Creating a SQL Server backup plan

Server Administration

This is something that is generally out of my area of responsibility but has to be done every now and then: creating and configuring a maintenance backup plan for a SQL database server.

This post from Kyle Laffoon outlines the steps needed to create a plan that executes full and differential backups, as well as looking after transaction logs and cleaning up after itself.

Create a maintenance backup plan in SQL Server 2008 R2 using the wizard

Bulks inserts and SSIS


SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) really isn’t my thing. I like to get my hands dirty with code. But every now and then (not often enough for me to remember anything of what I’ve previously done) I have to bite the bullet and open an SSIS package in Visual Studio.

Today has been one of those days.

The goal of the package was simple: to import the contents of two CSV files from a network share into two database tables on a SQL Server. After a day of struggling to reason why I was getting various “Access is denied” and “The file … does not exist” error messages, I finally discovered this blog post that helped to clear the mist.

Bingo! I now have a package with two Sequence Containers with green execution results.

The final SSIS package

MS SQL and MD5

Server Administration

SQL Server doesn’t appear to have a nice MD5 function like MySQL does (shame), but there is still a way to do it.

SET @value = "This is an MD5 encoded string'
SELECT SUBSTRING(sys.fn_sqlvarbasetostr(HASHBYTES('MD5', @value)), 3, 32)

This was useful for resetting the admin password within an instance of Moodle that had recently been migrated to SQL Server.

UPDATE [moodle].[dbo].[mdl_user] SET [password] = SUBSTRING(sys.fn_sqlvarbasetostr(HASHBYTES('MD5', 'newpassword')), 3, 32) WHERE [username] = 'admin'