Archive for September, 2014

Productivity Minutes: AutoSum Trick with Excel September 16th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

As the productivity series catches heat, I have got a number of you ask more tips around Excel and other tools. So here is next in series of using AutoSum capability with Excel and how you can quickly calculate the SUM across the range which has sub-total already calculated.

Though I showed you four different way to achieve the same, I am sure you will have many more innovative ways of doing it. Please feel free to share alternate options if I have missed them in the above video. Will be a great learning for me too.

Do feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates in the future.

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Productivity Minutes: Moving rows in Excel September 8th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

This is in series to our Productivity Minutes videos. I have started to get a hang of these videos and I am loving doing these short videos for you. In this blog, I would like to share the tip around how to move data presented in Excel from one position to another.

Yes, I understand we all are very comfortable in using CTRL+C and CTRL+V. But this tip is NOT about this technique. It is about how we can efficiently use mouse and achieve the movement of a row from one location to another in a Excel Table.

I plan to do these short videos and your feedback and encouragement will do a world of good. So let me know and do feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates in the future.

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Productivity Minutes: Sharing Outlook Calendar September 4th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have had the opportunity to write a number of blog posts around Excel and other productivity tools in the past. Since I started the video blog series, now I will try to bring some of these tips in a quick Video series.

In this short video, we will look at how we can quickly share our Outlook Calendar with our external contacts without sharing our actual meeting details? Wish you wanted to reduce and eliminate multiple rounds of email to lock on a date and time? Well, this video is just for you – trust me.

Hope you enjoyed this quick “productivity minutes” video. Send me your comments filled with feedback and we will have many more in the future too.

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Throttling is inherent / inevitable for Cloud deployments September 3rd, 2014

Vinod Kumar

My good friend and mentor in many ways Govind Kanshi did write about his learning of working on Cloud for ISV’s and he calls out a number of caveats. One of the hidden gem is the article is the concept of throttling.

We keep talking about this to our customers and from time to time I start getting requests how to solve some of the error messages developers are getting as part of new deployment to cloud. Recently saw an error message from a customer:

Timeout expired.  The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding.

They said they were working on a batch process and getting this error from time-to-time. The general tendency was to ask, “what have you done in your environments to solve this?” The common answer I get is, adding a connection string property: Connection Timeout=300 or some high number.

Ahhh !!! Do you get it? Is there a problem? All these are great solutions when you are working with SQL Server On-premise and makes a lot of sense. If you are working on Azure SQLDB (any cloud vendor), then you need to understand the behaviour of throttling :).

Everything on the cloud has limits and there are few restrictions one needs to adhere. Cloud dynamics is all about sharing resources, not having run-away of resources by one connections and monetizing using scale sharable model of resources.

So customer always asks, “what should I do now?” What numbers should I be aware off? In this particular case, I generally say to customer:

  1. Try to make transactions smaller and do it in batches instead of a big ONE transaction for the whole batch.
  2. There are limits to how long a transaction can be open like ~30mins. So this can be avoided if we do the above.
  3. If you are doing a lot of TempDB interactions or DMLs within the same transaction boundary, there are limits to ~2GB for the size of the transaction one can have. Doing the Pt 1, we can avoid that too.
  4. Irrespective of all the above, try to build a retry logic in your application / DAL layer to handle this behaviour.

Please read the WIKI page to understand more about the limits, they are worth a note. Also learn about how the SQL Engine applies the throttling in the Azure world.

The basics don’t change irrespective of where you work in cloud. It is important to understand them and be prepared in our code upfront. Have you built retry logics in your DAL anytime, share us your experience.

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Azure Bytes: Creating an Azure DB using Quick Create September 1st, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have been wanting to create this content concept for a long time. I am going to call this as “Azure Bits-N-Bytes” series. The idea here is to create short videos on Azure related topics (ideally lesser than 5 mins) and share it.

In this video series I am talking about how to create an SQL Azure DB using the portal quick create option.

As you can see this is the simplest option one can have in creating a SQLDB on Azure. As easy as it can be, there are a number of options we will need to play around with after this to access this DB. We will discuss the same in future posts.

Do let me know if you are interested in these type of quick videos in the future too. Based on your feedbacks, we will increase the frequency of such posts.

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