Documentation is an important part of every DBA’s job and Snagit Screen Capture is my screenshot tool of choice. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Snagit is awesome for both pics and videos – wayyy better than the built-in (but still useful) Snipping tool.
GitHub Desktop for Windows
Gone are the days of myquery.sql.bak -> myquery.sql.bak.bak -> myquery.sql.bak.bak2. Now I do real version control with GitHub and I love it. It makes so much sense and GitHub for Desktop gives me the GUI comfort I need when it comes to version control.
What’s cool about this client is that it eased me into learning and understanding more about git/GitHub. I didn’t have to learn syntax + the whole concept of branching, repos, etc. I only had to learn the concepts and the easy GUI interface. One day I’ll do command-line, but that day is not today.
It snaps better to areas better and even comes with a built-in editor that lets me easily add arrows and do cropping. SnagIt costs money but is well worth the investment.
Sometimes, I need to get a little fancier with my screenshot edits and for that, I use Paint.NET. Paint.NET is free, powerful and fun to use. I use it for all of my logo design (which is often based off of icons found at iconfinder).
Ethervane Echo is a free clipboard manager that I had no idea I needed until I started using it. The fast search functionality is awesome and more than once it’s saved me after I deleted a script by accident. Once I was able to find the entire script (I have a habit of Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C) and another time, I was able to easily stitch it back together from a few different clips.
If you haven’t used a clipboard manager, give it one day and I think you’ll be addicted. The developer’s site is undergoing a redesign right now, but you can download Ethervane Echo directly from Internet Archive.
spaghettidba introduced me to this one. zoom.us is lightweight, reliable and cool Video Conferencing software. Installing it is quick and the quality is super high. I always try to use it now when practicing with fellow presenters, all for free.
Of course! I use dbatools every day. Just yesterday, I had to add a Windows Group to all of my servers and LOOOOOOOVED how easy it was to do with New-DbaLogin. Currently, I’m a huge fan of all the XEvents support, too.
Also, now I don’t fear migrations or worry that my disaster recovery plan is solid. dbatools helps simplify all of that.
I’ve dreamed of a tool like dbachecks since I was younger.
Now, we’ve got all of our checklists in one place. And since it’s free and open-source, other DBA’s have been adding their own checks, which is amazing. I’m looking forward to adding a few more audit checks once I can come up for air, likely after dbatools 1.0 debuts.
So I haven’t used this free cross-platform SQL Management client, teamsql.io, yet but it looks good AF. Not necessarily for SQL Server, but useful if you need to manage Postgres, Redshift, Oracle or whatever.
In the past, I was always horrified by how ugly other management interfaces were compared to SSMS, but this one is nice.
The first time I ever spoke in front of a live audience was in Antwerp, Belgium for SQL Server Days Belgium 2015. I was petrified. Years earlier, I was on a regional television show called Good Morning Acadiana and couldn’t even speak. Fortunately, my mom was a co-presenter and picked up my slack. Remembering this, I wondered if words would successfully leave my mouth when I presented in person. They did :D
Since then, I won Best Speaker Overall with Rob Sewell and Best Lightning Talk at SQL Saturday Dublin. I was sooooo blown away, especially considering many of my SQL idols were speaking as well.
The good thing about my first presentation was that Cathrine Wilhemsen was there to support me. She was amazing and awesome and if you can ever have her at your first time speaking, I highly recommend it.
If you’re high energy, don’t be like me on Good Morning Acadiana: don’t drink a lot of coffee before you present. It gives you dry mouth and makes you even more nervous. I, instead, opt for vodka (see point 4).
In the previous months, I was having A/V issues that required me to basically give my speech about 120 times if not more. My speech became muscle memory and even my wife knew every word. Subsequently, I was able to pick up any point where I forgot where I was.
I videoed myself to see what wasn’t coming across right. Because of this, I noticed that I used my hands in a way that was distracting. I thought it was helping with emphasis, but it became a crutch and a distraction.
My buddy Crawford told me he always takes two shots of whiskey to start a presentation. Whiskey is nasty, so I take 2 shots of Grey Goose vodka. My wife even packs tiny cute vodka bottles. The first 2 minutes are often the hardest and vodka or Belgian beer makes it easier.
Cathrine pointed out that my session was fab but that it ended on a weak note – you couldn’t tell that I was actually finished because.. I never really practiced that part. Now I always say something like “My name is Chrissy LeMaire, thanks so much for joining me today”
I don’t aim to teach a whole subject in 60 minutes or less. I’d bet that I suck at teaching PowerShell from scratch. My aim is to excite people into learning more. I knew I accomplished this at SQL Days Belgium when one of the organizers came to me and said that my session made him want to run home and play!
Something you don’t see on this list is Toastmasters. I actually went to a meeting but found that I’d potentially be picking up bad practices. Our meeting’s toastmaster played very much by the book. They had pauses, eye contact, and articulation but it felt so robotic. I opted instead in embracing myself and not thinking “Pause. 1-2-3. Speak.” in my head. Others may find it useful but it wasn’t my style.
If you’re a new speaker, congrats! I hope these tips help. If not, take 2 shots of vodka and call me in the morning ;)
SSPI handshake failed with error code 0x80090311, state 14 while establishing a connection with integrated security; the connection has been closed. Reason: AcceptSecurityContext failed. The Windows error code indicates the cause of failure. No authority could be contacted for authentication.
Login failed. The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows authentication
A handful of my SQL Servers began losing connecting with the domain controllers after recent Windows Patches. The only resolution was a reboot of the SQL Server, which obviously incurred downtimes. The issue hit two non-production VMs and also a Windows SQL Server Cluster. Oddly, both nodes in the cluster were affected simultaneously, even though SQL wasn’t running on the passive node. After some troubleshooting with Microsoft, we identified the issue and I wanted to share it here. A fix is pending, targeted for July.
The issue affects Windows Server 2012 OSes utilizing iSCSI storage and was introduced with KB4012216, a March security roll-up. The total amount of ephemeral ports on the system becomes exhausted over time. I won’t spend too much time showing you how to isolate the specific data we collected for Microsoft. I feel that if you are experiencing this issue after a recent application of patches, and you are running Server 2012 with iSCSI, that is probably proof enough.
You can view some details about ports in use with the following commands, the first being a PowerShell command:
There is no permanent solution, but the following are options for workarounds until a patch is released.
The most obvious would be to uninstall the patches. We uninstalled all 3 roll-up patches that we applied, but Microsoft indicates that it is part of KB4012216.
You can stop using iSCSI. Not a viable solution for most.
Increase the number of available TCP ephemeral ports and modify TCP Time Wait Delay to increase the time it takes for the issue to manifest. Type the following from a command line prompt and restart the server:
netsh int ipv4 set dynamicport tcp start=1025 num=64500
reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters /v TcpTimedWaitDelay /t REG_DWORD /d 0x0000001E /f
I hope you are able to use this information to fix any recurring issues you’ve experienced in your environments. I spent the last 3 or 4 nights rebooting SQL Servers after hours, but not tonight!
Recently, PASS announced their first round of speakers for Summit 2017 speakers and I’m on the list! I’m particularly excited because Summit is the largest SQL Server event in the world and it’s looking like PowerShell will be getting some great exposure this year.
In addition to announcing that I’ll be speaking, PASS also declared that PowerShell is ahot topicfor 2017! It’s no surprise, 2016 and 2017 have proven to be pivotal years for SQL PowerShell because of increased investment from both Microsoft and the community.
If you are a SQL Server Pro who loves PowerShell, please answer the Call for Speakers and submit an abstract! The deadline is coming up soon, on Wednesday, May 24 at 21:00 UTC. I’ve got a feeling that this year, there will be a big ol’ PowerShell Party at Summit and it would be amazing to have as much representation as possible.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough speaking experience, consider that earlier this year, PASS said that the selection process will be changing. I don’t know the details of the changes, but knowing PASS was going in different direction encouraged me to submit and it worked out well!
So please SQL PowerShell Pros, come to PASS Summit 2017 and represent. The community needs to hear from you!
Recently, I was approached by supa-famous Joey Aiello of the PowerShell team at my favorite conference ever, PSConf.eu.
So Joey comes up and says “Chrissy, Aaron Nelson has pretty much required me to talk to you. The SQL Community has the #1 PowerShell UserVoice request. We see that – we’ve heard you, The People want Out-DataTable and we agree. Would you be happy if we added it to the PowerShell Gallery first?”
“Uh, no! I want Out-DataTable to be a first class citizen like Out-GridView.”
“But where we’re going with PowerShell — we’re going smaller – to just core files, then you add on from the Gallery as desired.”
“Oh dang, like Linux! I’m liking it, keep talking.”
“To be clear, this is post 6.0. In the 6.0 timeframe, we still want to decouple as many release trains as possible. See PowerShellGet, PSReadline – except we still will very well package the ‘uber-complete, awesome devops tool edition’ of PowerShell. In the meantime, you could setup a metapackage.”
“Oh, like Linux patterns! PowerShell Gallery does that? I’m sold.”
Why I’m really happy with this answer
I’ve used Linux for a really long time and appreciate how you install your core files, then pile other stuff on as needed. In SUSE Linux’s Package Manager (and maybe others) these are called patterns.
So for me when setting up my Linux servers, I skip on the GUI patterns and select, for instance, a LAMP pattern. That has all the stuff I need like Apache, PHP, Python, MySQL, etc — but nothing more.
If you take a closer look at the screenshot above, you’ll see some sample patterns include
If you check the Console tools, you’ll find a number of packages that make it easier to work with the console including alpine, nano and ncftp.
So about Metapackages
PowerShell is similar in this way now that you can create a PowerShell Gallery module that’s made solely of other modules or packages. Recently, I created a metapackage named Database. Currently, this metapackage contains
In the future, I’ll be able to add Out-Datatable (or whatever they name it, perhaps ConvertTo-DataTable) and then any other database related module that makes sense. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
Here’s how I did it (copy/paste/change guid)
First, you must ensure that you’ve installed the modules that you want to require. Initially, I got an error when trying to Publish-Module and because I needed to install the DSC resource, xSqlServer, prior to attempting to include it in the metapackage.
Next, create new directory that’s the same name as your module, then add a psd1 to that directory. That’s all you need. Just one module manifest (.psd1) in one folder. So for the Database module, mine was C:\github\Database\database.psd1.
This is what the actual psd1 looks like – note that the important line is:
Inspired by Adam Bertram being inspired by Lifehacker’s How I Work series, I’m also doing a post about how I work ;) I really liked Adam’s balanced assessment so I decided to follow in his footsteps there, too.
Where are you located?
Belgium, land of the free, home of the beer. Also home of the Belgian PowerShell User Group, which I run with Luc Dekens.
I moved here back in 2012 from Washington D.C. Prior to my short stint in DC, I lived in Southern California, Northern California and Southern Louisiana.
What is/are your current gig(s)?
I’m a Systems Engineer/DBA for General Dynamics Information Technology. I’ve always heard about General Dynamics growing up because they’ve got a bunch of rocket scientists so it’s pretty cool to get to work for them.
I also have a couple other side gigs. I’ve always preferred it that way; get my primary source of income and health insurance from a corporation then do other stuff on the side. So I’ve had netnerds.net since 1997. The work I do through netnerds is generally web development or systems engineering. But between finishing my masters at Regis University and doing community work, I haven’t had much time for contracting lately.
My other paying side gig is RealCajunRecipes.com. I run this site with my mom and best friend. My mom does some pretty amazing work on Facebook. We’ve got about 90,000 likes as of today. The money we get from Google Ads helps pay for my bombass homelab.
What’s one word to describe your work?
I frikken love what I do. All of it is fun, even when it’s exhausting and even when it sucks.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
The obvious things: PowerShell, SQL Server Management Studio, RSAT, Remote Desktop Client, putty, GitHub Desktop
Snagit 13 is amazing! I used to use Camtasia and iMovie (well, I still do sometimes) but mostly use Snagit these days. I also use Handbrake to remove black bars on the side of videos and compress the hell out of videos.
I also love leather-bound notebooks and glitter pens. Oh! And I can’t live without my lil Address bar. It’s the first thing I turn on when I log into any desktop.
What does your workspace look like?
Here’s my home office.
That flag on the right is the Acadiana (Cajun) flag. My wife is kind and keeps my space clean – I’m messy by default. Also, I love Apple products, lighthouses and Aveda candles.
The monitor looks all lit up because it is — I bought some Luminoodle bias lighting to help prolong the time I can spend at a computer ;)
What’s a typical work week look like?
My work week starts on Sunday when I spend the first half of the day procrastinating and the second half doing school work. On weekdays, I get up and get my energy from vitamins and energy drinks or tea, depending on whatever phase I’m in.
My weekly output varies depending on my level of burnout. Sometimes I have to force myself to go to bed at 4am because everything is awesome and I’ve got the Flow or I crash around 8pm, exhausted from staying up till 4am for weeks straight ;)
Reading Steve McConnell’s Code Complete helped me with accepting this oscillation between Flow and burnout, which he pointed out is normal for programmers. I’ve tried to moderate but that always just ends up in a premature onset of burnout.
What do you like the best about your role?
I really love that I get to work with PowerShell all the time. I get to choose the tools I want to use and I’m encouraged to automate.
Also, my role happens to be in Belgium and I love living in Europe. My wife loves it. Our cats love it. We feel very fortunate to be surrounded by beer, different languages and cool people. The chill but enthusiastic members of the European tech community are so down to earth and amazing to be around, too. It’s heaven.
What’s something about you that no one knows about?
I used to work for Ani Difranco. Well, she was my client. I wrote a really long story about it back in 2004. Warning: the writing is cheesy and reminds me of fanfic.
What do you wish you could change about your work?
I wish that I could enjoy downtime a bit more. I often feel guilty, as though I should be doing something. Unless I’m traveling. So I guess – I wish I could enjoy downtime at home without guilt. I guess in this way, I kinda feel like Adam. There’s just so much to do.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
When I first won MVP back in 2015, I became totally overwhelmed and went into a 2 month depression. I was SUPER excited, but then I didn’t know how to handle the attention. It took me a while to accept that I could live up to what Microsoft saw in me.
A few things made it better. First was seeing this thread on Reddit where SharePoint MVPs pointed out that one downside to being an MVP is that people assume you know everything about the product, when really each of us have our own specialties.
I always knew people would expect me to be a PowerShell syntax and architecture expert and I’m not. That thread helped me accept this fact. I’m extremely honored that I can help make a difference in the world of SQL Server and PowerShell, however. That’s what I love and it’s my passion. But when I need syntax help, I do what other people do and ask members of the PowerShell team or other MVPs who specialize in the language itself. I usually leave it to others to debate semantics, which I totally appreciate and ultimately benefit from.
The second thing that helped was going to the MVP Summit and being surrounded by MVPs who were really supportive of my work. SQL Server MVP Aaron Nelson has always been a key person for me in this MVP adventure. He’s always so excited to introduce me to people and he nudges me along when I’m burned out or trying to avoid meeting new people because I’m shy.
And in general, the PowerShell MVPs are just an incredible group of professionals. Like, many of us have strong opinions, but at the end of the day, everyone is so respectful and accepting, even when we’re really direct or impassioned. I’m honored to be a part of such a great group; it’s been positively life changing even if my brain got off to a rocky start :)
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