Category Archives : Technology

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Ode to a workstation

Every now and then I get work done in the home office.  I’ve written previously about my setup, but after churning out some solution design today, I sat back and really took some time to appreciate the workspace.  I’m really pleased with the configuration, it’s probably the best setup I’ve had in years.


The desk is a former QLD police desk from the 1940s, so it wasn’t built for modern computers – not a problem, the cables run down the back which is just a minor annoyance.  The keyboard and mouse are gaming varieties so that they perform well – the old Sennheiser (RF) wireless headset has been with me since 2006 and still works very well.

The wooden clock (recently reviewed) acts as external speakers, a Bluetooth receiver and has a built in microphone so it can be used as a hands-free option for conference calls.  It also features Qi wireless charging capability and also features a thermostat.

Under the second monitor is a HDD caddy which supports USB3, and features 4 bays which can be used in parallel.  I try to keep the desk reasonably neat, and there’s plenty of space so it doesn’t get too cluttered.  I have a nice view out the window to a small courtyard which gets early morning sun.

SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2013 – Report Sizes

Today I started down the path of getting the previously-named “Business Intelligence Studio” (now called SQL Server Data Tools) up and running on my local machine.  I already had  SQL Reporting Services (SSRS) 2014 installed, but had just never gotten around to installing the BI development suite.

I’m going to be honest and state upfront, it’s been a while since I’ve stuck my head into SSIS and SSRS development – about four years or so I’d guess.  Remarkably, on the surface it doesn’t have appeared to change that much.  In my journey I encountered an interesting issue out of the box, so I thought I’d document it here.

Firstly – what are you installing?  I found this quite a decent summary:

There are different versions of these SSDT tools depending on the version of Visual Studio that you are using.

  • SQL Server tooling in Visual Studio 2013—Visual Studio 2013 Express for Web, Express for Windows Desktop, Professional, Premium, and Ultimate include the SSDT tools. You don’t need a separate download. To check for the latest version of SSDT, open Visual Studio 2013 and choose the Tools, Extensions, and Updates menu. Then check the Updates section for Microsoft SQL Server Update for database tooling.
  • SSDT Visual Studio 2012—There is a standalone install experience as well as an integrated install for the Visual Studio Professional, Premium, and Ultimate SKUs.
  • SSDT Visual Studio 2010—This version of SSDT is no longer being updated.

The other version of SSDT is confusingly called SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence (SSDT-BI). Although their names are almost identical, SSDT-BI is a distinctly different toolset than SSDT. SSDT-BI is the replacement for BIDS and it enables the development of Integration Services packages, Analysis Services cubes, and Reporting Services reports.

Both versions of SSDT are no cost downloads for SQL Server users. You can find both SSDT and SSDT-BI at Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.


Here’s some direct links:

Once you’ve installed the right version (I’m running SSDT – VS 2013), you’ll find it installed as “SQL Server Data Tools”.  Oddly, it also seems to insall the VS 2012 IDE shell, but runs in the VS 2013 IDE shell.


So I ran up Visual Studio and started a new Reporting project. 


The first thing I did was created a new Report (blank) and then dragged some fields onto the report form.  I also added an image, just for fun.  I had to configure the project’s Target URL (as localhost) and ultimately had to use a browser (as Administrator) to grant my local account credentials to publish and run reports.

Eventually I managed to get past the permissions issues, and almost deployed my almost-blank report until this happened:

“System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException: There was an exception running the extensions specified in the config file. —> System.Web.HttpException: Maximum request length exceeded.”

I thought to myself, well, that’s odd.  It’s almost a blank report.  It was the configuration of the SSRS server, which was limiting report sizing to the default (MaxRequestLength where its default value is 4096 KB – 4 MB).  SO I had a look at the debug folder and lo and behold, once encoded this .rdl file would be over the 4 MB threshold, because of the embedded image:


Steps to change the http request limit:

    1. Go to the SSRS folder location on the Report Server

    (Example-> C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS12.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\ReportServer)

    2. Open the File web.config in Notepad (or a text editor)

    3. Locate the line <httpRuntime executionTimeout=”9000″/>

    4. Modify it to <httpRuntime executionTimeout=”9000″ maxRequestLength = “16384” />

    5. Restart Reporting Services

Now you should be able to deploy a larger report definition.

Microsoft Azure – Migrating between subscriptions

Recently I had an old Microsoft Azure subscription ready to expire, yet I still had some resources linked to the outgoing subscription in question.  Some of the active websites on another subscription still used SQL Databases on the old subscription.

If you find yourself needing to move Azure assets between active subscriptions, this information might be useful in helping you plan your migration.  Microsoft can assist by doing some of the heavy lifting for you.

Depending on your level of licensing, you may be able to open a free support ticket by navigating to and clicking on the “Get Support” link.

Migration Options

To give you an idea what may be involved, the following information was sent to me from Microsoft during my support ticket.  This is a list (current as of time of writing) about what can and can not be migrated between Azure subscriptions.

  • We do not support selective service transfer; transfer only a selected hosted service, storage service from one subscription to another. This may become available in future but today, we must transfer all services or none.
  • The source as well as destination subscription must be active.
  • The destination subscription must be completely empty. (We do have separate process to migrate to a subscription with services running, however it requires more time.)  
  • The source and destination subscriptions must have the same service administrator until the migration is complete.
  • The source and destination subscription cannot contain deployments/affinity groups with the same name.
  • There are some services that we cannot migrate and other services you will migrate yourself.  Please see the table below.

Azure can move:

You must move:

Unable to move:

Virtual Machines



Cloud Services


BizTalk Services

Web Sites

Active Directory

HD Insight

Media Services





Hyper-V Recovery Manager

Multi Factor Authentication


Azure Store

Traffic Manager


Import / Export

Mobile Services



Virtual Network


Management Services 

Access Control Service (ACS)


Azure Automation

Reserved IP Address + Reserved IPs under the list





Express Route

SQL Azure Server and Included DBs



Migration Prep Work

The service administrator on both the source and destination should be the same (Steps provided below). Temporarily, please update the Service Administrator on the Destination Subscription same as a Service Admin on the Source Subscription ID.

  • Login in to using your Live ID.
  • Click on the “Account” tab.
  • Click on the “Subscriptions” tab.
  • Select the subscription for which you want to change the service administrator.
  • Click on “Edit subscription details”.
  • Here you will find the option to change the service administrator.

This is a prerequisite step which you must perform before Microsoft can perform any migration work for you.

Migrating SQL Azure

If you have any SQL databases, you may migrate them yourself by following the steps below: 

  • Login to using your Live ID.
  • Make sure all the subscriptions are selected by clicking on the “Subscriptions” tab.
  • Click on SQL Databases.
    • Click on servers.
    • Click on the server name which you would like to transfer.
  • Select “Dashboard” if it is not already selected.
  • Click on “Change Subscription”.
  • Choose the new subscription and complete the wizard

I have not attempted to migrate VSO or Active Directory.

I hope you found this information useful!