Jacksonville SQL Server User Group April Meeting Wrap Up

Recap

Since I did a presentation this month for the JSSUG, I wanted to write a quick wrap up on the meeting.  There were about 15 people who attended the presentation.  That number is much, much lower than the normal meeting average.  However, I imagine the low turn out was due to the SQL Saturday coming up on 30 April 2011 and the fact that the reminder email was not pushed out due to the limit on emails from the group on linked in.  Of course, it could have been the topic or the people’s opinion of me.

My presentation was on An Introduction to Log Shipping. The presentation itself did not go smoothly.  This was mostly due to security issues that I had thought I worked out beforehand.  Once I got those worked out, the rest of the presentation went slightly off course with the amount of time that everything seemed to take (I practiced most of these on my desktop at home, which is a much higher class machine than either of my laptops).  However, even with these negative aspects, I have been told by several people that they still enjoyed the talk and that they got a lot out of it.

The after event, as usual, was at Jacksonville Ale House.  About ten people attended and it was a nice way to end the night.  I enjoyed speaking with several of my co-workers who came out to support me.  As always, I had a good time and enjoyed the conversations with the other members of the SQL community.

Points of Interest

Log Shipping

Log shipping itself is pretty easy to set up, to administer and to trouble shoot.  I’ll probably post an entry based on my presentation shortly, but in the mean time the slides and demos will be available on my sky drive.

Network security

Ensure that the systems you are using can see and talk to each other.  I had shown this to be the case at home, and attempted to alleviate the concerns by taking my own wireless router to the presentation to ensure no firewalls or other problems but I still had issues that required me to reboot the router.  I’m not exactly sure what caused the issues here.  In any case, the demos actually started to work after I got around this mishap.

File system security

I opened up the shared directories to full control for everyone.  It would not allow me to give specific rights to users from the other machine, since it did not know how to authenticate them.

Operating system security

Security on home systems, without an Active Directory system in place to ensure communications between the machines, can be difficult.  I was able to get around this by creating accounts on the machines with a password.  Users without a password were not acceptable to view the shared folders on the file system.

SQL server agent security

Credentials and Proxies are absolutely necessary when accessing the file system.  I knew this prior to the presentation, and scripted the jobs to run with the proxy using the windows users which I had created above.  However, when running through the GUI, I forgot to alter the job to use the proxy.

Ease of implementation

It more than likely would have been much easier to set up virtual machines, or separate instances of SQL Server, to do the demos than to attempt to work through the security issues and lugging around multiple laptops. 

Old Files

I needed to remember to clear out the log files from the demos in between each demo.  I forgot this at least once and it caused an error when it encountered a log backup that wasn’t associated with the current database.   This is as much a reminder for myself if I were to do the presentation again than anything else.

Errors are fun

One thing that I need to remember is that part of this demo was supposed to be me breaking log shipping and putting it back together.  So, even though there were several errors as I was running through the demos, that isn’t a bad thing.  I don’t feel like I got too flustered, I was able to explain each of the errors and why they were occurring, and I was able to get things running.  They were all errors that can be expected to be encountered when maintaining or initializing log shipping so it was a good thing to be able to show as many different aspects that can potentially cause problems a possible.

Presentation length

Several of the presentations which I have attended recently have gone far over the allocated time and I wanted to be absolutely positive that I did not.  In this presentation I did not expect to go beyond 45 minutes to an hour.  I had previously timed myself going through the power point slides in about 15 minutes, leaving at least thirty minutes to go through the demos.  Well, I failed in this goal to say the least.  However, I still think that I would have potentially made the expected time without the issues I encountered.  The key point is that it is important to know approximately how long your lecture / theory section will take as well as how long you will generally be running demos.

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