Shop Talk: 2020-07-06

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Tracy Boggiano
  • Mala Mahadevan
  • Special Guest Star Jared Poche

For show canon purposes, Tom was captured in a multi-state illegal fireworks ring, smuggling the good stuff.

Notes: Questions and Topics

Last night was the “Let’s get a copyright strike from the TV” edition of Shop Talk.

I Remember Halloween

Mala started us off with a question about Halloween protection. What is Halloween protection? How can we identify this? What are possible solutions?

Answer: Jared gave us a description of Halloween protection, and I followed up with a quick demo. If you want more thorough answers on Halloween protection and solutions to the performance issues it can provide, I recommend Paul White’s series on the topic, Jared’s blog post, and Mala passed along an article from Itzik Ben-Gan.

Upgrading SQL Server via Distributed Availability Groups

Tracy then told us about a project she had undertaken to upgrade SQL Server using Distributed Availability Groups, a feature introduced in SQL Server 2016 and enhanced with direct seeding in 2017. Tracy has used this technique to perform near-instant upgrades from 2016 to 2017, and points out that it can work for upgrading any instance from 2012 and on. Tracy shares a few important tips, such as changing the listener rather than upgrading connection strings, as that obviates the risk of missing some connection string somewhere.

Tracy should have a blog post forthcoming on the topic as well.

The Silliness of Security Compliance

In last night’s Rant of the Evening, I channeled Sean McCown in pointing out that there is nothing inherently wrong with enabling xp_cmdshell. If you’re not a sysadmin, you can’t use xp_cmdshell by default; if you are a sysadmin, you can enable xp_cmdshell whenever you want. So any security check telling you to disable xp_cmdshell is wrong—the correct answer is not to hand out xp_cmdshell rights willy-nilly.

All of this comes in the context of security compliance audits. It was Tracy’s topic and she did a good job airing out some of the sillier ones when I wasn’t cutting her off.

As a point of order, the concept of security is by no means silly. Having people who understand the behaviors (including unintended!) of first- and third-party applications and systems is critical, and I support those people how I can.

Mala’s Book Corner

Mala recommended two books for us this week:

Getting a Job

I wrapped things up with a question: how do you get a new job in adverse conditions? I also tried to tie it into the dot-com collapse, as that was the best analog I had for today’s environment.

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