Browsing articles tagged with " Pairings"

Holiday Pairings with DBMSs & Datastores – Part I

Nov 26, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Database, DLBlog, Fun, NoSQL, Parody, WTF  //  1 Comment

It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving weekend in the US and the rest of the world is thinking about how much MORE WORK we are going to accomplish while our American teammates are stuffing themselves with Tofurky and mashed potatoes….what?…hold on…. Oh, right. Turkey and a box of wine that someone’s sister got for a great deal at a Piggly Wiggly last June and has been saving it in the trunk of her car for her boozy in-laws (that would be YOU!).

This got me thinking about what sorts of holiday beverages the rest of us should be pairing with our database management systems and datastores. I have to say datastores because some pretentious people data professionals insist that database means relational database. Of course, those of us old experienced enough know that there were databases long before Ted Codd had that wild road trip with his friends  Raoul and Dr. Gonzo and discovered  developed the relational model for shared data banks.

So while the Yanks are dipping into their third helping of candied yams with marshmallows on top, we in the rest of the world can be productive. But since we aren’t in the US no one will think us odd for supplementing  our work with appropriate hydration products. To help you out, I’m recommending holiday beverage pairings based on what data technology you are touching over the next four days. Four blissful days of the most productive work week of the year.

Comma Separated Values Files (CSV files)

Moonshine in Ball Jar. Chris Herbert.

CSVs were the original data hipster, before XML became cool. It was text. In a file. On a disk, with magnets, that spun around. Your data might be comma-delimited or length delimited…it doesn’t really matter.  It’s text and anything you want to do with it you have to do by hand. So obviously, these data formats pair well with moonshine, the homemade booze of choice in most of the US. This data could also pair well with bathtub gin, but only if the bathtub is clean enough. Typically not an option, therefore, for DBAs and most of the rest of us in IT.


For Excel I’m going to split the pairings based on vintage year of release.  Excel is the perfect candidate. Let’s not kid each other here: business are run on spreadsheets, not databases (Ed. – I don’t think you can say that Me:  It’s my blog and besides that I’m drinking, I mean sampling, all these pairings. In other words, I may or may not be drunk already).

That means that Excel is everyone’s real data storage solution of choice, so it pairs well with the common denominator beer of choice, Budweiser. It’s cheap, there’s always some in the fridge, and it works, for the most part. So for Microsoft Excel 2003 and earlier, this Bud’s for you. The working man.  The typing women.  Yes, you.

Excel + Power BI


But with the release of Excel 2013 and self-serve BI via the Power…wait, hold on…. let me look up to see if it has a space or not…okay, there’s a space today….Power BI, Excel gets a bit more kick. Power Query, Power View, Power Pivot, Power Stuff, really. We’ll need the picante version of Budweiser Chelada. A chelada is beer plus Clamato. Clamato is tomato juice mixed with clam juice. The spicier version is Chelada Picante, so Budweiser + Tomato Juice + Clam Juice + salt + lime + chili peppers. Phew! I need an Excel slice and bad pie chart to show this. But I’m too busy drinking. This isn’t to say that Excel plus Power BI isn’t a great BI tool framework, but if it’s your datastore, you’ll need more booze in the morning. And like its primo the Bloody Mary, a Chelada makes for a great 7 AM meeting drink.


Glenfiddich 50

Ah. Now we are on to the expensive stuff. Larry has to fund his yachts some way (Yes, that joke is getting old. But I’m drinking, so it’s okay. I mean sampling, so it’s okay.) Again, we need to factor in various versions of the Oracle suite (Presidential Suite, I should say) of products.



For Exadata, I recommend this lovely 50 year old scotch. At about $30,000 a bottle, this is the equivalent of about one licensing core with no add-ons. It’s older than Oracle itself, but 50 is the new 25. So I hear.

It’s perfect for you and your sales guy to share. In the Presidential Suite. Of a club. but the price point seems spot on for the work you’ll be doing and the rate you should be charging.  You are charging Oracle rates, aren’t you?

Oracle Enterprise Edition

For Oracle Enterprise Edition, nothing beats a XO Cognac. With hints of rose petals, tobacco and leather, it’s going to feel just like it did when you signed that license agreement on your date with the Oracle sales guy. (Ed. – I don’t think you can say that. Me: I just did. And I’m drinking. You, editor, have never had to date an Oracle salespro as part of your assigned project duties and these pairing samples aren’t going to drink themselves.) The good news is that this comes with fine Baccarat Crystal glasses (aff link). They are free, until you use them. After you use them, of course you will have to pay for support on the glasses, at 23% of list price per annum.

Oracle Standard Edition


With Oracle Standard Edition, I recommend a  pint of Hennessy with a silicone flask cover to ensure you have a good grip on your booze and yourself. Both the Hennessy and Standard Edition fit “affordable and full featured”, if by full featured they mean “keeps you warm in the data centre”. If you are using Standard Edition, you can’t afford those grown up bottles yet because they aren’t paying you Larry rates. Plus the silicone will remind you of… (Ed.- STOP.  Right there.  Just STOP.  Me: Okay!!! {shhh…I may refactor this when my editor is sleeping off his turkey.})



Oh, the father of SQL Server, sort of.  At least they have a common ancestor in the evolution of databases.  Do people use this DBMS anymore?  I’m so old experienced that I can remember when Sybase was called SQL Server 6.5 (Ed. – I don’t think that’s true.  Me: Shhh..don’t yell so loud. I’m sampling here.  And I’ve lost my Glog.  Mead…whatever.)

If you are supporting this DBMSs, I recommend mead. Because your Sybase DBA has been around so long it was probably his first drink. Don’t get me wrong: fruit, alcohol, honey – it’s all good stuff.   If you use Sybase as a special one-off DBMS to support a vendor package, I recommend a can of Redbull and a shot of whatever you find under the sink in Executive washroom.  Even if it’s a cleaning product. Maybe add a teaspoon of honey.


File:Burning Manhattan Cocktail.png

Ah, DB2. One of the first fully relational databases (Sorry, Ted) I ever worked with. I’d have to say that this classic DBMS, in mainframe, client server and whatever zombie hellspawn we classify AS/400 Power i as will always be close to my heart.  I want to go old school here, but still classy, so I’m going to recommend a Manhattan. Who can’t love rye (“Canadian whisky”), sweet vermouth and a cherry? Really, this is the only “manly” drink that legitimately requires a cherry.  For the Power i series, I’ll have to go a bit more retro and recommend that you just pick up some fallen fruit in your office parking lot.  It’s probably well fermented at this time of year.


SQL Server


SQL Server 2008 R2D2 and earlier
I recommend here Tito’s Vodka in airline bottles. Prior to version 2012, SQL Server was primarily licensed with a server + CALS licensing scheme. You bought a server license, plus CALs for each user/device/whatever your salesperson said needed a license.  I like Tito’s vodka. It’s good and affordable. Plus I can buy airline bottles of it on the plane which helps me with portion control, much like those 100 calorie snack packs of Oreos one eats to lose weight. So I’m told. FYI: a good flight attendant cuts you off after 6 of these little bottles. A bad one cuts you off after two. A fantastic flight attendant says "Oh, did I give you your 6 bottles already? No? Okay, have these." The same thing worked well with CALs – the more you had the happier everyone one was.  It was easy to plan for new servers because this is the way it had always been done. But now….


Then along came SQL Server 2012 and a new licensing model. CALs were gone and core licensing came along. That means magnum 6+ litre-sized bottles of vodka for everyone! But not everyone can afford to fill those magnum bottles to the top with high-priced vodka. The good news is if you’ve already purchased giant bottles, you can pour out a few core’s worth of liquid to save money. Then cry about the room in the bottle that could be filled with vodka but isn’t.  In the long run, the new licensing model is simpler.  But for now, you might just have to live with less kick until you can right-size your servers.

Microsoft Windows Azure SQL Database Azure SQL DB


I’m not even sure what the brand name for cloud products are any more.  It’s not just Microsoft, either.  I figure since there are no boxes of DVDs to ship around, brand names change on a whim.  Just like trends in database design.  For Microsoft Azure cloud-based databases and datastores the good news is that you can just pay as you drink. Just like at your local bar. You don’t have to do much – most of the administration and maintenance is taken care of for you.  At work home I recommend you purchase a Star Trek Replicator and order a Blue Cloud cocktail every time you create a database. The good news is you can also have them delivered. This is known as Cocktail as a Service (CaaS). You need to go put this into your cloud budget request now, before we hit year end. Do it now.


These pairings are based on my experiences purchasing, renting, and borrowing these technologies.  Your mileage may vary.  If so, I’d love to hear about it below.  And yes, I have more pairings coming soon about other data formats and databases (Ed. – Please promise me you aren’t going to write about NoSQL datab…datastores.  Me: I promise {I will}).

Thanks to my co-samplers & writers Joey D’Antoni (blog | @jdanton ), Karen’s Whisky (@karens_whisky) and Thomas LaRock (blog | @sqlrockstar)  You should follow them because they know booze and snark.

You might also like: 5 Things to Do to Help Your Family’s Tech Ecosystem Over the Holidays with Pairings

5 Things to Do to Help Your Family’s Tech Ecosystem over the Holidays. With Pairings.

Nov 22, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Snark  //  4 Comments

We tech professionals usually cringe at Cousin Ed’s "I’m having a problem with my computer…" conversation.  It’s not that we don’t want to help; it’s that helping is often difficult to do verbally and impossible to do for people who won’t take our advice.

So when someone asks me to fix their slow or broken computer while they are stuffing themselves with Grandma’s Green Salad Tuna Jell-O mould and oyster stuffing, I first start with my list 5 things they must agree to do before I’ll help.  These conditions are mandatory; any hesitation and I point them to their NerdFixSquad at their local retailer.  Let retailers make money off bad computing practices. It’s good for the economy.

Knowing how painful the fix and the conditions can be, I also require liquid refreshments to help me along.  I thought I’d share my Fix + Pairings advice with you to help you through the holidays.

These are in no particular order; depending on Cousin Ed’s issues, you may want to focus on them based on 1) how messed up his computer is, 2) how thirsty you are or 3) how messed up you already are when he asks.

Gran Patron Burdeos1. Install a dependable anti-virus/anti-malware application

There are plenty available, some free.  Installing is not enough, though.  It must be configured to download and run updates automatically.  Sure, I don’t apply updates automatically on my work machines, but a a regular non-IT user isn’t going to have the type of background to judge when is the right time.  Now is the right time for most.

I often find that the "anti-virus" they have installed is actually some malware they downloaded from a questionable website. Or Norton.  Either way, that has to be replaced with something reliable.

When I visit the computer in the future to help again, if the antivirus has been disabled or is out of date, they need book an appointment with their local retailer. 

Pairing:   Since this is the first course, and we are with the family for a while, I’d normally recommend starting with heroin. Unfortunately the US has oppressive drug laws, so while you are downloading and cleaning, I recommend a very dry Martini to cleanse the palate. In my case, straight from the Grey Goose bottle.

If this step takes more than 5 hours to complete due to multiple infections, I recommend Gran Patrón Burdeos, a $650 bottle of tequila that does not taste like gasoline. By the way, "burdeos" means from Bordeaux.  That’s doubly pretentious.  This is mostly about the price, but why not feel a comfortably numb and like a high-priced consultant at the same time?

2. Uninstall all the applications they have no idea what they are or when they installed them

Arrogant Bastard AleIt’s likely these applications were installed as "helper" applications to some free and useless photo editing software that was recommend during a late night commercial or came free in a box of Breeze. If I’m lucky, they actually come with a functional uninstaller.

I have a 10 second rule: if Cousin Ed can’t tell me what the application is or when he last used it in 10 seconds, it needs to go.  Application Hoarders may be the next TLC program, but not on this machine.

Pairing: This is a slow, painful negotiation and process.  It deserves a great drink, but mostly just just needs alcohol. I hope the family is at least on Windows 7, but if they aren’t, this task will likely involve several hours of control panel and registry editing, followed by actual deletion of files. I recommend a German Riesling or a Moscato as the alcohol is low enough that you can drink the whole bottle and still be functional.

If Cousin Ed is still rocking Windows Me, I suggest Arrogant Bastard ale by Stone Breweries.  Because that’s how you are going to feel doing this task.

3. Uninstall the multitude of toolbars, plugins and widgets they don’t use

Chances are Cousin Ed’s browsers (and he will have all of them installed, even if he only uses one to surf the Information Super Highway) will have so many toolbars and plugins installed that he only sees a fraction of the web as he surfs on by.  These also have to go and I have no 10 second rule here.  If he really needs one, he’ll find a way to install it again.  Trust me.

Pairings: Since most browsers support just turning these off, this activity works well with Everclear Jell-O shots, one for each toolbar.  By now you need a bit of sustenance to maintain your blood sugar and to ward of the pending coma from all the work yet to be done.   If things have been going well, a nice session beer in the 3-5% range might work. However, if things are extra rough, I recommend the wonderful 9.5% Péché Mortel as the strong dark espresso flavour will help you feel like you are drinking for work.

If things are really terrible, go with a nice Pinot Noir. Buy it on the family credit card, and go to France to drink it.

4. Install and configure offsite, automatic backups.

The key to this is that the backup service must run with no intervention from the user.  Even seasoned IT pros have been burnt by not having proper backups. Sure, they meant to run that script that copied their photos up to a cloud service, but they never did.  Or they had it automated, and turned it off for testing something else.  Another key is that the backup must be offsite.  Yes, that wonderful 4TB NAS they bought at Costco for a real deal is wonderful.  But it’s parked right next to their computer.  Where a thief or blazing inferno can destroy all those bits in seconds.  In one breath.  I’m saddened to read on a regular basis about people losing their thesis, all their baby pictures or all their work because they failed to do proper backups. 

I use Carbonite and Iron Mountain for these things.  There are many such services, some for as little pennies a day. I use these in addition to syncing stuff to a local server and the cloud.  And yet I still pay redundant services to store my important stuff someplace else, automatically. I do this because copying is not backing up.  Also, I test restores from these services from time to time.

Remember, automatic and offsite are the keys.  All the other stuff is nice-to-haves. Another drive or computer in your home is not a backup.  Heck, another computer in your city may not be enough.

Pairings: Offsite backups take time, often days. If you make it this far, and one usually doesn’t, it’s time to go big.   I suggest a glass of Laphroaig 25 Year Old scotch to be savoured as you watch the blinky lights on the modem count out the number of times you’ve told yourself you’d never ever do this type of family tech support again.  At least the scotch will be peaty and pleasant.  Cousin Ed’s keyboard will most likely be slightly peaty, too, so this pairing may complement your environmental conditions better.

5. Install Updates

Usually when I get to the machine in question, I find that there are 300+ operating system and application updates waiting to be downloaded and applied.   I configure updates to automatically download, but not to automatically install. I’m not that uptight. But I make this a condition of my next visit that if I return and there are more than 10 days old updates to be applied, Eddie will have to head off to BestStapleMax to get his PC fixed.

Pairings: Since updates haven’t been run on this machine since Bill Gates worked at Microsoft, this will take a while.  The end is near, though, so it’s time to celebrate — with vintage Champagne. If you are billing by the hour (and who are we kidding, Cousin Ed won’t even bother to thank you when you are done) choose Krug Vintage. If you are only doing this because Mom asked you to, ask her for some of her little helpers and a Milwaukee’s Best .  It won’t matter at this point anyway.  Oh, and if you are in Washington or Colorado, you might just see if Ed’s slacker kid Eddie Jr. can hook you up with something nice for dessert.


If you’ve made it this far without just walking 7 miles to Wal-Mart (remember, don’t fix+pair and drive) to just buy Cousin Ed a brand new $200 PC, you deserve a major award and another drink.  Congratulations.  And you might want to get some rest.  Dad also needs help with his WiFi Router and the new printer he bought on Black Friday. 

Thanks to Joseph (@jdanton | blog )  and Joshua (@joshuafennessy | blog ) who helped with snark and paring recommendations.

Courage and Happy Holidays.

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