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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PASS Summit Birds of a Feather Lunch

October 13, 2010 at 11:18 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , )

The absolute biggest part of the PASS Summit is the one thing that most people don’t take advantage of, networking. And no, I don’t mean glad-handing everyone you meet, remembering all their names (although that is a good skill to have) and saying over & over again “Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you.” I mean taking advantage of the fact that you can talk to people that have already solved the problem that you’re facing at work, or just might have some insight into that issue, or maybe you can give them insight into a problem they’re facing. I’m mean, talking to people.

Yeah, I know, we’re all geeks, and worse than that, data geeks. That means we like to sit in dark little caves & grumble about our fellow man having WAY too much access to the data we’ve been sworn to protect. I’m with you. But, you’ve made the decision to go the PASS Summit. You’re there. All over the place are your fellow data geeks. And look at that, some of them are talking to each other. You can too. In fact, you should.

So, how do you break the ice? Here’s a suggestion. When you go to lunch on Tuesday, look for the Birds of a Feather tables. Each one will have a different topic, hosted by someone who knows at least a little about that topic, or is just really excited about discussing that topic. Sit down (you don’t need permission, it’s implied), introduce yourself and dive into the topic. Ask questions. Answer questions. At least say hi before you sit there and listen. You’re in. You’ve just made the leap. Welcome to networking. Now, find out where the party is for Tuesday night and you can do some more.

I’ll be hosting a table on the topic “T-SQL Tuning & Optimization.” If you’re interested in that topic, please, sit down & talk. Oh, I might be a minute or two late. I’m presenting right before lunch. Save me a chair, just in case.

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PASS 2010 Submissions

June 9, 2010 at 1:57 pm (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , )

Since all the cool kids seem to be posting the sessions that they submitted to the PASS Summit, nerd that I am, I’ll follow along and do the same. I submitted four sessions, two by invitation for a Spotlight session and two for regular sessions. I tried to branch out a bit from where I’ve been in the past to see if I can start talking about different topics. With that in mind, the first session was: Spatial Data: The Business Case

We’ve all seen the cool presentations showing all the pizza joints near the conference center or all the bicycle shops on a biking route, but what’s the case for spatial data and business? This session sets out to show how spatial data can be of interest to almost any business that has more than one location to worry about. Are weather events or natural disasters affecting your locations? Without the ability to precisely map them, how can you know? Is your new building on a flood plain? If you’re planning a visit to a customer, are there other customers near by that you could also visit? The session focuses on a business case for using spatial data, but it also shows some of the technical means that spatial data can use to solve those cases using the spatial data type, Microsoft Bing Maps and Reporting Services.

The next “different” session was: Database Deployment in the Real World

Deploying databases can be a difficult challenge. This session will provide a general approach to database development and database deployment that seeks to alleviate the issues around getting databases deployed. There will be general methods on display, such as the use of source control as a part of database development, and scripting methods for production deployments. There will also be specific methods using a variety of tools to meet this deployment methodology. Tools from Microsoft, such as Visual Studio and the DTA, and various 3rd party vendors will be demonstrated. The goal of the session will be to provide mechanisms for attendees to apply to their own databases in order to arrive at a safer and more reliable deployment process.

After that I went back to my usual topics: Identifying and Fixing Performance Problems using Execution Plans

This session will demonstrate how SQL Server execution plans can be used to identify problems with the database design, or the TSQL code, and address those problems. The session takes the user through various common issues such as poor or missing indexes, badly written code and generally bad query performance, demonstrating how to identify the issues involved using execution plans. The session will then demonstrate different methods for addressing the issues and show how the fixed query’s execution plans differ. Multiple methods for accessing execution plans including graphical, DMV’s, and trace events are demonstrated. All this is meant to lay a foundation for a general troubleshooting approach to empower the attendee to make their own queries run faster and more consistently.

And even recycled a session from last year, again, as an experiment: DMV’s as a Shortcut to Procedure Tuning

Dynamic Management Views (DMV) expose a wealth of information to the database administrator. However, they also expose information that is vital to the database developer. More often than not people gather performance metrics through server side traces. This session will show how to gather information from the DMVs for currently executing, and recently executed queries. The session will demonstrate combining this information with other DMVs to get more intersting information such as the query plan and query text. I’ll show where you can get aggregate information for the queries in cache to determine which queries are being frequently accessed or using the most resources. I’ll show how to determine which indexes are being used in your system and which are not. All of this will be focused, not on the DBA, but on the query writer, the developer or database developer that needs information to tune and troubleshoot data access. 

There are absolutely glorious sessions that have been submitted this year (and if you haven’t looked them over, you should). The competition is going to be fierce, which will make for an excellent Summit.

Oh, and don’t forget that Wednesday is Kilt Day at the Pass Summit.

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PASS Summit, Kilt Wednesday

April 27, 2010 at 11:43 am (PASS) (, , , )

Last year at the PASS Summit we held a silly little event called Kilt Wednesday. Only three people took part, but it was very popular nonetheless. Here’s a sample of what it looked like. This year is looking to be a lot bigger. Keep an eye on Twitter for updates under the hash tag: #sqlkilt.

If you’re going to the 2010 Summit, bring your kilt for Wednesday. Ladies, you’re invited too.

This is an unofficial event and has nothing to do with the PASS organization. We’re just having a little fun. Remember, Seattle is home to Utilikilts, so you can pick up a kilt while you’re there.

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