Five Years Later

Happy Anniversary - SeniorDBA

It has been over five full years since I started this technology blog. I originally created this blog as an easy to search reference for SQL Server information, really for my own personal use. This started as a place to store example scripts, techniques, and information about SQL Server. It has grown to include information about many of the subjects I deal with in my professional life, including programming, security, and project management.

Here are some basic facts to entertain you on this historic occasion:

  • This site has been in place for five years, and I have posted over 1350 individual posts.
  • I was posting at least one post for each calendar day for the first three years, but now I try to post each Monday.
  • The site now gets about 420 visitors per week, with about 80 page views per weekday. There doesn’t seem to be as much interest on the weekend.
  • When this blog started on December 8, 2013, I was getting an average of 4 visitors per day.
  • The top 5 counties that have visited this site is the USA, India, United Kingdom, Hong Kong SAR China, and Canada.
  • Someone from over 110 counties has visited this site in the last 12 months, with over 22,000 individual page visits.

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Year Four

I hope you continue to visit this site and you should encourage your friends to visit as well. I really appreciate your support. Thanks.

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Cloud Comparison: AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP

Cloud Computing - @SeniorDBA

Three vendors, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP),  dominate the public cloud computing market. When it comes to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), these three huge vendors have a significant lead on other contenders in the field. Lets talk about the services provided and compare the major features offered by each vendor.

Many IT experts recommend that enterprise teams evaluate their public cloud needs to match specific applications and workloads with the vendor that offers the best fit for their needs. Each vendor has particular strengths and weaknesses that make them a good choice for certain projects.

Compute

Compute is described as the processing power that the cloud service offers to support your business workloads. In general, the more compute power offered the better is can be for your business. Since more compute can cost more money, the price also plays a significant role in understanding the offered compute power.

Startups can find the cloud-based compute model most beneficial because this approach allows them to order extra compute power anytime they want without worrying about long-term installation, maintenance, and hardware costs. You can start small and move to more compute power as required to keep compute costs as small as possible.

AWS – Elastic Compute Cloud: Amazon’s flagship compute service is Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2. Amazon describes EC2 as “a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.” EC2 offers a wide variety of options, including a huge assortment of instances, support for both Windows and Linux, bare metal instances (currently a preview), GPU instances, high-performance computing, auto scaling and more. AWS offers a free tier for EC2 that includes 750 hours per month of t2.micro instances for up to twelve months.

Azure – Virtual Machines: Microsoft’s primary compute service is simply known as Virtual Machines. Azure supports Linux, Windows Server, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, and SAP. Like AWS, Azure has an extremely large catalog of available instances, including GPU and high-performance computing options. Azure has also added instances optimized for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Azure has a free tier with 750 hours per month of Windows or Linux B1S virtual machines for a year.

GCPCompute Engine: Google’s catalog of compute services is somewhat shorter than AWS or Azure. Their primary service is called Compute Engine, which includes both custom and predefined machine types, per-second billing, Linux and Windows support, automatic discounts, and carbon-neutral infrastructure that uses half the energy of typical data centers. GCP offers a free tier that includes one f1-micro instance per month for up to 12 months.

Continue reading “Cloud Comparison: AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP”

What’s new in SQL Server 2019

Database - @SeniorDBA

Community technology preview (CTP) 2.0 is the first public release of SQL Server 2019 preview. The following features are added or enhanced for SQL Server 2019 preview CTP 2.0. The biggest news is probably around the new indexing engines new ability to recover from an indexing failure. The indexing process can fail and it is possible to resume the indexing process without having to start over.

  • Big Data Clusters
    • Deploy a Big Data cluster with SQL and Spark Linux containers on Kubernetes
    • Access your big data from HDFS
    • Run Advanced analytics and machine learning with Spark
    • Use Spark streaming to data to SQL data pools
    • Use Azure Data Studio to run Query books that provide a notebook experience
  • Database engine
    • UTF-8 support
    • Resumable online index create allows index create to resume after interruption
    • Clustered columnstore online index build and rebuild
    • Always Encrypted with secure enclaves
    • Intelligent query processing
    • Java language programmability extension
    • SQL Graph features
    • Database scoped configuration setting for online and resumable DDL operations
    • Always On Availability Groups – secondary replica connection redirection
    • Data discovery and classification – natively built into SQL Server
    • Expanded support for persistent memory devices
    • Support for columnstore statistics in DBCC CLONEDATABASE
    • New options added to sp_estimate_data_compression_savings
    • SQL Server Machine Learning Services failover clusters
    • Lightweight query profiling infrastructure enabled by default
    • New Polybase connectors
    • New sys.dm_db_page_info system function returns page information

Continue reading “What’s new in SQL Server 2019”

EMV Credit Card Chips Don’t Stop Fraud

EMV Thief - @SeniorDBA

New chip-enabled credit cards, known as EMV cards, which started rolling out to U.S. consumers starting in 2015 were intended to stop credit card fraud. Credit card companies like Europay, Mastercard, and Visa promoted EMV (which are the initials of the companies promoting the standard) as a merchant-funded way to force transactions over to a process known as “chip-and-PIN” where the computer chip inside the card would virtually eliminate illegal credit card cloning by organized crime.

A report from Gemini Advisory, a research firm, is showing that there were more than 60 million cases of credit card theft in the last 12 months. It also shows that 93% of the stolen cards used the new EMV chip technology that the card companies said would eliminate this type of crime.

The report states: “45.8 million…records [were] likely compromised through card-sniffing and point-of-sale (POS) breaches of businesses such as Saks, Lord & Taylor, Jason’s Deli, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Forever 21, and Whole Foods. To break it down even further, 90% or 41.6 million of those records were EMV chip-enabled,” which is stunning information.

Continue reading “EMV Credit Card Chips Don’t Stop Fraud”

Visual Studio 2019 Roadmap

Visual Studio - @SeniorDBA

Microsoft has released their planning calendar for future versions Visual Studio. In this newly released roadmap, Microsoft detailed some of the features that will be coming to the IDE in Q1 of 2019.

As requested by the user community, there is improved Xamarin.Forms support in Visual Studio 2019, it will also be multi-monitor dots per inch aware (which should help improve clarity on monitors with different DPIs and resolutions), and some services will also be moved to the background to improve load times.

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SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 3 is released by Microsoft

SQL Server - @seniorDBAMicrosoft announced on 10/31/2018 that they have released SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 3 (SP3). It is free and you are encouraged to download and apply the patch immediately.

The new SP3 patch comes two years after the last service pack and Microsoft says it brings some new capabilities like “performance, scalability and diagnostics” improvements.

This is a “cumulative update” which means that you can upgrade all editions and patch levels of SQL Server 2014 to the latest SQL Server 2014 SP3. This means it contains all past SQL Server 2014 hotfixes, so you don’t have to do anything around checking patch levels or applying hot fixes before applying this update.

Microsoft’s announcement lists improvements expected by installing the SP3 fixes. It’s a long list that you can read here:

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Using Nmap to easily find SQL Server Instances

Nmap and SQL Server

Nmap is a free, popular, and powerful port scanning tool that is available for multiple Operating Systems, including Windows. Although it looks like a simple port scanning utility, it has a lot of potential to help a understaffed data expert find SQL Server instances on your network.

Nmap does a few things very well, if you know how to use the tool:

  • Detecting which systems are listening on the network via pings (ICMP protocol).
  • Checking an IP Address even if it’s not responding to pings (great for appliances that might be configured to not respond to pings).
  • Scanning ports on those discovered hosts to see which ports are open.
  • Identifying which operating system the discovered host is running.
  • Identify what program or service is listening on each detected port.

All of the abilities make Nmap a great tool for detecting Microsoft SQL Server installations, even if you can’t find them from within the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

Note: Many network people view Nmap as a “hacking” tool, so if you’re going to use this tool within your organization make sure you have alerted your management and networking team to verify they understand what you are doing and to settle any authorization questions. Some people will really freak out, so just know that going into this demo and understand the risk involved.

Continue reading “Using Nmap to easily find SQL Server Instances”