Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring DevConnections 2012

Hello Dear Reader, this week finds me in beautiful Miami FL.  Next week I’ll be in Vegas, for one night only.  Next week the SQL Server Conference schedule for 2012 kicks off, and how better to do it than in Las Vegas with DevConnections.  Connections could not come at a better time, with SQL 2012 RTM being available for MSDN download and available everywhere else April 1st, (yes I know April Fool’s day you can’t make this stuff up).

Joining the long list of experts speaking at DevConnections is ME!  I’m thrilled to be participating in the Launch Party for SQL Server 2012.  I was honored to be invited to present at SQL DevConnections.  For those of you not familiar with DevConnections it is a twice yearly conference that cover’s Visual Studio, ASP.NET, Sharepoint, SQL Server, Silverlight, HTML 5, Cloud, Exchange, and Windows technologies.

And it doesn’t just cover them, each technology stack is its own conference.  So literally there are 9 conferences for Microsoft Related technologies all happening in one place!   Under one roof!   Technogeeks of the World UNITE, I have found your mecca and it is called Vegas.

“So Balls,” you say “What will you be presenting on? When will it be?”

Excellent question Dear Reader and away we go.


Since joining Pragmatic Works, see Pragmatic Works has Balls….SQLBalls, I have been very busy with client work, and this will mark my first presentation of the new year!  My subject will be Transparent Data Encryption in SQL 2012!  The When Dear Reader is next Thursday 3/29, 9:45 am.

I will be presenting on Transparent Data Encryption Inside and Out in SQL 2012.  Here is the abstract.

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.

This is a great subject and I’m kicking off the new year by walking through the process, talking about what TDE impacts and changes (not just in your database but in your Disaster Recovery Planning), and taking a quick peak at the internals of an MDF file.


DevConnections units so many technologies in the Windows stack, it brings out some of the best in the business on all fronts, and the people presenting are amazing.   Paul Randal (Blog|@PaulRandal) and Kimberly Tripp (Blog|@KimberlyLTripp) co-chair the conference, with the level of quality that Paul & Kimberly put into everything you know that this is going to be good.

The people presenting back that up you have Aarron Bertrand (Blog|@AaronBertrand), Steve Jones (Blog|@Way0utwest), Jonathan Kehayias (Blog|@SQLPoolboy), Brent Ozar (Blog|@BrentO), Mike Walsh (Blog|@mike_walsh), Glenn Berry(Blog|@GlennAlanBerry), Grant Fritchey(Blog|@GFritchey), and many many more, to see the full list click here.  When you get speakers this good you know that the content will be amazing and it is,click here for a list of sessions.

And as if that isn’t enough it’s VEGAS!


My time in Vegas will be brief, I’m a one night only, kind of show.  Right now I’m booked to the gills with client commitments so I will be flying in Wednesday night, and back out Thursday after the presentation.

So if you get a chance in passing feel free to yell out “HI Balls”, you’ll turn a few heads but hey it is Vegas, and I’ll make sure to come over and say Hi right back.

See you there!



Monday, February 27, 2012

I’m Going to SQL RALLY!

Hello Dear Reader, I’ve just received great news I’M HEADED TO SQL RALLY 2012! But I didn’t get here on my own, I have you to Thank.  And I would like to do just that.  Thank You to everyone who voted for me as part of the recent Community vote!  I really appreciate it.  It is always an honor to be picked to participate in a SQL event, but it means a lot when your peers vote you in.

I promise that you will not be let down, I’ve got not one, but TWO amazing sessions that made it through the voting.

“So Balls,” you say, “What are you presenting on?”

Great question Dear Reader, and away we go!

Transparent Data Encryption Inside and Out in SQL 2012

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 had a lot of fun presenting on this topic in the past.  Transparent Data Encryption is a wonderful technology that we were able to start using in SQL 2008.  I was lucky very early on that as soon as I started working with 2008 I was working with TDE. 

When you use TDE there are some very important things to know and consider the first is what TDE does and doesn’t do, the second what physical changes actually occur within your database, and finally how you manage certificates and how they affect your recovery scenarios for your databases.

I’ve done a Lightening round version of this presentation for OPASS, the Orlando SQL Server User Group, my friends at Publix, and for SQL Saturday 79 South Florida this past year.  This year I start off the year with a Bang presenting on this topic at SQL Connections in Las Vegas, and now I’ll get to present on this at SQL Rally 2012 as well!

SQL Internals, Recovery Models, and Backups! OH MY!

The more you know about SQL Server the more you understand how it works.  SQL Server is a product we use every day, and most of us know the big concepts.  At the 10,000 foot view we know what  Databases, Tables, and Columns are.   But what makes up those Databases, Tables, and Columns.  What are Records, Pages, Extents, and Allocation Units?  What are Full, Simple, and Bulk-Logged Recovery?  What are the differences between  Full, Transaction Log, Differential, or Filegroup backups?  What is a Piecemeal Restore?  This is an introduction to these concepts using SQL 2012.  In this session you will learn about the internal Structure, Recovery Models, and Backups and be better prepared to for Future Learning and Managing SQL!

When I first put together this presentation it was meant to be a leap frog session. 

“So Balls,” you say “I’m not playing leap frog with you.”

No worries Dear Reader, I’m not playing a game, but what I mean by leap frog is I want you to leap ahead.  As I’ve studied SQL Server I’ve noticed that there are some fundamental concepts that you encounter over and over again.

The reason because they are all interrelated.  A.C.I.D., Transaction Isolation Levels, the internal components of SQL Server’s Relation & Storage Engine, B-Tree Structures, Pages, Allocation Units, Transaction Log management, Recovery Model’s, and Backups (that’s a mouth full OH MY!).  I’m not going to make you an expert, but I’m going to arm you with knowledge and concepts to allow you to go forth and be better prepared for future learning. 

But what we cover will apply directly to how you would choose the type of backups that are appropriate for the database systems that you manage.


Once again Dear Reader and Dear SQL Community, I would just like to say Thank You.  I hope to see you and I hope to see you at SQL Rally 2012!



Monday, February 6, 2012

SQL Rally 2012 Vote For Me!

Hello Dear Reader!  Last year I tossed my hat in the ring on the world of Presenting.  This was a tremendous experience for me.  Presenting is a whole other skill set, one that I had not exercised very often.  The more I presented the more I learned.  I received wonderful questions and feedback that helped me grow from SQL Rally 2011, presenting Page & Row Compression How, When, and Why to the PASS Summit 2011 where I presented Page & Row Compression: Deep Dive.  All of this and there is still more to go into. 

"So Balls," you say, "What are we voting for again?"

Great Question Dear Reader!  While I've presented loads on Page & Row Compression, in 2012 we are adding Spatial Compression to the mix and Vertipaq Compression that gives us Columnstore Indexes.  Not to mention we still have Backup Compression as well.  Put all that together and I've got enough information to fill a whole day, and that is just what I'd like to do!

I've submitted a Full Day Pre-Con on Compression to SQL Rally 2012.  I am honored to say that I'm up for vote along with some other really great sessions.  And you Dear Reader get to vote and decide on who the final two are that make it.


The title of my Pre-Con is "There's Always Room for Compression" and here is a copy of my abstract.

Come on There’s Always Room for Compression!  In SQL 2012 Compression hits with a Bang.  We should all be taking backups, and Compressing our backups as well.  But what advanced feature can cost Compression performance and how can you re-claim it?  SQL 2008 we got Backup and Page & Row Compression, SQL 2008 R2 gave us Unicode Compression to add to the mix, and SQL 2012 give’s us Page & Row Compression for Spatial Data.  On top of that we get VertiPaq Compression for Columnstore Indexes.   If you are running an OLTP shop, working heavily with BI, or a mix of the two Compression in SQL Server 2012 is something you should learn about.  There are 3 bottleneck’s in any Database, find out how Page & Row Compression can help you offload I/Op’s for CPU.  BI heavy shop? Understand What Columnstore Indexes are, how they work, and how you can use them. 

If you are interested in Compression, looking at using this at work, or trying to figure out best practices for Compressing Data vote for me!  We will Deep Dive Page & Row Compression and look at the internal components, how it works, how you monitor it, and that will lead to a greater understanding in how to apply it.  The internals of Columnstore indexes using Vertipaq Compression, we will be spelunking on those internals as well!  Come on spelunking on internals, that just sounds fun!  *I first heard that phrase from Paul Randal(@PaulRandal | Blog), it is his but I'm borrowing it J!

Not only will we be Deep Diving a couple different area's but I want this to be an interactive day.  I will be putting together a Sample Database that we will use so we can work together and by the end of the day you will have hands on experience with Determining what Tables are good candidates from Compression, Compressing them, taking baselines Before and After in order to see what benefits that we have achieved.

Compression can help you if you an OLTP shop or if you are a DBA who works primarily with BI.  There is something for everyone.


Even if you do not vote for me there are a lot of really great Pre-Con's that you can vote for, (Like my friend & Co-Worker Bradley Schacht(@BradleySchacht | Blog) "The 3 P's of Presentation (PerformancePoint, PowerPivot, Power View)".  All you need is an active login for PASS and you can vote.  Please Go cast yours today Click Here!