SQL Server – Demystifying SQL Azure.

Over the past couple of months, I have received many requests for topics on both SQL Azure & Sharepoint from members of the SQL Server Ireland User Group. Those requesting these are experienced SQL Server database developers & administrators who wanted to see how these differed from SQL Server & what the SQL Server technologist needed to know.

I was fortunate that I did not need to look far to find a speaker. Our own Vikas Sahni has agreed to speak on “Demystifying SQL Azure” on November 2nd at 18:30.

This presentation will cover

  • What is SQL Azure?
  • Value Proposition
  • Usage scenarios
  • Concepts & Architecture
  • What is there and what is not
  • Tips & Tricks

Vikas Sahni is a versatile technical consultant whose knowledge and experience ranges from products to projects, from .net to IBM Mainframe Assembler. He has lead and mentored people on different technical platforms, and has focused on new technologies from Microsoft for the past few years. He also takes a keen interest in Methodologies, Quality and Processes.

The meeting will be held at the Microsoft Atrium Building, in Sandyford.

The event is free to all. However, registration is mandatory for safety and security reasons at http://www.mtug.ie/Home/tabid/38/ctl/Details/Mid/369/ItemID/75/Default.aspx?ContainerSrc=[G]Containers/_default/No+Container

You are welcome to come along.

I am working on getting a Sharepoint event organised for December plus further presentations on Cloud Computing in general and, more specifically, SQL Azure early in the new year.


Microsoft PDC 2010


Final Call to Register for PDC10 @ Dublin

Hello All,

We’d like to welcome you to watch the HD live stream of the Professional Developers Conference event, running in Redmond, Seattle. PDC is widely recognised as the showcase for some of Microsoft’s biggest platform announcements, and 2010 promises to be no exception.

You’ll hear what you can expect from the next generation of Microsoft developer technologies, and your hosts for the evening will be the local Developer Platform team, on hand to talk about the announcements as they happen.

You’ll also have the chance to network and swap notes with the fantastic developer community. While you’re there, why not put the Xbox 360 Kinect through its paces? We’ll keep your energy levels up with pizza, beer and coffee.

The agenda for the keynote includes:

· Client and Devices (Steve Ballmer)

· Cloud Services (Bob Muglia)

· Frameworks and Tools

Date: 28 October 2010 16:30 – 22:00
Registration: 16:00
Location: National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) Crane Street, The Digital Hub Dublin 8 Ireland
Register here.

The hashtag for this virtual event is #pdcie. You can also view the live streaming of the keynote and all breakout sessions from the comfort your own living room or office via http://www.microsoftpdc.com/.

I hope you are able to join us.

Enda Flynn

Developer Platform Group, Microsoft Ireland
endaf@microsoft.com Twitter: @endaflynn

Security – Scam Anti-Virus Phone Calls

Last week, my wife received a call, purportedly from Microsoft, warning her that a problem was detected with our computer and that the caller would assist her in solving them. She quickly became suspicious and refused to listen to the advice but told the caller to ring back later that evening when I return home. She informed me of the strange call immediately. Of course, there was no follow up call.

With a little research, it did not take long to find that this is one of the latest methods of separating the naïve from their money. The typical caller persuades the recipient to access a particular webpage that then allows the caller to access the computer and proceed to “fix” it. Once this is complete, the victim is then charged a fee for the service.

The idea of a complete stranger getting unfettered access to one’s computer and then proceeding to ask for credit card details should send alarms bells blaring loudly for anyone.

The Guardian has a good article about it at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/18/phone-scam-india-call-centres

Subsequently, I discovered that my father had also received a similar call in the previous week. Fortunately, he decided not to play this game either.

I must have them well trained! I wish all my extended family were so paranoid.

SQL Server – Data Breaches Prove Need for Database Controls

I am delighted to have Lindsay Hamilton, of Cervello Consultants, come to speak on Data Breaches and their implications for database controls tomorrow to the SQL Server Ireland User Group.

The last few years have seen many well publicised stories of the loss of key, sensitive cases and data breaches which have highlighted the need for better controls around the management and security structures of data and databases. Emerging regulation in this area, the threat of possible court action against directors and organisations being found guilty of not having protected the source of their clients well enough and Cloud Computing have all reared their heads as potential areas of risk to any organisation in the protection of their data.

This is only going to continue as further “naming and shaming”, and fines, affect the companies and organisations identified.

This talk will discuss the new business threats coming at the marketplace, and how to protect against them at the database and application layer.

Lindsay formed Cervello is 2006 to bring a new database auditing technology to the UK marketplace to provide alerts and reports to management of who was potentially manipulating the security structure or content of organisations databases against company or regulatory policy. He restructured the company in January 2009 to be an independent consulting company in this space, and previously spoke to the Irish SQL Group in April 2009 on the need for database vulnerability management and activity monitoring controls as part of their data protection of strategies.

With strategic advisors in the Banking, Insurance and Capital Markets sector, his work now covers all areas of database protection in the Financial Services, Corporate and Government / Public Sector, and he has spoken at a number of events in this area including the Microsoft Chief Information Security Officer conference in London in 2008.

Prior to forming Cervello, Lindsay ran one of Microsoft’s Gold Advanced Infrastructure companies based in Scotland, and lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two children who are now at University.

The event is free to all. However, registration is mandatory for safety and security reasons.

Presentation Notes

XBOX 360 – Halo Reach

Wednesday, September 15th, at 07:30, the local postal service delivered two very large parcels to my home. For my both my sons, all preparations for school were abandoned and whoops of joy echoed through the house – 2 copies of Halo Reach Legendary Editions had arrived.

Each of these large packages contained the game, a Dr. Halsey’s spiral hard-bound notebook, a huge diorama of the “other” (i.e. not you) five members of Noble team plus the all-important download content of the limited edition armor along with the much anticipated flaming helmet that was once the badge of honour of a Bungie employee. My sons spoke of little else for most of the summer; my eldest appeared to spend humongous amounts of time in the “My parents don’t believe it but I really do have nothing better to do than share the hype with my other like-minded friends” forums.

For the next two weeks, the sounds of plasma grenades, needle rifles, bubble shields, & the cries of frustration reverberating across Xbox Live accompanied the children when awake. An unbelievable number of parents have been subdued into buying this latest Halo release.

Finally, a gap appeared, and this father gets his chance to try it out. Like my sons, I started a Legendary Campaign. Oh my god, this game is simply gorgeous with beautifully crafted locations, some lovely lighting effects, and immersive sounds.

And the Covenant troops of the previous games are now a lot smarter and more agile than anything that we have seen before. Each elite & brute has to be hunted and eliminated individually while constantly remaining aware of being flanked.

Bungie are nastier & more devious this time around. On one level, while moving along walkways protected by railings to the next enclosure; a horde ambushes me and, as I reversed quickly back out to the walkway again, I fall to my death because of the one strategically missing railing!

The one major disappointment for both my kids was that their campaigns had glitches. My youngest discovered that the later levels were all marked as complete & re-playable while the earlier levels were listed as never started. This was despite the fact that he had played the solo campaign from start to finish. The elder son had the game hang and when he restarted, his campaign was gone.

I have not played enough multiplayer to form an opinion on it yet. Firefight does make a return from Halo 3 ODST and contains far more settings for the player to alter. It is an enjoyable way to pass the time with a few easy achievements to boot.

In summary, I agree with a comment made elsewhere that every XBOX 360 owner should own this game.

SQL Server – Problems when re-attaching a database that was moved to a new location

My SQL Servers typically have separate drives for data, log, & backups. Recently, we discovered that a Sharepoint server was incorrectly configured so that all the data (MDFs), log (LDFs), & backups (BAKs) files were being written to the backup drive only. So, we backed everything up, then detached all the databases and moved the data and log files to the correct drive and folder locations.

However, when we tried to reattach we got the following errors when bringing the databases back on line:

FCB::Open: Operating system error 5(Access is denied.) occurred while creating or opening file ‘L:\MSSQL\Log\CM_MOSS_Config_log’. Diagnose and correct the operating system error, and retry the operation.

When the files were moved, they become owned by the mover who is a windows administrator. When the DBA tries to attach the databases, he is no longer considered an owner.

The solution to this is to grant the SQL Server service account “FULL CONTROL” to the new drive/folder location and their files.

I found a very good article on this here:


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