Ask your support question thoroughly

Asking your question thoroughly can sometimes answer it for you.

I have been struggling with database encryption recently. In a nutshell, I didn't know or have access to the passwords used to create any of the keys or certificates, but needed to overwrite the non-production environments with a copy from production.

I will end up writing another blog post about what my problem was, and how I solved it (so that when I come across it again I can refer to it), but all in all, I spent 2 full weeks researching what to do. I didn't want to mess up production and was being (probably overly) cautious. I ended up getting STAGE and QA environments running, but ran into different issues with DEV.

The certificate wasn't already on DEV, so I had to add it. I found out how to do that as well, and ran the commands, but the restore still wouldn't work. I got an error: "A key required by this operation appears to be corrupted." At this point in the project, my frustrations levels were high. After google-ing like a pro, I decided to place a question on the stackoverflow forums. I started laying out all the information in an organized format. I listed what production looked like (version and edition, number of databases, how many of them were encrypted, which keys lived where, etc.), then started listing what development looked like, for comparison. I was trying to ask the question in such a way, that someone would have no problem helping me because I was being thorough and had shown prior research, etc.

By doing the comparison, I solved my own problem. I found out that when I added the certificate to DEV, it ended up in the specific database, instead of the master database.

I have had to re-write this post a bit because I remove a LOT of rambling :) With everything said and done, things worked out because I tried to give as much information as I could to the person reading the question, which, in turn showed me where my issue was.

T-SQL Tuesday #112

This month's T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Shane O'Neill (blog | twitter) - Dipping into your Cookie Jar. Shane mentions he recently heard David Goggin's audio book and how one of his techniques is to keep tabs of the good things so that when you need it, you can pull on that for an extra shot of motivation to keep going.

What a wonderful topic! Everyone needs some pick-me-up at some point, and pulling from your own stories can be a very powerful motivator! I will admit, I am a little biased on this one, Shane and I both help organize the DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter (shameless plug - visit you want free learning), along with Steve Cantrell and Kevin Wilkie, so I would answer any topic he hosts. :)

I have a confession, this wasn't something easy for me to write.  I tend to shy away from pointing out my accomplishments, and instead, talk about how things were done as a team.  I am also guilty of just thinking of things as just part of the job, therefore not quite as remarkable as others think.  I do have a few things I can look back on, though, which make me smile, so I thought I would briefly share those.

DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter - March 2019

March is a special month for me, and it starts Spring too! Here are the upcoming sessions for March - I am excited to meet all of the speakers this month. :)

WHAT:    Stored Procedure Optimization Techniques
WHEN:   Tuesday, March 5 – 11:00 am CT

WHAT:    Where Should My Data Live (and Why)?
WHEN:    Tuesday, March 12 – 12:30 pm AEDT (Australia)

WHAT:    Administering Beyond the Speed of Light : Managing SQL Server with Ansible
WHEN:    Tuesday, March 19 – 11:00 am CT

T-SQL Tuesday #111

This month's T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Andy Leonard (blog) - What is your WHY. Andy asks you to explain what is the underlying WHY behind what you do?

I LOVE what I do, but I didn't know I would until I started doing it. I actually put together a full ETL and reports/dashboards using MS Access (sorry for cursing everyone), Excel and Word before I knew it was a thing. Sometimes I wish someone would have thunked me right between the eyes and made me stop to realize working with and providing data was one of my passions earlier! Either way, I took the scenic route to end up as a DBA, and while that has helped my career in moments I wouldn't have exepcted, I am glad I am settled into something I really love.

As to WHY I do it... to me, that is the hardest question to answer. I have a pat answer that I give to people: to provide for my family. That is a very noble and lofty goal, but in my case, I would provide for them no matter what, and they would love me no matter what. So, for me, that isn't the real answer. To be honest, when I started writing this blog post I didn't have an answer at all.

I have written, erased, deleted, tweaked, and started over on this blog post more than any other I have written. I started talking about the last couple of years, and changed to a more technical point of view, and finally ended up reading between the lines. There is a common thread in my life that would count towards my "why" ~~ helping others

I have a quote at my desk that I like to read over and over:

"You are going to get what you want, but in such a way that every person whom you affected will have more than they do now."

DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter - February 2019

Here are the sessions for February. This is a little late getting published, so one has already past, but the other 2 are coming up!

WHAT:     Understanding SQL Server Backup and Restore
WHEN:    Tuesday, February 5 – 11:00 am CT

WHAT:    Let’s Talk about Big Data using SQL Data Warehouse
WHEN:    Tuesday, February 12 – 12:30 pm AEDT

WHAT:    Architectural Choices That Affect Performance
WHEN:    Tuesday, February 19 – 11:00 am CT

TSQL Tuesday #110

This month's T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Garry Bargsley (blog | twitter) - Automate All The Things. Since everyone's environment and experiences are different, he asks, "what does “Automate All the Things” mean to you?".

I love automating things. The thing you lose with automation is a human looking at something in order to figure out whether what is there is within guidelines or not.  With most companies, those guidelines aren't always spelled out well.  Therefore, it needs to be a thought out plan not just something that gets done quickly and not thought of again after.

For me, I think about automation as a project or process each time.  I learned the hard way that I want a lot of error trappings and alerts throughout.  For that reason, when I automate a specific process, I do so in multiple phases: 1) the base code that is needed is run, 2) error trapping is a lot more defined, 3) notifications to end-users are sent at appropriate times, and 4) self-recovery happens to help remediate errors not just report them.

Virtual Chapter - Organization

I decided to write a series of blogs posts about the organization for a virtual chapter for the SQL community. This series wont be about PASS themselves, but I do want to mention them because the virtual chapter is the DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter, which is part of the PASS organization.

I have run an on-site chapter in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is 1 hour west of the Baton Rouge chapter. I talked with them before starting it, and it was going to be more of a sister chapter, that allowed me (and others) to not have to travel the 1 hour distance (and over the 18 mile - Atchafalaya Basin Bridge). Now, I am helping to organize the virtual chapter, and so far have been loving it!  

I have always been someone that self-evaluates and tries to do better.  Before being in IT, I understood that a company needs to measure their success, but didn't really pay attention to the specifics of how you do that - it was more of understanding the importance of the concept.  As a DBA, I pay attention closely to how something will be measured.  With that in mind, I will be talking with other virtual chapter leaders in PASS, and other areas to discuss what works, what hasn't, and why.  I am hoping to see some of the insights as I write about them, kind of forcing myself to know where to think out of the box a bit. :)

Here are some of the topics I will be blogging about. Once I write the blog, I will link it here for easy reference:

  • Speakers
  • Sponsors
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Content
  • Evaluation and Growth



I will be updating this post with links to the other topics, including the monthly post that I will do for our sessions as follows:

Thank you for visiting!