A blog about Cloud Computing, Data and DevOps

Hardening Sentry One for Security

If you have an environment where you need to lock down Sentry One as much as possible, then this article should help. It is well known that the Sentry One service account needs to be a member of the Local Administrators group in each server it monitors, and also a member of the sysadmin role for each SQL Server instance. At the moment this is still a requirement, but if you can live without the Windows metrics, then you could run Sentry One in Limited Mode which will only gather SQL Server specific metrics.

Automating Sql Server Performance Testing

You run performance tests as well as functional tests when deploying new code changes to SQL Server, right? Not many people do, I think you should, and this article will show you how to do it by harnessing an existing performance tool, rather than writing your own monitoring infrastructure from scratch. Any good performance monitoring tool that records information to a database will do fine, and we prefer to use Sentry One.

Running a Sql Server Workload Using Powershell

In February 2018, myself and Paul Anderton gave a presentation on how to correlate database deployments with performance issues within the context of a DevOps pipeline. We used Sentry One as our monitoring tool in a Performance Test environment so that we could catch badly performing deployments before they got to production and caused havoc. If you would like to see the recorded video, then you can download it from here: http://info.

Visual Studio Code Extensions and Settings

I primarily work in Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio Code, using VS2017 for SSDT work, and VS Code for pretty much everything else. VS code is highly configurable, and as it’s a rainy Sunday, I thought I’d share my settings with you in case you are interested. A few colleagues at work have asked me what extensions and settings I have so, here they are as of Feb 2018.

Automating Adding Servers to Sentry One

Overview Sentry One is a great tool for monitoring many servers. For new installations, it can be a bit of a bind to add your existing servers into the tool to be monitored. I have written a PowerShell module to make this much easier and to validate that servers that you thought were being monitored, are in fact monitored. There is full documentation for the module in the Sentry One user guide which explains how to use the functions within it, but a brief explanation is shown below.

How to Check Sentry One Requirements

I was at a client site recently and implemented Sentry One for them, a great monitoring system for SQL Server. It proved challenging because some servers were in a DMZ on a separate network and domain and some servers were in the same domain. All servers connected via a router and were firewalled off from each other with only the minimum ports open required for them to fully function and communicate.

Running Sql Server in an Azure Container Instance

Azure Container Instances are still in Preview and not officially available for Windows yet, which made me smile. It took me a while to figure out how to get this working so I thought I’d share what I’ve found. Containers are great for lightweight testing of code before deployment to production servers because they can be created so quickly and they give the same environment to test in very reliably. Now that Microsoft is offering container instances in Azure it means you don’t have to worry about provisioning and configuring your own docker host/cluster.

CI With Jenkins, Sql Server and Windows Containers

Why use Windows Containers? When creating database applications we need consistency in all our environments to ensure quality releases. Traditionally developers might have their own instance of SQL Server on their workstation to develop against. Database projects would be created in SSDT and pushed to source control when ready for testing. If you’re not using SSDT for database development already, then you should seriously consider it to make your life easier and increase the quality of your releases.

How to Install Sql Server on Windows Server Core

As part of automation of database and application deployments, it makes sense to be able to create new SQL Server instances quickly and with minimal resources. I have already explored containers and written about it on this blog, but I’d like to turn your attention to setting up SQL Server on Windows Server Core for those of you that run SQL Server on-premise or within VMs in the cloud. In a domain environment it should be pretty simple to just create a PowerShell session to your target Windows Server where your account is a local administrator and then simply run setup at the command line to install SQL Server, right?

When to Use Cmdletbinding in Powershell

Clean Code I am a big proponent of clean code. I use PowerShell a lot for automation, and want code to be clean. You are automating everything, right? If not, please see a slide from a recent meetup: Disturbing" Disturbing For me, clean code in PowerShell means (and not limited to): Small self-contained functions that have a single responsibility Number of arguments to a function kept as small as possible Consistent formatting No duplication of code Modules that hide internal functions, and only expose what’s needed Common Parameters One way to make code a bit cleaner is to make use of PowerShell’s common parameters.