PASSMN July 2011 Meeting Follow Up
Posted by denglishbi on July 19, 2011
Update (7/20/2011): forgot to mention one thing about the meeting yesterday. Everyone that attended received a giveaway. That was definitely a first for me. So if you didn’t attend the meeting yesterday you missed out because we even had some extra prizes that will be used at the next meeting. Jason also stated that at the next meeting, which he will be presenting at, the PASS Summit 2010 DVDs will be given out as well.
Today was the MN SQL Server user group meeting. The weather was a bit warm, around 98 degrees with humidity in the 60 to 70% range, plus there was a storm that passed through in the afternoon, so attendance was down a bit. We still ended up with around 35 people or so overall, so that wasn’t too bad. Maybe you have to factor in the cabin fever or probably just the fact that everyone wanted to stay in doors in the air conditioning (can’t blame people for that one).
This month the topic was ‘Ask the Experts Panel’, so not really a topic, but a good opportunity for the community members to bring their questions and ask for pointers and get some feedback from not only the panel members, but other attendees as well. The other thing that we do at these panel meetings is have each person on the panel provide some tips/tricks. As usually there were some really good items mentioned at by each panel member.
Here is a brief recap of what was mentioned (and if I am not spot on you can always check out the video once it is uploaded to Vimeo – PASSMN videos):
Lara Rubbelke (@SQLGal) – talked about a new project that she helped work on and just released this month on CodePlex that helps setup and row and cell level security on SQL Server databases
SQL Server Label Security Toolkit: The Label Security Toolkit provides tools and techniques for using Microsoft® SQL Server (versions 2005 through 2008 R2) to implement row-level security (RLS) and cell-level security (CLS) based on security labels. The major components of the Toolkit are: • The Label Policy Designer application • Documentation • Examples showing the implementation of row- and cell-level security in different scenarios
Mark Vaillancourt (@markvsql) – talked about setting up a database tables to store formatting colors and settings for SQL Server Reporting Services reports. This data can then be pulled into a the report in a dataset and leveraged into the report design using the new Lookup function in SQL Server 2008 R2 SSRS. This way if someone decides that they would prefer report fonts, colors, etc. to be different they can be changed in a central location and will be seen when the reports are refreshed. This is much easier instead of touching each report, especially if you have hundreds of reports. This concept is very similar to this posting – User Preferences and Styling and there are other options as well using techniques like this.
Jason Strate (@StrateSQL) – talked about the SQL Server Study Group that he has going to help people out that are looking to go after certifications and also just to get together and talk about SQL related topics.
Dan English (@denglishbi) – I mentioned that if you are doing BI projects make sure that you have BIDSHelper installed, it is a must have and loaded with really cool items that are very handy. I also talked about enabling Precedence Constraint Labels in the Tools Options of BIDS and also setting the ShowAnnotation property to ‘ConstraintOptions’ for Completion constraints that have expressions used. I also talked about setting up a default NULL measure on Analysis Services Multidimensional cubes. This is good for performance reason as well as some MDX reasons when people use functions without referencing a measure (not knowing that they are actually referencing one). You can also see some odd behavior when running queries to retrieve lists of dimension members or placing hierarchies on rows or columns in an Excel PivotTable.
Here are a few references that might be helpful to go over a couple of items that I talked about:
Bill Preachuk (@billpreachuk) – talked about leveraging Virtualization for servers and some of the benefits talked about an actual case study that he observed.
Zach Mattson (@WIDBA) – talked about all of the cool things he is doing leveraging PowerShell scripts being able to automate and setup performance traces on servers, monitor what people are doing on servers, etc. The possibilities are really endless and PowerShell is a great tool to leverage to help automate and streamline activities.
As for the rest of the night there were lots of good questions and discussions. He got to talk a some about new SQL Server ‘Denali’ features, which by the way you can check out a recent post about my top items – Top 10 BI Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server ‘Denali’ (SQL11), as well as do a little planning afterwards in regards to MN SQL Saturday #99 which just went live. Registration, call for speakers, and call for sponsors is all live now – this year there is a $10 lunch fee and you will be prompted during registration to use PayPal for the $10 (not bad for an all day free SQL Server training event).