Nov 12

T-SQL Tuesday #48 – Cloud Atlas – #TSQL2sDay


This post is meant to be part of Novembers 2013’s edition of T-SQL Tuesday, a rotating blog party started by Adam Machanic (@AdamMachanic | blog). This month’s edition is hosted by Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken | blog) and the topic is the cloud:

“This month’s topic is all about the cloud. What’s your take on it? Have you used it? If so, let’s hear your experiences. Haven’t used it? Let’s hear why or why not? Do you like/dislike recent changes made to cloud services? It’s clear skies for writing! So let’s hear it folks, where do you stand with the cloud?”

The personal perspective

 It’s hard not to have been exposed to “The Cloud”, either through our personal use of technology – a smartphone, a tablet, a modern operating system – all of these offer cloud based services in a way or another. Confronted with these offerings, it’s not hard to find many people who see these offerings with a bit of mistrust. Who are we entrusting our data to? Who gets access to it? How is our privacy ensured when we trust personal data to a cloud provider? Who can guarantee that we are not trusting our data to a provider that won’t be here in a year or so?

These are all questions that I regularly am faced with, especially at Windows Secrets, where I am a moderator. Some of them are quite pertinent and I can’t say that I have an answer for all of them. Of course, when adopting the cloud, and especially if we are using it to store valuable personal data, such as contacts, documents or, even more so, passwords, a great deal of care must be taken with the choice of provider, which can answer some of the previous questions.

In terms of personal use, I confess I am less hesitant. I am using multiple cloud services from SkyDrive to Cubby, LastPass or, to keep documents, backups, or even code related to personal projects. Being fully invested into the Microsoft stack, I own a Windows Phone and run Windows 8 on my laptop, all my contacts are now kept at and the Microsoft account has become increasingly important.  I am, thus, a cloud user and I can say that I am coverted to the Cloud’s benefits.

The professional perspective

Having changed jobs a year ago, my first project at my current position was fully into the cloud. I can say we are really a “Microsoft shop” and the project was a web app, that we will be releasing soon and that was hosted on Azure and used SQL Azure a backend. It was not an easy start, since we found SQLAzure not a really the best option, at the moment, both from a performance perspective, and from a cost perspective. Although we ended up deciding not to use Azure for this specific project, it’s clear the cloud offers quite a few advantages in terms of availability, scalability, ease of management, even cost, since the use of resources only when you need them can be very interesting. 

For anyone developing using Microsoft technologies, which the case of my company, Microsoft is building quite a compelling case. The assortment of easy to use management tools, the integration of Azure with some of the usual Microsoft development tools, like Visual Studio, the sheer convenience of having a Virtual Machine running the OS of your choice, in a hardware configuration that can be suited to the specific use case at hand, in just a few minutes, all of these make quite a compelling case for “The Cloud”. Of course, Microsoft is not the only cloud player and the competition between cloud providers is bringing costs down, which makes the cloud even more compelling.  

The cloud is seeing its popularity increasing, accompanied with with improvements on technology and management tools, at the very same time that NoSQL is gaining acceptance. These two technologies go pretty much hand in hand, since NoSQL has infrastructure requirements that would be harder to meet without cloud providers. So I think we’ll be seeing both evolve and gain more traction as time goes by.

Just as in the case of NoSQL, the cloud is no silver bullet. Using either of them only makes sense with the proper use cases, something that doesn’t happen all the time. It’s not hard to find examples of use of a given technology, just because it is the new hype. So, for both of them, it’s important to use them in scenarios where they make sense, both from a technological and an economic point of view. 


There are very compelling reasons to adopt the cloud and in the scenarios where that makes sense, we’ll see its usage increasing. Technology will keep improving and we’ll certainly see more scenarios where the cloud will be a valid option. For anyone working on IT, the cloud as a viable technological and economical option, is already something that needs to be considered. Failing to do so, may be costly and a competitive disadvantage.

Nov 10

My links of the week – November 10, 2013


Here are my personal choice of links for the week ending today.

  • SQL Server:
    • Courtenay Bernier’s Virtualizing SQL Server on Hyper-V and on Windows Azure VMs addresses Hyper V / Windows Server 2012 capabilities that need to be considered, when contemplating SQL Server virtualization. The article also addresses Azure as another possibility for SQL Server virtualization and covers some of the resulting limitations and advantages. Includes multiple links for additional relevant information. It’s an interesting resource to keep bookmarked.
    • Bruno Terkaly’s and Ricardo’s VillaLobo’s Migrating Database Workloads to the Cloud discusses several scenarios  for SQL Server migration to Azure including Windows Azure SQL Server databases or the use of an Azure VM.
    • Mary Hutson’s Top Support Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server provides a considerable number of links to Microsoft’s support solutions on the most frequent issues experienced with SQL Server.
    • Microsoft’s SQL Server Team’s IO Resource Governance in SQL Server 2014 addresses changes introduced to SQL Server’s Resource Governor in SQL Server 2014 and shows how the changes can be used to control resource usage in a SQL Server instance. This article was also added to my list of SQL Server 2014 links.
    • Jez Schultz Borland’s Document Your SQL Server Databases with Extended Properties shows how extended properties can be used to document multiple database objects, with examples of T-SQL to create, update and delete such properties. The comments to the article also provide useful information on other ways to use extended properties for the same or other purposes, especially if you use SSDT.
    • Simon Liew’s Different Ways to Restore a SQL Server Database provides examples of the multiple alternatives to restore a database using the full recovery model to a specific point in time, from the full, differential and transaction log backups available.
    • Thomas LaRock’s SQL Server Plan Cache: The Junk Drawer for Your Queries explains what the SQL Server plan cache is and presents a few queries that can be used to determine plans that are similar, used only once or plans that may need tuning. Such plans can provide performance improvement opportunities and can thus be part of the tools used by a DBA to keep a server optimized for the best possible performance.
    • Mark S. Rasmussen’s SQL Server Corruption Recovery – When All Else Fails presents some corruption recovery techniques, based on his own OrcaMDF, a C# MDF parser, available on GitHub. These techniques have the possibility to minimize data loss, if no other recovery strategies work or are unavailable.
  • Web Design and Development:
    • Julien Knebel’s An In-Depth Introduction To Ember.js is an excellent introduction to one of the most popular Javacript framework for front-end development, Ember.js. The goal of the article is to provide an easier start for developers beginning with Ember and it is very good at that.
    • Lauren Orsini’s What You Need To Know About Node.js gives a few  the reasons for Node.js’s increased popularity and provides a link to a good introductory tutorial.
    • Andy Leverenz’s The beginner’s guide to Sass provides an easy to read guide to Sass, explaining it’s advantages, providing examples of different possible syntaxes supported and presenting Sass’s features, like variables, operations and functions, nesting and mixins.
    • Dudley Storey’s Better Pop-Up Windows With JavaScript and CSS3, Part 1 is the first article in a series that addresses the design of popup windows combining the best of Javascript and CSS3. 
    • CJ Gammon’s Killer Responsive Layouts With CSS Regions presents Regions, a new part of the CSS specification that has been seeing increased support by more browsers. Regions features and advantages are explained and demoed, especially from a responsive design perspective. Links and suggestions for further reading are included, as well.
    • The Visual Studio 2013 Resources post, includes several updates to the Visual Studio 2013 links and videos.
  • Software Development:
    • Ivar Jacobson et al.’s Agile and SEMAT – Perfect Partners addresses how combining SEMAT (Software Engineering Method and Theory) with Agile, can help developers and teams improve their own software development practices. A very interesting article, from the creator of Use Cases.
    • Zain Naboulsi’s The Case For Agile Over Waterfall addresses the question of whether Agile still holds advantages over the classic waterfall approach to software development. The doubt was raised on the author from interactions with customers. The article presents links and data that back the idea that Agile is, of course, still advantageous, even if it seems there are many holdouts out there.
    • Josh Symonds’s What Makes a Good Programmer Good? addresses some of the qualities exhibited by good programmers and I cannot but agree with him.

That’s it for this week.Thanks for reading,