Friday, 25 September 2009

Peak oil & end of the information age

Up until fairly recently I would say I've been very ignorant around oil. I had heard of peak oil, but had no understanding of what it really meant beyond the price of petrol and the environmental impact.

But I have recently done a lot of reading of the subject of peak oil and now understand that that is just the tip of the iceberg. Our society is completely dependent of cheap power. Due to the continuing growth in both the developed and developing world, demand increases every year, but supply does not. On day soon - maybe tomorrow, maybe in 10 years, the amount of oil coming out of the ground will reduce. This will permanently change the dynamics of the world - we will find alternative fuels, but they won't be anywhere near as cheap, at least in the short term. Think of all the manufacturing that has been moved out of western countries - it only makes sense because it is cheap to transport to where the customers are. This applies to food also - it won't be economical to transfer fruit from South America to Europe for example. So now we come to this thing - the internet. The biggest cost (when you add the manufacturing, transport, and running costs) of this is power related. Will is continue to be feasible to ran suites like face-book of twitter when costs double of triple ?

I think there is a really danger that a lot of what we do will not last in the post oil world.. The millions of people sitting at PC's in office buildings may need to head out into the real world again and start growing and making things.. which might not be so bad after all !

Thursday, 17 September 2009

SQL Server Integration Services 2008 64 Bit frustrations

We recently needed to purchase new infrastructure for our data warehousing environment. As we aren't likely to do this for a while, we decided to bite the bullet and go 64 bit everything; OS & SQL Server 2008. This has been a much harder than were envisaged and given how straight forward 64 bit UNIX is, somewhat disappointing.

The first issue we became aware of is there are no 64 bit excel drivers available yet. Apparently they will arrive in Office 2010, which given we are using Office 2003 at the moment, won't arrive here for another 6 years. This has meant for about 1/2 our packages they will only work in 32 bit mode.

Next we found that BIDS only runs in 32 bit anyway, so if we addressed the above issue, we would have problems maintaining these packages anyway. This pretty much says to me that at least from an SSIS point of view, 64 bit SQL Server is not really for prime time.

Finally we had a lot of problem installing 32 bit ODBC drivers. They installed fine, but we then couldn't find them in the odbc administrator. It turns out their are 3 (maybe more ) obdc administrators in Win Svr 2K8 64bit. Solution: Using the odbcad32.exe located in %windir%\syswow64 .

I have seen the Microsoft adds that state the WOW starts now. Maybe they were referring to that directory...

NB: This process is ongoing, so I will update this post if we discover any more gotchas...