks getting awarded out of cycle before but I was still thoroughly confused as to what was going on! As it turns out, apparently I HAD been awarded MVP status in the July 1st batch but something went wrong with getting me the notification. For those not familiar with the process, Microsoft sends out the MVP emails en-masse to folks which seems to trip every spam filter around. Since this is the case, folks are told to check their spam folders on MVP day just in case. In my peculiar case it wasn’t a matter of spam filter black hole but rather an error in my contact information. Near as I can tell they had an invalid email address on file for me so they weren’t able to send me my notification!

Fast forward a few weeks and Ryan had gone on vacation and gotten sick during that period, when he finally got back to the office and catching up he somehow discovered that I had no idea I was awarded. That’s when he dug around and sent me a DM on Twitter as that was a guaranteed means of getting to me directly.

The Mushy Part

Story aside, I want to let you all know how truly grateful I am for this honor. It’s been a pleasure and privilege being a part of this amazing SQL community and this award just compels me to keep working even harder to deserve it. I want to thank everyone for the warm congrats and support, it means a LOT! I’d also like to send a special thank you to those who nominated me and sent me words of encouragement every quarter.

Speaking of working harder I got another piece of amazing news last week as well: I’ll be presenting for the first time at PASS Summit this year! What makes THAT even cooler is that the session is a Community Spotlight session, meaning you guys were gracious enough to cast your vote for me so I can bore educate the masses on Policy-Based Management at the Super Bowl/World Cup of SQL Server events! That being said thank you all so SO much for all your love and support and I look forward to continue serving this community for years to come!

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Second Chances: PASS Community Choice Sessions

Recently I found out that my PASS presentation submission ‘Policy-Based Management’ has a second chance to be accepted for the conference (which I’m really grateful for!) but I need your help! Please take a minute to head over to the Community Choice Sessions page and cast your vote (up to 5 selections). As long as I’m pandering for votes, please cast a check for some of my fellow co-workers as well!

In keeping with my annoying use of LOLcats pictures…

Thank you!

YOU CAN HAZ THANKS!

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Make It Simple With Policy-Based Management

At work recently, I explained to a coworker the reasons and benefits of having databases in Simple mode in your development environment. Funnily enough, a few hours later, I see my friend Andie Letourneau (Blog | Twitter) posted a blog on how to adjust your recovery modes in development. While Andie’s homework assignment is to substitute it with a WHILE loop, I have MUCH simpler solution using Policy-Based Management!

First, let’s create the condition and policy. As always you can either use this T-SQL or you can simply download the XML policy and import it:

Download Policy Here

TSQL:

--Create Condition First
Declare @condition_id int
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_syspolicy_add_condition @name=N'Simple Recovery Mode', @description=N'Ensures databases are set to SIMPLE recovery mode', @facet=N'Database', @expression=N'
  Bool
  EQ
  2

    Numeric
    RecoveryModel

    Numeric
    Enum
    Numeric
    2

      String
      System.String
      Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.RecoveryModel

      String
      System.String
      Simple

', @is_name_condition=0, @obj_name=N'', @condition_id=@condition_id OUTPUT
Select @condition_id

GO

--Create Policy
Declare @object_set_id int
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_syspolicy_add_object_set @object_set_name=N'Simple Mode Check_ObjectSet', @facet=N'Database', @object_set_id=@object_set_id OUTPUT
Select @object_set_id

Declare @target_set_id int
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_syspolicy_add_target_set @object_set_name=N'Simple Mode Check_ObjectSet', @type_skeleton=N'Server/Database', @type=N'DATABASE', @enabled=True, @target_set_id=@target_set_id OUTPUT
Select @target_set_id

EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_syspolicy_add_target_set_level @target_set_id=@target_set_id, @type_skeleton=N'Server/Database', @level_name=N'Database', @condition_name=N'', @target_set_level_id=0

GO

Declare @policy_id int
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_syspolicy_add_policy @name=N'Simple Mode Check', @condition_name=N'Simple Recovery Mode', @policy_category=N'', @description=N'This policy ensures that the databases evaluated against are set to SIMPLE recovery mode.', @help_text=N'', @help_link=N'', @schedule_uid=N'00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000', @execution_mode=0, @is_enabled=False, @policy_id=@policy_id OUTPUT, @root_condition_name=N'', @object_set=N'Simple Mode Check_ObjectSet'
Select @policy_id

GO

Now that you’ve created your policy, you can either evaluate it directly on that server or we can leverage the Central Management Server feature to evaluate this policy against one or more servers in your environment! Since we’re looking at this from an enterprise-level standpoint, we’re going to go over the CMS way of doing this.

Once you’ve established your CMS, you’re going to want to register servers to it. You could register everything directly under the CMS but then it becomes one giant list and that’s not very nice. One method I like to implement in my CMS is to create new server groups for each environment (e.g. DEV, QA, PROD). Within each group, I also create additional groupings for each version of SQL Server (e.g. 2000, 2005, 2008). Once the groups/folders have been created I then register my servers in their appropriate spots.

The advantage of breaking groups up like this is that CMS allows you to query against multiple servers at once. For instance if you were to right-click the folder for DEV, which in my case contains two registered servers in groups beneath it, SSMS will connect to both instances so that you can query them at the same time. It is this mechanism that we’ll use with Policy-Based Management since that feature allows us to evaluate policies against multiple servers in the same way.

To evaluate this policy, right-click the DEV folder and select Evaluate Policies. For source, click on the ellipses button and select either the folder location of the XML file or select the SQL Server instance which you imported the policy to. Once you’ve selected the policy’s location, you’ll see the Evaluate Policies screen with a list. Tick the box for the Simple Mode Check and then click the Evaluate button.

Check that out, you just evaluated policies against all of the databases in DEV! The databases that are NOT in simple mode (per our condition check) fail the policy evaluation and show up with red X’s. To quickly switch those to simple mode simply check the boxes for those that failed the check, then click the Apply button. This will enforce the policy on those databases and switch them for you to Simple mode! Imagine doing this that quickly and easily against hundreds of databases!

If you’re wondering if you can automate this process, the answer is absolutely! Check out the great open-source project Enterprise Policy-Management Framework over at Codeplex. This project allows you not only automate this process and policy enforcement but it also offers some really nice reporting of all this as well!

UPDATE: After chatting with Andie it looks like I forgot to mention a few things. Namely that for those wondering if this works on down-level servers (2000, 2005, etc.) the answer is YES! So long as you have a SQL Server 2008 server acting as your CMS, you can evaluate (certain) policies against down-level servers. Given this confusion I’ll write up a post on how all this works and what the caveats are.

The other point to make is that CMS uses Windows authentication only. If you have multiple domains, and there is no trust established between the domains, then this solution won’t work. If you DO have multiple domains and trust established, so long as your credentials allow you to traverse domains and the proper security authorizations are in place on the target SQL Servers then it will work.

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Automating Web App Deployments with SSIS

This is just a quick note to let everyone know I’ve uploaded the project files from my Pragmatic Works webinar on Automating Web Application Deployments with SSIS. You can find the link on my Presentations page. If you missed the presentation you can view the recording of it here.

The zip file includes a readme document that highlights some of the important things to setup for project as well as an explanation of the different solution files inside the zip file. If you have any questions or problems feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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SQL Server Denali CTP3: Policy Based Management

Whether you know it or not, Policy-Based Management is an integral part of the new release of SQL Server “Denali”. Did you know that the HADR feature actually leverages PBM for checks? Yup, that’s right folks. If you’re an administrator and you’re NOT using Policy-Based Management yet, I highly recommend you pick up a book and check it out!

So what’s new in SQL Server “Denali” CTP3 for Policy-Based Management? I just got the shrink wrap off of it (I’m not quite the go-getter that Aaron Nelson is) but at a quick glance here’s the changes I see. These comparisons were made with listing of facets between SQL Server 2008 R2 and the new “Denali” CTP3 release.

 

We now have 84 facets (as opposed to 76 in 2008 R2). These are our new facets and their applicable target types!

Availability Database – Exposes properies of the Availability Database object
Applicable Target Types: AvailabilityDatabase
Availability Group – Exposes properies of the Availability Group object
Applicable Target Types: AvailabilityGroup
Availability Group State – Exposes properies of the Availability Group
Applicable Target Types: AvailabilityGroup
Availability Replica – Exposes properties of the Availability Replica object.
Applicable Target Types: AvailabilityReplica
Database Replica State – Exposes the properties of physical database replicas participating in an availability group.
Applicable Target Types: DatabaseReplicaState
Search Property List – Exposes properties of the Search Property List object
Applicable Target Types: SearchPropertyList
Sequence – Exposes properties of the sequence object.
Applicable Target Types: Sequence
Server Role – Exposes properties of the ServerRole object.
Applicable Target Types: ServerRole

 

Again, this still has that new install smell so I haven’t had time to mess around with it but I’ll soon be posting some new policies using these facets so you can get an idea of what you can do administratively using Policy-Based Management and these new facets.

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