Save Money On Your Training Server

Azure, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, TSQL
You can spend less money. Some of us are lucky. We work for very large corporations who can easily set aside a spare desktop or even space on a rack for a server on which we can train. Others of us are not as lucky. We work for smaller organizations that have to be more careful with their money. Not only do we not get the extra machine to train on, but our laptops could be weak things that can't run two or more VMs. In this case, how can you go about learning stuff? Spend your own money? Sure, it's an option. There are some very cheap servers available out there that won't cost you even $1000 dollars to set up. And for pretty cheap you can buy some…
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Windows Azure Views

Azure
It's kind of fun to see Azure development artifacts on display. I've posted about them before, a couple of times. I'm starting to finally get systematized about the whole thing, just so I can see stuff as it changes rather than discover them by accident or get told about them by someone else. Here's a little query I'm running to see when system views were last modified: [crayon-5a6d00096835d681694794/] The most recent stack of changes are here: I'll keep an eye on them to see what I can spot about interesting new functionality. I also compared the listing of all views in Azure to those on a SQL Server 2012 instance and came up with a list of differences. These are the system views that are only in Azure. The names…
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Web Design & Azure

Azure
I've listened to tons of programmers and DBAs complain about the look of Windows Azure. But, I'm friends with several design people, work with some pretty darned good designers at Red Gate, and I live in sin with a graphic artist (AKA: Mrs. Scary). While the developers and DBAs complain, lots of the designers seem pretty happy with it. Microsoft has a pretty serious team working on it. You can see an interview with them that tells you a little bit about how they did it. I thought it was interesting. And don't forget, that little contest to win a car ends in just over a week. This is almost your last chance to connect your MSDN account to a zero-cost Azure account and enter for a chance. Or not.…
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Windows Azure SQL Database and Throttling

Azure
When I present on Windows Azure SQL Database, one of the biggest concerns comes up around throttling. Just the concept that your queries might be shut down because they use too many resources tends to freak people out. I'm not sure why. I think we ought to have the same facility in the on-premises product. But, Microsoft recognizes that this is a concern and that people need better information. A new set of documentation around this topic was recently posted. Read Resource Management in Windows Azure SQL Database to get a great overview of how the throttling works and how to detect it. There is more and more information coming out on this all the time. I learned quite a few things from this documentation. Remember, the most important thing…
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Check Your Azure Account Usage

Azure
It is absolutely not cool or fun to pay money to learn new technology. One of the main complaints people had for learning Azure (and AWS for that matter) is that they had to register with a credit card and actually put their own money on the line to try stuff out. One could argue that maybe a cost to learning isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, there were a number of horror stories of people inadvertently being charged hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars because they didn't track their usage. If you register your Azure account through MSDN, that problem is completely eliminated. ┬áNo credit card at all, and a free account that can never cost you money. But, there is a budget, a cost limit, that you have…
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Azure Changes, While I’m Working

Azure
My laptop is out for repair. I'm working currently on a Surface Pro instead. It's spurred me to do something I've been meaning to do anyway. I've started setting up a full demo & testing VM on Azure. I already had the VM up and running (it takes 5 minutes for crying out loud), but I hadn't bothered setting up Red Gate software on it and getting it fully prepped to support my work, demos, or whatever else I might need. But, I finally did. It's working out surprisingly well. I just have to remember to shut the silly thing down when I'm done with it or it does start to bite into my MSDN credit. Anyway... I was working on the VM for a big chunk of the day…
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