Day 1 at SQL Rally! When I first learned about SQL Rally it was watching the PASS Keynote Day 3 remotely from one of our Conference Rooms with a couple other DBA’s back in November 2010. I’m not going to lie I was excited!
It was close by, and that would make it an easier sell to our company.
So fast forward 6 months, and here we are. Finally the Big Day has arrived, here at the Beautiful World Conference Center Marriot in Orlando FL.
SQL SERVER PARALLEL DATA WAREHOUSE- UNDER THE HOOD BY BRIAN MITCHELL
First Session of the first day and did it ever start out right! Brian Mitchell (@BrianwMitchell | Blog) is a SQL 2008 MCM and a Microsoft Premier Field Support Engineer specializing in Parallel Data Warehouse.
Brian discussed how PDW is a black box, that the OS and SQL Server installations receive updates quarterly. From a physical stand point if your organization buys one, you won’t be patching it, it comes pre-configured with software installed, so the majority of the work is already done.
After reviewing the basics Brian took us into the physical architecture. Each system will occupy 2 Racks, within each you will have a Control Rack and a Data Rack. Within each rack are Nodes that relate to the management of the application. Familiar technologies are in use under the hood as well as some new components. RAID, Failover Clustering, Resource Governor, Soft NUMA, are all utilized to ensure that the system has High Availability, redundancy, and stable yet high performance is achieved for the end user.
Brian did a fabulous job, go to his blog and read more about PDW, and if you get the chance to see him live I would highly suggest it.
TROUBLESHOOTING PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS BY READING THE WAITS BY EDDIE WUERCH
Eddie Wuerch (@EddieW| Blog) continued on the SQL goodness with his presentation on Waits. SQL Server has come a long way over the years, and one of the great things that it does in SQL 2005, 2008, and 2008 R2 is collect statistics on where it is spending it’s time. When SQL Server is working perfectly fine it will have Waits.
An easy thing to remember about Waits is that the SQL OS, SQL Scheduling, aka the way SQL Server optimizes itself to use CPU’s is very similar to traffic patterns in a city. If everything is working fine you will have a red light you stop at eventually. Nothing is wrong, you just have to stop and wait until a resource, the road ahead, is available for you to use. Until then other cars may be using it. However when a car accident happens and a lot of traffic is backed up in a way that could have been avoided, high Wait times can show you where your problem is located at.
I always think that a good session is where I learned something, a great one is where I learned something I can apply quickly. The two things I learned from Eddies great session, Latches are locks on metadata in Pages and the Wait Stats that I occasionally see for Service Broker, on systems that are not using Service Broker, are there because DBMail is enabled.
UNDERSTANDING STORAGE SYSTEMS AND SQL SERVER BY WESLEY BROWN
Wes Brown (@WesBrownSQL| Blog) an amazing presenter. He is at ease in front of an audience, and he had a large one. He has a great cadence and presence, which is not something that can be taught.
He says funny things like how becoming an Accidental DBA was an act of him being "Volun-told" what he would do. He says brilliantly simple things like “If you are a DBA the fastest part of your machine doesn’t matter, the slowest does”. He knows storage systems inside and out, and he covered why you should never be using the write cache on a local disk, the differences in speed between SAN, Local Disk, and Solid State. He covers RAID and how your reads and writes will be affected and how to weight the costs vs. benefit.
One of the greatest points he made was that Transaction Logs are all about Sequential Rights. If you load a lot of busy Transaction Logs onto one disk, you take Sequential Logs on Disks that work great with Sequential Reads and Writes, and you make them do Random Reads and Random Writes. It was a great point to make we the audience think about our disk architecture.
WIT LUNCHEON AND PANNEL DISCUSSION PRESENTED BY SQL SENTRY
Karen Lopez (@DataChick | blog), Adam Jorgensen (@Adam_Jorgensen), and Melinda White where the panel moderated by Jennifer McCown (@MidnightDBA | Blog). It was a very good discussion of how to get a Mentor and how to be a Mentor that crosses to both genders. It is a subject that will be near and dear to me forever. I’m a Dad, I have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. Encouraging them, all of them, to be who they want and dream for anything is just something that has always come with the territory. It was also great to catch up with my friend and former co-worker Wayne Sheffield (DBAWayne) at the lunch!
T-SQL CODE SINS: THE WORST THINGS WE DO TO CODE, AND WHY BY JENNIFER McCOWN
Jennifer McCown is ½ of the Dynamic Duo of the Midnight DBA’s. Here presentation was on the worst things that we do and have seen, and some suggestions in how to handle it. Jen is a fabulous presenter, and she did a very dynamic presentation with a lot of audience participation.
Jen did this presentation as 24 Hours of PASS, view it here Session 8. I had really enjoyed the presentation and wanted to see it again live, and it did not disappoint! In any presentation with a lot of audience participation you really end up Herding Cat’s, Jen did this masterfully.
SQL UNIVERSITY: LIGHTNING TALKS BY JORGE SEGARRA
Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken| Blog) EL Polo Loco himself, a master on the microphone, everything from Lady Ga Ga (Although I suspect that was an evil twin), to the Cranberries (Death Metal Chicken), to the Dean of SQL University.
If you are unfamiliar with SQL University, stop right now and click on the link. Top SQL Professionals are offering up a free curriculum of learning and have been since the Fall Semester of 2009. MVP’s, MCM’s, all headliners are blogging in order to teach and help further the knowledge of anyone looking to participate and better themselves.
The presentation was 5 minutes by each presenter, and then a panel discussion with the audience. Jorge, Karen Lopez, Jen McCown, Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey | blog), Brian Moran (@BriancMoran | Blog), Mike Walsh ( @Mike_Walsh | Blog), and Aaron Nelson (@SQLvariant| Blog) where the presenters. As well are they professors. We discussed Database Design, Backup & Restore strategies, Professional Development, using Twitter for #SQLHELP, and Powershell.
SQLRALLY OVERDRIVE – SPEED NETWORKING, SPONSORED BY MAGICPASS
Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA| Blog) the chapter leader of MAGICPass, the chapter that I regularly attend, hosted a session on speed networking. We talked about handshakes, how to talk to people by asking questions that cannot be answered with the typical yes or no answers, and the do’s and don’ts of reading names off of lanyards.
It was a great session and was well put together, it was actually difficult to break up the conversations and rotate people. Which naturally helped lead to the end of the evening and a good dinner, rousing conversation, and I think there was some Karaoke…..but that was difficult to recall.
While the Rally may be over, I'll recap day 2 tomorrow, better late than never J