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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
A seasoned developer's little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

This Week I Learned - Week #192

Friday, December 09, 2016
This Week I Learned -

A Site to Site VPN can be established from Azure to any on-premises network and can even be used with other cloud networks such as AWS Virtual Private Cloud. Please note that you must have a Public IP for your other network's VPN gateway and cannot be behind an NAT.

* With 47 major certifications, Azure has the largest compliance coverage of any cloud provider

Azure now offers a 99.9 percent service-level agreement (SLA) commitment option on single-instance virtual machines with Premium Storage.

When using SQL Server in Azure VM as a data source for Azure Web Apps, keep in mind that Azure Web Apps does not support Azure Virtual Network. In other words, all connections from Azure Web Apps to SQL Server VMs in Azure must go through public end points of virtual machines. This might cause some limitations for high availability and disaster recovery scenarios. For example, the client application on Azure Web Apps connecting to SQL Server VM with database mirroring would not be able to connect to the new primary server as database mirroring requires that you set up Azure Virtual Network between SQL Server host VMs in Azure. Therefore, using SQL Server Database Mirroring with Azure Web Apps is not supported currently. SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups: You can set up AlwaysOn Availability Groups when using Azure Web Apps with SQL Server VMs in Azure. But you need to configure AlwaysOn Availability Group Listener to route the communication to the primary replica via public load‐balanced endpoints

Makerbase is a reference for anyone who's interested in apps and web sites and the people behind them.

Joel Spolsky is the full-time CEO of Stack Overflow, which just hit 300 employees

Geolocator.js is a utility for getting geo-location information, geocoding, address look-ups, distance & durations, timezone information

WikiPal uses info from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage geocoded places to fetch interesting details for a specified location

* As of early December, the six major studios in Hollywood have an 83.4 percent market share of the domestic box office. Disney alone enjoys a staggering 24.2 percent

* Folic acid is actually the synthetic type of vitamin B9 that is often found in fortified foods and dietary supplements. Folate is the naturally occurring form of B9, typically found in foods.

* Map of the Earth showing live information about winds and temperature.

* "Hypocrisy is not my forte" - Jayalalithaa

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Azure In Pictures: SQL Server Always On Availability Group

Thursday, December 08, 2016
The figure below is a graphical representation of SQL Server availability group solution  in Azure for HADR consisting of the following elements:
  • A virtual network containing multiple subnets, including a front-end and a back-end subnet
  • Two domain controller with an Active Directory (AD) domain
  • Two SQL Server VMs deployed to the back-end subnet and joined to the AD domain
  • A 3-node WSFC cluster with the Node Majority quorum model
  • An availability group with two synchronous-commit replicas of an availability database
You can reduce the number of virtual machines by using a domain controller as the quorum file share witness. This would reduce the number of VMs for a two-replica availability group

Creating SQL Server 2014 Always On Availability Group in an existing Azure VNET and Active Directory instance
SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups Listener configuration with Azure External Load Balancer

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Azure SQL Database vs SQL Server on Azure VM

Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Compiled from numerous resources:

Topic Azure
SQL Database (PaaS)
SQL Server on Azure VM (IaaS)
Features Less features than box, optimized to reduce costs Full box product features, optimized for the best compatibility with existing applications and for hybrid applications
Performances Max 1750 DTU in Premium Tier Depends on VM SKU/Storage
DB Size Max 1TB in Premium Tier (P11) 64TB on G-SERIES
Workload Sizing by average usage Sizing based on peaks
High-Availability Built-in by platform. 99.99% high-availability SLA Manual configuration by AlwaysOn AG. 99.95% HA SLA that covers just the Virtual Machines in an availability set
Fault-Handling Necessary fault-handling &
Recommended fault-handling &
Locality No co-location with application Co-located by VMs and VNETs
Segregation Internet exposed endpoint Internal private endpoint
Versioning No control on upgrades Full control over DB upgrade
TCO Very low, almost self-managed.
Total cost of application = Highly minimized administration costs + software development costs + SQL Database service costs
High (as on-premises).
Total cost of application = Highly minimized software development cost + administration costs + SQL Server and Windows Server licensing costs + Azure Storage costs
Administration No full-time DBA required Full staffed DBA required
Management Easy to manage many DBs Complex to manage many DBs/VMs
Scale-Out Tools & Frameworks available No easy scale-out
Configuration No setup customization Full access to OS and SQL Server instance level properties
Authentication SQL standard authentication, Azure Active Directory authentication SQL standard and integrated
Security No Fixed IP, fixed 1433 port Fixed IP possible, port can be changed
Backup Backup files not accessible, 35 days Point-in-Time-Restore Full control of backup files, unlimited PITR
Hybrid No AlwaysOn AG support Can join on-premises AlwaysOn AG topology
Cross-DB Access NO: Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC), Linked Servers, USE statement , 4-parts names YES: DTC, Linked Srv, USE, 4-parts names
Migrate Existing Apps Moderate Fast
Build New Apps Fast Moderate
Licensing Not required Regardless of VM size or SQL Server edition, pay per-minute licensing cost of SQL Server + Windows Server + Azure Storage cost for the VM disks unless Bring-Your-Own-License option is choosen

Also see:
Comparison of App Service, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, and Service Fabric

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This Week I Learned - Week #191

Saturday, December 03, 2016
This Week I Learned -

* A new tool currently in preview called the Database Experimentation Assistant, enables migrating from a lower version of SQL Server to the latest version of SQL Server. However, it is much different than the Data Migration Assistant in that the Database Experimentation Assistant provides clarity into the complexity and risks of upgrading.

* Most people search for information about healthy eating during the week on a Monday, according to Google's Food Trend report for 2016.

* Uber Technologies Inc., founded in 2009, is an American multinational mobile ride hail company headquartered in San Francisco, California. In the United States of America, Uber operates under the Transportation Network Company label. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. Uber has opened in more than 300 cities on six continents. Uber showed up in Europe in late 2011. European Court of Justice will decide if Uber is a Transportation Service or a Digital Platform.

Photography tips - Get to the level of the person or a scene. For example, while you shoot kids or pets, going on the floor and clicking them at the eye level would give you much better perspectives and pictures. Make use of Law of Thirds. Imagine your frame is divided into a 3×3 grid, and place your subject along one of the resulting gridlines or where two gridlines intersect.
Chaos theory is the description of large complex systems and how small differences in intitial conditions can lead to very different final outcomes.

"Matt" Groening (gray-ning) is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell (1977–2012) and the television series The Simpsons (1989–present) and Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–2013). Groening said his goal in creating "The Simpsons" show was to offer the audience an alternative to what he called "the mainstream trash" that they were watching. Groening famously named the main Simpson characters after members of his own family: his parents, Homer and Margaret (Marge or Marjorie in full), and his younger sisters, Lisa and Margaret (Maggie). Claiming that it was a bit too obvious to name a character after himself, he chose the name "Bart," an anagram of brat. The entire Simpson family was designed so that they would be recognizable in silhouette. After spending a few years researching science fiction, Groening got together with Simpsons writer/producer David X. Cohen in 1997 and developed Futurama, an animated series about life in the year 3000.

Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. Her parents divorced when she was 12. By age 16, she was working nights as a janitor at a Seattle hospital while still attending high school. While studying fine arts at The Evergreen State College, she began drawing comic strips compulsively when her boyfriend left her for another girl. Her career began in 1977 when Matt Groening and University of Washington Daily student editor John Keister each published her work without her knowledge in their respective student newspapers, titling it Ernie Pook's Comeek. When she was 23, the Chicago Reader picked up her comic strip, enabling her to make a living from her comics alone.

Chanakya had an ugly appearance, accentuated by his broken teeth and crooked feet.

Entrepreneurship is like you waking up one day, deciding that you’ll start running and you keep running, forever (think Gump, not Gebrselassie). Some days you’ll enjoy running, some days you’ll not. Some days you’ll feel fit, some days you’ll not. You’ll will find fellow runners on a few days, on most days you’ll not. But, you just have to keep running. If things do not go as per plan for a while, remember the old Persian saying – This too shall pass. Just suck it up, tie your shoe laces harder  and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

* "Change before you have to" - Jack Welch

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This Week I Learned - Week #190

Saturday, November 26, 2016
This Week I Learned -

* By using Emulator Express, you can test and debug a cloud service without running Visual Studio as an administrator. Emulator Express isn't compatible with IIS Web Server.

* The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification validates that you have the skills needed to run a highly efficient and modern data centre, with expertise in cloud technologies, identity management, systems management, virtualisation, storage and networking. It includes 2 certifications (70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions and 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions) in addition to the 3 (70-532, 70-533, 70-534) that are also part of MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect.

Sequoia Capital is the legendary investor behind Google, Apple, Youtube, and Whatsapp. They have single handedly created more than $1.3 Trillion of value in the US economy! In India Sequoia is the investor in Ola Cabs, Oyo Rooms, Zomato, Just Dial, and Café Coffee Day. Over $2 Billion is committed to investing in Indian startups.

Srikanth Bolla, a blind entrepreneur has built a Rs. 50 crore ($8 million) company that employs hundreds of handicapped (physically challenged in different ways) people called Bollant Industries. When the IITs denied him an entry to write the entrance exam, he applied to and was accepted to MIT as their first international blind student.

In Ancient Greece, hedonism really did have an ethical component, and its adherents really believed that society would be best served if you as an individual cultivated those things that gave you the greatest pleasure, instead of the self-denial inherent in other philosophies and religions. Over time the philosophical aspect of hedonism has faded and we are left an idea that looks to us very much like, well, Las Vegas

Paytm's app PoS allows small merchants to accept all debit and credit cards without the need of a card machine. Anyone with a mobile phone should be able to accept payments. In this payment flow, Paytm claims that it does not store any card details in our App or in our servers. The transaction is completed on the bank’s page and follows the 2 factor authentication guidelines mandated in India. Paytm is a PCI DSS (Payment Cards industry Data Security Standard) certified company that has it’s IT systems audited periodically by certified independent auditors - Paytm Blog

A study by MasterCard shows that the cost of using cash i.e. printing, transporting, storage, soiled notes, etc. is almost 1.5% of GDP.

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