Archive for the ‘Training/Events’ Category

I attended my first SQL Skills event in December 2011.  Due to a big project at work I was able to work in week three of the Immersion Events which is HA/DR “High Availability and Disaster Recovery”.  Although I am taking the training out of sequence my hope is to be able to attend IE2 later this fall.  IE2 is the performance tuning session.

Expectations are high when you attend an Immersion Event.  Many will argue that it is the best training available.  I haven’t attended every possible training out there but I have attended training from the numerous “training centers”, attended a lot of SQL Saturday’s and three PASS Summits.  Of all the training I have attended, the Immersion Events are the best.

Anytime that you put Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, Joe Sack and Jonathan Kehayias in the same room talking about topics they love you are in for a treat.  I will tell you that topics range from consolidation, virtualization, backups, restores, clustering, mirroring, replication, design options and more.  The fact you can find this information at SQL Skills I don’t mind sharing it.

For me, each day I was able to learn something pretty significant that will have direct impact at work, thus each day the cost of the training was justified.  How cool is that.

Thursday night at these events are community night.  Several attendees get to present a 15 minute session.  I was fortunate to be able to be one of those.  I presented “Getting Involved and Getting Ahead”, my session was on all things SQL Community.

If you ever have a change to attend, you are well feed both physically and intellectually.  Don’t miss the chance to get immersed in SQL Server.


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On March 9th a tweet went out by David Fargo announcing the 2012 Idera ACE’s and my twitter handle was included in the list.  http://bit.ly/ABedR0  March 9th could also be deemed the day twitter blew up my iPhone.  The congratulations from the SQL Community was truly amazing.

The Idera ACE program is something that has interested me since Idera began the program.  Idera ACE’s are “Advisors & Community Educators for SQL Server” and Idera helps promote the ACE’s by sponsoring their travel to a number of SQL Server events.  You can read all about the program and meet your current ACE’s HERE.

Six of us were chosen from a great deal of applicants.  I can only imagine how difficult the selection process had to me and I count my blessings that my name got stuck to one of the other new ACE’s applications and got counted in the mix.  I am proud to be a part of the 2012 ACE program and join Jason Strate, Christina Leo, Jack Corbett, DB Argenis and Ben Nevarez.

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I have the privilege of attending SQL Skills Immersion Event week one in Atlanta GA this week.  My expectations were high since it is SQL Skills.  Paul and Kimberly are two of the most respected SQL Server professionals in the business and have quite a few years under their belt with working with SQL Server.  What ever my expectations were coming into the event, they were met and exceeded.  I was somewhat concerned that the level of content would be far above my level of comprehension and that many things would be over my head.  That hasn’t been the case.  The flow of information is at such a pace that everyone can keep up and they take the time to fully explain the more complex topics.

For anyone that is thinking about attending more advanced SQL training to progress your career, the Immersion Events are worth the price of admission.  The only downside is there are 4 different weeks of training and most companies wont pay for someone to attend all 4 weeks in one calendar year.  If you are like me, you get one week of training, that means it would take me 4 years to get to attend all of it.

If you haven’t attended a SQL Skills Immersion Event or don’t know about them, then check out the SQL Skills website.  For one, you should already be familiar with Paul, Kim, and Jonathan’s blogs and you should also be a SQL Skills insider.

Be on the lookout for some upcoming blogs on many of the new things I have learned this week.

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The time following the PASS Summit has been absolutely crazy for me.  Upon returning home I spent some much needed time with my wife and kids and returned to work on Monday.  During my normal lunchtime activity of playing racquetball I sustained a very nasty injury to my eye.  This put me out of commission for a couple of weeks.  I am still having issues and will ultimately have to have surgery.  Yuck.

On the work front things have been just as crazy.  We had a very high profile project that I got pulled into that required being pulled out of my office for a week and working day and night. The hours were very long but the project was awesome to work on.  I got to work with so many different areas of our IT department and learn a great deal about a tool called WireShark.

I was also recently promoted to Database Administrator Lead.  I have four other DBA’s on my team that I get to help mentor and support.  This is a huge honor for me and right in line with my desire to pay it forward.  I have spoken at numerous SQL Saturdays this year as well as leading a PASS Chapter.  Now I get to influence others in my company as a job responsibility.  🙂

I have been working with Central Management Server and exploring Policy Based Management.  Over the next few weeks I should have it elevated into production to help better manage my environment.  I picked up several tips and tricks during the Summit.  I may have to dig out my notes from the sessions since it has been awhile.

This week I have been spending time in Atlanta attending SQL Skills Immersion week one.  I hope to be able to attend week two in Tampa early next year.  I have attended various training over the past decade from various places but hands down, SQL Skills provides the best content and training method I have ever experienced.


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I started out day three after the keynote by attending Adam Machanic session on Query Tuning.  I must say that I will need to watch this session again once I can stream it.  There was way to much good information being given for me to remember it all and couldn’t take notes for fear of missing something.  Double edge sword I suppose.  Didn’t take notes but couldn’t remember everything I heard either.

Lunch was set up with birds of a feather style where you could sit at a table with industry experts.  Since I am in need of setting up PBM and CMS when I get back to the office I sat with Jorge and Colin.  Learned a few things as well as getting a full belly.

After lunch I dropped into Glenn Berry’s session on Scaling SQL Server.  Glenn presented some great information that all system admins and architects should also hear.

Next I went to John Sterrett’s session on CMS and PBM.  Combine that with attending Jorge’s session on PBM in a nutshell and I truly feel like I can get this PBM project underway when I get back to work on Monday.

All in all, Friday was a successful day for me to walk away with much more knowledge than I started with.


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Day two of sessions only had me attending three sessions.  One of them was 3 hours.  I started out after the keynote attending Klaus’s session on Advanced SQL 2008 troubleshooting.  Klaus had a huge crowd and covered some really good information.  I picked up a couple of new tips to apply when I get back to work next week.

My second session was probably one of the best I attended.  Thomas LaRock put on a sessions titled “Performance Tuning Made Easy”.  LaRock covered the method and framework for troubleshooting.  This really hit home for me.  I have attended numerous sessions on indexing, performance tuning with DMV’s, etc.  LaRock covered a step by step approach to troubleshooting that I will be implementing when I get back.

I finished out the day with Paul Randal in his Myth Busters session.  Paul always draws a crowd and puts on a great show.  Paul helps debunk common myths that are floating around.

There were several social events after day two of the sessions.  Idera had a happy hour at the Tap House, SQL Sentry put on an event at Pike Brewing Co, and Red-Gate had a dinner for the Friends of Red-Gate.  The Friend of Red-Gate dinner was at FareStart.  There is a wonderful story around FareStart where they take in homeless and nearly homeless folks and put them through culinary school.  The restaurant prepares 2500 lunches 7 days a week to be distributed around Seattle.  It is an amazing foundation.  This has inspired many of us to do something different within the SQL Community.  I spent a few hours with a couple of key people that have the resources to put together an amazing program.  I am looking forward to seeing something develop with them over the next several months.

Day two was a success for me.

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The keynote started out with Rob Farley and Buck Woody singing an awesome song about a slow running query.  What a great way to start out the day.  Next Wayne Snider was recognized.  He spoke at his first summit in 1999.  Both Wayne and Rick Heiges are rolling off the PASS board this year.  Wayne gave a good roast of Rick and congratulated him on helping create the 24 hours of PASS.  Well done Rick.

Wayne got a bit emotional up on the stage which he said was either gratitude or intergesten .  Wayne gave a great quote “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters of success stick in your career”.  Here’s to Wayne for making such an impact on the SQL Community.  Thanks for all you have done.

May 10th – May 11th – SQL Rally.  SQL Saturdays are everywhere.  PASS Summit 2012 will be November 6 -9th in Seattle WA.  Two days of pre-cons starting on Nov 5th.  $995 for Summit $1395 includes both days of pre-con’s.  Free ebook by Manning on MVP Deep Dives collection.  This is a combination of both MVP Deep Dives books.  It is 96 pages and FREE.

Birds of a Feather lunch is today.  This is always a huge hit.

Last day to get the DVD set for $125 plus S/H.  That is only $.73 per session.

David Dewitt came on stage to the largest applause yet.  He is clearly a fan favorite.  David created two new hash tags so we can tweet which specs we want him to wear.  This data will be analyzed as big data.

What is big data?  Think pedabytes.  2700 nodes and 60 PD’s is what Facebook deals with.  Now that is BIG DATA.  Estimates for the worlds data is 35 ZB by 2020.  That is enough dvd’s to be stacked almost to Mars.  What is generating the increase?  More data, web searches, tweets, people realizing data is to valuable to delete, and the cost of storage is decreasing.  The old guard (ebay) uses 10 PB on 256 nodes, young turks (facebook) use 20 PB on 2700 nodes, Bing 150 PB on 40k nodes.

NoSQL does not mean NO to SQL.  It’s really to say Not Only SQL.  So why NoSQL?  More data model flexibility.  JSON as a data model, No “schema first”, relaxed consistence models.  They are willing to trade consistency for availability.  Low upfront software costs. The folks just don’t understand SQL.  (applause from the audience)

We now have two universes.  Structured and Unstructured.  Relational DB and NoSQL Systems.  ACID and NoACID.  Relation DB’s provide maturity, stability, efficiency.  NoSQL provides a large amount of flexibility.

This is not a shift to a new DB platform.  SQL is not going away.  RDBMS will dominate transaction processing and ALL small to medium sized data warehouses. Many business will end up with data in both universes.

Dr Dewitt started explaining how Hadoop came to be and how it stores data by splitting large files into smaller chunks and storing them across the cluster nodes.  They are stored in a file system.  Based on its method of storing the data on clusters in different racks with different switches fault tolerance and speed are great.  One of the nodes could actually be in another datacenter.  Sounds like some complicated algorithms making this happen.

When a datanode fails, the data that was stored on that node are then stored on other available nodes in the cluster.  When a new node is brought back online the file system will start spreading the data around to this new node.  These events are all down under the covers.

Pro’s – Highly fault tolerant, relatively easy to write, MR framework removes burde of dealing with failures from programmers.

Con’s – Schema embedded in application code, a lack of shared schema.

Dr Dewitt went on to say that Facebook created HIVE and Yahoo created PIG in order to query Hadoop data.  MapReduce jobs are difficult to write when you have to join data.  Tables in HIVE or more relation DBMS like with data stored in tables.

Connecting the universes – Sqoop.  Reasons were stated on why we would want to connect the universes such as being able to use procedural language to query.  You may also need to access data that is in both relational and NoSQL environments for the business need.  Makes sense to me.

Ok, so I got caught up in Dewitt’s speech and didn’t type as much.  He basically laid it all down on how Hadoop stores all the data.  He covered the pro’s and con’s of it all.  Very well done.  I suggest everyone who is interested to stream the keynote from the SQLPASS.ORG website.  It is recorded and available.  Really good stuff.

Basically to sum it up – NoSQL tools: Hive, Pig, and Sqoop. We learned their history and some of the things they are useful for. NoSQL = Not Only SQL.  Relational Databases are not going anywhere and there is a market place for both.  There are now TWO universes.  Structured and “Not So” Structured.

Watch the keynote.  One of the final slides is worth it alone.  Great visual aide.

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