Skip navigation.

Chris Foot

Syndicate content
Remote DBA Experts Blog
Updated: 12 hours 49 min ago

SQLSaturday Pittsburgh Script [VIDEO]

Mon, 2014-09-29 09:55


Database administrators are responsible for keeping data safe and available, and continuing their education is vital for them to stay current on the best practices and features of the database platforms they support.

Hi, welcome back to RDX. One way SQL Server DBAs can learn new skills is by registering for a SQLSaturday, an all-day SQL Server training event, near them.

RDX is a proud supporter of Pittsburgh’s SQLSaturday on October 4 at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute. Register to hear six RDX speakers share their knowledge about code tuning, new features in SQL 2014, and Business Intelligence. More details about all speaking sessions and registration can be found on Pittsburgh’s SQL Saturday website.

Make sure you stop by RDX’s booth for your chance to win a $100 gift card.
Hope to see you there! Thanks for watching.

The post SQLSaturday Pittsburgh Script [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

What to Expect at Oracle OpenWorld this Year [VIDEO]

Mon, 2014-09-29 04:28


Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is just around the corner, but what can IT professionals gain from attending?

Hi – welcome back to RDX. From September 28 to October 2, representatives from across the globe will travel to the Moscone Center in San Francisco to learn more about Oracle products and current IT trends.

Moscone North will feature presentations by Intel President Renee James, Oracle President Mark Hurd and Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, among others. Discussions will focus on the implications of cloud computing, business transformations and streamlining data-intensive processes.

RDX is excited to participate. We’ll have DBAs present attending training sessions, and you’ll also find us at Booth 3455 in Moscone West, where we'll be discussing our services and offering attendees a chance to win a GoPro camera.

Thanks for watching! We hope to see you in San Francisco!

The post What to Expect at Oracle OpenWorld this Year [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Database administrators may be the last line of defense

Wed, 2014-09-24 08:00

Database active monitoring may be the only way to truly secure enterprise IT assets, because many of the software deployments professionals are using aren't up to par. 

The more sophisticated and complex solutions become – essentially, the more we as consumers and workers ask of them – the greater the number of vulnerabilities. Even the most assiduous programmers armed with an arsenal of fault-finding tools are bound to let unnoticed defects fall through the cracks. 

Popular solutions rating high on risk scale 
Beta News acknowledged a review conducted by Heimdal Security, which assessed Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash Player, Oracle Java Runtime and Apple QuickTime's security capabilities based on the computer vulnerability severity system. The CVSS rates software on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being assigned to the most dangerous faults. 

While Java Runtime received a 7.8, Adobe's two products were given an alarming 9.2. The latter two solutions, Acrobat Reader and Flash Player, are quite common among business professionals and consumer users alike. While the latter allows computers to play videos and other such media content, the former is a free PDF reader. These two programs are ubiquitous, arguably leaving many enterprises open to incredibly damaging attacks. 

Why database surveillance is necessary 
Heimdal Security CEO Morten Kjaersgaard told Beta News the makers of the aforementioned solutions (Oracle, Apple and Adobe) aren't taking the necessary steps to patch the discovered vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. 

This obligates business professionals to take matters into their own hands. The faults noted in Flash Player, Acrobat Reader, Java Runtime and QuickTime could be exploited by hackers to gain access to mission-critical databases. If the resources and personnel needed to reinforce protection and conduct audits on a daily basis don't exist, then outsourcing to remote DBA services is imperative. 

Only a "matter of time" 
The Telegraph spoke with New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, who warned the source that a catastrophic cyberattack on the global financial system is imminent. He advised enterprises to take extensive measures to secure their environments, which may involve redefining how they set up defenses. 

"[Cybercriminals] are breaking into everything," Lawsky told the Telegraph. "It is only a matter of time before something happens that is more systematic and problematic. I worry that we are going to have some sort of major cyber-event in the financial system that's going to cause us all to shudder."

Whether or not companies decide to take Lawsky's warning into consideration, that doesn't make securing all IT assets any less of a priority. In fact, it should be at the top of the list. 

The post Database administrators may be the last line of defense appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

How to transition government databases to the cloud

Thu, 2014-09-18 10:37

Public authorities are regarding the benefits of moving operations to the cloud with a grain of salt. 

While security will be a concern no matter what the technology, the primary reason why officials are so apprehensive of cloud computing is a perceived lack of control. A number of organizations already outsource to remote database administration services to secure environments and keep critical solutions operable, but putting an entire infrastructure in the hands of a private company is quite jarring. 

Hesitating to advance 
InformationWeek contributor Elena Malykhina noted a survey of 153 government IT executives conducted by MeriTalk, which discovered 43 percent of respondents compared transitioning processes to the cloud to giving his or her son keys to a new convertible. The research also acknowledged the following findings:

  • Out of nine in 10 agencies, 42 percent are keeping security responsibilities on-remise while 41 percent are obligating cloud vendors to obtain cloud defense certifications.
  • Exactly half of respondents are incapable of identifying which departments own certain data.
  • More than half (55 percent) believe cloud technology will make it easier for authorities to organize digital information

As one can see, the general sentiment among many federal IT managers is that they lack the expertise and assistance needed to manage their databases and transition those implementations to cloud environments. 

The rules of the trade 
It's possible for remote DBAs to help allay these concerns. Replicating databases before migration and monitoring environments post-transition are both possible when outside assistance is received. With this in mind, there are several rules Government Computer News advised authorities to keep in mind in regard to cloud technology:

  1. Employ virtualization beforehand: In short, virtualization optimizes servers by allowing them to run more applications than is conventionally possible. The technology provides the basis of cloud computing.
  2. It doesn't have to be public: Surrendering all operations to a cloud provider isn't necessary. Private and hybrid environments are both valid options, as they allow organizations to exercise more control over their architectures. 
  3. Look for compliance: One thing many government entities are already doing quite well is searching for cloud providers that satisfy standards defined by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. 
  4. Start with applications: Use Software-as-a-Service deployments before transitioning all IT assets over to the cloud. This will get users and administrators used to the technology. 

Cloud computing isn't anything to be fearful of, but that doesn't mean cautionary steps shouldn't be taken. Consulting specialists to diagnose a provider's capabilities will give agencies a clear idea of whether a particular hosting company is the right fit for them. 

The post How to transition government databases to the cloud appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Mozilla Working to Enhance its Security Process [VIDEO]

Tue, 2014-09-16 12:44


Welcome back to RDX. A proper test environment should be a regular part of your business' Change Management Process. However, if Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not removed from the test data, sensitive information could be exposed.

According to eWEEK, Mozilla accidentally exposed critical information in two separate incidents. The most recent was first reported August 27, and left 97,000 developers’ information exposed for approximately 3 months. The development system exposed information including email and encrypted passwords. Initial disclosure is thought to have occurred during a database migration with a database dump including user data. Users of this system have been advised to change their passwords.

Mozilla is now revising their test plan to not include database dumps. An additional step businesses can take to protect their PII is to use two-factor authentication for access.

Thanks for watching! 

The post Mozilla Working to Enhance its Security Process [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Industrial-grade cyberattacks plague utilities

Mon, 2014-09-15 08:57

While the retail sector has received much attention lately due to the prevalence of cyberattacks, utilities are also in grave danger of sustaining Web-based aggression.

Database administration services are acknowledging the persistence of Dragonfly, an organization of cybercriminals that focuses on infiltrating the industrial sector. Securing Web-based assets, as well as on-premise architectures, is imperative, as these carefully orchestrated hacks could leave denizens without power indefinitely 

A grievous situation
Warwick Ashford, a contributor to Computer Weekly, noted an instance in which he and his team participated in the Kaspersky Industrial Protection Simulation role-playing game. The scenario presented a situation in which a regional water purification plant was infiltrated, leaving thousands of people without drinking water. In addition, the company sustained incredible losses within a five-week period. 

The culprit? Dragonfly, a co-op based out of Eastern Europe that security firm Symantec has blamed for hacking more than 1,000 North American and European energy enterprises. Dragonfly specializes in disengaging industrial control systems, which manage electrical, water, gas and oil systems. 

Why it's so dangerous
Ashford noted the water treatment company intended to train its IT staff in cybersecurity protocols, but apparently never got around to doing so. After a number of network audits were performed, the company recognized two unidentified Internet connections to the industrial control system. The IT department responded by setting up a number of firewalls. 

However, after the security solutions were implemented, Ashford's team still received notifications of unhealthy chlorine levels in its firm's drinking water. Through phishing scams, the perpetrators were able to manipulate the industrial control system's output and filtration of chlorine. 

While the aforementioned situation was simply a simulation, that doesn't change the fact that Dragonfly is capable of inflicting such damage. Imagine the harm such a terrorist group could cause in this scenario.

Real-world situations 
FierceSmartGrid noted one instance in 2011 in which Dragonfly initiated "Energetic Bear," a kind of attack that leveraged two remote access Trojans. These creations form a kind of bridge between cybercriminals and targeted architectures. Basically, they allowed Dragonfly to insert malware into a U.S. utility's databases. 

The source noted a statement by Symantec, which maintained Dragonfly's initiatives are focused on "extracting and uploading stolen data, installing further malware onto systems and running executable files on infected computers."

It's this particular breed of cybercriminal that has instigated the need for database active monitoring. Maintaining a high level of thorough surveillance at all times is a must, especially for utilities distributing essential resources to consumers.

The post Industrial-grade cyberattacks plague utilities appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Database manufacturers include JSON in latest provisions

Tue, 2014-09-09 10:13

JavaScript Object Notation has been lauded as one of the most easy-to-understand programming languages available, and has been a boon to professionals managing Web-based data. 

Database administration services and Web developers alike favor the language when handling complex information, because it's easy for people to read and write, noted. Programmers are often fans of its affiliations with conventions found in C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python and other code versions. JSON is constructed on two foundations:

  • A list of name/value pairs, which is known in other languages as an object
  • An organized list of values, also called an array

Why add JSON support to databases? 
Unstructured data, a type of information that is ubiquitous in the current Digital Age, needs to be stored in documents, which is exactly how JSON manages data. Many NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, Couchbase and Hadoop abide by this protocol, which has made it a favorite among Web developers, InfoWorld noted. 

In order to compete with such architectures, software giant Oracle added a JSON support to the company's Oracle 12c databases, which were outlined at the NoSQL Now conference in San Jose, California last month. This is a break from the conventional relational database management system architecture, but it's presented as an alternative to PostgreSQL, which has been regarded as the open source alternative to Oracle. 

Is it a valid option? 
Still, DBA services may advise their clients to keep using Oracle 12c for tabular data and conventional NoSQL solutions for semi-structured information. InfoWorld acknowledged how the latter contingency abides by a "scale out" protocol as opposed to a "scale up" approach. 

Scaling out enables NoSQL solutions to leverage commodity servers as a way to enhance performance as opposed to bulking up a massive database server. In addition, the way a document-based database allocates information makes companies highly resistant to failure because the data is distributed across multiple servers. 

When will the day come? 
InfoWorld classified modern databases into three types: 

  • RDBMS, which handle structured data
  • NoSQL, which manage semi-structured information
  • Hadoop, which organizes unstructured data

The source proposed an interesting situation, that all three systems be synchronized into a single solution. JSON could potentially provide a structure for just such a database, but it's unknown whether Oracle, IBM or another tech company would be able to successfully develop it (the profits for said enterprise would be huge).

Yet, it's more likely those in the open source community would manufacture a database capable of seamlessly handling structured, semi-structured and unstructured data. Just look at how monumental Hadoop has been. 

The post Database manufacturers include JSON in latest provisions appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Getting the Whole DB2 package, Additional Services Series Pt. 8 [VIDEO]

Mon, 2014-09-08 14:09


Need to give your databases a boost?

Hi, welcome back to RDX! If your organization's handling large, data-intensive workloads, IBM's DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows is an attractive alternative.

RDX has worked with DB2 since the beginning, and our DB2 solutions are architected to provide a superior level of DB2 database support. From day-to-day operations to strategic decision making, our DB2 solutions arm customers with the experience, skillsets and best practices required to maximize their critical DB2 environments.

RDX also provides support for IBM’s IMS product set which offers the availability, protection, performance and scalability companies need to process online transactions.

Thanks for watching, and be sure to refer to our company resume for more information on our DB2 and IMS services!

The post Getting the Whole DB2 package, Additional Services Series Pt. 8 [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

How REST marries unstructured and structured data

Fri, 2014-09-05 10:19

In regard to big data, the majority of the information produced by enterprises and consumers alike is unstructured, meaning architectures such as MongoDB and Hadoop must be utilized.

This has created a schism between structured and unstructured data. Combining the two requires database administration professionals to query relational and non-relational architectures disparately so that analysis tools can consider the information simultaneously.

Representational state transfer application programming interfaces offer somewhat of a solution to this problem. For those who are unfamiliar with the technology, REST and API are two separate infrastructures. According to TechTarget, the former operates over HTTP to read specific websites containing Extensible Markup Language (XML) files. In turn, APIs provide a set of protocols and tools for building software applications.

Therefore, it can be deduced that REST APIs are utilized to develop programs capable of reading information on Web pages, but how does this impact a DBA’s ability to combine and process both unstructured and structured data?

First, it’s important to scrutinize what REST is typically used for. TechTarget noted the architecture is used to provide functionality to social networking channels, mobile applications and business process automation. On the surface level, it would appear skillful database experts would program REST APIs to segregate information the same way Hadoop does and organize them into relational databases, but given the availability of the open source project, doing so isn’t necessarily practical.

A shot of Espresso 
One startup in Silicon Valley claims to have found a solution to this conundrum. Database Trends and Applications noted Espresso Logic created a new program that combines big data and SQL information into one cohesive REST API for fabricating the backbone of Web and mobile software.

The REST API provides professionals with real-time access to MongoDB and SQL databases and eliminates the need to replicate data across sources. Security and business logic, two essentials in today’s IT economy, are included as a part of the package.

“This is our attempt to allow companies to join this data together in a common API. People can do that manually but it takes a very long time. This is basically point and click in most cases, and in some cases writing just a few lines of JavaScript code is all it takes,” said Espresso Logic CEO R. Paul Singh, as quoted by the source.

For analysis’s sake, developers could use Espresso Logic’s solution to aggregate and process information much faster than they could before.

The post How REST marries unstructured and structured data appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.

Throw Away Out-of-the-Box Monitoring Solutions, Additional Services Series Pt. 7 [VIDEO]

Fri, 2014-09-05 08:24


Welcome to RDX. Today, we're going to talk about how we deploy our non-database server monitoring program. What's a non-DB server? The machines that run your enterprise applications, handle network connections and perform other critical functions.

When customizing server monitoring solutions, we follow a five-step process:

One: Understand each customer’s unique monitoring needs
Two: Identify critical monitoring parameters
Three: Develop thresholds, goals and objectives
Four: Develop and document monitoring, remediation and escalation procedures
Five: Monitor and adjust the strategy as necessary

RDX dedicates an entire team who are responsible for creating, implementing and enhancing a strategic blueprint for the proactive monitoring and trouble-shooting methods required to prevent availability and performance problems before they occur.

Companies employing RDX to support their environments do not have to spend the additional monies required to create a proactive monitoring environment.

Thanks for watching!

The post Throw Away Out-of-the-Box Monitoring Solutions, Additional Services Series Pt. 7 [VIDEO] appeared first on Remote DBA Experts.