October Musings

Hey all, it’s been a busy few weeks and though I’ve had plenty of blog posts scheduled I thought I’d make some updates with what’s been going on.

Recently I discovered this great tool called MDX Studio. It’s written by Mosha Pasumansky, a former developer of Analysis Services. It’s no longer being actively developed on, other than being updated for later versions of Analysis Services. At any rate, one of the feature that helped me out was the PerfMon counters it outputs when you run a query. Through this I could see that the data was not loaded into the cache despite multiple runs. As the box was a VM it was simple enough to turn off and allocate more memory to.

Speaking of bacon savers, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned Who Is Active, a stored proc by Adam Machanic. Whenever someone says to me that they are having deadlocks or timeouts, this is the first stored proc I call. It returns the most pertinent info you need on the running activity on the SQL instance. So it’s easy enough to find any blocking queries etc. People are always amazed at how quickly I can find and fix any blocking issue, and it’s all down to this stored proc. I recommend you try this out.

In fact Adam Machanic tweeted the other day a slap in the face from Microsoft:

This Connect issue is a great idea, and it’s a real shame that Microsoft don’t consider it. A virtual tables with the data that caused the errors would save a lot of time in troubleshooting issues. Voting is still possible despite the fact that the issue is closed, so go ahead and vote for it Reminds me of another Connect article open that needs some up-votes which relates to snapshots which caused me a lot of issues.

I attended SQL Relay in Southampton this week. The venue was actually in Winchester, but I’m familiar with the area having lived there for about 3 years. The commute down was painful, but it was well worth it as I learnt form all the talks. The “AlwaysON for multi-site & multi-Subnet” talk by John Martin in particular was useful as we’re about to run an Availability Group over a multi subnet cluster, and I got a chance to pick John’s brains afterwards. Also, Christian Boulton’s description of the CXPACKET wait stat in the “Understanding Parallelism” session was the best I’ve heard and really clarified just what the delay was. All in all, well worth the 140 mile round trip on a murky October day.

I’ll be at SQL In The City next week, and the following week at the SQL Relay in London. I also have the 70-463 “Implementing a Data Warehouse” exam in a few weeks, so I’ve got plenty of revision to do for that! I find this time of year best to really crack on and push yourself to get some training and learning done before the Christmas break, mainly because it means I can reward myself by taking a few weeks off to relax over Christmas without feeling so guilty!

I find this works with exercise; I’ve got the 10 mile Great South Run in a little over a week, plus there’s a 10k run on 14th December at Regents park to do. At the risk of sounding arrogant, these distances aren’t too daunting for me as I run to/from work once a week, which is about 12 miles. So it’s all about managing it under a certain time, which means I have to keep off the cakes. But once Christmas is here I completely disregard any sort of discipline.

However in November I’m having the electrics and plumbing replaced in my house, which consequently means that I need new flooring and re-plastering. And all that work consequently means my family and I need to move out for a while, and hopefully be back in before the end of the year. So it’s a hectic end to the year, but I welcome it; better that than nothing to look forward to.

I made some more changes to the colour used on my blog. Although I liked the red, I do like bright and bold colours that most people would find abrasive, and my wife always complained that it was too aggressive. So I’ve gone for a subtler shade of green and changed the accent colours. I don’t know too much about accents etc, I’ve just gone for shades that designers recommend with the primary green. I’m going to live with it for a week, though I do miss the red. So it may change back. First year or so of this blog I was always tweaking the design, and I’ve been pretty stable the past 10 months, so don’t want to spend too much time fiddling with design and just get on with content!

Author: Richie Lee

Full time computer guy, part time runner. Full time Dad, part time blogger. Pokémon Nut. Writer of fractured sentences. Maker of the best damn macaroni cheese you've ever tasted.

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