Overcome Cloud FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)

There are a couple of concerns and objections that can reasonably be raised when cloud computing is considered within your organization. Many times the argumentation used is comming from fear uncertainty and doubt. Besides that people do not question how ‘good’ their current infra & software landscape is. Lets address the most important issues when it comes to cloud FUD.

losing control
Losing control of the infrastructure, applications, data and so forth. Even though this might be valid in some cloud offerings, there are cloud offerings that do provide sufficient tools to measure QoS (Quality of Service). The losing control factor is mainly psychological and driven by “Server huggers” who love to walk into a room being able to touch the server(s). The costs for being able to hug the server however are huge. Does an organization that isn’t an IT company really want to know what every server is doing? IT to them is a commodity that simply needs to work in order to make it work they had to staff people and own servers in the pre cloud era.

Security is the ultimate fear factor in any computing environment but it reaches new heights in the Cloud computing space. It is true that your applications are running across the internet and therefore more open to an attack than applications in a data center. But if a hacker comes inside your data center unsecured applications become their playground. So whether or not your apps run in a data center or in the cloud the applications in today’s world should be locked down. So applying the right security at every level is important. As far as the infrastructure goes who will be better at security you or the cloud provider whose business depends on it.

Data loss
Another fear is the loss of data, basically when you are in the cloud with your crown jewels you don’t know where it really is. Basically you need a 24/7 backup scenario in place in order to prevent data loss. Besides a robust backup mechanism you need a transaction logging in place to see what is going on during business hours. So when selecting your cloud provider take these elements into account.

other concerns
Vendor lock in, complexity, learning curve and or losing our jobs. But none of these are cloud specific this is common with any new emerging technology.

Parting thoughts
Those opposing the cloud based on the other concerns section, should be more concerned about losing their job when not embracing this new phenomena. Conventional and emotional thinking around security and data loss should be revisited while looking in the mirror. Defining a roadmap and a strategy to move to the cloud are must haves. An on and offboarding strategy should be defined before starting the transition to overcome the vendor lock in.

The cloud is a new reality to be embraced and understood. Think in possibilities and opportunities without loosing sight of possible threats.


Rule to live by

In a tiny town in France during my recent holiday a poster with this prophecy caught my eye and blew my mind.

Only after :
the last tree that has been cut
the last fish that has been caught
the last river that has been poisoned
then will we realize that money cannot be eaten

— Indian Prophecy

TSQL getting characters from the rightside of the string using charindex and reverse

In one of my recent projects i encounterd the following issue with T-SQL string functions. There is no default function to determine a character in a string starting at right of your string. While there are cases in which this might be very handy.

I came across many somewhat difficult solutions to this problem so here is my simple but sufficient solution to this problem.

Lets assume we want to determine the lastname in a fullname string as this one here below:

DECLARE @myvar varchar(30)
SET @myvar = ‘Remi Guy Jules Caron’

It holds all my firstnames and my surname i would like to retrieve only my lastname from the string. The easiest way out would be to start on the right and look for the first space in the string right?  Well there the trouble starts you can’t.

Here is my solution to this issue by using REVERSE and CHARINDEX.
SELECT REVERSE(@myvar) AS Reversed, RIGHT(@myVar, CHARINDEX(‘ ‘, REVERSE(@myvar))) as Lastname ;

The first reversed column is just to show what reverse does so isn’t that important. However the seceond column that says lastname does the trick.  I used Charindex to determine the space in the string starting from the right by reversing the string with my names in it. Then i took the RIGHT function to actually get the number of characters from the right determined by charindex in the reversed string of names.

Reversed                   Lastname
noraC seluJ yuG imeR  Caron

Windows Phone 7 vs iPhone & the rest

Windows phone 7 certainly has potential. I have been playing around with the Development environment and have been eading about the whole proposition. The development platform to me is much easier to access then for instance the iPhone development stack (being an .Net developer). This time around Microsoft has reached out to increase their span of control on both Hardware and application distribution.

Although they don’t own the hardware themselfs the launching partners have been selected carefully and the idea behind marketplace looks like iTunes Appstore in many ways. Since their primary market to attack is the consumer space the following questons pops to mind. Assuming that many gadget loving consumers already have a “very” smartphone and if they don’t they might get the iPhone G4 or any other updated smartphone since they all launch before WP7 is available. Consumers that do NOT own a smartphone probably do no have the desire to get one.

How will they get those consumers to buy one? And how about converting smartphone user to switch to WP7 devices? Applications won’t migrate that seems an obvious remark but how about music. If i already bought an album in the iTunes store (and therefore own it) how do i port it onto my WP7 device if possible at all? Buying those albums again will probably not happen. Burning it to CD and then transfer to you new device is to much hassle for many (me included) .

The most popular “very” smartphone iPhone doesn’t provide a platform for line of business applications they target consumer market period. Black berry has a large installed base in the business world but not the best platform for bulding LOB apps. I think there is a market right there to get into with the WP7. The development platform is way easier, marketplace can still play a role for checking and certifying applications. The WP7 as expected already provides access to conumer functionality like music (zune), social networking etc etc.

I for one hate the fact that i need to carry around a black berry for my business calls appontments etc and a iPhone for my personal stuff. WP7 holds the oppertunity to help people like me to g back to carry 1 phone around. But it is not on the horizon yet in my opionion Microsoft is betting on the wrong side of the market. Yes i am aware that the consumer market is bigger (but it is divided already in my opinion).

WP7 has the oppertunity to unluck functinality on moble devices in a controlled but yet still open manor. This could and probably will change the way enterprises look at unlocking functionality on mobile devices. This would be another enabler for comapnies to implement the new world of work.

How to get SSRS to repeat the row headers (Tablix 2008)

Getting SSRS in SQL 2008 to repeat the headers on every page can be a time consuming task. Especially since the Tablix property window lets you set the checkboxes to repeat the Row and or Column headers. Nothing happens however if you set them.

You will have to digg into the Advanced settings at group level in order to make the headers repeat on all pages. The image below shows how to access the advanced settings in the group.


After turning on the Advanced Mode the region in the designer will show additional info and allows you to set the right values to get repeating headers: See the image below

If you ommit these settings on the static row the preview will give you an error. So after setting these values there is one more thing to do and that is set the property on the Details row as shown below:

This will do the trick for you and SSRS will now reproduce the headers on each page of the report.