# Sunday, 15 July 2007

 Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 introduced the concept of applications to group artifacts used in a BizTalk Server solution in a logical way. This was done to make deployment, management as well as troubleshooting easier and quicker.

Applications are managed through the BizTalk Administration Console, and I think the concept has been of great help in my daily work with BizTalk. One thing, however, has annoyed me very much: Applications in the Tree View in the Administration Console are not sorted alphabetically, but instead they are listed in the same order as they have been created.  BizTalk Administration Console with Unsorted Applications

As BizTalk installations grow and more and more applications are created it takes more time to find the application you are looking for, especially if the application names are somewhat similar. At Vertica we have BizTalk installations with 25+ applications, and eventually we decided to do something about it.

My first thought was that there would be a stored procedure somewhere that was used to select the application names for the Console. If I could find this I could just add an order by clause to the select statement, and hopefully the issue would be solved. To find this procedure I fired up SQL Server Profiler. Unfortunately I came to the conclusion with my colleague Troels, that is was some dynamically created select statement that was used, and this idea was of no use.

One thing we noticed though, was that all applications were entered in the bts_application table in the BizTalkMgmtDb database. This table has two indexed; a clustered on the primary key nID, and a unique index on nvcName. As the clustered index also determines how the data is stored physically and since the nvcName column hold the names shown in the Administration Console, we figured that if we just switched the clustered index from the nID column to the nvcName the problem might be solved. 

This operation was quickly performed in the SQL Server Management Studio, and after a quick restart of the Administration Console the applications now appeared in alphabetically order. Since this table only holds one row for each application, it is hard to imagine that someone would ever get more than 100 rows (and that I would think is also very high), thus there should be no considerable performance issues with changing the clustered index.

Clustered Index On nID
Before Change: Clustered Index On nID
Clustered Index On nvcName
After Change: Clustered Index On nvcName

Please note that you should never change procedures or tables of a Microsoft server product in a production environment as you will no longer be eligible for support. But this trick might help you maintain the overview of you BizTalk development installation. In the meantime we can hope the next service pack will sort the applications.

BizTalk Administration Console with Sorted Applications

Sunday, 15 July 2007 16:52:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |  Trackback
# Thursday, 12 July 2007

All though I'm fortunate enough to feel as the title says about my job most of the time, this post is filed under Personal and thus not about my job. Instead it is a way of making that Orange Feeling last a bit longer, as I a couple of days ago came home after almost a week at the Roskilde Festival. I love live music and attend several festivals as well as isolated concerts every year.

This was my 13th Roskilde Festival and even though it was also the rainiest ever (with approx. 100 mm of rain during the week), already after a few days it is only the good experiences that are remembered. I know no better way of “recharging my batteries” than with good music and good friends, thus I thought I would post a couple of my pictures from the festival:

Although several of the bigger acts were rather disappointing there were countless excellent concerts, my favorites being:

Oh, and one it missing. I’ll through in a handful of kudos if you can guess which (hint: the post title :o)

Thursday, 12 July 2007 12:30:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |  Trackback
# Monday, 18 June 2007

One of the characteristics of other people that I find the most inspiring is passion. This goes regardless of whether or not they work in the IT industry. Being surrounded by passionate people is both infectious and giving.

I know a lot of passionate people, both in the IT industry as well as outside, and I always love talking with them. Passion tends to breed ideas, and these two combined can make everybody’s day.

Whether there is more passionate people in the IT industry compared to other industries I don’t want to judge. But there is no doubt that there are a lot of extremely passionate people working in the IT industry. People that feel very strongly both about the technology as well as their solutions. There is a reason why the Windows/Linux or the PC/Mac discussions often are called religious discussions.

How is passion expressed then? How can you tell someone with a sincere passion for a specific area, from someone not as passionate? Well, let me start of by saying that I don’t think there are many people working in the IT industry without being somewhat passionate about technology. Not only are a several yearlong education required, you are also required to continuously improve and build on your skills, at the same rate as the technology changes – which is fast! If you don’t feel some kind of passion for technology I believe you will change industry pretty soon.

But still some people come off as being more passionate that others. You can see the spark in their eyes and hear the enthusiasm in their voice as they talk about the solutions they have built. Vertica is a growing company and we continuously interview new potential consultants. Even though a job interview can be a bit of an awkward situation, where two parties should try to learn as much about each other as possible in a rather limited time (and making sure that the candidate knows his/her stuff), telling how passionate a candidate is often quite easy. And as an employer passionate people are what you are looking for. Skills can be thought, but passion cant.

Thinking about it passion is also the predominant reason for my new blog (as I guess is the case for more or less all blogs). I am not claiming that I can out-smart everybody on the Internet, but that is also really not the idea. However, I do love what I’m doing, I do think I’m quite good at it – and I do try to improve every day.

Currently I am trying to arrange some Microsoft Commerce Server training for our eCommerce Team. I’m hoping to have Max Akbar, a former Product Manager at the Commerce Server team, come and do it. I’m not a Commerce Server expect and I have never neither met or written with Max before, but one single line in his email signature already told me a lot about him – including that I would like to meet him: “From cradle to grave in pursuit of knowledge!”. Who wouldn’t want to hire him as a trainer? :o)

I should add that I think passion outside your work is just as important as at work. The ability to become excited is per definition good, and I don’t care if it LINQ or flowers that do it for you.

This also takes me back to the title. It is actually a quote from a friend trying to comfort me as I was complaining about my favorite football club loosing once again. That is approximately one year ago, and AGF relegated that year. Football fans are among the most passionate race there is, without ever thinking about logic, common sense or any other rational argument. This year even more people have come to the stadium and yesterday the promotion back to the best league was a reality :o)

So basically: it you have it you should show it!

Monday, 18 June 2007 20:36:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |  Trackback
# Tuesday, 05 June 2007

As this is the very first blog post I find it appropriate to write a little about my intentions with the blog as well as a little about myself.

First thing first: my name is Sune Hansen and I work at Vertica, at which I am also a partner. Vertica is an IT Services company delivering custom solutions to our customers based on Microsoft technology. The solutions are built involving consultants from one or more of our three teams: Business Process Integration (BPI), Business Intelligence (BI), and eCommerce and Custom .NET applications. There will be more of this personal and professional stuff once the profile page is ready.

In this blog I will write about life in the IT Services industry seen from Aarhus, Denmark. Also I expect to comment on books, articles and other interesting things I pick up on as well as maybe write a little about management. Traditionally I have been a bit of a geek, but I don’t expect too many very technical posts. However, though technology does not “turn me on” the same way it did 5 years ago, you should never deny your past, and there will be posts about some of the Microsoft Server products – especially if they have been used to solve a very complex business problem.

Apart from being one of my primary sources searching for information I must admit to being a novice when it comes to blogs and blogging. I admit to not knowing the full meaning of all the fancy terms, but hopefully I will pick up on that as time passed. I believe that the content is what is important, and at least in this regards I feel pretty well prepared. I already have a long list of topics for posts and I expect to be able to write one at least every 14 days.

That would be it for now. It feels good to get this up, and I am already looking forward to posting the first “real” article.

Tuesday, 05 June 2007 20:27:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |  Trackback