Technical Blog Articles

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A blockchain is a decentralized technology that acts as a digital open distributed ledger and is used to record transaction data between two parties that is both verifiable and permanent. Made famous, or infamous, by Bitcoin, this article will separate the entities and focus on the technology behind blockchain, and its potential application. Blockchains are composed of a block, a timestamp, and the transaction data, as well as a cryptographic hash of the previous block that links the two by cryptography. A single blockchain exists within a network of computers and cannot be edited without changing all other blocks - by design, making them permanent and resistant to change. As such, participants can track, control, and verify transactions efficiently and securely. A good example is to picture a blockchain as a giant spreadsheet that has been shared hundreds of times across a network of computers that exist solely to update the spreadsheet regularly.

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The Problem:

SharePoint is, of course, a monster of an application platform with many configuration quirks.  As a DBA supporting a content database utilized by a SharePoint environment, I ran across a problem:  After installing SharePoint, there is no way for the application administrator to tell the DBA the real database name. 

The Reason: 

During installation, an alias is created for the database.  Unless you write that name down or name the alias something that reflects the database name, there is no clear way to determine the name of the database, either in the application or in the configuration files.

The Solution:

Since the solution was not particularly obvious, I’d like to share it, so that another DBA does not have to solve the issue at the worst possible time:  an outage.

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Dashboard Design Trends 

Report Dashboards have come a long way since their early 70’s spreadsheet beginnings.  Many popular charting tools take a lot of the guess work out of standardizing common chart elements and choosing a pleasing color palette, but there is still much left up to the designer when it comes to presenting the data in a meaningful way, from choosing the best graphical representation for the data you are trying to illustrate, incorporating colorful goal or alert lines to make is easier for the user to see progress toward a goal, to making sure that you arrange the data in a readable, logical progression that will display legibly across devices.

As website design principles and aesthetics change, so do report dashboard design trends.  Here’s a list of top trends and ideas for incorporating them to add value to your dashboard design.

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The use of Purpose Built Backup Appliances (PBBAs) for backup data storage has shown dramatic growth in recent years.  While growth is slowing as cloud providers improve their service offerings, PBBAs remain a competitive option.   

Offering optimized data storage, reduced expenditures over traditional hardware, with no need to change existing platform or processes, consider these reasons to incorporate PBBA solutions in your environment.

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Your DBA is receiving complaints about a slow server at random periods throughout the week.  How do you assess the environment and troubleshoot performance issues at different periods?

Using a series of PowerShell scripts, you can easily gather key statistics across your entire environment, and run the process several times a day to capture those statistics during different time periods and activity levels.  The data is stored in a series of tables, which can then be used for alerting and trend reporting.

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As every person in IT knows, monitoring the health of your database environment is extremely important for the stability and availability of your data, but… your DBA staff is stretched thin and overworked, your environment is continually growing due to evolving business operations, and pretty soon any attempt at enterprise-wide monitoring of availability, performance, and growth is de-centralized, disjointed across environments and/or multiple third-party solutions, or simply doesn’t exist at all.

A large scale effort to implement enterprise-wide monitoring seems overwhelming, especially when there are so many immediate fires to fight.

Read on to discover why implementing Remote Database Monitoring is worth it: