SQL Data Generator

Tools
I just received word from Rachel Hawley over at RedGate that SQL Data Generator has been released. I've been using the beta over the last few months and I've found it incredibly useful for setting up tests and playing around with my database designs, seeing how different data loads will be distributed through the indexes, etc. It's quick to use but fairly powerful and flexible and, frankly, pretty inexpensive. I strongly recommend it.
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SCOM Problem

SCOM
I'm stuck. I posted this last week on the Microsoft SCOM newsgroup, but I'm not getting any responses. On the off chance that the 5 people a day who read this site might know the answer, here's the question as posted: I'm sure this is something fundamental and simple, but I'm honestly stuck. I'm attempting to capture a new Performance Counter, Plan Cache, Cache Hit Ratio, Object Plans & SQL Plans. When I lay it out to create it, I get the attached error. I'm assuming based on the "Unknown alias" and the fact that I'm in a custom management pack, something is amiss with the Management Pack. What? Any help at all would be appreciated. Date: 3/28/2008 11:29:55 AM Application: System Center Operations Manager 2007 Application Version: 6.0.6246.0 Severity:…
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New SCOM Book

SCOM
I got a new SCOM book in the mail yesterday, System Center Operations Manager Unleashed. It's friggin' huge. I've just started reading through it and it looks pretty good. So far, it's much more thorough than the only other book available for SCOM, Mastering System Center Operations Manager 2007. I'm going to ready through more of it before I post a review to Amazon. I think I'll write up a review for the PASS book reviews too. Hey, if you have time on your hands, get on over there, request a book and write up your own review.
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SQL Server 2008 Free Instance

SQL Server 2008
If you don't want to risk blowing up your laptop (like I did) and you're not interested in setting up and maintaining a virtual server, but you still want to test SQL Server 2008. Then, PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server Users), Dell & MaximumASP have a solution. Just go to SQL Server Beta. You can set up a private instance and it will persist between sessions.
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SCOM As a Code Source

SCOM
A friend has had an article posted over on SQL Server Central that's worth a read. Scott Abrants outlines the type of code that SCOM uses for SQL Server auditing and how you can leverage that outside of SCOM for other work you may be doing. As noted in the comments, it's also worth taking a look at how Microsoft set up it's rules and monitors as a method for setting up your own.
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Top vs. Max

TSQL
The company I work for has a very well defined need for versioned data. In a lot of instances, we don't do updates, we do inserts. That means that you have to have mechanisms for storing the data that enables you to pull out the latest version of all the data or a particular version of all the data, or the data at a particular moment in time, regardless of version.  That means maintaining a version table and a series of inserts into various tables. Some tables will have pretty much a new row for each version, some tables may only have one or two versions out of a chain. With the help of a very smart Microsoft consultant, Bill Sulcius, we have a mechanism that works very well. However,…
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Virtual Servers

Misc
The dev teams that we support have long believed that if only they had an infinite number of environments then the deployment and integration issues that they, and we, wrestle with would go away. Never mind pointing out that if you have problems integrating then spreading yourself on to even more servers with even more isolation of individual development teams would only radically increase the problem. I tried that. I was shut down. Anyway, we had been using a tool set from one of the heavy hitter virtual environment companies. Supposedly it was going to make it possible for us to implement as many virtual environments, not just servers, but sets of servers, as we wanted. Months of work have gone by. I just got the word through back channels...…
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Slick New Tool from RedGate

Tools
I have no intention of this becoming "tool of the day" or anything, but I can't help tooting the horn for a tool that I've been using a lot from RedGate. It's new and in beta right now, but it's going to be pretty good. It's a data generation tool called, are you ready, Sql Data Generator. Who saw that coming? Ok. I know. I'm not funny. Anyway, this is a great little tool. I've been using it to quickly slap large amounts of data into small sets of tables to test queries that I'm writing or for checking answers that I'm posting over at SQL Server Central. The tool lets you pick which tables and the columns inside those tables that you want filled with data. It has a…
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SCOM Troubles

SCOM
I inherited the SCOM project when one of our Admin people left the company. This person had done a ton of work setting things up but ran into some problems. One of the problems was identified as databases missing from particular instances. I investigated further and found that the database list was "distinct" across instances. Meaning, if two instances shared the same database name, only one of the databases was listed. After getting an email from PSS, I did more investigation today. Now it's getting weirder. Some servers aren't showing up in Explorer, some aren't in both Explorer and the console. Not good. I've documented it all and shipped it off to the PSS guys to see what they think.
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