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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Who You Learn From

October 25, 2010 at 9:01 am (PASS) (, , , )

Less than two weeks to go until the PASS Summit. I’m excited. I’ve managed to cram a ton of activities into this Summit, more than ever before. But, I’m still going to try to go to a few sessions. The question asked, which sessions are you going to? Who do you want to learn from. Who can you learn from?

I’ve got a pretty simple answer. Everybody. There’s not a single person that I work with on my current team that I haven’t learned something from. Sure, there are those that teach you tons and tons, for example, we have a fantastic SSIS guy on our team, that has taught me quite a lot, faster than I could have picked it up on my own.

So, you’re going to the PASS Summit. Is your plan to hit just the big name people? If so, you’re messing up. You can learn from everybody. I’m not saying don’t go to the big name sessions, heck I will, but I’m saying you need to look around at more than just names. Now, that said, before I tell you the people who’s sessions I’m going to, I want to give you one important piece of advice. If you go into a session and within 5-10 minutes you can tell that session isn’t for you, get up & leave. Go to another one, or start chatting people up out in the hallway or down at the PASS booth. Don’t waste your time.

I already listed a number of sessions that I thought were must sees. Unfortunately, I won’t be making it to many of them. I’m pretty busy, presenting on Tuesday & Wednesday and at one of the Lightening Rounds on Thursday. I’m also going to work the Ask the Experts area for the first time ever (please, don’t stop by to play “Stump the Chump.” I know you guys know more than I do. I’m just trying to help) Thursday afternoon. Here are some other sessions that should have made my list, that I plan on attending.

 Tuesday afternoon I’m absolutely going to make it to Aaron Nelson’s (blog|twitter) session on PowerShell, The Dirty Dozen. I saw him present at SQL Saturday in Raliegh. This guy is good. You may not know his name, but I promise, if you’re getting started in PowerShell, or even if you’ve been working with it for a while, you’re going to learn from him. I’ll probably hit a couple of other sessions on Tuesday too.

On Wednesday afternoon there’s a total embarassment of riches. I want to go to four different sessions right after lunch. I’m leaning towards the one on Professional Development Plans, but I’m not sure I want to miss the one Troubleshooting SSRS Performance or the Incredible Shrinking Execution Plan. After that, probably, because of a new emphassis on SSRS where I work, Cooking with SSRS. The last session of the day is easy, Kimberly Tripp’s (blogTales From the Trenches.

Thursday morning is open, assuming I’m still on my feet. I’ll probably hit DBA MythBusters. That’s also assuming that after listening to Dr. Dewitt my brain isn’t completely stuff full. If you only make one keynote, make it Thursday morning’s.

This is going to be an excellent summit. For the names I left out, for the sessions I didn’t mention, I could just list the entire summit schedule and tell you to go to all of them. I’d be willing to bet there are very few, if any, that you won’t learn from. Like I said, everyone can teach you something. Figure out which ones are best for you and go to them. See you there.

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Kilt Day at the PASS Summit

October 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm (PASS) (, , , , )

Last year, with the infinite power at my disposal (read, zero), I declared Wednesday, Kilt Wednesday at the PASS Summit. It took off… a little ways. Three people wore kilts. Now, you’d think that three out of 3000 would almost not get noticed, but the three people wearing them… well, each for different reasons, we stand out in a crowd. Heck, I was even told one of us looked good in the kilt (wasn’t me, of course). Anyway, where was I, oh yeah, we were noticed (and it might be because I jumped up on the bloggers table during one of the the key notes…) and now, this year, LOTS of people are planning on wearing kilts on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010.

If you don’t have a kilt, don’t panic. You can always run down the street to Utilikilt, who has their headquarters right there in Seattle. There are lots of other sources. You don’t want to miss out, this year. It’s going to be fun. Follow the hashtag #sqlkilt on Twitter to keep up to date on what’s happening.

Also, Wednesday is the Women In Technology lunch. So, you can get extremely creative and supportive WIT you should track down Jenn McCown (blog|twitter) and get one of her cool t-shirts.

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Upcoming Speaking Engagements

October 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm (PASS) (, , , )

I’ve got a couple of more sessions before the big two at the PASS Summit. Tomorrow night, October 20th, I’ll be speaking at the Southern New England Network Users Group on SQL Server Best Practices. It’s the first time I’ve talked on this topic, so it might be fun to watch. After that I’m previewing one of my two Summit presentations for Brian Knight (blog|twitter) and Pragmatic Works in a webinar on Identifying and Fixing Performance Problems Using Execution Plans. Go here to register.

After that, it’s off the PASS Summit.

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Powershell is Really Easy… If you know what you’re doing

October 18, 2010 at 8:00 am (PowerShell, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQLServerPedia Syndication) ()

Sigh… I just spent almost a full work day trying to come up with, what turned out to be a single line script. The requirements were simple. After patching of servers is completed, and everything is rebooted, sometimes, not often, but sometimes, SQL Server Agent doesn’t restart correctly. I was asked to put together a script that will check a list of servers to see if Agent is running. Any PowerShell guru’s reading this are either laughing or crying, already.

So, I started exploring how to connect to the server using using some type of PS-Drive, but I quickly figured out that I’d have to loop through the servers that way. Plus, I don’t think there’s a way to check Agent status through the SQL drive. So that went out the window. Then, it was to use Invoke-SQLCmd. After all, I can call multiple servers through the -ServerInstance property, so I just need to find a good T-SQL statement to check Agent status… Googling & Binging didn’t turn up a good T-SQL statement to check Agent status (not saying there isn’t a way, but I couldn’t find one easily, plus, this is a story about PowerShell). On to SMO. All I had to do was figure out how to connect to the server and the SQL Agent object through SMO. I’d have to loop through the servers, but for such a simple script, that shouldn’t be hard. Ever tried to connect directly to the Agent through SMO? Me neither. It’s a pain.

Finally, I referred back to Don Jones (blog|twitter) book, Windows Powershell 2.0, TFM (and a more appropriately named book, there isn’t), and noticed a statement, Get-Service… Hey! Isn’t SQL Agent basically a service? Yes. Yes it is. Here’s the final script, in all it’s simplistic glory:

Get-Service -DisplayName "SQL Server Agent*" -ComputerName (Get-Content "servers.txt") | Select-Object MachineName,Status

Yep, it was that easy. Kids, don’t try this at home. Take the time to learn what you’re doing. Don’t assume you know.

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Scary DBA Takes Over the World

October 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Or, at least gets translated into Russian.

I realize I’m effectively a 10 year old, but, come on, HOW COOL IS THAT?

My thanks to Artem Bikshanov for his exceedingly kind offer to do the translation.

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Working the Door

October 14, 2010 at 8:00 am (PASS) (, , )

You know those guys that work the door at clubs, seperating the wheat from the chaff, culling the herd, Choosing the Slain, sifting the gold from the dross, telling the difference between the sheep and the goats, winnowing out the weak, tipping the scales of justice… you know, the guys taking tickets. Well, this year, I get to do that job at the SQL Server Central party at the PASS Summit.

That’s right, I’ve been given absolute power, the keys to the kingdom, control of the list… you get the point. And best of all, while I was offered money, fame, power & women, I bargained for more and I got it. I’ll be wearing one of those nifty Hawaiian shirts (Friday shirts) we always see Steve & Andy sporting. HA! And my wife won’t let me negotiate with used car salesmen. Now I’ll finally get some respect.

Anyway, see you at the SQL Server Central party, opening night at the PASS Summit, right after the official Welcome shindig.

Remember, registration code SSC2010 or $30 at the door.

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Speaking at SNESSUG

October 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm (SNESSUG) (, )

I’ll be presenting tonight at the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group (SNESSUG). The topic is “Using DMVs as a Shortcut to Query Tuning.” It’s a practice run for my spotlight session at the PASS Summit, so if you can’t make it to the Summit, you should swing by Rhode Island.

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