Category Archives: sql server

PASS Board of Directors Election

A few years ago I volunteered to work for the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter.  It was an effort to help revive a group that was in the doldrums, and It’s also where I first got to know Ryan Adams.  Later that year I met Ryan in person at SQL Rally in Dallas where we talked about an idea he had – to create a full day event of virtual sessions on SQL Server performance.  Today, that event is known as the Performance Palooza.  It was held for the 4th time in July earlier this year and has built a fantastic following, with nearly 2,800 attendees tuning in to the 8 sessions presented.

The Palooza is an event that personifies Ryan’s commitment to PASS and it’s values.  The delivery of education on SQL Server related topics to so much of PASS’ membership, along with the people connections made around the world via these events, is the type of thing that has helped PASS grow and prosper.  It’s volunteers like Ryan that make this happen, yet this is just one of Ryan many roles with PASS.  He’s a user’s group board member, SQL Saturday organizer, a regional mentor, frequent speaker, and more.

This is why I’m voting for Ryan and encourage you to do so also.  Ryan is running for the PASS Board of Directors and elections are upon us.  Ryan does as much for PASS as anyone I know, and his straightforward manner, relentless involvement, and common sense approach will make him a great director.  You can read more about Ryan on his candidate page.  I have no doubt that Ryan will be a great addition to the board.

Summer Performance Palooza

The SQL PASS Performance Virtual Chapter has put together an exceptional event this week called the Summer Performance Palooza, an encore to the highly attended Winter Palooza held last December.  The Palooza will take place this Thursday, June 27, with an all-star lineup of SQL experts that promises to deliver a full day of high quality SQL Server Performance sessions.  The day begins with three morning sessions if you live in the Americas, starting at 10am Central Time/3pm GMT.  These sessions, while not beginner level, cover foundational topics in SQL Server such as indexing, statistics and bad performance habits that are required knowledge for any DBA.  Jes, Erin and Aaron will show you practices and techniques that you can put to use today to achieve top database performance.

10am          Jes Borland               Index Methods You’re Not Using

11am          Erin Stellato              Updates to Statistics and the Effect on Query Performance

12pm         Aaron Bertrand         10 Bad Habits that can Kill Performance

These sessions are followed by Wendy Pastrick showing us how to use our old friend Performance Monitor in a virtualized environment.  This is important for so many DBAs dealing with virtual databases today, and knowing how to interpret PerfMon data is vital to pinpoint virtual DB performance problems.

1pm           Wendy Pastrick         Using Performance Monitor for your Virtual Servers

The afternoon delivers three sessions that show you how to approach, attack, and solve SQL Server performance issues.  Janis, Brian and Brent will take you beyond the obvious and get you digging into areas of SQL Server you may not have known existed.

2pm          Janis Griffin                Looney Tuner? No, there IS a method to my madness!

3pm          Brian Flynn                 Pivoting Performance Data & Pinpointing Problems

4pm          Brent Ozar                  How the SQL Server Engine Thinks

Finally, Todd Kleinhas shows us how to quickly and easily build a SQL Server Lab using virtual machines to help us solve our performance issues.  Make sure to catch this session if you are in need of spinning up environments to run through specific scenarios or to facilitate repeatable testing.

5pm           Todd Kleinhas           How to Build an Affordable SQL Server Lab

The Performance VC wants to thank our sponsor Confio whose support as our sponsor has helped us get this done for you.  Click here to go to the Performance Virtual Chapter web site and register.  See you Thursday!

PASS Summit 2012 brings people together

I spent last week at the PASS Summit in Seattle and it was an experience worth writing about.  I presented two session which I’ll also talk about, but I want to cover the greater event first.  This conference brings people together better than any conference I’ve attended, and it isn’t even close.  A great effort is made by the Summit organizers, volunteers, and attendees to keep you busy either attending sessions or meeting with people.  I participated by being a first-time attendee mentor and heading up a birds of a feather table at Friday’s lunch, but there were so many that I couldn’t be part of them all.  Yet it seems I spent the whole week, outside of sessions, talking to old friends and meeting new people from 8 AM until 10 PM every day.  The talk ranged from mentoring people new to the SQL Server world to discussing deep technical issues, new business opportunities, and ideas for SQL Saturdays and user’s groups.   This is the true value of the Summit that no other conference provides.  When you combine the networking at the Summit with all of the associated local and regional events such as user’s groups and SQL Saturdays, you really get to know people in the community in a personal way.

My Sessions

I had the privilege of presenting two sessions at the Summit this year.  I presented Real-time Data Warehouse and Reporting Solutions on Friday and to my surprise, the room was so full that the moderator had to close the door 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.  There were even people sitting on the floor!  The attendance and the participation was great to see.  There was great interaction with the audience during the session and 30 minutes of follow up questions afterwards.  The demo for this session is really difficult to get working during the presentation, but I’m happy to say that I got it running!

My other session was Thursday morning titled Data Modeling Best Practices for Enterprise Tabular Models.  The session also had a full house, although it wasn’t so full that the moderator needed to close the doors.  There was also a lot of interaction during this session and questions afterwards. My only regret about this presentation is that one of my DAX queries didn’t work.  I had a cheat sheet so I could copy and paste longer code and avoid typing in front of the audience, but even this failed.  I must have made a stray keystroke into the cheat sheet when I was reviewing the presentation beforehand in the speaker room.  I reviewed it later and it turned out I had removed a parentheses from the middle of the DAX code.  It’s really difficult to debug code during a session and after a couple of quick attempts and suggestions from the audience I decided to move on.

I should have looked on my own blog!  The correct code was right there since I had blogged about the topic a week earlier, but I felt compelled to move on and not hold up the session any longer since the point I wanted to make with the failing DAX code wasn’t foundational to the presentation.  However, it’s always disappointing when something like this happens because I spent so much time preparing.  It makes me think I should prepare my demos using techniques from the Food channel, where I have a version of it already baked so I can go to it just in case it fails during the presentation.  I’ll blog about the failed code later this week since it reinforces some of the points I was making regarding the BI Architect’s decision-making process for Enterprise Tabular Models..