One DBA's Ongoing Search for Clarity in the Middle of Nowhere


Yet Another Andy Writing About SQL Server

Friday, September 28, 2012

I voted in the PASS Election - you should too!

If you are a member of PASS you have probably already received an email that looks like this:


From: <>
Date: Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 4:22 AM
Subject: PASS Votes: Your 2012 Elections Ballot

Dear PASS Member,
The future of PASS is in your hands. As a Member in good standing, you are entitled to vote in the 2012 PASS Board of Directors Elections.
This year, there are three seats up for election for the 2013/2014 Board of Directors. Candidates for the open seats are:
      James Rowland-Jones
      Sri Sridharan
      Allen Kinsel
      Wendy Pastrick
      Kendal Van Dyke
Note: The candidates are listed above in the order of their Nomination Committee ranking. To learn more about the candidates, please see the 2012 Elections Candidates page.
Voting opens today, September 28, and runs through October 12, at noon PT.
To vote, please click on this individualized secure link to your ballot.
Your vote is secure and anonymous. All information collected is governed by PASS's Privacy Policy. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact PASS Governance.
PASS is your organization – thank you for taking the time to help shape its future by participating in the elections process.
The 2012 PASS Nomination Committee:
Rushabh Mehta (Chair), Thomas LaRock, Angela Henry, Stefanie Higgins, Jason Strate


Who did I vote for?  I don't know four out of the five candidates other than online and by reputation, so I read the candidate profiles on the PASS website and listened to Denny Cherry's (@mrdenny) "People Talking Tech" podcast with the five candidates.

After that research I still did what most people do - I chose to vote for the three persons that I have interacted with online and at SQL Saturdays, the three persons with whom I was most familiar.

I'm not here to stump for any particular candidate but for the process itself - get out and vote!  It's a very easy online process to click on your personalized link in your email and then to select one to three candidates - do it!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

No more NebraSQL

After having too many people ask me what NebraSQL meant (its a play on words - Nebraska+SQL - get it?)  I have decided to give up on that attempt at being clever and just go to "Nebraska SQL from @DBA_ANDY" 

I have also updated the URL to - the four of you who had me bookmarked need to update your URL ;)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Come See Us at SQL Saturday #165 in Lincoln!

I will be speaking with several of my House of Brick Technologies colleagues at SQL Saturday #165 in Lincoln in a couple weeks (October 6th):

I am giving my solo presentation on the Ola Hallengren Maintenance Solution and also co-presenting "Virtualizing Business Critical SQL Servers" with our SQL Server Solutions Architect David Klee (blog/@kleegeek). The Virtualizing talk is a how-to session as well as a tips-and-tricks session on this very popular topic - everybody virtualizes their DEV and TEST, but what about when you need to virtualize your Tier-1 OLTP app?  Come find out!

 Klee is also presenting his talk on "Database Health and Performance" which covers lots of metrics and settings that we use when we check SQL Server environments and what we recommend to our clients. You know you need to see it!

Another colleague Dave Pettengill is giving a pair of solo talks - "A Database Perspective" is a generalist view of databases and DBA's drawn from his seasoned career in IT, and "Heart to Heart with Business Users" cracks the code of how to talk to your non-technical end users without making their eyes glaze over with geek-speak.  Check them out!

Other than us there are multiple amazing speakers - SQL Server MVP's Kevin Kline (blog/@kekline), Chris Shaw (blog/@sqlshaw), Bill Pearson (@Bill_Pearson), and Phil Brammer (blog/@PhilBrammer) are going to be here, as well as noted regional speakers Bill Fellows (blog/@billinkc) and John Morehouse (blog/@sqlrus), and our local Microsoft SQL Server Technologist Sudhir Gajre (@SudhirGajre) and many more - come on out for a great day!

Oh by the way, did I say REGISTER NOW! See you there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

SQL Saturday 154 Rocked - Great Job St. Louis!

This last Saturday (09/15/2012) I traveled to St. Louis to present at #sqlsat154.  My colleague David Klee (blog/@kleegeek) and I each had one session chosen to present - he spoke on Database Health and Performance and I spoke on the Ola Hallengren Maintenance Solution.  This is the first SQL Saturday I have been to with Klee where we haven't given our marquee "Virtualizing Business Critical SQL Servers" presentation, but we were still looking forward to the event.

 Unfortunately my travel was pinched on both sides of the trip so I missed the Friday night speaker dinner and I had to leave early before the last session of the day Saturday (also missing the after-party) but the SQL Saturday I saw was great, especially considering this was the first ever SQL Saturday in St. Louis and it was organized by a team without any SQL Saturday experience anywhere else - they nailed it!

First, they used the SpeedPASS, which is cool because it is a single stop to print off your admission ticket, name badge, lunch ticket, and vendor raffle tickets all at once.  Definitely something every SQL Saturday should be doing if they already aren't.

Second, they created a Guidebook for the event which gave the speakers and attendees an easy way to pull all of the event information (schedule, local map, etc.) onto our smart phones - again something every SQL Saturday should be doing (and maybe they already are.)

The conference hotel was the Crowne Plaza Clayton, just a couple blocks from the event.  It was a classy older hotel with wood floors in the guest rooms and a very nice complementary breakfast.

It was a beautiful Saturday and we walked to the venue, the  Center for Application of Information Technology (CAIT) at Washington University St. Louis.  It was a nice venue with decent-sized classrooms and the best part was that all of the classrooms were very near each other so there wasn't lots of roaming through the building looking for your room.  The only exception was the room I in which I presented, which was up one flight of stairs from the others, but that room was directly adjacent to the opening registration area so even it was still easy to find.

Klee had the first session of the day and the room was overflowing with about a dozen people standing or bringing in extra chairs in the back of the room. 


Klee presents a firehose of information in this session and even though I tech reviewed his slides it is still all I could do to keep up as we flew through the data.  He had lots of good questions from people on his performance metrics and how they applied to physical servers versus virtual servers and vice-versa.  Afterwards several people approached us for follow-up, which was great!

The second session of the day for us was "PWNED! Security, SQL Server, and You!" by Arie Jones (blog/@programmersedge).  This session was informative and more than little scary as Arie discussed the fact that most of the malware loose in the world is based on freely available tools - tools that both the good guys and bad guys use to do battle on a daily basis.  The session was about more than just SQL Server, describing tools that can exploit networks, operating systems, and more. He described how he recently checked a hotel he was staying in and could have had widespread access using those relatively simple tools.  Like I said - scary stuff.

 The next session (the last before lunch) was "Cubicle to Consulting" by Scott Shaw (blog/@shawsql).  As I have spent 10+ years as a cubicle employee and only 11 *months* as a consultant I was interested to hear Scott's take on the topic.  I also was interested in meeting Scott as I have talked to him online but never met him in-person.  Scott had a very even-handed approach, describing the pluses and minuses of each situation and comparing each of them to being a contractor, which he described as being a combination of the two.  Very informative non-technical content.

We did have a great moment of comedy in this session when Scott described how he is often confused with @sqlshaw (SQL Server MVP Chris Shaw) and promptly two people in the room started tweeting about Chris (@sqlshaw) rather than Scott (@shawsql) and it drew a somewhat confused response from Chris since he wasn't even at the event in St. Louis. {-:

Lunch was prepacked sandwiches from Amighetti's.  The sandwiches had too much mayo on them for me (I'm picky that way) but I heard lots of positive comments from the other attendees.  Lunch also brought us sponsor presentations, so we learned about Scott Shaw's employer Oakwood - a BI and infrastructure consultancy based out of St. Louis.

I was up for the first session after lunch with my presentation on how to "Maintain Your DBs with Help from Ola Hallengren." 

 I added some demos to the presentation this time around and it added some needed detail (and length) to the presentation and overall it went very well.  Similar to Kansas City I had several people in the room who were already using Ola's MaintenanceSolution.sql and just wanted to find out whether they were already doing what I was pitching, and I had several others who had never heard of it before (or had heard of it and never investigated it) and based on the questions and comments I believe I had some converts. {-:   My slides are available at the SQL Saturday #154 site on my presentation page here.  Similar to Klee's session, after my session we had some great follow-up questions and distributed some business cards.

As I mentioned above I had to skip out before the last session of the day to catch my flight (I missed out on Brian Flynn's (@brianpaulflynn) session on "Pivoting Performance Data & Pinpointing Problems" - maybe next time Brian!) but overall I was very impressed with Sanil Mhatre (blog/@sqlsuperguru) and the SQL Saturday 154 team and their efforts and I am definitely looking forward to the next SQL Saturday St. Louis!

As I have previously stated, the SQL Saturday phenomenon has exploded in the last couple of years and if there isn't one near you, contact Karla Landrum (blog/@KarlaKay22) and PASS and they will help you set one up - it is definitely worth it!