Showing posts with label MAGICPass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAGICPass. Show all posts

Monday, September 15, 2014

Outstanding PASS Volunteer

Hello Dear Reader!  In June this year I was recognized by PASS as with an Outstanding Volunteer Award.  In an unusual move I found myself speechless.  This is a very quick post to give the true credit where it is due.  June was a very busy month for me and I had a blog post scheduled to post it in July, but… let’s just say a couple things happened on the way to the theater.  The timing felt a bit wrong.

“So Balls”, you say, “Why blog about it now?” 

Great question Dear Reader.  The original blog was a big Thank You, and I want to say that in earnest.  The reason I received my award was for a lot of the work and presentations I’ve done this year. 32 presentations so far in 2014 with 9 more planned out and hopefully a couple more to come. 

These presentations don’t happen in a vacuum.  I’ve been very blessed as a presenter and community member.  I’ve written recently about how SQL Saturday’s impacted my life.  This year friends in the community invited me to new and wonderful locations.  Mike Walsh (@Mike_Walsh| Blog)  and 1/2 of my future law firm of Biguns & Balls Jack Corbett (@UncleBiguns | Blog) started out my January in New Hampshire from there I've presented physically and remotely in Florida, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, California, North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon, Colorado, Georgia, with more before the end of the year.  That doesn’t include Webinars where people from all over the world signed up to attend.

If you attended, were forced to attend, dragged, cajoled, or otherwise persuaded to attend I Thank You.  Dear Reader without you it doesn’t happen.

For the organizers, who put in their time, put on events, get sponsors, volunteers, and manage the process Thank You.  My time to present is a pittance compared to the effort it takes to lead a group and the hours that you put in.  Many Thanks for letting me be part of your group.

To PASS, the volunteers (the literally HUNDREDS of volunteers from SQL Saturday’s, program committees, Leadership Staff, down to the volunteer picking up coffee a noble and thankless job), Chapter Leaders, the employees whom I see and send emails to for the Summit or SQL Saturday’s, and all of those who I do not see Thank You. 

Your hard work helps create an environment that allows our community to thrive.  There have been lots of fantastic winners already this year.  I encourage you to check out the PASS page of Outstanding volunteers here.  Chances are if you’ve been to an event this year one has touched your life.

A Quick late-CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Shawn McGehee (@SQLShawn | OPASS) who is the August Outstanding volunteer.  Shawn is the Chapter Leader for OPASS and has done an incredible job.  He is leading the charge for our Pre-Cons for SQL Saturday Orlando amongst many, many other things!  Way to GO Shawn!!

To my friend who nominated me, the beers on me.  To anyone who wants me to present and I haven’t presented for you. If I’m in your area or you need a virtual presenter, shoot me a message on twitter or an email at  I’m always happy to help.


“So Balls”, you say, “You’ve said Thank You, anything else?”

Why Yes Dear Reader!  Yes there is one more thing, actually 4 more things.  I got something big that I cannot share quite yet.  In celebration of the community and the influence you’ve had on my life I want to give something back.

So in October I’m going to blog a community script a week.  These will be scripts that people have asked for, as I’ve presented that I never found the time to get out there, plus a couple new ones.  One a week leading up to the PASS Summit in November.

As Always Dear Reader, Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's not Business, It's Personal

Hello Dear Reader.  I find myself at this late hour unable to sleep.  Yesterday the slate of speakers for the PASS Summit was announced.  What should have been a happy moment was quickly darkened by the words of people that I know well within the SQL Server Community.

I would ask the MVP's and others in the SQL Server Community; Did you plan on intimidating new speakers yesterday?  

Because you did.  I have a few first time speaker that I've been working with. Not first time PASS Speakers, first time period.  Encouraging and mentoring them to get involved in SSUG's and SQL Saturday's.  At the beginning of the year I told one in particular that we should work on a plan so she would have the experience to submit to the PASS Summit this year.

Her first words to me when we spoke yesterday?  "Thank God I didn't submit, because the MVP's would be talking smack about me right now!"

Wonderful work growing the next generation of SQL Server Speakers.  Is this what community has become?

It seems every year with the speaker selection process the people I would normally count on as pillars in our community take the opportunity to bash the process.

If the process is broken so be it.  We should discuss that.  WE SHOULD NOT LEVEL PERSONAL ATTACKS.

That is ill befitting of the responsibility that we as speakers have in the community.

I remember what it was like to be a simple DBA that looked at speakers at conferences with awe and wonder.  Instead of being a community where we encourage new speakers, what.... we encourage new speakers as long as they all are from different companies?

By attacking Pragmatic Works and suggesting that the speakers did anything less than earn their spots, you demean the volunteers, my co-workers, anyone who works for my company, and you demean me.

There were a couple issues that occurred yesterday that compounded one another.  The presentation that occurred during the 24 Hours of PASS that I moderated, see Brent's blog.

Then Kendal a former board member who had knowledge of the process.  Who praised the volunteers and the way the process works, as noted by absentee presenters who didn't receive sessions this year how a speakers name did not guarantee a spot.  He instead implied that something improper had happened.  Here's his blog.  Until he accused me of having no integrity and not deserving my sessions it was a pretty interesting read, click here.

Here's the part to pay attention to: 
  • "3 Preconference sessions by Pragmatic Works employees are on the list, including one delivered by PASS Executive Vice President, Finance & Governance Adam Jorgensen who is also President and Managing Partner of Pragmatic Works. I know a lot of folks that work at Pragmatic and they're good at what they do, but having 3 precon sessions (where presenters usually make good money from the sales) selected for the same company as one of PASS's execs...smells. I'd like to give PASS the benefit of doubt on this one, but I'll it's very hard to ignore, even if Adam wasn't one of the presenters."


First I reacted in his comment sections.  I was mad and I called what he wrote Bullshit.  I stand by that.

I've reached out to Kendal.  I hope to talk to him soon.  This shouldn't be a conversation on Twitter or over the blog-o-sphere.  I know him, I consider him a friend, and this accusation is beneath him and regardless of the intention it is deeply personal to me.

I reached out to Brent.  Brent and I DM'ed very very ridiculously late at night.  Brent I can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply.  I hope to talk to you soon!

I completely understand Brent with the 24 HOP.  The reason I reached out to him was because of his comment on Kendal's blog.

In the comment's Brent had this reply:

We discussed 2 different issues over DM.  One is the transparency of the process the other was the selection.  Giving vendors preferential treatment, and that this wasn’t the case here.  Brent didn't have an issue with the Pragmatic Works folks having sessions and understood the level of community involvement that we have.

His issue was transparency.  I was really glad we could discuss this, in-digital-person.  Concerns like that should be communicated amongst friends so false insults do not fly.  I consider Brent a friend, it meant a lot that he made himself so readily available to chat.  It is what I would hope for in a friend.

This is how we should handle these things.  If you have a concern with something I'm doing, reach out to me.  

I remember well what it was like to be a simple DBA that looked at speakers at conferences with awe and wonder.  Seeing people like Brian Kelly and Andy Warren, both of whom I know, comment on this blog and not try to reign in the personal attacks is disheartening.  Andy’s were not inflammatory, but they also did nothing to suggest I or my other co-workers were above the board.

I understand I haven't been at this as long as you guys.  I'm not an MVP.  I've only been speaking the last couple years.  

As a somewhat new member to all of this, I would ask the people that are supposed to be respected Sr. members of the community to conduct themselves with a little more Integrity.

If you know me.  Yet you would say these type of things about me, how does that make new people feel looking at our community from the outside.  Do you believe it makes them want to volunteer and participate in it?


My father taught me as a child you only have your integrity once and you should not waste it.  This means something to me.  When I invest in something, I invest wholeheartedly.  I cannot love with half my heart.  I cannot commit to something while sitting on the fence. If I did not earn something then I do not want it.

The greatest things that we get in life are the things we struggle to achieve.  It is only through the labor of the struggle that the fruits of success are realized.

This year I have presented 26 times.  From New Hampshire, to Boston, to Puerto Rico, to Orange County CA, to Denver, to Phoenix, to Atlanta, to Portland, Tampa, Orlando, and more.  I have done deep dives, pre-con's, 1 day sessions, 2 day sessions, 5 day sessions, and this doesn't even include customer presentations.  This is all community.

I have evangelized to user groups and individuals about how they should get involved, present, participate.  I discuss with them how it will help them and help their career.

I would once again point to my co-worker who has not yet delivered their first SQL Community presentation said to me "And you wonder why new people feel intimidated.  I would hate it if they were talking about me".


We've all heard the phrase before "it's not personal its business".  It is typically used as the justification for doing some pretty crappy stuff.

There are some people out there that believe participating in the SQL Community is all about marketing.  That it's business.  Being out there and participating gets them business.  If it is business to them, fine.  It's not to me.  To me the SQL Community is personal.

Right now I am away from home.  I'm away from my kids.  I presented at a user group in AZ last night.  I didn't get paid for it, I didn't get "new" business leads.  As a matter of fact I spent 15 minutes of my 1 hour presentation encouraging people to volunteer.

Why?  Because I love this community.  I have received a lot in my life from the SQL Community.  I have a job I love, I've made new friends, and I’ve traveled to new places, volunteered in ways I never imagined possible.

I truly believe that within every person there is a story waiting to be told that we all want to hear.  It could be brought to life during a presentation on Professional Development, a passionate Deep Dive, or a harrowing tale of lessons learned in the trenches.  When I present I tell people there is a story in each of them that I would love to hear.  They just need to have the faith in themselves to present and the possibilities of what they can do from there are endless.

This isn't business to me.  I would never invest this much time into something I didn't love.  It's personal.

Suggesting that I submitted to the same process as anyone else and received preferential treatment isn't business.  It's personal.  And it's wrong.

I hope from here we can clear the air.  If anyone would like to talk to me about this I’m happy to.  From here on out though please separate criticism of the processes from those that are here for all the right reasons.

As always Dear Reader, Thanks for stopping by.



Friday, May 3, 2013

SQL Saturday 232 Orlando Call for Speakers!

Hello Dear Reader!  We are at that time of the year again.  SQL Saturdays are popping up all over the country, spring is beginning to give way to summer, and the planning for SQL Saturday Orlando 2013, aka #SQLSAT232, is gearing up.  

This year our team of unbelievable SQL Server professionals  Shawn McGehee (@SQLShawn | Blog), Karla Kay (@karlakay22 | Blog),  SQL MVP Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA | Blog), SQL MVP Andy Warren (@SQLAndy | Blog), and Ben Cork are working to bring you an incredible event.

Leading up the speaker track are myself and SQL MVP Rodney Landrum(@SQLBeat|Blog).  That brings us to you Dear Reader.  I need your help, I need YOU to submit to be a speaker for SQL Saturday 232.

“So Balls”, you say, “What is SQL Saturday and why should I submit to be a speaker?”

That my Dear Reader is the $50,000 question.  The short answer, let’s go make a little history together.


What is SQL Saturday?  From its humble beginnings, SQL Saturday was started as a way to give back to the SQL Community.  The statement “give back”, is over used and often clich├ęd.  It is used to give meaning to deeds, when people have trouble justifying “why” they did something with greater substance than going with the truth and saying they did it because “it was popular to do”.   True justification rolls off the tongue like drops of rain water fall off leaves.   In this case, however, I find to “give back” fitting. 

The professionals that assembled saw value in sharing knowledge.  Turning hard learned lessons, production level victories, and new and unexplored concepts into group discussions and learning.  In the end it created an amazing support group.  We are one group of professionals, which have a particular job. Sometimes we are on a team, other times alone, the people we interact with outside of our field do not often understand our challenges.

The one thing I hear over and over again from first time SQL Saturday goers is, “I feel like I arrived at a home that I never knew I was missing”.  I share that feeling, it was how I felt on my first day.  My first was SQL Saturday 49 Orlando 2010.  You can see, I arrived late to the party. 

The very first SQL Saturday happened in Orlando on November 10th 2007.  It was the brain child of Andy Warren.  There was only one SQL Saturday in 2007.  The concept was simple, get MVP’s, Authors, first time presenters from the SQL Community, and put on a FREE day of training.

Six Tracks, Seven different time slots, and a total of 37 different sessions throughout the day and we had our first one in the bag.  The very next Year saw SQL Saturday 2 in Tampa, followed by SQL Saturday 3 in Jacksonville, SQL Saturday 4 back home in Orlando, and SQL Saturday 5 (the first one out of Florida) in Olympia Washington.  Five SQL Saturdays in 2 years.  Last year in 2012 there were 50 in many different States across the US and 32 in other countries and US Territories, for a total of 82 different events.

Now it’s time for SQL Saturday to come back home.  Now it’s time for SQL Saturday Orlando.  Once a year we do this.  We come back home to where it all started.  It is fitting that Orlando is associated with attractions from far across the globe.  There is a magic here that draws us in (no not just the Mouse).  This is where it all began and this is your chance to be a part.  I wouldn’t want you to miss it!


If you want to give a talk but don’t know where to begin, read this blog I put together ( I WANT YOU to Present at SQL Saturday 85).  I discuss Abstracts, how to write one, and how to put together an author biography.

Once you’ve done that all you need to do is click here to submit, the call closes 7/23/2013 so get yours in now!

“So Balls”, you say, “I already see some SQL BAD @$$es like Tim Ford, Devin Knight, and Andy Warren have already submitted?  What chance do I have?”

Not just good, but a GREAT chance Dear Reader!  SQL Saturday not only has the goal of educating people for free, but we grow local speakers. I was in charge of speakers for SQL Saturday 85 and my mission was to give everyone a slot especially first time speakers.    Rodney and I have talked about this, it took longer to drink the beer than it took to set our guidelines.

I want you to succeed Dear Reader, and so does the rest of the SQL Saturday Team.  If you have the fire in your belly to go out and give a talk to a group of IT professionals, newbie or Pro, you cannot find a better venue than SQL Saturday Orlando.

I hope to see you there!  As always Thanks for Reading!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

SQL Saturday 151 BI Pre-con: Stacia Misner

Hello Dear Reader, SQL Saturday 151 Orlando is picking up steam.  The Pre-Con’s have been named and they are fantastic.  SQL Saturday Orlando is always a big event, the schedule has been posted, and the planning is well underway.  First stop the BI Pre-Con Featuring Stacia Misner(@StaciaMisner|Blog) taking place at the beautiful Lake Mary Hyatt Place hotel.

“So Balls,” you say, “Who is Stacia and why should I attend?”

Great question Dear Reader, I work with a lot of really great people in the BI world, even though that area is not my forte, and everyone agrees Stacia is one of the TOP BI experts in the world.  She is one of the instructors for the Microsoft SSAS Maestro Program.  Stacia has been the author of over 12 different books on the subject of SQL Server.  

Her most recent is Introducing SQL Server 2012, available as a free PDF download click here to get it!  I first met Stacia at SQL Saturday #62 back in Tampa in 2011.  She had also written the book introducing SQL Server 2008 R2 and I had some questions about Master Data Services.  I was trying to figure out if Master Data Services in the 2008 R2 release was right for a project I was working on.  I asked her if I could get her advice and she was polite, candid, and very helpful.  Now it is your chance to get to meet Stacia.

A 360-Degree View of SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence

One of the greatest things about SQL Saturdays is that the top SQL speakers and consultants will offer their training services for an unbelievable deal.  Stacia has taught BI Immersion Courses, Pre-Cons, and spoken at seminars that cost thousands of dollars to attend. You can attend her SQL Saturday session, and get one on one time with this expert, for just $99.   So now let’s look at the plan for the day.

In this session, we’ll take a holistic look at the BI features in the latest version of SQL Server by reviewing the architecture requirements, exploring the implications for existing BI applications, and introducing new capabilities that support the transformation of data into business insight. We'll start with data integration and management by reviewing the overhaul that Integration Services received in this release, how to formalize the data cleansing process by using the new Data Quality Services, and how master data management is improved with the updates to Master Data Services. Then we'll discuss the improvements to analytical capabilities by exploring updates to Analysis Services, including the new Tabular Model, and enhancements available in PowerPivot. Last, we'll cover the new presentation layer options available in Reporting Services and the new release of Power View. Of course, you’ll see demonstrations of the new features, but the primary purpose of this session is to give you a chance to ask lots of questions and to get a look “under the hood” to better understand what you’ll need to do to get these BI features up and running properly. You’ll also learn how to prepare your data environment to leverage these features and how best to manage the user experience.

If you are in a BI shop, or are looking to expand your career and get more in-depth in the BI field this is a great training opportunity.  Click here to sign up for the pre-con.  Click here to register for SQL Saturday 151 if you haven’t already.  I hope to see you there!  As always Thanks for stopping by!



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MAGICPASS Tonight It’s All About Encryption

Tonight I will be live in front of my home town crew at MagicPASS, lead by the one and only Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA|Blog) sponsored by our Friends over at Idera, and located at the Disney Vacation Club in beautiful Celebration Fl.  If the fact that we are just a stone’s throw from the happiest place on earth isn’t enough of a draw for you, then add to that tonight is TACO night at MagicPASS and you’ve got a the cherry on top of the sundae. No Sundae is a Sundae without the nutty topping, and that Dear Reader is me. 

“So Balls,” you say “Nutty topping….Really… Seriously….”

Ahhh…yes, I see.  Well anyway, so tonight I will be presenting on Transparent Data Encryption Inside and Out in SQL 2012.  I’ve given this presentation a couple times before and this year I’ve given it at SQL Connections and just last week at SQL Rally.  If you are interested in this topic this is a great chance to come out and learn without having to spend big buck’s to go do it.  All we need is a little of your time.  So without further ado let’s talk shop.


Transparent Data Encryption is an important topic to learn about.  Chances are if you are a SQL Professional, at some point in time your boss is going to ask you about it.  They will ask you what the Pros and the Cons of it are and the more information you have the better.  So without further Ado here is the abstract:  (If you'd like to Download the entire contents of the presentation and the scripts Click Here for the Slides and Click Here for the Scripts)

Security is a very important part of your job and in how data is utilized.  We have many tools to make data more secure, and starting in SQL 2008 we were able to add Transparent Data Encryption to that list.  Find out What it does and What it doesn’t do, How it effects Read-Only Filegroups, Performance, Compression (Backup and Row/Page), What the X.509 Encryption Standard is and Why you should be careful of what you store and where, and other Advance Features as well as some tips on how to manage it.

I’ve been in shops where we put this on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  I’ve also been in shops where we decided not to go with it because of the complication of certificate management and because Physical Security on Servers, Password Management, and Database management were all divided up amongst multiple departments and not all of them would sign off on it.

There is a real world aspect to everything, technology is great but it might not be for you.  I will cover this topic under the hood, breaking out a Hex Editor to look at the un-encrypted and encrypted contents of a backup file, I will discuss and give out scripts to deal with certificate management (backups and automatic deletions), and I will talk about what TDE does and doesn’t do.  If you are interested in the topic at all this should be a lot of fun, because I love questions and this is the perfect setting to ask them.


So if you think you might make it out, please click here toRSVP.  Going to MagicPASS is always a lot of fun, there are great people who work with SQL everyday.  

If you are a professional in North Orlando, Middle & South Orlando, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Plant City, or like my friend Dan Taylor (@DBABulldog|Blog) who drives in from Brandon FL, when you come you will see why it is so important to get involved in a local PASS SQL Server User Group.   You make local friends that can help you with your SQL problems, and maybe join one of our certification study groups, you make connections to your local SQL Community which will pay dividends down the road.

Come for the Community and the food, and stick around for the presentation because we’re going to have a fun night.

Thanks and I hope to see you there,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MagicPASS This Week!

Hello Dear Reader, it is the Time of the Month once again for MagicPASS.  This month Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDBA | Blog ) has lined up two absolutely Awesome presentations for us.  Fresh of off a successful presentation down at SQL Saturday 79 we have Don Stevic (@SQL_Superman | Blog).

I met Don over Twitter several months ago and hit it off with him right away.  He is a great guy, and at SQL Saturday 74 up in Jacksonville I was able to see him present.  Don has a background in theater and it translates to a smooth easy style in his presenting.  He is funny, engaging, and as always very informative.  If you get a chance to stop by you are in for a treat!  Speaking of Chances if you like Don and would like to see him present again, he'll be presenting at SQL Saturday 85 in Orlando on Saturday September 24th!

So Don what do you have planned for us?

Featured Presentation
The Art of the Trace
Speaker: Don Stevic

Summary: Have you ever been asked to troubleshoot an issue and then learned it happened a few days ago, and they wanted an root cause by 5PM? Have users complained that the "Slowness" has been plaguing them all day, but by the time you are told, you can't find a bottleneck? If you have and couldn't find answers, you need Server Side Traces. In this session, I will take you through the creation of a process to setup server side trances, and how to use them to baseline and protect your servers.

About Don: Born in New Jersey, moved to South Florida in 1980 been working my way north slowly. It has taken me 30 years to get to Orlando. I have been a mild-mannered DBA for about 6 years now, and I was an accidental DBA for 4 years prior to that. I am married to a wonderful woman, with three Super kids. When Im not out saving the world one stored proc at a time, I co-own a comic book store.

Pre-Meeting Presentation
You're Not Attractive - But Your Presentations Can Be 
(Video replay from 2010 PASS Summit DVDs)
Summary:  Come hear Buck Woody (Microsoft's Real World DBA) and Brent Ozar (SQL Server Certified Master) explain how they make high scores at presentations. It's not luck, charm or (surprisingly) good looks - there are tips and tricks you can use to make your own presentations rock. With Buck and Brent in the same room it's much like Forest's Box of Chocolates, but you're sure to learn more about presentation techniques that you can extract into your own style.

I’ve listened to the Buck Woody (@buckwoody | Blog) and Brent Ozar (@BrentO | Blog) presentation several times.  If you are a presenter, or are considering starting to present this is a MUST listen to presentation, that will make you better  at what we do right away.

So head over to Stetson University in beautiful Celebration FL, and have an incredible time with two great presentations.

Hope to see you there Dear Reader!



Friday, July 29, 2011

How Do You Learn?

A lot of brilliant people have spent a lot of time, some have made careers out of, learning about how we as people learn.  Whether you subscribe to the Kolb’s, Gregorc’s, Honey & Mumford’s Models, or Flemings VAK/VARK model, at this point in your career you’ve found a way to learn and it works for you. 

I once had a professor, Dr. William Perry, that said repeatedly throughout his courses “Learn to Love to Learn!”.  He would talk to us about how as IT professionals you had better enjoy learning because you would be doing it for the rest of your life.  He would also add that if you did not like to learn you were in the wrong field.  He couldn’t have been more right.

“So Balls,” you say, “How do you learn?”

Glad you asked Dear Reader, let’s dive right in.

MY FLASH CARDS            

 Here is a picture of one small part of my Desk.  If you’re someone who has worked with me you’ve probably seen my flash cards.  I started this pile of flash cards when I was working on beautiful Ft. Monroe in Virginia.  I was studying for my TS and then my ITP Certifications for SQL 2005.  I added to my flash cards next when I was working for the Office of the President up in D.C.  I was studying for my TS in SQL 2008 at the time.  As I would take the train in I would read my book and highlight sections that I wanted to make flash cards out of.  Then I would re-read the book making the flash cards.

After studying for and getting my Certifications, I didn’t want to just forget what I had worked on.  So I continued to review them.   Sometimes people would walk up and say “What are you studying for?”, and I would reply with the name of the Certification I was working towards.  Sometimes I would simply reply by saying, I just want to keep the information fresh in my mind.

As working situations arise, having this information fresh in my mind proved beneficial time after time.  Learning provided better situational awareness, which only served to reinforce how important it was to continue to learn. 

Pretty quickly on I started finding myself in situations where, I would have an issue resolve it, and I’d want to continue to learn from it.  So I would make a flash card on the script, or the situation.  My focus had been on learning from books alone, and that was pretty narrow.  I realized it was just as important to expand not only what I was learning, but where I learned it from.

Back in 2009 our VP of Microsoft Technologies had told me about this upcoming event called, 24 Hours of PASS.  It was an online event, so I could watch these 1 hour training sessions from my Computer.  I persuaded work to let me work remotely, so I could watch these training sessions.  This was my first exposure to PASS, and my first window into the SQL Community, (other than the forums for ).

There was amazing session after amazing session, I learned about NUMA from Thomas Grohser (@tgrohser), I first heard Louis Davidson (@drsql | Blog) discuss relational design, and got my first ever view of Brent Ozar(@BrentO | Blog).  I was hooked, and I had gotten a lot of good information.

“So Balls,” you say, “Where do you get your learning material from books and webinars?”

Great question Dear Reader, but the answer is I get it from just about everywhere.

When you look at my flash card pile up above, know that I’ve thrown a lot out.  I gave some to friends, and the flash cards have been a constant evolution.  Sometimes material in books are wrong, sometimes material on Books Online are wrong, and sometimes you never know what will be useful.

Here are the places that I take notes from that turn into flash Cards, and would be my recommendations.

A.      Books
Books are a great source of knowledge and there are a lot of really good SQL Server books out there.  Right now I’m reading Microsoft 2008 Internals, Click Here to View.   I’m also reading Professional SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting, Click Here to View.  The great thing about books is that when you buy them, you can always have them with you.  Nothing beats having knowledge at your finger tips.  IPAD, Knook, whatever buy them and study them.

B.      SQL Server Central
Whether it be the Question of the Day, an Article in the newsletter, or a really great discussion on the forums.  There is more information than you could ask for in a lifetime.  You can get help with your problems, and do plenty of learning as well.

Last month at MagicPASS we had a Microsoft Certified Master speak to us about the Relational Engine and how Cache works Internally.  It was free, we had tacos, and there are a lot of great DBA’s just like you at the meetings.  This is a fabulous place for networking and for learning.  Go to the PASS website and find the User Group nearest to you.  Don’t forget the Virtual Chapters which provide FREE webinars monthly, sometimes twice a month!

D.      24 Hours of PASS
This is another FREE event, I hope your sensing a trend here you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn, and it will have the TOP names in the field of SQL Database Administration and Business Intelligence.  All it requires is your time.

E.       Channel 9
This is Microsoft’s online learning resource for the Public.  You can find Tech Ed Presentations, Informational videos by the Project Teams, and even new technology previews.  Another great FREE source.

F.       Webinars
Companies like Pragmatic Works, Idera, and Confio are constantly putting on Webinars monthly and for FREE!  You just need to go to their websites and sign up for their free training News Letters.

G.     SQL Saturday
Hey We have one of these coming up in Orlando on September 24thClick Here to Register!  This is an event where some of the top names in our filed present to you for FREE!  You will have MVP’s like Andy Warren(@sqlandy | blog), Rodney Landrum (@sqlbeat | Blog), or Jorge Serraga (@sqlchicken | Blog) just to name a few, presenting for you Dear Reader.

H.      MCM Videos
I wrote a Blog on this once already, MCM video’s You Should Be Watching These, and you should be.  They are a wealth of information, that scratches the surface on what you need to be a Master!


There is also a lot of great training that is not for free, SQL Rally, PASS Summit, and training courses offered by companies like SQL Skills or SQL Cruise.  They are worth their weight in gold, and you don’t have to look far to find a lot of people with the same opinions.

However you learn Dear Reader, just make sure you are learning.  I make flash cards from all these thing, and I review them.  I walk around and share them with the DBA’s I work with, and sometimes we have a quiz of the day on a topic.  I’m sure there are a lot of places that I’ve left off the list if you want to add any please do in the comments below!



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thanks You Magic Pass!

I was over at the Magic Pass SUG last night and had a blast!  I wanted to share a quick link to the slide deck, here, and the sample code from the final demo where we pulled together all of the information in the presentation.

Pulling It All Together 

To understand where you’re going you’ve got to know where you’ve been, in this way Compression is no different than any other technology.  You cannot just use it blindly; Compression can be a good thing if used properly.  So the final demo I do pulls together everything that I would like people to consider.  (I’m using the AdventureWorks2008R2 Database you can get that here.)

1.       Gather Baselines.

You know your database better than I do Dear Reader, and even though Compression can be a good thing you’ll never know it if you don’t gather baselines.  You should fire up Perfmon and gather at least one week, hopefully you’ve already got more than that, so you can see what your hardware activity looks like.  Apply T-SQL Traces to your system, so you know what the statements being executed look like and how much CPU and Logical Reads they use, as well as the duration.

2.       Find your tables with the largest Row and Data size

The Technology we are using is Compression, the idea being to shrink or compact things.  If you have a 1 page table, Compression is not going to help you.  This is a technology where size matters.

3.       Determine the Allocation Unit Makeup of the table

We cover this in depth in the presentation but Compression in 2008 & 2008 R2 only works on IN_ROW_DATA or HoBTs (Heaps or B-Trees).  So if you have a lot of LOBs, (XML, Text, Varchar(MAX), Varbinary(MAX), NVARCHAR(MAX), IMAGE), or ROW_OVERFLOW_DATA aka SLOBs your table may not be a candidate for Compression.

4.       Scans & Updates – What Kind of Activity do Your Tables Have?

If your Table has a lot of Scan activity but little Update Activity then you may want to Consider Page Compression.  If you have a lot of Update Activity and you are looking to use Compression then Row may be a better fit.  (This is where testing in a non-Production Environment will pay off, know which is best).

5.       Estimate Your Compression

You’ve done all this leg work, and you’ve got numbers to base your decision on.  Now Dear Reader let’s use sp_estimate_data_compression_savings to validate the numbers we’re looking at.  One piece of advice before we run it, the ways this works is a 5% sample of your table is copied into your TempDB and actually compressed (or uncompressed if you want to estimate the space used for uncompressing a compressed table), so before you run this on a 100 GB table make sure you’ve got an extra 5 GB worth of space to spare on your TempDB drive.

6.       Gather another Baseline

Now you find out what your savings are.  And if they are big in Duration and Logical I/O’s saved then make sure to tell your boss, and keep a log of how you just helped speed up your system.

And now here’s the script.

--Page and Row Compression How, When, And Why

This Sample Code is provided for the purpose of illustration only and is not intended

--Scripts For Updates,Scans, and Allocation Units can be
--obtained from
--Data Compression: Strategy, Capacity Planning and Best
First let's switch to an existing
USE AdventureWorks2008R2;

Let's use a Table Variable
and grab all of the sp_spaceused
numbers for each table in the database.
Last let's sort this by size so we can
test out the bigest table
declare @myTable as Table(
                                  [Name] varchar(1000),
                                  [Rows] int,
                                  [Reserved] varchar(500),
                                  [Data] varchar(500),
                                  [Index_Size] varchar(500),
                                  [Unused] varchar(500)

insert into @myTable
exec ('sp_msforeachtable @command1="sp_spaceused [?]"');

select * from @myTable
order by [rows] DESC, LEFT([reserved],(LEN([reserved])-3)) DESC;


So we found a table to inspect
let's use our handy script from
earlier to look at the allocation unit
make up of this table
     OBJECT_NAME(sp.object_id) ObjecName, AS IndexName,
     sps.in_row_data_page_count as In_Row,
     sps.row_overflow_used_page_count AS Row_Over_Flow,
     sps.lob_reserved_page_count AS LOB_Data
     sys.dm_db_partition_stats sps
     JOIN sys.partitions sp
          ON sps.partition_id=sp.partition_id
     JOIN sys.indexes si
          ON sp.index_id=si.index_id AND sp.object_id = si.object_id
     OBJECTPROPERTY(sp.object_id,'IsUserTable') =1
     AND OBJECT_NAME(sp.object_id)='Sales.SalesOrderDetail';

So now that we know what the Allocation Units
Look like how about the Scans and the Updates

Detect Scans
SELECT AS tableName, AS indexName,
     ios.partition_number AS [Partition],
     ios.index_id AS indexID,
     si.type_desc AS indexType,
     (ios.range_scan_count *100.0/(ios.range_scan_count +
     ios.leaf_delete_count + ios.leaf_insert_count + ios.leaf_page_merge_count + ios.leaf_update_count + ios.singleton_lookup_count)) AS percentScan
     sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats(DB_ID(),NULL,NULL,NULL) ios
     JOIN sys.objects so
     ON so.object_id=ios.object_id
     JOIN sys.indexes si
     ON si.object_id = ios.object_id AND si.index_id = ios.index_id
     (ios.range_scan_count + ios.leaf_insert_count + ios.leaf_delete_count + ios.leaf_update_count +ios.leaf_page_merge_count + ios.singleton_lookup_count)!=0
     AND OBJECTPROPERTY(ios.object_id, 'IsUserTable')=1  

Check for Updates
     si.NAME AS [indexName],
     ios.partition_number AS [Partition],
     ios.index_id AS [IndexID],
     si.type_desc AS [IndexType],
     (ios.leaf_update_count *100/(ios.range_scan_count +
     ios.leaf_insert_count +
     ios.leaf_delete_count +
     ios.leaf_update_count +
     ios.leaf_page_merge_count +
     ios.singleton_lookup_count)) AS [Update_Percentage]
     sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats(DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL) ios
     JOIN sys.objects so
     ON so.object_id = ios.object_id
     JOIN sys.indexes si
     ON ios.object_id=si.OBJECT_ID AND ios.index_id=si.index_id
     (ios.range_scan_count + ios.leaf_insert_count + ios.leaf_delete_count + ios.leaf_update_count + ios.leaf_page_merge_count + ios.singleton_lookup_count) !=0
     AND OBJECTPROPERTY(ios.object_id, 'IsUserTable') =1
     [Update_Percentage] ASC;
Let's Do some Estimating
sp_estimate_data_compression_savings 'Sales', 'SalesOrderDetail', NULL, NULL, ROW;
sp_estimate_data_compression_savings 'Sales', 'SalesOrderDetail', NULL, NULL, PAGE;

Let's run a quick test
how long does an uncompressessed select take

Now let's rebuild with Page
ALTER TABLE Sales.SalesOrderDetail

Let's run a quick test
how long does an compressessed select take


Thanks again for having me!