Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blogging is hard

If you’re like me, you find blogging very hard because of the following reasons:

  1. There is so much misinformation about SQL Server on the Internet and I don’t want to be part of that. Does this mean I suck? I don’t think so (I hope not) but I personally think if you’re going to write a blog post that the entire SQL Server community is going to might read, it might as well be good…damn good!
  2. One of the possible topics I would like to write about is errors, scenarios or whatever you end up with at work. So sure, there’s lot to blog about but I don’t want to make screenshots of potential security wise issues regarding my professional setup. Yes, we can blur some things out but seriously, let’s take a screenshot of a Visual Studio solution for example, it will contain almost 100% data which should not be in the open.
  3. I hate it to write about topics that has been written about dozens of times already.

I wish I could blog more often, I even invested in a dedicated hosting, but I see very rare occasions. When I blog, it will usually be about topics I know I will forget because my long-term memory fails on me and If I can share with you, why not? That’s a bonus! Right?

Feedback is welcome

Join the Private Cloud Roadshow in Brussels (25 April) and Ghent (26 April)

Join experts Kurt Roggen (MVP) and Mike Resseler (MVP) for the Private Cloud Roadshow.

In this half day you will learn more about private cloud infrastructure setup and how you can monitor this. Learn how to create your private clouds and how to deploy standardized applications or services into these clouds. And as a final session you will learn how you can provide automation in your private cloud.

There are 2 options to attend (same content, different location):

25 April 2012 in Brussels

26 April 2012 in Ghent

This TechNet event is free of charge and Microsoft will be giving away one Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone in each location.
Detailed agenda:

13:00 : 13:30 Welcome & Coffee

13:30 : 14:30 Building your Private Cloud Infrastructure
Learn how to build your Private Cloud infrastructure, by dealing with Fabric Management (Compute/ Hypervisors, Storage, Network), which will serve as the basis for the Private Cloud that you will be creating. We will discuss how to deploy, configure and manage each of these different elements in your datacenter.

14:30 : 14:50 Break

14:50 : 16:30 Creating, Monitoring & Operating your Private Cloud
Learn how to create your private clouds and how to deploy standardized applications or services into these clouds. Learn how to monitor your clouds and how to can handle change requests. All this key area’s will be addressed to give you an idea of what is happening in a private cloud after it is up, running, and into production.

16:30 : 16:50 Break

16:50 : 18:00 Automating & Delivering Services in your Private Cloud
Learn how you can provide automation in your private cloud. Discover also how your cloud services can be offered and consumed using different self-service portals and what their differences are.

18:00 : 19:00 Networking & Drinks


PSR:Problem Steps Recorder

We’ve all been there, an end user sends you an e-mail: “it does not work”….ok, what does not work? And how or what exactly did you do?

I recently found out there is a small nifty tool which comes with Windows 7: Problem Steps Recorder or simply PSR.

It runs from the command prompt or Run box, simply type PSR. You hit Start Record and you start reproducing the error or the test scenario. It takes a screenshot of every click and even adds a description like:

Problem Step 1: (2/04/2012 21:00:02) User left click on “Object Explorer Hierarchy (outline)” in “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio”.

It even highlights the sections you clicked or changed (see green rectangle in screenshot below).

After stopping the recording, a MHTML file gets zipped and you have the option to save or send the file by e-mail. It’s not only an excellent way of reproducing errors or test scenarios, it can also be used to document.















TechEd Europe 2012 (26-29 June, Amsterdam)

Another edition of TechEd Europe is coming up on 26-29 June, Amsterdam

Four days of more than 1,000 education opportunities and hands-on training across the full range of Microsoft products and solutions including 400 breakout sessions spread across 12 tracks and 250 self-paced labs created by product experts.

There also an additional day of deep training via the pre-conference seminars (Monday, 25 June)

There is a database and business intelligence track as well including 30 sessions:

  • Auditing in Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • BI Power Hour
  • Big Data for the Masses: The Future of Big Data with Microsoft
  • BISM: Multidimensional vs. Tabular
  • Building BI solutions with SQL Server PDW AU3
  • Building Scalable Apps with SQL Azure!
  • Building Self-Service BI Applications Using PowerPivot
  • Building Stylish Power View Reports
  • Building the Perfect BI Semantic Tabular Models for Power View
  • Business Insights, BIG Data and the Cloud: Transforming Your Business on Your Terms with the Microsoft Data Platform
  • Business Intelligence and Data Visualization: Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Configuring Kerberos for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 BI in 7 Steps (SQL Server 2012)
  • Deep Dive into XQuery and XML in Microsoft SQL Server: Common Problems and Best Practice Solutions
  • Deploying and Managing a PowerPivot for SharePoint Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Deploying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Using Windows Server Core
  • Developing and Managing a BI Semantic Model in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services
  • Enterprise Information Management (EIM): Bringing Together SSIS, DQS, and MDS
  • Exploring SQL Server Data Tier Applications
  • Integrating SQL Server Filetables, Property Search, and FTS/Semantc Search
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools: Database Development from Zero to Sixty
  • Microsoft SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization
  • Optimizing Microsoft SQL Server Performance in a Virtual Environment
  • Running Reporting Services in SharePoint Integrated Mode: How and Why
  • SQL Server Always On – Backup on Secondary Replicas
  • SQL Server Columnstore Performance Tuning
  • SQLCAT: HA/DR Customer Panel — SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Deployment Considerations
  • SQLCAT: SQL Server HA and DR Design Patterns, Architectures and Best Practices using SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn
  • Tips & Tricks for Microsoft SQL Azure Federations: How to Build Cross-Federation Queries and Other Tips
  • Troubleshooting SQL Server Spatial Query Performance: A Deep Dive into Spatial Indexing
  • Using BISM Tabular in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2012


TechDays 2012: My top 5 sessions to attend

TechDays 2012 is coming closer  (14-16 February) and I look forward to attend as a MEET member. This is a list of the top 5 sessions I will attend:

  1. How to achieve a more agile and dynamic IT environment by Ward Ralston
    This is the IT Pro opening session. The other option is for Devs about Windows Azure by Scott Guthrie
    I’m an IT Pro so easy choice.
  2. 12 reasons to love SQL Server 2012 by Dandy Weyn
    The only SQL Server session (but then again, we had SQL Server Days about 2 months ago).
    Easy here as well as I’m a SQL Server guy and I like Dandy Weyn very much.
  3. 10 Deadly Sins of Administrators about Windows Security by Paula Januszkiewicz
    Well, fellow DBAs will know that understanding Windows Server is a must so I’m curious on this one.
  4. The Future of C# and Visual Basic by Bart De Smet
    Ok, I’m not a developer and probably won’t understand halve of it but you got to see Bart De Smet presenting! He really is a genius and probably the smartest guy I have ever met. He would fit right into the Big Bang Theory!
  5. ScottGu Unplugged by Scott Guthrie
    Well, you haven’t been at TechDays if you haven’t seen Scott Guthrie, have you?

See you at TechDays 2012!!!

1 day course PowerPivot for Business Professionals

About the Course

  • Are you an Excel power user and working as a business analyst, financial controller, …
  • Are you looking for a tool to create your own reports without help from IT …
  • Do you want to combine data from different sources …
  • Do you want to add your own calculations and analysis to existing reports

… well then PowerPivot is the tool you need!

PowerPivot for Excel is a data analysis tool that delivers unmatched computational power directly within the application users already know and love: Microsoft Excel. It’s the user-friendly way to perform data analysis using familiar Excel features you already know, such as PivotTable and, PivotChart views, and slicers. It’s the fast way to generate rich and interactive analysis tools. It’s the right way to achieve deeper business insight and shorter decision cycles.

In this 1 day training we will give you a jumpstart with PowerPivot for Excel. At the end of the day you will be able to combine data from different sources and turn this data into powerful reports and analysis tools without help from your IT department.

The course is bulk loaded with demos and hand-on labs. Students receive a text book and printed course material. More info on PowerPivot can be found on


  • Introduction to Self Service BI and PowerPivot
  • Importing Data
  • Enriching Data
  • Self-Service Analysis
  • Self-Service Reporting
  • Writing Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)

When: Wed. November 9th 2011, 9h-17h
Price: 385 EUR excl. VAT
Where: Kohera offices, Veldkant 31, Kontich, Belgium

Treat your SQL Server instances as patients in an ER

Just think for a minute, monitoring your SQL Server instances does not differ a lot from monitoring patients in an ER room. When we are dealing with a performance issue, one of the first things we do is check CPU pressure (heart rate), Memory pressure (blood pressure) and I/O pressure.

Just as doctors do, we use a number of quick tools (scripts) to have an idea what the problem might be. Based on those findings, we decide to do some tests (blood analysis/perfmon monitoring).

For over a year now, I have this idea to connect a heart rate monitor to an ill SQL Server. It’s a matter of interfacing but in theory it should be possible.

Now just imagine you have a stack of life monitors near your desk. A nice alternative is a slick layout on a tablet pc connecting to an instance. All I need now are scrubs!

photo by brykmantra under CC

SQLUG.BE: SQL Server Forensic Analysis – Playing CSI with databases, February 28th


I”m happy to announce our first user group session of 2011…CSI style! 

Tom Van Zele will bring us SQL Server Forensic Analysis – Playing CSI with databases

You get a call from a colleague who thinks that his financial information system has been hacked. Of course this system uses a SQL Server Database back-end. In this session we”ll uncover the basics of digital forensics: how to find out whether the system has been accessed by the intruder? What data has been accessed? Was there anything modified? We”ll learn on how to find evidence of what happened and also on how to create a report that can be served as evidence in a court of law. 

About Tom Van Zele 

Tom is a seasoned IT professional with more than 10 years experience, first in large scale Active Directory implementations, later moving on to SQL Server. His focus lies on infrastructure & security.
You can follow Tom on his blog and Twitter @tvanzele

Registration is open here