Category Archives: Offer

SQLRx Presenting at SQL Saturday Baton Rouge 2016

SQLRx (@SQLRX) is proud to announce that two of our resident SQL Experts will be presenting sessions at SQL Saturday #515 in Baton Rouge, LA on August 6, 2016. If you have not signed up to attend, you are going to miss out!!

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http://www.sqlsaturday.com/515/eventhome.aspx

Lori Brown (@SQLSupahStah) will give a lesson on how to be an Actively Proactive DBA. Come have fun and learn at her session, Actively Proactive – Straightforward Ways to Manage and Diagnose SQL. Attendees will be taken through the things a proactive DBA does and will also be treated to some quick ways to troubleshoot like a SQL Super Star!

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Scripts will be given out to all who download the presentation materials. Come and get ‘em!!

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Jeff Schwartz will presenting Rx for Demystifying Index Tuning Decisions. Jeff will cover ways to find poor performing queries and tuning them using various methods including execution plans, usage statistics and missing indexes.

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Since Jeff has been tuning things for almost 40 years, he can show you some things that will be extremely useful and will help you tune like a pro.

If you are in Baton Rouge this weekend come by and visit with us! SQLRx is a sponsor of SQL Saturday Baton Rouge 2016 and will have a booth where you can come sit down with Lori or Jeff and talk tech. We will also be handing out goodies as well as giving away a 2 TB external drive at the end of the day. Also, one lucky attendee will win a free Ultra Light Performance Assessment from SQLRx at one of our presenter’s sessions. We will tell that lucky winner about their SQL performance for free….Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

Hope to see you in Baton Rouge!

How SQLRX Can Help You When Tools Do Not

 

For those of you who visit our humble blog from time to time and have never actually checked out our website (www.sqlrx.com) to get acquainted with what we do, please allow me to check that box for you.

 

SQLRX is part of a Dallas, Texas based consulting company called Integrated Services Inc (ISI). The SQLRX division is tasked with providing consulting services for everything SQL Server. We do it all from installation to migrations to performance tuning and RemoteDBA services. Since we have been in business for a while, we have worked on systems from small 1 server shops to fortune 100 high transactional enterprise level systems.

 

One of the things we commonly see is that many shops have SQL monitoring software installed that they regularly use to monitor the systems that we are asked to work on. Interestingly, we always seem to find root causes of performance issues that the monitoring software may have been either missing or generating data on but not providing a solution. I ran across a blog post from Jonathan Kehayias who warns about severe performance issues that can be directly attributed to a very well-known monitoring software company who has yet to fix it. https://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/jonathan/a-warning-about-diagnostic-managers-query-monitor-feature-in-v9/   I sent this link to a client of mine that uses this software and he said that the next version was also buggy and that the vendor had tried to patch but had not fixed.

 

So, why use expensive tools to monitor for SQL performance if they don’t fix them? I realize that some places only have one person acting as the DBA and they use the software to help them keep an eye on things. However, when you look at how most of the SQL monitoring software companies promote themselves, they make it sound like they are the answer to all your issues. I know that is not true for anyone or anything.

 RemoteDBA

We offer a DBA subscription service that is VERY reasonably priced (about 1/3rd the cost of a FTE) that can be used either as the sole DBA for up to 4 SQL Servers or as backup to a staff DBA who needs some help. SQLRX does not install any executable to any server so you don’t have to worry about applying updates or planning an outage for software maintenance. We strictly use SQL Server functionality and have developed maintenance and proactive monitoring routines complete with reporting that is designed to watch for only the things that really need to be monitored, and alert only when there really is an issue. And, we don’t just monitor we also fix things. You can’t get that from software.

 

Here are a few examples of the things we monitor and alert on.

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Performance Tuning

Another service that we offer that is SUPER valuable is our performance tuning assessments. While these are fixed fee reports, they are a complete assessment of a SQL Server that looks at both SQL and Windows hardware performance. We call them holistic because we look at the entire system, not just one part. We don’t just tell you what is wrong, we also provide a list of recommended fixes in a list that gives the order that we would fix things. There are numerous companies with systems that were performing very badly that used our assessments to fix everything from queries to finding hardware that was incorrectly configured by a major hardware vendor. We even had one company that asked for our assistance in completely re-engineering all indexes in their main database, which we did quite successfully.

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If you are looking for access to a SQL DBA or have software that is monitoring your SQL Servers but not providing the answers you are looking for, please contact us. We would be happy to provide a free of charge proof of concept and would love to help you out. Just send us an e-mail to get started: SQLRX@sqlrx.com

 

For more information about blog posts, concepts and definitions, further explanations, or questions you may have…please contact us at SQLRx@sqlrx.com. We will be happy to help! Leave a comment and feel free to track back to us. Visit us at www.sqlrx.com!

 

Do You Know When To Ask For Help?

— By Lori Brown  @SQLSupahStah

This is a bit off from our normal technical blog posts but, hey, if you can’t go out on a limb on your own blog, what good is it? After doing cleanup on systems over the years, I started thinking about why some servers seem to be so poorly configured. Usually it seems that systems are poorly architected out of inexperience and sometimes out of sheer ego. I always wonder why the system architect didn’t look things up or ask for help since so much information is available at our fingertips through a decent search engine. However, humans being what we are, none of us like to admit to shortcomings, but we all at times need help.

Know when to ask for help

We all know that we need help sometimes, but it is difficult and sometimes embarrassing to admit it. When I was a staff DBA I did have times when I needed to bring in outside consultants for help. For instance, if a project required skills that I did not have (C# programming for one) or required more time than I was able to commit to, then consulting was a good option. As a Mid-level DBA at the time, I did seek out help and mentoring from more experienced DBA’s. So, I have raised my hand for help but always grew when I did. I was fortunate to have found people who could mentor me and grow my skills.

Eh….who am I kidding….my skills are always having to grow, even now!! It takes time and lots of work to keep current on SQL Server, let alone know all of the coding and hardware pitfalls that are out there. Now that I have been a consultant for quite a while, I have found that the smartest DBA’s or IT people in general are the ones who know when to ask for help.

The vendor trap

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Many times we are called to assist with systems that were not installed or configured by anyone on a company’s staff. Instead the company listened to a software vendor who seemed to know what they were doing and allowed the vendor to handle all provisioning and configuration of their server. Unfortunately many software vendors will give hardware recommendations and programming advice based on a small testing database that they used to do small load tests with. Usually a customer over time will grow their data to exceed what a software vendor has tested with or will add customizations and will be faced with hardware that is not able to handle the work it is presented with and code that runs very slowly. The software vendor, when approached for help, often does not have the expertise to assist with anything complex and companies are left high and dry with a frustrating situation and the feeling that money invested might have been wasted.

IT managers are then faced with the prospect of incurring consulting costs and may be reluctant to do so. We can assess both SQL and hardware performance to expose areas of weakness quickly. Sometimes solutions can be as simple as adding a little more memory or as complex as a complete index overhaul of a database. The important thing is that we can find a problem when your software vendor is not super cooperative out of fear that poor coding may be revealed. We often provide performance data to software vendors and will work with them directly to get a system back on its feet.

Hitting the knowledge wall

wallThere seems to be several types of personalities that hit the knowledge wall at bad times. There is the “No one knows our systems like I do” person, the “My way or the highway” person, the “I don’t have time to deal with this” person and finally the “I can fake my way through this” person. The last thing you want is for a project to go south and needing to explain to your boss what happened or even worse having to look for a job. No single person can know absolutely everything about hardware, application performance, SQL Server administration, SQL Server performance, etc.  In some cases, people are prevented from knowing by organizational boundaries. I have been doing this for a while and have seen systems that are very poorly architected that were generally that way because someone was too proud to ask for advice or input on it.

If you feel like you are in over your head on a SQL related project, raise your hand and we will be there to help you out. We are the type of consultants that are not looking to make a staff IT person look or feel bad about their work. We are often brought in to bridge the gap that is a result of the long-standing adversarial relationship has existed between the database and system administrators. We actually try to point out ways to improve things and are ultimately hoping to make the IT staff look good when their system performs well and the boss is not calling them on the carpet for anything.

Hitting the budget wall

nomoneySadly, I also run into a lot of people who want to get help but don’t think they can justify the budget for it. At least think about reaching out to a consulting firm to see if they can work within your budget. There are some cost effective ways to get expert help if you look for them.

Some places think they do not have the budget or the amount of work to justify having a full-time DBA available for their SQL Server(s): however many times mission critical information is being hosted in a SQL database that is not performing all that well. We offer a fractional DBA service (RemoteDBA) that costs 1/3rd of what it would cost to have a Mid-level DBA on staff. We are Senior-level DBA’s who can help at a very reasonable cost. We can work side-by-side with an overworked staff DBA or can fully administrate and monitor SQL instances for shops that do not have a DBA on staff.

If you have project work or performance problems that are overwhelming you, look into asking about short term monthly consulting or mentoring. We provide those types of services as well. We often do short term contracting with shops that just need root causes of issues identified and then they go away to do the actual work. And, we always try to educate our customers on how to do things better.

Watch all about it!

ISI (or SQLRX as our division is known) has been in the consulting business since 1985. SQLRx is our division which specializes in RemoteDBA services and SQL Server performance tuning. Not too long ago, we started compiling video testimonials from some of our clients who have volunteered to tell the world about their experiences with us. The videos are not long, and to me, are better than reading some dry case study as you normally see from most IT consultants.

ISI specializes in Business Intelligence and Application Development including mobile development for all platforms. We also founded and manage the DFW (Dallas – Fort Worth area) Business Intelligence Community and host monthly meetings featuring various BI experts and/or products, as well as case studies and user testimonials.

heretohelpVisit our You Tube channel for testimonials on how we have helped our clients.

https://www.youtube.com/user/ISI85DFW/videos

Who knows…..maybe it’s time for you to raise your hand and get some help.

If you think you need help but are not sure (maybe you just want a sanity check) let us know!!  We offer a free SQL HealthCheck that is done with a one to one call and GoToMeeting to take a look at your system.  It only takes about 30 minutes and is FREE as in no strings attached.  E-mail us at SQLRxSupport@sqlrx.com to get a checkup scheduled.

For more information about blog posts, concepts and definitions, further explanations, or questions you may have…please contact us at SQLRxSupport@sqlrx.com. We will be happy to help! Leave a comment and feel free to track back to us. We love to talk tech with anyone in our SQL family!