Get Out The Vote

October 31, 2010 at 7:00 am (PASS) ()

It’s actually kind of cool that SQL Rally voting for the pre-conference seminars and voting in the real(ish) world in the USA are coinciding. I’m in the running for the pre-con AND I’m volunteering for an actual election campaign for the first time ever.

Volunteering for the campaign is hard work. We’re walking around neighborhoods dropping off literature, which is actually enjoyable. We have to cold call people, and if you’ve never done it, it’s rather hard to describe. I did telemarketing for about 9 months in my youth, so I had a sense of what was coming. I wasn’t prepared for some of the more interesting suggestions (anatomically impossible suggestions) that I was going to receive, but there you go. Luckily, to try to get out the vote for SQL Rally, I just have to blog a bit.

Voting is almost closed, so if you haven’t voted, you really should. Polls close on Tuesday, November 2nd, at 8PM PST, about the same as the real(ish) elections.

Personally, I would like you to vote for my session. I’ve already detailed what I think you’ll get out of the session and what the session is going to be about. I haven’t mentioned why you might want to listen to me blather on about the topic of Query Performance Tuning.

In more than 20 years spent working in IT, one of the most common comments/complaints/squeals I’ve heard is “Why is the application so slow?” There are lots of possible reasons, and I’ve worked before to fix many of them, bad code, poorly written UI, improper network configurations, weak server set-ups, or the database. When it comes to the database, the number one problems, and I wish it were otherwise, are usually the code or the indexes. The fact is, they’re related. You have to lay out your indexes in support of the queries that will feed data to your applications and you have to write your queries in such a way that they’ll take advantage of your indexes. That’s why I was very excited to write the book “SQL Server 2008 Performance Tuning Distilled.” Not only did I get a chance to write about something I enjoy doing (and I really do like tuning procedures) but I got a chance to stretch my own skill set and learn new stuff. I’ve also spent lots of time presenting on this topic to user groups, at the PASS Summit, at Connections, and online at 24 Hours of PASS and other venues. The idea of the session I’m putting on is to attempt to get as much of that learning and experience as I can into one day and hand it over to you the attendee.

Ah, but will you be an attendee? What is SQL Rally you may also be asking yourself (or not, but this is my blog, I get to put thoughts in your head). It’s actually hard to describe. First off, it’s being hosted by the PASS organization. But it’s not a replacement for the PASS Summit. Instead, think of it as a scaled down Summit. Or maybe think of it as a scaled up SQL Saturday. Either way, it’s going to be a multi-day event in the spring of 2011 that will pack a ton of SQL Server, and related, learning into just a few days. It’s taking place on the East Coast so it should be a little cheaper to travel to, it’s shorter than the Summit, so you won’t be gone from work as long, but it’s still going to feature many of the same SQL Server experts you’d expect to see at the summit, just in a smaller, less expensive setting. In other words, vote for my session or not, you should go.

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SQL Rally: Performance Tuning Abstract

October 28, 2010 at 8:00 am (PASS) (, , , , , , )

I get the call, you get the call, everyone gets the call. “Hey, my app/procedure/query/report is running slow.” Now what do you do? You go to my full day session at SQL Rally, that’s what. Assuming you vote for it.

I didn’t post the abstract I submitted for the SQL Rally before because I thought that it would be redudant. However, since it’s not right off the voting page (unless they updated it since I voted), if you’re interested, here’s what I thought I would do for a day. If it sounds good to you, please go here and vote for it.

One of the most common problems encountered in SQL Server is the slow running query. Once a query is identified as performing poorly, DBAs and developers frequently don’t understand how to diagnose the problem and often struggle to fix the problem. This one day seminar focuses exclusively on these two topics. Attendees will learn how to identify the queries that are performing badly and learn how to fix them. We will start by learning how to gather performance metrics, both server and query metrics, using tools available directly from Microsoft such as performance monitor, DMVs and Profiler. From there we’ll move into learning how the optimizer works and how it uses statistics to determine which indexes and other database objects can assist the performance of a query. The session takes considerable time to show exactly how to generate and read execution plans, the one best mechanism for observing how the optimizer works. We’ll then look at other DMVs that can assist you when performance tuning queries. With all this knowledge gathered, we’ll move into looking at common performance problems, how they evidence themselves in the metrics and execution plans, and how to address them. Finally, we’ll explore advanced methods for solving some of the more difficult query performance problems introducing such concepts as query hints, plan guides and plan forcing. Through all of this, best practices and common techniques will be reviewed. Attendees will go home with a working knowledge of query performance tuning, a set of methods for identifying poorly performing queries, scripts to assist in these processes and the knowledge of how fix performance problems in their own systems.

To see the other sessions go here:

Although I would prefer that you voted for me, it’s more important that you vote at all (same thing as in real life). Please go here and select the sessions that you want to see.

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SQL Saturday in New England

October 4, 2010 at 9:41 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , )

Adam Machanic (blog|twitter) has put on a SQL Saturday/Data camp event in New England for the last two years. I’ve helped him both years. It’s been very successful. In January we had over 300 attendees, making it one of the larger SQL Saturday events. But, with a single exception (thank you Tim Ford (blog|twitter)), we’ve only had local speakers. Mind you, we’re somewhat lucky with speakers here in New England and have several MVPs and others who are truly excellent when presenting.

I’m taking over from Adam to lead the effort for this year, and due to my schedule we’re moving the event to the spring sometime. We were thinking about maybe making it the the weekend before SQL Rally. But, I’ve got a question for all of you who present at SQL Saturday events. Will you show up? Will you be more, or less, likely to come if it’s near SQL Rally. Will you be likely to come, period, full stop? While I strongly believe Adam has put on a magnificent show for two years running, for some reason we just haven’t received the community lovin’ that the other SQL Saturday events have had. Since I’m the one in charge (although Adam is still pitching in, and I’m getting help from the magnificent Mike Walsh (blog|twitter)), I’d like to make it as good a show as Adam has, so I need the other great presenters to show up, in addition to our fantastic local talent.

Comments, suggestions, questions, feedback?

PS: I hate asking questions like this on the blog, but I’m trying to collect some information so I can make a decision. Feedback is a gift, so if you want skip buying me a present for Yule this year, post a comment.

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