A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
Improving Availability Groups
Availability Groups (AG) were introduced in SQL Server 2012, with the idea that we could dramatically improve (and ease) the burden of dealing with high availability in SQL Server. At the time the (code named) HADRON technology seemed full of possibilities. Since then, there have been some enhancements, but it seems that setting up and managing an AG, especially across subnets, isn't as simple as Microsoft would have us believe.
One of the problems with AGs is that there are non database resources (logins, jobs, etc.) that create dependencies. Working around the issues is a headache for many administrators, and it shouldn't be. While there are some enhancements potentially coming, I don't know what shape these will take or if they will make things easier.
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Security in the Aftermath
Not too long ago was a very sad and embarrassing day for the US. The US capital was breached and rioters had hours inside without authorities. Ignoring the reasons and politics behind the event, think about the security of the building and systems after the criminals were removed from the building.
Someone else brought up this point, which I think is fair. Can you trust any system in the building? Keyloggers, cameras, who knows what devices might have been planted. As a friend noted, anything with a plug should be thrown out. Who knows what might have been replaced or altered to create a security vulnerability.
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Reassess Your Configuration
It's the start of a new year, and while it might feel like COVID-19 has us stuck back in March 2020, I hope that will start to fade as we move into the new year. Certainly our employers want to move forward, and I suspect that there is some hope that organizations will start to thrive in 2021.
I saw a post from Kenneth Fisher recently that talked about an end of year, new year checklist. It's a basic set of things that you might do as a type of review and cleanup of some of the instances and databases that you manage. Checking things like end of year processes and performing some review of potential items that might no longer be needed.
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The Best Way to Protect Sensitive Data
I was listening to someone talk about data privacy recently, and the ways that you can protect the sensitive information in your databases. They had a great quote about something you might consider. They said, "The best way to protect data is not hang onto the raw data at all."
If we don't have sensitive data, then a loss of data can't occur. Hacks won't cause issues, we can't accidentally send out data or leave it lying around. There's a good case to be made that keeping less sensitive data around is a good idea.
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A Need for Monitoring without Administration
There was a report recently that a number of US government agencies were hacked through a network management system. Apparently Solarwinds had their code hacked, and this resulted in a backdoor being distributed to customers via software updates.
There is a lot that went wrong here, and this ought to make many system management software vendors very nervous. Attacks on your software developers, designed to allow a hacker to put backdoors into source code repositories is a wild second (or third) order attack. I would certainly be nervous to be a software developer right now, and be extra cautious about any sort of potential phishing email sent to me. Yes, that's a thing.
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The Devil is in the Details
Some of us have run into perplexing technology problems, where we had to dig deep into an application to solve a problem. We might need to work with our own staff, vendor support, perhaps even coordinate people across multiple different organizations. This can be even more challenging when we don't have access into the internals of all the code.
I ran across a neat story from Netflix, where an engineer had to dig into an issue with one of their partners. In this case, there were hardware and software components, and four different companies involved. The problem involved a playback issue, with deadlines and finger pointing over the issue.
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Customer ReviewsSee All
Steve is great at providing information for the Database Administrator. I am a 'part time' DBA. And I get a lot out of this podcast and SQL Sever Central.
Sr. Systems Engineer
I look forward to hearing Steve's podcast each week on what DBA/IT people are going and how the industry is evolving. Balance technical with business goals is always a never-ending opportunity.
Steve's shows are great
Steve is a matter-of-fact DBA that has a lot of experience in the trenches of database development and database maintenance. He is a straight-shooter that doesn't pull any punches. He offers his opinions and makes you question what you would do in the same situations. A must listen for anyone responsible for data in an organization.