The New Path To MCM

November 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm (Uncategorized)

Microsoft has announced changes to the MCM program. This page shows all the ways that you can become an MCM without having to spend a month at Microsoft.

I’m interested in this for two reasons. First, I’d love to have the opportunity to try to become an MCM. Making it easier to make the attempt, hopefully without dumbing down the curriculum, is a great idea. Second, scroll down to the books section. That’s right, my book is one of the suggested books for learning enough so that you can pass the MCM test. I’m gob-smacked and honored and jazzed and I’ll stop gushing now.

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PASS Summit: Day 2 Keynote

November 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm (PASS, Uncategorized) (, , )

Today is Kilt Day at the PASS Summit. We’re going to try to arrange a group photo at lunch time.

The network connection is extremely slow. I suspect the tweeting about the kilts.

Bill Graziano is leading the key note and he started off with having all the kilted stand. Only about 12-15 of us, but that’s five times better than last year. Then it was time for the volunteers to stand up. It was excellent to see so many people. The Outstanding Volunteer of the Year was Lorie Edwards. The PASSion award went to Wendy Pastrick, who really earned it.

Unfortunately the next segment was on governance… blech! But necessary. Everyone here is a member, so they should know how the money is spent. Luckily Bill is not digging in a lot. He’s covering the things he has to. Yes, it’s a boring topic, but this is a not-for-profit organization and it needs to be transparent. I’ve always been happy to see the numbers, even when it bored the heck out of me.

An X-Box Kinnect was given out to a lucky winner. Cool! I was too busy yesterday to take advantage of the contests… ah well.

Today is also the Women In Technology Luncheon.

The first speaker of the day is Quentin Clark of Microsoft. Mr. Clark is introducing Denali. Today we should get some meat. The goal is shifting user expectations and shifting business expectations. Sadly, I was extremely excited about this presentation, but, instead of getting into the product, we got quite a lot of sales pitch. I do want to see what they think is the most important functionality, but I want to see it, not hear about it. That’s important. I think vendors frequently don’t think about the audience. The Twitter stream started to get pretty abusive, just like last year during the “I can’t mention the major hardware vendor that supports PASS because we really appreciate it” presentation.

Finally, after 40 years in the wilderness, we got a demo of SQL Server Always On. He started right into Management Studio, which is the first time I’ve seen it in the last two days during any of the Denali demos. That’s an indication of something. This is pretty neat. Automatic failover with multiple secondaries, so you can have more than one data center, around the country and have synchronous data in multiple sites. THAT will be useful. This without shared disk. Yes, you can still use it, but now you don’t have to. That’s a huge improvement over what we’ve had in the past. And, he got an ovation during the demo. When you have a collection of nerds as big as this clapping for you, you did something right. Thank you Microsoft. The data synchs occur in near real time, behind the scenes, with HA set ups that you can put together, for individual databases or groups of databases, in about five minutes. Huzzah! Oh, and the secondaries can be set to be readable and you can move your backups to the secondary… WOW! Again, thank you Microsoft.

The break down of the goals is the same as outlined yesterday, of course, Mission Critical, which they just showed, then IT Pro & Developer Productivity and Pervasive Insight. Then Mr. Clark mentioned DAC and there was a low rumble around the blogger table. That is not a popular set of functionality. There’s going to be enhancements in spatial within Denali, modifying the abilities to run queries and moving all the way through the BI stack. We’re finally getting Sequence Generator and Paging and enhanced Error Handling.

FileTable, a whole new integration of FileStream technology is being demo’ed next. This should be good too. The Key Take Away is “Every windows application that generates files, can now store files within sQL Server without a single modification to the app.” I’m not so sure this is a good thing, and what about SharePoint? Still, technology is cool and I’m a geek enough. I’m going to enjoy it. So, to a degree, this works like FileStream, but it’s file management through the database, but, the demo showed a set of files getting inserted into SQL Server management through a command prompt. Oooh… That’s cool. The demo is impressive. You can update the documents from the file system or from the database. That’s pretty neat. I’m just not sure exactly where this goes within the enterprise. I’ll have to read some more about it.

The next set of functionality is Project Juneau. I’ve heard a lot about this. It’s likely to hurt some of the 3rd party tools. We went right to the Demo this time. Thanks. We’re in the VS 2010 Shell now, along with BIDS and everything else. They’re not retiring SSMS, but it’s clear that it’s on the way out, must be. I like the improved TSQL completion. The table designer is good too. Because you can sync the visuals & tsql as you create the table. That’s great! I think I said this yesterday, but there are a lot of people that will not enjoy moving to Visual Studio. I’m a fan, but others will not like it. Still, it looks good. It’s working better than it ever did, and that’s a good thing.

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Pass Summit Sunday Morning

November 7, 2010 at 11:06 am (Uncategorized)

image

I’m sitting in Top Pot Donut. I’m having a fantastic apple fritter. I’m also trying out the capabilities of the WordPress Android app. So far so good. I wouldn’t want to try doing hard core technical posts from this but it works. I can even add photos.

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SQLServerPedia Awards

November 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Right, I said I wouldn’t compete, but I can’t help pointing out that I’m pretty proud of this particular blog post that is in the Management and Automation category.  I thinki the number one tool for automation of administration of SQL Server, and pretty much all of Microsoft’s server technologies, is PowerShell. Knowing how to execute scripts on multiple servers, asynchronously, is extremely important to a successful administration automation effort. So, please, despite what I said before, consider voting for PowerShell Remoting with SQL Server.

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Scary DBA Halloween Special

October 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Not so much my special as SQL Saturday #59’s Special. These guys in NYC are pulling out all the stops. This blog post proves it. If you can make it to only one SQL Saturday in the next 5 months (I’m hosting one in 6), you should go to this.

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Writing Opportunities

October 28, 2010 at 10:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Are you looking for opportunities to show off your elite writing skills and consumate SQL Server knowledge? Want a chance to build up the resume a bit? Are you like me and you have a hard time thinking of ideas to write about? I’ve got a solution for you. There’s a new forum over on SQL Server Central that is all about requests for articles. It’s mostly small stuff, easy one-page articles, a bit more than a blog post but a bit less than a full blown multi-page drill down. Also, if you have ideas for articles that you’d like to see someone write up, you can post them there. You should read the rules about the forum, which aren’t complicated, and then dive in.

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SQL Rally: One Day on Query Performance Tuning

October 26, 2010 at 10:37 am (Uncategorized)

The SQLRally, a new PASS initiative taking place in the spring, is going to be a community driven event. This includes selection of the pre-convention (precon) paid presentations through a voting process. I have a session called Query Performance Tuning, Start to Finish. It’s a one day session on everything about tuning queries.

I won’t republish the abstract and bore the heck out of you, but I will list the 5 skills I think you’ll take away with you if you attend (after voting for me):

  1. The ability to collect performance metrics on your servers as part of an overall query tuning methodology
  2. The ability to generate, read, and understand execution plans from multiple sources in support of troubleshooting poorly performance queries
  3. An understanding of how the optimizer works in support of writing better TSQL code as well as troubleshooting poorly performing queries
  4. A working knoweldge of DMOs that will help you identify and fix performance issues on your servers
  5. The ability to address common query performance problems

The thing is, query performance frequently comes down to just a handful of common problems.If you learn how to identify which queries are running slowly, and how to discern which of the common problems you’re running into, you’ll almost always know how to fix the query, whether it’s restructuring it, rewriting it, or simply adding or modifying indexes in support of the badly performing query.

Please, if this sounds interesting, go and vote for it. If not, please go and vote anyway so that the community’s voice is heard.

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New Book on Query Optimizer

October 26, 2010 at 10:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Benjamin Nevarez (blog) has been working really hard on a book on the Query Optimizer. It just got finished in time so that there will be copies available at the PASS Summit. I strongly recommend you track it down. There’s a lot to learn between the covers. How do I know since the book just got finished and isn’t in anyone’s hands yet? Because I’ve been watching it get built. I put in my small efforts as the technical editor. I feel bad about that because I’ve always learned from my technical editors and I’m fairly sure I learned more from Benjamin than he did from me. Get a copy of the book. You won’t be disappointed.

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Another Must See Session

October 25, 2010 at 10:36 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t believe I missed this one in all the posts and recommendations I’ve been making about great sessions coming up at the PASS Summit. I’m not sure where my head was. However, I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Jennifer McCown’s (blog|twitter) session called T-SQL Brush Up. It was the most popular session at the last 24 Hours of PASS. It’s going to be even better live, with an interactive audience.

Holy cow, I thought I had put it on my Must See Sessions but I must have messed up. Sorry Jen.

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SQL Rally Voting

October 25, 2010 at 9:49 am (Uncategorized) ()

I received word over the weekend that my precon application had made it past committee and was now subject to the community vote. They haven’t posted it yet, but please watch this space. I’ll be doing an all day session on how to tune sql queries, from monitoring to establish a baseline, to figuring out what’s wrong with the query and how to fix it. If that sounds interesting, please vote for my session.

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