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Database Deployments for Non-Developers

Ever since my first disaster of a manual deployment as a DBA I’ve been on the DevOps train. Maybe I didn’t know exactly what it was called but certainly this is a solved problem I said to myself? How do other organizations find the changes that need to be deployed from their dev/test environment into production? How can I ensure that we have a process that has the best chance of succeeding when we go to deploy?

Deploying the MSDTC in a Highly Secure Environment

This is just a fancy way of saying you need to be better friends with who ever is managing your enterprise firewall. I hadn’t had to touch the DTC until a recent vendor insisted their application wouldn’t work without it (despite their only having a single data store). The MSDTC was developed to coordinate transactions that would span multiple machines and was originally introduced in SQL Server 2000. In theory it’s not super complicated: just enable the DTC service/communication on the servers in question and turn on some built in firewall rules on the servers right?

Summit 2019 Post Mortem

Last week was a very excellent PASS Summit (made somewhat bittersweet by the fact that we don’t know exactly when we’ll return to Seattle) and I wanted to captures some of the things I brought back from a high level. Big SQL News A couple of announcements of note were made the first of which being the promotion of SQL 2019 to GA. 2019 includes such fancy features as the ability to perform data classification via metadata tables (as opposed to attaching that information to a columns extended properties).

Backing Up A Cosmos DB with the Cosmos DB Migrator Tool

CosmosDB really is an amazing datastore and even better (you might be thinking): Microsoft handles the backups for you. Which is true. They take backups every four hours and keep the last two. If you need anything recovered from the database you’d better hope that you notice with in that window and get a ticket open with Microsoft to get it fixed. This being the case Microsoft helpfully recommends that in addition to the by default backups that come with the Cosmos DB service that you export your data to a secondary location as needed to meet your organizations SLA.

What's a Data Catalog? Denver Edition

I had the wonderful opportunity to present an introduction to data catalogs to the Denver SQL Users Group yesterday. I am grateful for the chance to work on my presenting skills and talk about the new challenges about identifying and protecting risky data. I’ve uploaded the slide deck and some sample PowerShell scripts for SQL Data Catalog to my git repo here. Additionally there was a question about re-using Data Catalog work for data masking: Richard Macaskill’s blog post I mentioned is here.

SQL 101: What Happens When...

I had an interesting question asked this last Saturday when I was giving my Intro to SQL session at SQL Saturday Redmond: “What happens if you cast a NVARCHAR string as VARCHAR?” I had an educated guess but I didn’t have the time during the session to test it out: Casting NVARCHAR to VARCHAR. It won’t throw an error but it will destroy any data in the string that isn’t VARCHAR compatible.