T-SQL Tuesday #110 – Automate All the Things

Garry Bargsley (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. Garry Bargsley kicks the year off right asking the following questions:

Kicking off the T-SQL Tuesday season for 2019, I would like to ask, what does “Automate All the Things” mean to you?

 

So technically there are two tasks for this month:

  • What do you want to automate or what automation are you proud of completing
  • What is your go-to technology for automation?

 

“Automate All the Things” is a methodology, a change in perspective. I recently had a friend ask me which came first consistency or automation. It’s a valid point. I believe automation is the what is accomplished as a result of consistency. That consistency is built by defining processes and having discipline to keep those processes. Consistency not only makes it easier to standardize processes (and train new employees), but it also means that I’m less likely to make mistakes.

One of my first automation projects was to implement continuous integration for database deployments. However, I did not realize how automation was going to fundamentally change how I see software development. When picking my tools I considered what tools were already used for our application deployment. I ended up using Visual Studio, SSDT, TeamCity, Octopus Deploy, and PowerShell to create, build, and deploy database projects.

Once realized the power of automation, I couldn’t get enough. My next goal is to get more familiar with PowerShell and dbatools to not only automate creating a distributed Availability Group but also building and configuring the VMs necessary to create my home lab.

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T-SQL Tuesday #108 – Learning Tech Beyond SQL Server

Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community.

Malathi has asked us to:

Pick one thing you want to learn that is not SQL Server. Write down ways and means to learn it and add it as another skill to your resume. If you are already learning it or know it – explain how you got there and how it has helped you. Your experience may help many others looking for guidance on this.

Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to create a home lab. I originally planned to build a domain controller and other virtual machines for the home lab. Then I realized that SQL Server on containers may be able to help me solve several issues regarding licensing and resources. At that time, I realized I could also use containers to create full build pipeline including TeamCity and Octopus Deploy.

At first I tried to start in sequential order and create a TeamCity container. I had previously used TeamCity on my desktop, so I figured it would be easy. I quickly realized I had no idea what to do to even get the TeamCity image running.

I was reminded that years ago I decided I wanted to be a Database Administrator. At the time I learned that I had no idea how to learn. I had to figure out how I learned. I ultimately came to realize that my primary learning method is auditory.

I also began to realize that I see all knowledge as interconnected building blocks. Some building blocks already have a foundation or points where I can join them with knowledge I already have. In other cases, I have no or little previous knowledge. In these cases, it takes me significantly longer to learn that topic.

Using this information, I started watching videos on pass.org. My next step was to install Docker for Windows. Once that was done, I started spinning up some images for SQL Server. Now that I’ve gotten comfortable with containers, I’m starting to look into using Kubernetes and potentially building an Availability Group on containers.