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


Yet Another Andy Writing About SQL Server

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Announcing SQL Saturday 197 Omaha Pre-Cons!

Here is a flyer produced by someone on the team - he says it all very well:


Friday, April 5, 2013
Get Warmed Up For SQL Saturday By Attending The Preconference!  

Three Great Speakers, Three Great Topics!


Scaling SQL Server 2012 (Glenn Berry - @GlennAlanBerry)

How can you scale SQL Server 2012? Scaling up is relatively easy (but can be expensive), while scaling out requires significant engineering time and effort. If you suggest hardware upgrades you may be accused of simply “throwing hardware at the problem”, and if you try to scale out, you may be thwarted by a lack of development resources or 3rd party software restrictions. As your database server nears its load capacity, what can you do? This session gives you concrete, practical advice on how to deal with this situation. Starting with your present workload, configuration and hardware, we will explore how to find and alleviate bottlenecks, whether they are workload related, configuration related, or hardware related. Next, we will cover how you can decide whether you should scale up or scale out your data tier. Once that decision is made, you will learn how to scale up properly, with nearly zero down-time. If you decide to scale out, you will learn about practical, production-ready techniques such as vertical partitioning, horizontal partitioning, and data dependent routing. We will also cover how to use middle-tier caching and other application techniques to increase your overall scalability.

Practical Self-Service BI with PowerPivot 2012 for Excel (Bill Pearson - @Bill_Pearson)

SQL Server MVP and Business Intelligence Architect Bill Pearson leads this full-day, hands-on introduction to using PowerPivot 2012 for Excel to deliver self-service business intelligence.  The focus of the course is to help those new to PowerPivot to become familiar with the assembly of data from diverse sources into models that deliver business intelligence upon demand.  Participants will gain exposure to accessing and relating data, and to employing the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language, to construct and share PowerPivot applications that support analysis and reporting throughout the enterprise.  The intended audience is information workers (business- or IT-based) involved in analysis and reporting of data,  intermediate - to - advanced Excel users,  practitioners that want to gain familiarity with PowerPivot to build compelling analysis and reporting applications to deliver self-service BI.


Prof. PowerShell: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love PowerShell (Jeff Hicks - @JeffHicks)

Windows PowerShell has a special talent for simultaneously exciting and terrifying IT Pros. Many see it as just another scripting language or passing fad. Other's see it as an essential technology for managing today's Windows-based environments. Some IT Pros feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start and others dive right into the deep end, sometimes with mixed results. In this one day session, PowerShell MVP, author and Prof. PowerShell will dispel fears, myths and misconceptions surrounding this must-know management tool. If you've been dabbling in PowerShell, wondering what all the fuss is about, or simply want to get a jump start, this is the session for you. After this crash course on PowerShell 3.0 you'll realize you had nothing to worry about begin to feel the PowerShell love.

This isn't a formal training course, but bring your laptop with PowerShell 3.0 and feel free to follow along.

Get Tickets Now:

Early Bird Special = $100
After March 22nd = $115


Register now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Value of Certifications

A former co-worker recently sent me an email asking about Microsoft certifications, and if I pursued them, and what I thought about them.  I started to write a response and it sounded like a good blog post {-: so here it is:


I am certified through the gills in SQL 2000 (MCDBA) and 2005 (MCITP), but when it came time to upgrade to 2008 I got distracted by life and let it slide.  I finally tried the upgrade exam once right before it retired and just missed passing it.

My experience with certs is that many people don't value Microsoft certs because they are seen as just paper - the only cert that really is valued in the community is the MCM (now the MCSM) - the Master certification.  The catch in the MCM/MCSM is that it requires most of the lower level certs as prerequisites - you have to be an MCITP Admin *and* an MCITP Developer as prereq's for Master.  (The developer requirement is why I sincerely doubt I will ever pursue MCM/MCSM.)

Unless you are interested in going for Master (or are looking at a specific job listing that requires you to be an MCITP) I would not spend your effort (and $$) on it - you will not see much real reward out of it other than whatever intrinsic feeling of accomplishment you get from passing tests - there are no raises or better jobs or anything else just from being certified *if* you already have experience.  For a brand-new DBA there may be some benefit if you are competing for jobs against other new DBA's - the guy with the no experience and the cert may have an edge over the guy with no experience and no cert.

Having said that, the certification blueprints (topic lists) are good sources of study material if you just want to know what there is to learn for learning's sake - but you can do that without shelling out a few hundred dollars per test for multiple tests.  Most of my SQL 2000 and 2005 certs were achieved while I was working for a boss who saw great value in certification and education and therefore funded everything.

Someone told me back when I worked at the University of Nebraska - a certification just tells a potential employer one thing - that you know how to take tests.  For Microsoft certs lower than Master, I completely agree.  The Master is a two-part written and lab exam and is supposed to be the best exam MS has ever created.  One of the guys in our office recently took (and passed) the Knowledge (written) half of the exam and it blew his mind compared to all of the MCITP tests.

So....if you are thinking of becoming a certified Master (I think there are ~75 of them in the world) then you *have* to take the lower tests and you should get on it.  If you are not thinking of that, then I wouldn't worry about it.


...and that's my $.02