TSQL2sDay – Folks Who Have Made a Difference

tsql2sday

This months TSQL2sDay is an absolute brilliant one hosted by Ewald Cress

the opportunity to give a shout-out to people (well-known or otherwise) who have made a meaningful contribution to your life in the world of data.

Fabulous, fabulous idea Ewald, I heartily approve

Now this is going to be difficult. There are so many wonderful people in the #SQLFamily who are so gracious and generous and willing to share. I am also lucky enough to be part of the PowerShell community which is also equally filled with amazing people. I do not want to write a novel or a massive list of people, I don’t want to risk missing someone out (Ewald, I’m beginning to question whether ‘fabulous’ should become ‘tricky and challenging’ !!)

So after consideration I am only going to talk about 4 wonderful people and the effect they have had on my life, my career and my community involvement but know that I truly appreciate the input that all of the peoples have had and the amazing friendships that I have all over the world. There is no order to this list, these are 4 of the people in equal first with all the other people I haven’t mentioned. This post should really scroll sideways. Interestingly I noticed after writing this that they are in reverse chronological order in my life!

The Hair!

At PASS Summit this year many people came up to me and said “Hey, Beard ……..” The first person who called me that is an amazing inspiring bundle of talented energy called Chrissy LeMaire

Many moons ago, we exchanged messages over social media and email, chatted after a PowerShell Virtual Group presentation and then one day she asked me to join as an organiser for the Virtual Group.

When dbatools was in it’s infancy she asked me to help and since then has given me interesting challenges to overcome from introducing Pester and appveyor to the dbatools development process to creating continuous delivery to our private PowerShell gallery for our summit pre-con forcing me to learn and implement new and cool things. Our shared love of enabling people to do cool things with PowerShell is so much fun to do 🙂

She is so generous and giving of her time and knowledge and has an amazing capability to get things done, whether by herself or by encouraging and supporting others.

We have presented at many conferences together, both SQL and PowerShell and we have the best of times doing so. It is so refreshing to find someone that I am comfortable presenting with and who has the same passion and energy for inspiring people. (It’s also fun to occasionally throw her off her stride mid-presentation (Thank you Cathrine 🙂 )

I am proud to call her my buddy. You are so inspiring Chrissy.

Thank you Ma’am

Amazing Couple

A few months after becoming a DBA I was the only DBA at the company as the others all left for various reasons. I was drowning in work, had no idea what I should be doing. I knew I didn’t have the knowledge and during that time I began to be aware of the SQL community and all the fine resources that it provides.

I then found out about a local user group and emailed the leader Jonathan Allen (He surprised me by reminding of this during our pre-con in Singapore a couple of weeks ago!) Jonathan and his wife Annette run the SQL South West user group and are also members of the SQL Bits committee, Annette is also the regional mentor for the UK. They give an awful amount of time and effort to the SQL Community in the UK. It took a few months before I even had the time to attend a user group and in those early days they both answered my naive questions and passed on so much of their technical knowledge and methodology to me and I soaked it up.

Later on, they invited me to help them to organise SQL Saturday Exeter, encouraged me to speak, gave me fabulous feedback and pointers to improve, encouraged me to volunteer for SQL Bits and have been incredibly supportive. I love them both very much. Neither like having their photo taken so I can’t embarrass them too much.

Next time you see them give them a hug.

Thank you J and A

The First One

Andrew Pruski dbafromthecold and SQL Containers Man

At the time I am talking about he was not a member of the SQL Community although he possessed all of the qualities that describe such a person. Now he is an established blogger and speaker and attender of SQL events.

He is one of the DBA’s who left me on my own!! He is the first SQL DBA I ever worked with. The person who taught me all those important first bits of knowledge about being a SQL DBA. He imparted a great amount of knowledge in a few months with great patience to an eager newbie.

More than that, he showed me that to succeed in IT, you need to do more than just an everyday 9-5, that it requires more time than that. He instilled in me (without realising it) a work ethic and a thirst for doing things right and gaining knowledge that I still have today. He inspired me when I was faced with trying to understand the mountain of knowledge that is SQL Server that it was possible to learn enough. He taught me the importance of testing things, of understanding the impact of the change that is being made. He showed me how to respond in crises and yet was still willing to share and teach during those times.

He has had a greater impact on me than he will ever know and I have told him this privately many times. I will never forgive him for abandoning me all those years ago and yet that is a large part of what made me who I am today. I was forced to have to deal with looking after a large estate by myself and needed to learn to automate fast and he just about left me with the skills to be able to accomplish that.

Massive shout out to you fella. Thank you

All the Others

Seriously, there are so many other people who I wish I could thank.

Every single one of you who blogs or speaks or records webinars that I have watched – thank you.

All of the organisers who ensure that events happen – thank you

All of the volunteers who assist at those events – thank you.

That group of amazing European speakers at the first SQL Saturday Exeter I attended. The cool group, my wife still reminds me of how I came home from that event so inspired by them. How incredibly generous and welcoming they were and how they welcomed me into their group even though I didn’t feel worthy to share their table. They taught me about the lack of egos and humbleness that defines the SQL family. I am proud to call them my friends now. Thank You (You know who you are)

We have a great community, may its ethos continue for a long time.

2016 – That was a Year :-)

Its the time of year for reflection and I have had the most amazing 2016, I am blessed that I love what I do so much. I thoroughly enjoy writing and talking and sharing and commenting and supporting and cherishing all the SQL and PowerShell things. I wrote about using Power Bi to display my checkins. I only started this in June and this is where I have been 🙂

swarm

I learnt about Pester and ended the year incorporating it into dbatools and dbareports. I also started using GitHub It is quite surprising to me how much time I now spend using both. I also had to start learning DSC for the client I was working with because as ‘the PowerShell guy’ I was the one who could the easiest. I learnt things and then forgot them causing me to find this Pester post via google later in the year!! (That’s a big reason for blogging by the way)

Early in the year we organised with SQL Saturday Exeter

Helping to organise a SQL Saturday is a lot of fun, especially when you do it with good friends, but choosing sessions is by far the most challenging part of it for me. I could have chosen at least 60 of these sessions and I know people were disappointed not to have been chosen. I was also the first person many saw at SQL Bits in Liverpool manning the front of house and getting asked the best question ever

The Beard says

When you go to an event –  Say thank you to the organisers and volunteers

and a TERRIBLE thing happened – I broke my DBA Team mug

WP_20160223_07_51_03_Pro.jpg

Luckily the fine folk at redgate sorted me out with a replacement from deep in the stores somewhere and gave it to me at SQL Saturday Exeter 🙂 Thank you.

I spoke at the PowerShell Conference Europe and met and made some great friends which lead to me speaking at the PowerShell Monday in Munich and the Dutch PowerShell Usergroup. SQL Saturday Dublin was a blast, its a wonderful city, Manchester had a whole PowerShell Track 🙂 and Cambridge was memorable for the appalling journey as well as the chance to share a stage with Chrissy. PowerShell Conference Asia in the sovereign city-state of Singapore was such a good event and place. Lastly of course was Slovenia with its fantastic Christmas lights and awesome event organisation. I visited some user groups too. Southampton run by my good friends John Martin and Steph Middleton Congratulations to John on his first MVP award yesterday, Cardiff for the Return of the Battle of the Beards with Terry McCann and Tobiasz Koprowski where the projector threw its toys out of the pram and Birmingham in the school hall which was slightly chilly (theres a joke there for some people)

Amazing things happened

We created https://sqlps.io/vote and https://sqlps.io/ssms and https://sqlps.io/powerbi to enable anyone to influence Microsoft and help to improve the PowerShell SQL experience

and lo and behold there was a new sqlserver module 🙂

I was also invited by Aaron and Chrissy to become an officer for the PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter oh and we made https://sqlps.io/slack to enable people to talk about all things Data Platform – Another addition to my life that I didn’t have at the beginning of the year. I spend a lot of time in there in the #dbatools and #dbareports channels and have made some fantastic friends. Chrissy and I created the SQL Community Collaborative GitHub team and added dbatools and dbareports and even more friendships were born

And that’s the biggest and bestest thing about this year. Some amazing new friends and spending time with all my other friends. I started writing out a list but was terrified I would have missed someone out, so to all my friends

THANK YOU for a brilliant 2016 and 2017 shall be just as good 🙂

Here are a few of my pics from the year with a lot of my friends

 

Remove-SQLDatabaseSafely My First Contribution to DBATools

What is DBA Tools?

A collection of modules for SQL Server DBAs. It initially started out as ‘sqlmigration’, but has now grown into a collection of various commands that help automate DBA tasks and encourage best practices.

You can read more about here and it is freely available for download on GitHub I thoroughly recommend that you watch this quick video to see just how easy it is to migrate an entire SQL instance in one command (Longer session here )

Installing it is as easy as

which will get you over 80 commands . Visit https://dbatools.io/functions/ to find out more information about them

cmdlets

The journey to Remove-SQLDatabaseSafely started with William Durkin b | t who presented to the SQL South West User Group  (You can get his slides here)

Following that session  I wrote a Powershell Script to gather information about the last used date for databases which I blogged about here and then a T-SQL script to take a final backup and create a SQL Agent Job to restore from that back up which I blogged about here The team have used this solution (updated to load the DBA Database and a report instead of using Excel) ever since and it proved invaluable when a read-only database was dropped and could quickly and easily be restored with no fuss.

I was chatting with Chrissy LeMaire who founded DBATools b | t about this process and when she asked for contributions in the SQL Server Community Slack I offered my help and she suggested I write this command. I have learnt so much. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend working on projects collaboratively to improve your skills. It is amazing to work with such incredible professional PowerShell people.

I went back to the basics and thought about what was required and watched one of my favourite videos again. Grant Fritcheys Backup Rant

I decided that the process should be as follows

  1. Performs a DBCC CHECKDB
  2. Database is backed up WITH CHECKSUM
  3. Database is restored with VERIFY ONLY on the source
  4. An Agent Job is created to easily restore from that backup
  5. The database is dropped
  6. The Agent Job restores the database
  7. performs a DBCC CHECKDB and drops the database for a final time

This (hopefully) passes all of Grants checks. This is how I created the command

I check that the SQL Agent is running otherwise we wont be able to run the job. I use a while loop with a timeout like this

There are a lot more checks and logic than I will describe here to make sure that the process is as robust as possible. For example, the script can exit after errors are found using DBCC CHECKDB or continue and label the database backup file and restore job appropriately. Unless the force option is used it will exit if the job name already exists. We have tried to think of everything but if something has been missed or you have suggestions let us know (details at end of post)

The only thing I didn’t add was a LARGE RED POP UP SAYING ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DROP THIS DATABASE but I considered it!!

Performs a DBCC CHECKDB

Running DBCC CHECKDB with Powershell is as easy as this

you can read more on MSDN

Database is backed up WITH CHECKSUM

Stuart Moore is my go to for doing backups and restores with SMO

I ensured that the backup was performed with checksum like this

Database is restored with VERIFY ONLY on the source

I used SMO all the way through this command and performed the restore verify only like this

An Agent Job is created to easily restore from that backup

First I created a category for the Agent Job

and then generated the TSQL for the restore step by using the script method on the Restore SMO object

This is how to create an Agent Job

and then to add a job step to run the restore command

 

The database is dropped

We try 3 different methods to drop the database

The Agent Job restores the database

To run the Agent Job I call the start method of the Job SMO Object
Then we drop the database for the final time with the confidence that we have a safe backup and an easy one click method to restore it from that backup (as long as the backup is in the same location)
There are further details on the functions page on dbatools
Some videos of it in action are on YouTube http://dbatools.io/video
You can take a look at the code on GitHub here

You can install it with

You can provide feedback via the Trello Board or discuss it in the #dbatools channel in the Sqlserver Community Slack
You too can also become a contributor https://dbatools.io/join-us/ Come and write a command to make it easy for DBAs to (this bit is up to your imagination).

Using the new SQLServer Powershell module to get SQL Agent Job Information

So with the July Release of SSMS everything changed for using PowerShell with SQL. You can read the details here As I mentioned in my previous post the name of the module has changed to sqlserver

This means that if you have a PowerShell script doing Import-Module SQLPS, it will need to be changed to be Import-Module SqlServer in order to take advantage of the new provider functionality and new CMDLETs. The new module will be installed to “%Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\SqlServer” and hence no update to $env:PSModulePath is required.

You can download the latest SSMS release here Once you have installed and rebooted you can start to look at the new Powershell CMDlets

Take a look at cmdlets

Today I want to look at agent jobs

getcomand sqlagent

So I decided to see how to gather the information I gather for the DBADatabase as described here

This is the query I use to insert the data for the server level agent job information.

So Get-SQLAgentJob looks like the one I need. Lets take a look at the help. This should be the starting point whenever you use a new cmdlet

Which states

Returns a SQL Agent Job object for each job that is present in the target instance of SQL Agent.

That sounds like it will meet my needs. Lets take a look

sqlinstances

I can get the information I require like this

NOTE – That code is for PowerShell V4 and V5, if you are using earlier versions of PowerShell you would need to use

But to make the code more performant it is better to do this

jobs

Using Measure-Command showed that this completed in
TotalSeconds : 0.9889336
Rather than
TotalSeconds : 2.9045701

Note that

Does not work. I had to check the properties using

Which showed me

IsEnabled Property bool IsEnabled {get;set;}

So I tested this against the various SQL versions I had in my lab using this code

Here are the results
job data table

I also had a look at Get-SQLAgentJobHistory Lets take a look at the help

DESCRIPTION

Returns the JobHistory present in the target instance of SQL Agent.

This cmdlet supports the following modes of operation to return the JobHistory:

  1. By specifying the Path of the SQL Agent instance.
  2. By passing the instance of the SQL Agent in the input.
  3. By invoking the cmdlet in a valid context.

So I ran

And got back a whole load of information. Every job history available on the server. Too much to look it immediately to work out what to do

So I looked at just one job

And got back the last months worth of history for that one job as that is the schedule used to purge the job history for this server So then I added -Since Yesterday to only get the last 24 hours history

agentjobdetail

The Since Parameter is described as

-Since <SinceType>

A convenient abbreviation to avoid using the -StartRunDate parameter.
It can be specified with the -EndRunDate parameter.

Do not specify a -StartRunDate parameter, if you want to use it.

Accepted values are:
– Midnight (gets all the job history information generated after midnight)
– Yesterday (gets all the job history information generated in the last 24 hours)
– LastWeek (gets all the job history information generated in the last week)
– LastMonth (gets all the job history information generated in the last month)

When I run

I get

Count : 3

And if I run

I get

agent job out gridview

Which matches the view I see in SSMS Agent Job History

jobhistory

So Get-SqlAgentJobHistory will enable you to use PowerShell to gather information about the Job history for each step of the Agent Jobs and also the message which I can see being very useful.

Come and join us in the SQL Community Slack to discuss these CMDLets and all things SQL Community https://sqlps.io/slack

CALL TO ACTION

Microsoft are engaging with the community to improve the tools we all use in our day to day work. There is are two Trello boards set up for YOU to use to contribute

https://sqlps.io/vote for SQLPS sqlserver PowerShell module

https://sqlps.io/ssms for SSMS

Go and join them and upvote YOUR preferred choice of the next lot of CMDlets

trellocount

We have also set up a SQL Community Slack for anyone in the community to discuss all things related to SQL including the Trello board items and already it seems a good place for people to get help with 150+ members in a few days. You can get an invite here https://sqlps.io/slack

Come and join us

PowerShell CMDLets added for SQL2016 Always Encrypted

The post on the SQLServer blog at TechNet by the SQL Server Tools Team today made me jump out of my seat.

The July update for SSMS includes the first substantial improvement in SQL PowerShell in many years. We owe a lot of thanks for this effort to the great collaboration with our community. We have several new CMDLETs to share with you

In one release there are twenty-five new CMDLets for the new sqlserver module

This means that if you have a PowerShell script doing Import-Module SQLPS, it will need to be changed to be Import-Module SqlServer in order to take advantage of the new provider functionality and new CMDLETs. The new module will be installed to “%Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\SqlServer” and hence no update to $env:PSModulePath is required.

So SQLPS will still continue to work but will not be updated and will not contain the new CMDlets or the future new CMDlets.

So what new things do we have?

This month we introduce CMDLETs for the following areas:

  • Always Encrypted
  • SQL Agent
  • SQL Error Logs

Chrissy LeMaire has written about the new SQL Agent cmdlets

Aaron Nelson has written about the new Get-SqlErrorLog cmdlet

Laerte Junior has written about Invoke-SQLCmd

All four of us will be presenting a webinar on the new CMDlets via the PowerShell Virtual Chapter Wed, Jul 06 2016 12:00 Eastern Daylight Time If you cant make it a recording will be made available on YouTube on the VC Channel https://sqlps.io/video

Always Encrypted CMDlets

That leaves the Always Encrypted CMDLets and there are 17 of those!

Add-SqlColumnEncryptionKeyValue Adds a new encrypted value for an existing column encryption key object in the database.
Complete-SqlColumnMasterKeyRotation Completes the rotation of a column master key.
Get-SqlColumnEncryptionKey Returns all column encryption key objects defined in the database, or returns one column encryption key object with the specified name.
Get-SqlColumnMasterKey Returns the column master key objects defined in the database, or returns one column master key object with the specified name.
Invoke-SqlColumnMasterKeyRotation Initiates the rotation of a column master key.
New-SqlAzureKeyVaultColumnMasterKeySettings Creates a SqlColumnMasterKeySettings object describing an asymmetric key stored in Azure Key Vault.
New-SqlCngColumnMasterKeySettings Creates a SqlColumnMasterKeySettings object describing an asymmetric key stored in a key store supporting the Cryptography Next Generation (CNG) API.
New-SqlColumnEncryptionKey Crates a new column encryption key object in the database.
New-SqlColumnEncryptionKeyEncryptedValue Produces an encrypted value of a column encryption key.
New-SqlColumnEncryptionSettings Creates a new SqlColumnEncryptionSettings object that encapsulates information about a single column’s encryption, including CEK and encryption type.
New-SqlColumnMasterKey Creates a new column master key object in the database.
New-SqlCspColumnMasterKeySettings Creates a SqlColumnMasterKeySettings object describing an asymmetric key stored in a key store with a Cryptography Service Provider (CSP) supporting Cryptography API (CAPI).
Remove-SqlColumnEncryptionKey Removes the column encryption key object from the database.
Remove-SqlColumnEncryptionKeyValue Removes an encrypted value from an existing column encryption key object in the database.
Remove-SqlColumnMasterKey Removes the column master key object from the database.
Set-SqlColumnEncryption Encrypts, decrypts or re-encrypts specified columns in the database.
 

 

That seems to cover setting up Always Encrypted with Powershell , removing it and getting information about it. When the new SSMS update is dropped you will be able to start using all of this new functionality.

Just remember Import-Module sqlserver

CALL TO ACTION

Microsoft are engaging with the community to improve the tools we all use in our day to day work. There is are two Trello boards set up for YOU to use to contribute

https://sqlps.io/vote  for SQLPS  sqlserver PowerShell module

https://sqlps.io/ssms for SSMS

Go and join them and upvote YOUR preferred choice of the next lot of CMDlets

trellocount

 

We have also set up a SQL Community Slack for anyone in the community to discuss all things related to SQL including the Trello board items and already it seems a good place for people to get help with 150+ members in a few days. You can get an invite here https://sqlps.io/slack

Come and join us

PowerShelling SQL Saturday Sessions to the Guidebook app

Following on from my previous post about parsing XML where I used the information from Steve Jones blog post to get information from the SQL Saturday web site I thought that this information and script may be useful for others performing the same task.

  1. Edit – This post was written prior to the updates to the SQL Saturday website over the weekend. When it can back up the script worked perfectly but the website is unavailable at the moment again so I will check and update as needed once it is back.

    We are looking at using the Guidebook app to provide an app for our attendees with all the session details for SQL Saturday Exeter

    The Guidebook admin website requires the data for the sessions in a certain format. You can choose CSV or XLS.

    In the admin portal you can download the template

    down

    which gives an Excel file like this

-excel

 

So now all we need to do is to fill it with data.

I have an Excel Object Snippet which I use to create new Excel Objects when using Powershell to manipulate Excel. Here it is for you. Once you have run the code you will be able to press CTRL + J and be able to choose the New Excel Object Snippet any time.

I needed to change this to open the existing file by using

In the more help tab of the Excel workbook it says

2.     Make sure that your dates are in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY (i.e. 4/21/2011).  If the dates are in any other format, such
as “April 21, 2011” or “3-Mar-2012”, Gears will not be able to import the data and you will receive an error message.
3.     Make sure that your times are in the following format: HH:MM AM/PM (i.e. 2:30 PM, or 11:15 AM). If the times are in any other
format, such as “3:00 p.m.” or “3:00:00 PM”, Gears will not be able to import the data and you will receive an error message.

So we need to do some manipulation of the data we gather. As before I selected the information from the XML as follows

I then looped through the $Talks array and wrote each line to Excel like this

I know that I converted the String to DateTime and then back to a String again but that was the easiest (quickest) way to obtain the correct format for the Excel file

Then to finish save the file and quit Excel

Then you upload the file in the Guidebook admin area
import

wait for the email confirmation and all your sessions are available in the guidebook

sched

I hope that is useful to others. The full script is below

Twas 2 Days Before Xmas or Thank you SQLFamily

Twas 2 days before Xmas & all through the office,
not a creature was stirring not even old Maurice.
With merriment going on outside of his window
There sat a bearded DBA without much to do

No changes can be made through the holiday season
We’re on skeleton support, which is a good reason
Ensure you are making the most of your time
You mustn’t be wasting the company dime

The backups are checked, there isn’t an issue
So documentation writing should ensue
Instead he decided to procrastinate
And so, this little ditty he proceeded to create

Looking back over last year he did ruminate
About all the progress he had made, it was great
So much had been learned, so many improvements
Derived using content from fine ladies and gents

Impossible to estimate how much it would cost
Or calculate the amount of revenue lost
For all that he would have been unable to do
Or the times that he knew how to get out of a stew

But also the friends old, new and the rest
The talking and dining and drinking and jest
I am lucky to be a part of the SQL Family
So thank you one and all, with love from me

beard