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iPads for Christmas

iPads for Christmas

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The iPad would certainly come in handy if I'm ever trapped on a rollercoaster, have a connection and an iPad, and have to connect to a database server to handle an alert I just got, all at the same time. Of course, it needs to be an alert that VPN and the command line can handle, since I don't believe the iPad will run SSMS.

But wait! Root the iPad, replace the OS with a more open *nix distribution, and see if I can configure WINE to run SSMS through that ...

Yeah! That's the ticket!

Honestly, I doubt that an iPad will help me in routinely doing my job in any way my smartphone won't already do, while being significantly less "pocket compatible".

But I do intend to get a tablet. Mainly because I think it's going to be good geeky fun to play with one. I've wanted one for years, for just that reason.

(And, no, I don't expect this piece of humor to make it into the top 10 for the contest. If it does, everyone else entering must seriously suck at coming up with more plausible excuses for getting a toy for Christmas. :-D )

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"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon
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Let me start by saying am already able to work reasonably well remotely, with a company supplied laptop and a wireless aircard to use when necessary. Am also fortunate to have a good alerting system set up (combination of custom tools, sql's generic alerting system and a very good NOC) that calls me when needed. So I don't constantly eye my servers when not at work and honestly there are too many of them to do that. But when I think the ipad/remote monitoring would be useful perhaps is when we do patch reboots or have one of those dreaded 'maintenence' weekends when all servers are patched and I have to check if each of them came back online and all services were up. That itself takes like 36 hours with short breaks in between. A tool that can check each server and show me status online or email me a status report, not sure if this tool can do that) would be SIMPLY AWESOME! Smile Thanks.
J Thaddeus Klopcic
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Leave it to Apple to invent something that I've always wanted but never heard of before. Actually, I don't have any problem monitoring my applications/databases/servers -- I have scripts and tools set up on my main desktop at work. Sitting at my desk, I can have answers in seconds. When I'm working from home, I can Remote Access the desktop and have the answers I need in a minute more. And outside of working hours, I rarely need fingertip access to what's happening at work. But, there is one occasion when I wish I could have direct access to everything ... picture this with me:

I'm heading out to a meeting/lunch/break/whatever, running late as usual. Suddenly, out of the shadows steps a User....

User: Did the Kansas data get uploaded this morning?
User: Exactly how many characters is the Name field in the Network table?
User: Can you give So-And-So access to the metadata repository right now? I promised it to him two days ago.

Me: Ummm.... Can I get back to you on that? I would need to go back to my desk....

Now, I could carry a laptop with me wherever I go. But ergonomically, a laptop is designed to require ... well, a lap to sit on top of, or at least some clean, stable surface. When one is accosted in the parking lot or bathroom, laps are in short supply (at least those that one would want to take advantage of ... let's not go there.)

So, leave it to Steve Jobs to realize that I really need a device I can tuck under my arm wherever I roam. Now, when the inevitable User delurks, I can just whip out my trusty iPad, finger a few arcane gestures, rattle off some figures, then smile and say, "Anything else I can do for you?"
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I am both the SQL Server administrator and the System Administrator for an Electronic Medical Records system we are just starting to go live with at the Non-Profit Drug and Alcohol Treatment company I work for.

We need to have this system up 24\7 since it is going to be used for entering patient clinical records.

Having an IPad, especially with a copy of SQL Monitor running on our server, would allow me to monitor our database and application both at work and at home, and possibly even fix problems before users became aware of them, especially since I would put an RDP client on the Ipad.

I am currently teaching myself IPhone programming and if I had an IPad I would add programming for that to my learning list. I would then be able to write custom apps to be used for my work which would allow me to diagnose and fix common problems we have, usually records that are marked as locked internally by the software when they shouldn't be.

I would also be able to build sample apps for use by our clinicians as part of convincing people here to but IPads for use by clinicians in the field. This would be especially useful for our clinicians who have to do bed checks on our clients every hour, as right now they have to do these on paper and then come back and enter the data in the computer.

There are two people in our IT department (small company) and one of us needs to be essentially on call at all times now that we are going fully electronic with the medical records. Carrying a laptop is just not practical to do all the time, but an IPad is small and light enough to be thrown in the diaper bag with my 10 week old little boys diapers and cloths and my 2 year old little girl's stuff as well. My IPhone has too small a screen to do real work on, but the IPad would be just big enough, and in the city one is never more than a couple miles from an open wifi connection (Mc'Ds if nothing else is available.) So I would be able to have a normal life with my family while still being available to fix problems at work if an emergency comes up. (I have the LogMeIn app for my IPhone and this would work on the IPad as well so I would be able to have secure remote access to my home computer and through that and the VPN, access to my work computer.)
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I read a number of the posts, and I guess I would approach the use of SQL Monitor and the iPad from a different standpoint?

First, when I was hired at this company 3++ years ago, I became an "accidental DBA". My hiring manager indicated that 80% of my time would be DBA-based activities and 20% Systems Analyst. In the beginning, that was probably true, I spent the majority of my time automating a lot of the SQL tasks. Now I spend 80% of my time being a Systems Analyst and pushing the much-needed DB (the "A" seems to have been forgotten) tasks off until needed or worse, when something breaks.

SQL Monitor could help with the overall monitoring of our systems, helping me in reviewing the system performance and especially the long running queries that tend to plague our servers. Often, these queries do not come to light until one of the Sales/Marketing Staff bring something to my attention. Having good monitoring tools would not only highlight the problems but reduce some of the System Analyst activities by correcting the database issues that everyone tends to put off. Maybe we could put the "A" back in DBA?

The iPad would have dual uses: first, the obvious ability to monitor the servers remotely, hopefully ending the battle with a 6-year old over desktop computer time at home; don't get me started on the wife and trying to use the laptop! Second, help in the pursuit of certificates and additional knowledge. I recently read on Tech Republic "Headhunters and human resources departments love IT certifications." At my previous company I did that a lot, but over the last 5-6 years (kids, marriage, new job, moving cross country) I have been lax in that area.

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours (Richard Bach, Illusions)
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I'm the only SQL Server DBA for a medium sized company. I'm able to work from home two days a week with the aid of a laptop and a Sprint data card since my home is located in an area without access to broadband. I'm also a single parent, which means that I am the only person available to drive my son to and from his various events.

This can make things a bit dicey when there are after-hours issues. In order to troubleshoot an issue if I'm at some sporting event or practice, I have to have the laptop with me, (which I invariably do) then crawl into the backseat of my car where I wait 20 minutes at least for the laptop to boot, the wireless card to connect and then make my connection to our VPN.

An iPad would not have the Windows boot-up issue, and it would already be connected (I am assuming this iPad will be the 3G model, not the wireless-only model, but if not, I suppose I could connect via my Virgin Mobile MyFi, provided I have it with me) and therefore, I would be able to check server statuses much more quickly and without having to sit in the backseat just to have enough room to open the laptop. An iPad would also be a benefit when I am at home since the 20 minute boot up and connection process for my work laptop applies regardless. I would be able to much more quickly check on issues. The large screen would also help preserve my eyesight.

If, for some reason, after quickly and efficiently checking on my servers via the iPad, I discovered that it is necessary to log on to a server with the work laptop, I could play Scramble read SQL Server books or check SQLServerCentral.com on the iPad while I wait for the laptop to boot up and get connected.

As a last issue, my job supplies me with a Blackberry so I can check my emails, but the Blackberry, I am sorry to say, was designed by people who hate end users. I use an iPhone personally, so I know the exactly why the Blackberry sucks (sorry) and the iPhone does not, as a device for sending and receiving emails and texts. If I had this iPad, I could set up email on it and have a reasonable shot at replying to work emails, texting, and otherwise checking on Server alerts without the need to express the vast depths of my frustration with the Blackberry UI.

G. Larsen
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Merry Christmas, and I would like to thank you and Red-Gate for an opportunity to tell you how SQL monitor would be a great asset to my DBA toolkit, or is that toolbelt.

Like many DBA’s I am not at my desk every day, all day, 7X24. For that matter, if I were I would be a very boring individual. I am required to attend meetings, and of course I like to come home occasionally to spend time with my family and friends. While I work to live, I really live to play. Therefore having SQL Monitor installed doing the real monitoring work of watching over my SQL Server environment will allow more time to work, but also more time to live.

With SQL Monitor on the job, it would allow me to be alerted as soon as some performance measure exceeds one of my monitoring thresholds. By having an iPad at my side, will allow me to be instantly notified regardless if I’m in a meeting, or out playing. The faster I can respond to a performance situation the quicker I can resolve the issue. I am sure with the combination of SQL Monitor and an iPad I will be able to resolve problems before anyone even notices.

Of course being alerted whenever and wherever I am, and being able to respond is a great way to partner SQL Monitor and with an iPad device. But there are other advantages I could see in using SQL Monitor in my work environment. For instance say a programmer comes to me in the morning and says “Hey my batch job ran 10 times longer than normal last night, what was going on at 1 AM in the morning?” With SQL Monitor on the job, monitoring 7X24, I could use the “Rewind Time” feature to go back and see what was happening on the server at the time my programmer’s slow nightly batch job ran. This historical data would be invaluable in helping troubleshooting performance problems retroactively.

Once again I’d like to thank Red-Gate for this great SQL Server monitoring tool, and the contest. I could sure use SQL Monitor working at my shop, so I don’t have to work 7X24.
Since it is Christmas time, I thought I would leave you with Christmas poem about “SQL Monitor” (see below).

Have a great holiday,
Greg Larsen

‘Twas the Night before Christmas
By Gregory A. Larsen

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm
All the servers where humming, not causing a harm.
The SQL machines were manage with care,
In hopes that SQL Monitor would soon be there.

The programmers were nestled all snug in their load
While visions of T-SQL danced in their code.
And the Network Admin in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a short winter’s day nap.

When out on the floor there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the desk to see what was the matter.
Up from my chair I flew like a flash,
Tore down the hall assuming a crash.

The managers were abreast of the new-fallen code
Wondering what cluster of server were taking the load.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the UPS Man, that was such a dear.

The little old driver, was lively and quick.
He handed me a parcel, that was hardly that thick.
More rapid than eagles I unwrapped the package that came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called it by name!

Yes “SQL Monitor” I screamed, as I opened the box!
I’d finally gotten the iPad and software that rocks!
To the top of my deck! To the top of the wall!
I dashed away! Dashed away! Dashed away all.

So now what should I do with this stuff that I got,
But put it to use, it’s better than not!
Back to the managers I responded with glee,
This is what I’ve been talking about, now you can see.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the group,
That the prancing and pawing Greg’s doing can’t be a dupe.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the hall walked the managers without even a sound.

I found a server all dressed up with space.
It took just a few clicks and glances, it sure was the place.
With a bundle of tools just install in my rack,
All I had to do was configure the top my stack.

My eyes-how they twinkled! My fingers were merry!
My reports were not rosy, or sweet like a cherry!
My droll little mouth, was working my talk,
As I looked at the reports, with nothing but shock.

SQL Monitor alerts, were sure quite a treat,
The problems were everywhere, which wasn’t so neat.
I showed my CIO the reports, which were quite a pest,
In hopes he would lead, which is what he does best!

He was friendly and plump, a right jolly old elf,
Who laughed when I shared the reports, in spite of himself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon led me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to the charts,
And pointed and smirked, when he turned to our marts.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up from his chair he rose!

He sprang to his keyboard, and gave his team the decision,
And away he flew, like a man on a mission.
But, I heard him exclaim, as he moved out of out of sight,
"Happy SQL Monitor to all, and to all a good-night!"

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Andy Leonard (12/13/2010)
Hi Steve,

I've never used an Apple device. My geek daughter (@PennyTrupe) loves her Apple devices. Several geek friends (you, Grant, Brent) rave about the cool and productive things they can do with their iPads.

I've started a new venture for 2011 called Andy Leonard Training. I need to be more productive to accomplish my goals for this venture. I want to be productive, and I don't want the act of becoming productive to cut into my productivity. I'm willing to invest, but only so much. For example, I'm one of those people who needs reminders from my calendar. I need them to pop up and interrupt me and tell me to do something. Can I set this up now on my phone? Possibly, but it's no fun. I want something light and something that doesn't require me to become an Exchange admin to accomplish.

Does this exist on the iPad? I don't know. Investing the money and time for an uncertain outcome presents a high barrier. However, investing the time without having to invest the money - especially when starting a new venture - lowers that barrier to an acceptable level... if only I knew of a contest where I could win an iPad...

;{> Andy


I like the reminders I get on my android - less money and little time required Wink

Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw
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iPad meets the Rural Lifestyler.
Like quite a number of IT professionals in the Bay of Plenty, NZ, I have bought into the dream of having an intense IT career and living in the country on a "mini-farm" - just 12 mins from the centre of one of the fastest growing cities in NZ - Tauranga (pronounced "Toe - wrong - ahh"). My IT job provides me with the ability to work remotely, supporting and monitoring networks, servers, workstations and server environments - approx 2,000 devices across 4 countries, 24 x 7 - all from my 12 acre lifestyle block, where we breed Suri alpaca.

My laptop serves me well for the SQL (and other) development and monitoring. Sometimes, however, I just don't need all of that "grunt" with me and the mobility is still a compromise - I can quickly pick it up and go somewhere, but you still really need to sit properly and support the device on a hard surface (they get really hot just sitting on your lap).
There are times you need to be truely mobile, just keeping an eye on things (monitoring) and "tweaking" things as necessary, most commonly via RDP. The mobile phone screens just aren't big enough, they have there place in my world - e.g. SMS/TXT messaging of a monitored alert. So, I need something that perform most of the simple functions of my laptop but with the mobility of my phone - hmmmm maybe an iPad!

When you want to sit outside in the BBQ area, in the sun, sipping on a "cold one", gazing across all you own, out across to the harbour, only being interrupted when an alert sounds requiring you to put down your drink and take a peek, jump-in, give it the attention it begs for, then, pick up your drink and resume "life".

And then there's the times when you are down at the yards doing your shearing, or regular health checks - just fire up that spreadsheet, or application, and capture your data on-the-spot. Boy, I think I can see a little project there to incorporate some RFID/EID technology for data capture - put that on my to-do list, once I get that iPad!

Rich N - Development Manager @ Delta Technology Solutions Ltd - M.O.T.H.E.R. your virtual Sys Admin - Remote Server Health Monitoring - 24 x 7 www.deltatsl.com

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While I fear I won't be able to compete with Gary, I'll toss my hat in on this contest. Makes the most sense for me.

Having consulted a while, every now and I then I end up in the situation where I'm an 'on call' DBA only for a few companies at once. Each firm gives me maybe a day of work a week, on average, when I find myself in that position.

An iPad would give me the flexibility to be on one site, while VPN'ing another in case of simultaneous kablewie. VPN'ing between two competing firms is unacceptable, as you can imagine, so no amount of equipment other than completely avoiding the hardlines and wires will fix that problem. An iPad would give me the flexibility of a mini-laptop, the security necessary to handle the monitoring tools, and a screen larger than my car stereo's readout to actually look at it on... without having to cart around a laptop with satellite capabilities, or the equivalent. :-)

- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

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