Wednesday, April 28, 2010

SSIS session in Auckland by Patrick

We had a really interesting session with Patrick of Pragmatic Works yesterday on the topic "Introduction to SSIS".

He has covered the following basic aspects of SSIS
  • Opening BIDS environment with a -NOSPLASH
  • Creating a small package with some package requirements -- Control flow, Data flow, Event Handler, package explorer
  • Deplying the created package
  • Scheduling a package

Here are my takeways from this session

Tip 1

You can use -NOSPLASH in the shortcut of the Visual studio icon to avoid the initial start up screen when you open Visual Studio

Tip 2

Data Connections can be created in two ways --

  • Via the Data Source on the right hand side of the screen of the solution. If the data source is created this way, it can be used by all the packages in the project.
  • Via the connection manager within the package itself. If this is used, the connections can be used only within that package.

Tip 3

Data Flow Taks can be created in two ways

  • Via the Control flow tab -- by dragging the Data flow task from the toolbox
  • Via the Data Flow Tab -- by just clikcing on the link available in this tab.

Tip 4

Always use OLEDB source instead of ADO.NET source for greater performance

Tip 5

In the OLEDB source tool always use SQL command instead of Table/view. Using the Table/View can slow down the SSIS package considerably.

Tip 6

When sql command in used, use the Preview button instead of the Parse Query button

Tip 7

You can use look up task and derived column task to redirect the un match rows to an error output.

Tip 8

If you use the row count task in the data flow tab that creates an unnamed variable, to name this varaible right click on the grey space on the control flow tab and name the variable.

Tip 9

You can right click on the control flow tab and click on the Package Configurations to configure the package. These configurations can be created as an XML file which can then be modified at deployment.

Tip 10

When you build a project and deploy, the package will be in the MSDB database of the sql server.

Tip 11

You can schedule an SSIS package using the SQL SERVER Agent or using dt exec command line.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Highlights of Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure Launch event

Today I have attended the Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure Launch event in Auckland. There were close to 1000 people for this event.

The first presentation on Visual Studio was done by Sam Guckenheimer. He took us through the Visual Studio product suite
  • He explained how this product can now reduce time wastage in the SDLC,
  • also how transparent the VS has become in terms of managing a project from a team perspective (using excel and sharepoint to monitor the team progress on a project)
  • how the use of layer diagrams helps communicate the design intent and later helps check the implementation against the design.

The second presentation was done by David Chappell on Windows Azure platform which is the Microsoft Cloud Computing Technology.

He said that there are two broad categories for cloud computing -- Cloud Applications and Cloud Platform.

He covered on the cloud platform of Windows Azure. Windows Azure is a platform where you ask for an application to run (instead of a VM) and the application will control how many VMs to run etc. The Windows Azure platform recognises if an instance failed and restarts a new instance automatically.

He also mentioned about the SQL Azure which is basically Sql server and this needs the TDS (Tabular Data Stream) protocol

Also talked about the applications of Azure as follows:

  • Apps that need massive scale
  • Apps that need high reliability
  • Apps with variable load
  • Apps with a short or unpredictable lifetime
  • Apps that do parallel processing
  • Apps that must fail fast or scale fast
  • Apps that don't fit well in an organisation's data centre
  • Apps that can benefit from external storage

He also mentioend the differences between the various cloud platforms (Amazon web services, Google App Engine, and whether they are competitors or not.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tools for collecting SQL Server instances

Due to the proliferation of personal firewalls, inconsistent network library configurations, and multiple-instance support, SQL Server installations are becoming increasingly difficult to discover, assess, and maintain.

Peter Ward from WardyIT Solutions while presenting in the SQL Saturday event at Auckland last weekend has asked all of us the following question:

“Do you know how many instances are there in your network?”

Only two people in the entire room have raised their hands.

He mentioned about the following tools being available for collecting sql server instances in a network.

Sqlping from

SQLPing 3.0 is a free tool available which performs both active and passive scans of your network in order to identify all of the SQL Server/MSDE installations in your enterprise.
SQLPing 3.0 is designed to remedy this problem by combining all known means of SQL Server/MSDE discovery into a single tool which can be used to ferret-out servers you never knew existed on your network so you can properly secure them. .NET Framework v2.0 Required.

You can find more information about SQLPING here

Microsoft assessment and planning toolkit (MAP Toolkit)

MAP Toolkit is a free tool from Microsoft that does a lot more than just scanning the network and identifying all instances of SQL Servers. Some of the features are outlined below.
  • Secure, Agentless Discovery and Inventory
  • Generate Automated, Network-wide Readiness Assessments
  • Quickly Create Reports and Proposals
  • Capitalise on Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Opportunities
  • Shorten Your Presales Cycle, Increase Your Opportunities
  • Accelerate Server and PC Migration Planning
  • Leverage Virtualisation to Help Reduce Customers' Costs

For more information please click here

In the presentation Peter also briefly mentioned about SQLIO as a tool to measure SAN performance. I have googled for SQLIO and came up with the following.

SQLIO is a free utility from Microsoft that measures storage IO performance. The name "SQLIO" is horribly misleading, because it doesn't really have anything to do with SQL Server. There is a lot of information about SQLIO in the SQLServerpedia website

There may be lot of other tools out there. Please suggest me other tools if you can

Monday, April 12, 2010

SQL Server 2008 R2 Training Kit

SQL Server 2008 R2 Training Kit

New updated version of SQL Server 2008 R2 Training Kit is available for download from the microsoft site.

This has some hands on labs, tutorials, presentations, and videos.

Download from:

Hope you will enjoy using this training kit.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Recap from SQL Saturday Auckland event -- 10th April 2010

This past weekend I have attended the SQL Saturday event in Auckland.

The turnout for this event was really good with close to 100 people attending including the organizers and presenters. Thanks to everyone that helped out to put on a very successful event.

Here is a list of the presenters and the topics presented. We had to cancel the main organizer’s (Dave Dustin) due to lack of time.

Session TitleMy learning’s in brief
Analysis Services - Introduction to Business Intelligence with SQL 2008
Justin King
The demonstration was really good as he took us through the entire cycle of creating an SSAS project. Also covered the basics of terminology in his presentation.
What is LINQ – and what the heck is it doing to my database?
Ivan Towlson
Didn’t know what LINQ was before and now I know what it is and what advantages we can have with it.
Database Index investigation with DMVs Leo MillerLearnt a whole heap of stuff on DMVs from DMV concepts, DMV groups to how to use them. Very valuable session.
SQL Server Integration Services 2008 Ben Gracewood Learnt about SSIS custom templates which was new to me even though I had worked on SSIS and didn’t know anything about them.
36 to 6 SQL Servers – Consolidation from the Trenches Peter Ward
Peter is a very good presenter and I am impressed with his presentation that analogy he gives are realy amazing. Learnt what consolidation is and why we need to consolidation.
Common Misconceptions about Clustering Leo MillerWhy clustering is done and what the actual misconceptions.
Data warehousing & BI on SQL Server 2008 Douglas Barrett
Learnt what’s new in SQL SERVER 2008 R2 in the data warehousing world.
Comparing SQL in large vs small environments James Stewart
Learnt about the various performance tools and monitoring models. Also the various types of alerts.
Training for SQL Server 2008 certification, and why it's worth it Amanda JacksonI am planning on to do the Business Intelligence certification which was very clear in Amanda’s presentation. Also information about what is available in Microsoft Elearning portal.

The lunch was Pizzas and subway sandwiches which was delicious. We also had an afternoon tea of Giapo Gelato Ice cream.

During every session there were various prizes for the people who were asking questions and also at the end there were some prizes from the sponsors.

I will try to blog on each presentation in detail a bit later.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Disable report filter selection in a Pivot Table in Excel

I had to work on disabling a field (report filter) on a Pivot Table in Excel 2007. I googled a lot on this and there was no straight forward answer. Hence thought of sharing my solution with anyone who wants to do the same thing

Here is the code that I have used to achieve this

Right click on the sheet where there is a pivot table and click on View Code
Add the following code

Option Explicit
Private Sub Workbook_Open()DisableSectorSelectionEnd Sub
Sub DisableSectorSelection() Dim pt As PivotTable On Error Resume NextSet pt = Selection.PivotTableIf Not pt Is Nothing Then pt.PivotFields("Sector").EnableItemSelection = False
End Sub

Save and reopen the file.
The filter should not be disbaled on the worksheet.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The following features cannot be saved in macro-free workbooks

The following features cannot be saved in macro-free workbooks

VB Project

To save a file with these features, click no, and then choose a macro -
enabled file type in the file type list.

To continue saving as a macro freee workbook, click yes.

That was the error I was getting today when I wanted to write a macro in Excel 2007.

In order to make an Excel 2007 workbook macro enabled, you need to save the workbook as .xlsm rather than .xlsx That solves the problem of the macros not being enabled.

Free Databases and Data Visualisations course for kids Weeks 9 to 11 update

It has been quite a while since I have posted about the free databases and data visualisation classes for 9 to 14 year old kids.  So here I...