Friday, October 14, 2016

Suggested reading: MDX Date Picker, MS Certification Paths, Dynamics 365

I found some posts, news and came across some issues you might be interested in.

I'm creating some reports for a client and am working with SSAS Tabular. I therefore have to deal with MDX based parameters and I wanted to have my date parameter to resemble a Date Picker as you normally would have when using SQL Server as a source:

Microsoft has changed their MCSA and MCSE exams by aligning to industry-recognized areas of competence. There's no need anymore to recertify every (three) year, but you can re-earn you certification each year. Due to the fact that the technology changes faster than a few years ago, (SQL Server had changes in the way updates were rolled out earlier this year, Azure changes almost every week) they decided to switch to a more aligned model for certification.

Certification paths

The Data Management & Analytics Path is most appropriate for me and in detail looks like this:

What this means is you will have to earn one of the MCSA's listed here and then take one elective exam to earn the MCSE. You can then re-earn the MCSE each year by taking a new elective exam and in this way adding knowledge every year.
The Microsoft Learning team is already developing a solution where some exams will be eligible for a retake every (calendar) year with rapidly changing technologies, for example Azure.
You can find more information here:

Since I made the switch to Pulse I started working with Dynamics AX, Microsoft's ERP system. This Tuesday Microsoft had a First Look event at the AXUG Summit 2016 on (the new) Dynamics 365 for Operations, which is the new name for Dynamics AX. Dynamics NAV is also renamed and is now called Dynamics 365 for Financials.

I came across a very good blog by Fredrik Sætre (b | @AxFredrik) which summarizes the First Look event very well. He speaks about the Common Data Model that will be replacing the Entity Story introduced earlier in AX 2012 R2 and will be the core of Dynamics 365, for AX, NAV and CRM.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Remote Session Was Disconnected Because Client Access License Stored on this Computer Has Been Modified

The last day I was working at a client and tried to login via a remote desktop session. Although this was working earlier, I now suddenly got this error:

The remote session was disconnected because the remote desktop client access license stored on this computer has been modified

My colleague could still log in so the connection to the desktop was not an issue. After searching a little bit I stumbled upon this article.

The steps you have to follow are:
  • Edit the registry (if you have no clue how, please stop reading and ask someone from IT to do it for you)
  • Just to be sure, backup the registry or create a restore point
  • Delete the key located at:
Now the next time the client connects to the server, it will obtain another license.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Windows 10 Black Lock Screen

For the solution, scroll down, for the story, read on.
After returning from holiday last week I had some Windows Updates to install and afterwards my lock screen was changed. Whenever I locked my computer it would show up like below.

Black Lock screen without background
 And when I then want to log in and entered the sign-in screen, the Windows spotlight background appears, as I expected in the previous screen.

screen with background

After some searching I couldn't find this specific issue so I started looking at the Lock screen options myself.
You can open the Lock screen options by typing "lock" after pushing the start button and clicking Lock screen settings, or opening the Action Center by clicking on the notification icon and clicking All settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

Action center
Either way you should end up in this screen:

Lock screen settings
I found out that the slider on the bottom, the one that reads "Show lock screen background picture on the sign-in screen", is the culprit. Apparently this also makes the background go away at the lock screen, they could've mentioned that IMO…

By switching the button in the Lock screen settings to Off, the background will appear again in the lock screen.


Friday, July 8, 2016

My Reading Goal Journey

Before I start off this post I have to mention Adam Saxton (b | t), also known as Guy in a Cube, because this post, and the idea of setting a goal for reading was inspired by his post and video a few weeks back. If you don't know who Adam is, check out his blog on or one of his video's on his Youtube channel.
In his post, Adam talks about his reading journey, and that he wants to get some regular reading done.
As I have followed business leaders and entrepreneurs, a common theme has come up. They all read regularly, and a lot!
Fast(er) reading
As Adam states in his post that he's a slow reader, I'm also not one of the fastest readers myself. I did start out with some (fast) reading techniques on earlier this year which already helped me in reading a little bit faster. The site is in Dutch, but you can probably find similar sources in English or translate it.
I'm currently at the stage of reading at 90 bpm and 2-3 stops per line. At that speed I can notice I stop the subvocalization (inner speech), which is a big part of slowing readers down. Sometimes it's hard to keep following the rules of speed reading, I'm having a hard time with regression (looking back in the text). So this reading goal is a good place to keep practicing those things and progressing even further.

My goal
For my goal to be SMART, I'm going to start out small and set my goal to 25 pages a day for 100 days, that will take me to October 11th, because I already started last Monday.

My Reading Journey
As time passes, I will keep you posted on how my journey progresses and update this post with new books I complete.

Update on August 16th, 2016
In Progress

2016 Book Count: 1

Other notable books/whitepapers read before 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

SSIS: The Buffer Manager Failed a Memory Allocation Call

I recently made the switch to Pulse (you can read about it here), so I am working with lots of new clients lately. One of those clients was having issues with refreshing their data warehouse and SSAS cubes. The process usually takes around 30 minutes to complete, but the last week it would easily take between 5 and 12 hours. Not really the way you want it to go, right?

One of the packages in SSIS was taking ages to process so I used sp_WhoIsActive by Adam Machanic (b | t) and came to the conclusion the process had a wait type of PREEMPTIVE_OS_WAITFORSINGLEOBJECT, which can be found in sys.dm_os_wait_stats.

Jonathan Kehayias (b | t) mentions on MSDN:

For a thorough understanding of (Non-)Preemptive waits in SQL Server, Pinal Dave (b | t) has written an excellent blog post here. A little excerpt:
PREEMPTIVE: Simply put, this wait means non-cooperative. While SQL Server is executing a task, the OS interrupts it. This leads to SQL Server to involuntarily give up the execution for other higher priority tasks. This is not good for SQL Server as it is a particular external process which makes SQL Server to yield. This kind of wait can reduce the performance drastically and needs to be investigated properly.
You see the word drastically there? That's kinda what happened :)

Continuing with my investigation, I executed the source query from the package manually in SSMS and it took around 20 seconds. Executing the package in SSDT succeeded but resulted in the following two informational messages:
The buffer manager has allocated # bytes even though the memory pressure has been detected and repeated attempts to swap buffers have failed.
The buffer manager failed a memory allocation call for 65536 bytes, but was unable to swap out any buffers to relieve memory pressure. # buffers were considered and # were locked. Either not enough memory is available to the pipeline because not enough are installed, other processes were using it, or too many buffers are locked.
As the second message states there is not enough memory available, Well there should be, because I remembered there recently had been a memory increase from 16 to 32 GB on the server. But about that RAM, it is shared across the server... and between different applications... That started me thinking about the max server memory for SQL Server and the memory left for the rest of the server (OS, SSRS and SSIS!), because they're all running on the same server.

The maximum server memory can be set by editing the Server Properties (in SSMS):

or by using plain T-SQL. The beneath example sets the maximum memory to 4 GB:

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;
sp_configure 'max server memory', 4096;
When the memory increased to 32 GB recently, the max server memory was also set from 13 to 26 GB, so the memory available to processes other then SQL Server didn't increase much. I changed the memory limit back to 20 GB to release an extra 6 GB to the rest of the apps running on the server. This way the (DTExec-)process for SSIS had enough memory to perform the tasks in-memory and the nightly process was running as normal again.