Powershell Desired State Configuration

Nicolas Prigent describes Powershell Desired State Configuration:

The management and maintenance of servers quickly becomes complex without standardisation. PowerShell allows us many ways of responding to different problems and occasionally bypassing certain restrictive techniques. The danger is that we end up with a plethora of scripts in order to manage a server, all more complicated than the other, and this works. We do much better with a standard way of automating a task

DSC gives us a declarative model for system configuration management. What that really means is that we can specify how we want a workstation or server (a ‘node’) to be configured and we leave it to PowerShell and the Windows Workflow engine to make it happen on those target ‘nodes’. We don’t have to specify how we want it to happen.

DSC is great for keeping servers and server configurations in sync.

Excel Licensing Changes

Ginger Grant points out that Business Analytics Features are no longer in all versions of Excel:

Looking at this graphic, this is no way lists all of the versions of Excel which Microsoft sells. What about Office 365 Enterprise E1? Surely you would get Power Pivot functionality with that right? No. How much more money is Power Pivot going to cost you? Well, if you have Office 365, you are paying $8 a month for the Office software, including Excel. There is no guarantee that spending more money will provide Power Pivot though. Office 365 ProPlus, which has Power Pivot, will run you $12 a month. If you have Office Small Business Premium, which runs $12.50 a month you won’t get Power Pivot. Check the version of Excel 2016 by going to File->Account then look at what is listed. If the version isn’t Office 365 Pro Plus or one of the other versions listed in the graphic, there will be no way to make Power Pivot appear.

Based on Ginger’s explanation this seems like something that will be very confusing for some Excel users.

Limited Permissions For Third-Party Applications

Steve Jones wants to find minimum required permissions for Red Gate’s DLM Dashboard:

The principle of least privilege should apply everywhere, certainly in production, but also in development. If you limit permissions in development, you might cause a few headaches, but you’ll understand the issues and solve them early on. More importantly, if you have security flaws, they aren’t in production systems where data is exposed.

SQL Server security isn’t that hard, but it can be cumbersome. Set it up properly in development, keep your scripts (even from the GUI), and then use those scripts for your production systems.

Red Gate’s usually pretty good about publishing minimum permission requirements; some vendors will simply say “you need sysadmin or db_owner.”  I’m not enthralled with vendors which take the lazy way out.

SSMS Keyboard Shortcuts

Slava Murygin shows us some keyboard shortcuts in SQL Server Management Studio:

If you work with SQL Server for a long time you’ve probably learn some Keyboard combinations to speed up your administration or development process.
The full list of SSMS Shortcut keys you can find in MSDN

I will try to re-categorize the most interesting ones

If you spend a lot of time in Management Studio, learning keyboard shortcuts will make your life easier.

Online Database Modelling Services

Robert Sheldon has a look at some web-based database modelling services:

Here I look at five tools that provide online modeling services, ranging from commercial products to free, open-source solutions. They include Vertabelo, GenMyModel, dbDiffo, WWW SQL Designer, and DbDesigner.net. Each one takes a different approach to delivering its services and completing basic tasks, such as adding tables, columns, or relationships. You’ll find that some tools are more feature-rich and user-friendly than others, but each one has its own advantages and charms.

That said, none of the tools provide the level of functionality you get with an advanced on-premises solution such as PowerDesigner or ER/Studio, but not everyone needs such an extensive set of features—or the price tag that goes with them. In fact, all five online tools come either completely free or have a free version available, making it possible to try all of them without having to commit one way or the other. Not surprisingly, the free versions associated with the commercial products have limitations on their use.

The hat I’d throw into the ring is draw.io.  It’s a Visio look-alike, so it’s more useful for high-level strategic diagrams than a true model.

SSIS Performance Testing

Koen Verbeeck shows a framework he uses for performance testing in Integration Services:

The proc passes the @RunID parameter to the package, as well as other usual suspects, such as the package name, folder name and project name. You can also choose if a package is run synchronously or asynchronously. When run synchronously, the stored procedure doesn’t finish until the package is finished as well.

Using this stored procedure, it is easy to run a package multiple times in a row using a WHILE loop.

Also of interest is Andy Leonard’s SSIS Performance site, whose goal is to set up some performance benchmarks for Integration Services.

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