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September OPASS Meeting Recap

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 22, 2009

OPASS met last Tuesday, September 14th, with a mini (15 minute) presentation by Todd Holmes on Backup Basics and Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) speaking on Policy Based Management in the main presentation.  We had  good crowd of about 20-25.

Meeting Introduction

We started the meeting with some announcements and discussion of who was going to the PASS SUMMIT.  I was officially presented as co-President of OPASS and took some time to discuss the upcoming SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando schedule as I was the one responsible for putting the schedule together.

We then had about 10 minutes of networking time.  I spent it talking with Mark, who had come to Orlando on a contract job that had been ended and was looking for work and guidance as to where to go to get solid SQL Server training.

Mini Presentation – Backup Basics

Todd did an okay job on his mini presentation on Backup Basics.  He is a first time speaker and you could tell he was a little nervous about being in front of a group.  He covered recovery models, backup types, and backup and restore command syntax.  I thought he did well to cover that much information in 15 minutes.  I don’t think I could have covered as much, especially with the number of questions that were asked.

Feature Presentation – Policy Based Management

Jorge did a good job presenting on PBM.  This was my first exposure to it and I was impressed by what you can do with it.  He went over the architecture and examples of how to use it.  I came away convinced that any DBA in a shop with more than a couple of SQL Servers should become familiar with it and use it.  We did learn one thing that is a little disturbing about having an active policy in place, like requiring stored procedure names to fit a standard.  If you have an existing procedure that does not meet the standard and you, for whatever reason, make changes to that procedure and choose to deploy those changes using a DROP and CREATE the policy will block the rollback the CREATE, but not the DROP.  Here’s an example:

Existing Procedure
@order_id INT



order_id = @order_id;


Now you create a policy that says that
stored procedures must begin with usp_%

You realize that SELECT * is a bad practice
so you want to change the procedure to only
return the required columns and you do a Drop
and Create

IF OBJECT_ID(N'dbo.sp_getorder', N'P') IS NOT NULL
dbo.sp_getorder ;


@order_id INT



order_id = @order_id;



The PBM violation will not allow the CREATE to take place, but will allow the DROP.  There may be ways to work around this, but Jorge didn’t know any off the top of his head.  This discussion was driven by a question from Kendal Van Dyke (@SQLDDBA).

Post Meeting Discussion

As usual we had a good post meeting discussion as Kendal, Jorge, Andy, and I stuck around for about an hour and others for about 30 minutes.  We talked about networking, PASS, PASS Summit, and keeping up.

As always some good value in the meeting and the post meeting discussion.

Posted in Community, OPASS, SQL Server, User Group | 1 Comment »

Orlando PASS Meeting

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 15, 2009

Tonight is the OPASS bi-monthly meeting.  Todd Holmes will be giving a mini presentation on SQL Server Backups and out main speaker will be Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) speaking on Policy Based Management.  Jorge is very involved in the community as a blogger, twitterer, and speaking at local user groups and SQLSaturday’s.  This will be my first time hearing Jorge speak, but I am sure it will go well as Jorge is knowledgeable and engaging.

Come on out.  Meeting starts at 6 and there is free pizza and always some type of SWAG.  We meet at End to End Training’s office in Altamonte Springs, FL, sorry that would be SQLShare’s offices (Map).

Posted in OPASS, User Group | Leave a Comment »

Professional Growth – Community Involvement

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 25, 2009

As part of my professional development and to help raise my professional profile, I have become more involved with my local user group (OPASS) and with SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando.  With OPASS I have taken on the task of trying to find speakers.  This can be a bit of a daunting task as I am relatively new to the Orlando area (2 years) and have really just begun meeting the technical community in the last year or so, which means my personal network is limited.  I have found social networking, particularly Twitter, to be helpful in this area. In reality becoming involved in this task is forcing me to be more aggressive in networking, as I believe networking is not just meeting people, but also keeping in touch with them so that they can help you and you can help them.  I have been able to schedule speakers for the last OPASS meeting and the next OPASS meeting, now I just need to get someone for our November meeting.  Anyone interested?

With SQLSaturday I have been tasked with selecting and scheduling sessions.  At this writing we have had 45 sessions submitted by about 25 people.  Part of the SQLSaturday goal is to give local people a place beyond user groups to share their knowledge, so in most cases every person who submits a session will be selected, but it is still a lot of work as I have to check for similar sessions so we have a variety, group sessions into tracks, and, in some cases, deal with speaker scheduling issues.  I also need to contact speakers from past years, if they have not submitted, to make sure they know we are interested in having them back and because, to be honest, the more sessions we have submitted the more attendees we are likely to have as there is a greater variety in the sessions.  As I’ve worked through the process, I’ve definitely gained a greater appreciation for the job done by the PASS program committee as they have many more submissions than sessions available, while I basically just have to schedule the sessions submitted.

If you are interested in speaking at SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando you need to get you abstract(s) in by August 30th.  Here’s the link, http://www.sqlsaturday.com/callforspeakers.aspx

Posted in OPASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday | Leave a Comment »

SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando Announced!

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 28, 2009

Andy Warren and crew at OPASS have announced that SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando will be held at Seminole Community College, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773, on October 17th.  The call for speakers just opened this afternoon and we have our first session submitted, and it wasn’t by me or @SQLChicken!

This is the third SQLSaturday in Orlando and second at this location, so hopefully we have the kinks worked out.  There is one change this year that there will be a $10 charge to cover lunch, likely from Jason’s Deli.  You’ll still get water, soda, donuts, coffee, and fruit throughout the day for free, plus the usual swag.  That’s not to mention the excellent FREE training.  I attended the first SQLSaturday Orlando and was a speaker/volunteer at last year’s event.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who has not thought it was a terrific event.  I’ve also spoke at the SQLSaturday 14 – Pensacola and everyone there enjoyed that event as well.

If you work with SQL Server there’s no better way to get a free day of training, so register now.  If you work with SQL Server and are passionate about it, then there is no better place to share that passion by presenting.  I don’t think that there is anything more rewarding than sharing your experience and expertise with others.  I’ll be submitting at least one session.

If you have any questions about SQL Server then suggest a session.  I know I check the suggested sessions for ideas and if I have the necessary knowledge I’ll submit a session based on a suggestion.

I’ll be there, and hopefully I’ll see you there as well.

Posted in Code Camp, Community, OPASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, Training, User Group, Volunteering | Leave a Comment »

July OPASS Meeting Recap

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 15, 2009

Last night I attended, along with about 20 others, the latest and greatest OPASS meeting.  I got there early to help setup and great people as they came in.   I may not be the most enthusiastic greeter, but I’m willing and working on doing better.  Greeting also gives me the opportunity to “meet” everyone and try to remember names and find out where people work and how they use SQL Server.  Of course Andy Warren had to give me a hard time about how I was doing the job.  It wouldn’t be an OPASS meeting without taking some grief from Andy.

The meeting started with some updates from Andy on SQLSaturday – Orlando planning, other upcoming events, and some discussion about PASS and what technologies other than SQL Server that PASS could/should cover (Sharepoint, Excel, etc…).  My personal opinion is that PASS should stick with SQL Server, especially since there is so much that is part of SQL Server (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS, DB Engine), why does PASS need to expand?

We then had about 15-20 minutes of networking (group hug) and I spent the time talking with Nick who works in BI for Hilton and would like to transition to DBA.  We had a good discussion about how to transition and what resources are out there to learn how to be a SQL Server DBA.  I guess my biggest failing was not getting his last name and I probably should have given him a business card.  Hopefully I’ll see him again at the next meeting and rectify the situation.

The feature presentation was Powershell vs T-SQL by Chad Miller.  Chad is very passionate about the power of Powershell and knowledgeable and it definitely came across in his presentation.  I have to admit that I was looking for things to pick at Powershell, but really couldn’t come up with much.  I happen to be a “Jack of all trades” so I do some .NET development and would probably do a lot of what Chad did in Powershell in .NET because I already know .NET, but if I were not familiar with .NET I could definitely see learning and using Powershell.  Chad also did a good job of giving specific instances where Powershell is better/simpler to use than T-SQL and when T-SQL Is the better choice, so he did not have an “all Powershell all the time” stance which I appreciated.  I can definitely see where Powershell can make auditing easier and how it can make managing a multi-server environment easier to automate.  Since I am in a one SQL Server shop right now, I don’t see me using it a lot, but I will try to find a project to test it out and learn it.  Chad’s slide deck and demos can be found on his blog.

After the presentation we hung around and talked for about an hour or so.  I spent some time talking with Chad and Kendal Van Dyke about Powershell and other SQL Server tools like SSIS, etc…  Then Andy, Kendal, and Kendal’s co-worker, Todd, and I had some discussions about the PASS Summit, SQLSaturday’s, and growing speakers.  It’s always interesting getting together with these guys and finding out what they think and why.  I never leave without some interesting things to think about.

Posted in Community, OPASS, User Group | Leave a Comment »

OPASS Meeting July 14th

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 13, 2009

Hey, Orlando area SQL Server folks, don’t forget the OPASS meeting 6pmTuesday, July 14th at End to End Training (map).  Chad Miller will be presenting on Powershell and T-SQL. 

As usual there will be an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting for networking and then again after the meeting.  Even when the presentation is excellent, many times the discussion before and after the meeting are just as profitable.

Posted in Community, OPASS | Leave a Comment »

Making SQLSaturday Orlando Bigger and Better

Posted by sqlwiseguy on June 1, 2009

Once again I am a bit late in getting this out, but on Saturday, May 23rd, I participated in the first planning meeting for SQLSaturday – Orlando 2009.  This will be the third SQLSaturday in Orlando, fourth if you count the Tweener Weekend.  Andy Warren is once again taking the lead role for the event, although he is looking for someone else to take that over for 2010, and he asked a few folks that have been involved in OPASS and the other Orlando SQLSaturday’s to join him for lunch to begin planning this year’s event.  Here are few things we discussed:

Getting People to Attend the After Party

With ~275 people attending the event, getting less than 50 to attend the After Party seems to be a low number, especially when most of them are speakers and volunteers.  We understand that it’s a long day of training, but we also think that one of the most valuable aspects of the day is the networking opportunity.  We discussed having a barbecue (burgers and dogs) on-site instead of adjourning to a restaurant.  I personally think this will be a great way to get people to stay.  I know I have been to events where once I get in my car, even with the intention of going to the after event party, I decide I’m tired and would rather go home.  If I never get to my car, I probably hang out.  There are definitely some logistical issues with doing the After Party on site, but I think the payoff will be worth it.

Growing the Event

How do we get more people to come?  There have to be a lot more than 400 people working with SQL Server in the Orlando area, right?  What do we need to do to get them to come to a free training event?  Certainly adding some “name” speakers would help, but that adds to the event budget and it reduces the number of slots for local speakers.  One of the area where I think we are weak is that we don’t market the event enough to developers.  A lot of the content provided is applicable to .NET/Java/Web developers who access SQL Server.  There is almost always content around SQL Injection which is applicable to developers as well as DBA’s.  One way we want to do this is by adding a slogan or motto that will show that SQLSaturday is for anyone who has any interaction with SQL Server.

Charging for Lunch

One of the biggest expenses for the weekend is providing lunch.  A couple of events have charged for lunch and we discussed and pretty much decided to try adding a $10 lunch fee.  This will allow us to use the budget for providing a better overall event and possibly more swag instead of lunch.  This also will help us as we move to on on-site After Party which will be included at no cost.  So for $10 you get a full day of training; coffee, donuts, fruit, soda, water throughout the day; lunch; and a barbecue.  What could be better.

Pre and Post Event Seminars

On the Friday before SQLSaturday #1, End to End Training hosted a one day seminar with Joe Celko for $99 which brought in about 50 people.  One of the reasons was to get Joe to come and speak at SQLSaturday.  You can agree or disagree with Joe, but he is knowledgeable and certainly generates interest.  We discussed the feasibility of doing multiple events like this during the week before and possibly the Monday after SQLSaturday.  This could possibly encourage some speakers from out of the area to come to Orlando to make a little money and stay and speak at SQLSaturday, so maybe we get a couple bigger names to come, which may help us meet our first goal of growing the event.

This is one of my longer posts, but I think it was worth it to let people know what we are doing to try to make SQLSaturday Orlando a better event.  I think it’s a great event already, I was an attendee at the first one, and a speaker and volunteer at the second, but there are always areas where you can get better and we want to do that. 

I’ll be speaking at SQLSaturday Pensacola this weekend, June 6th, and this will be my first non-Orlando SQLSaturday so it will be good to see how someone else puts together the event and hopefully get some ideas to bring home to Orlando.  So if you are in and around Pensacola I hope to see you there.  There’s a great lineup of speakers.

Posted in Code Camp, Community, OPASS, PASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday | Leave a Comment »

Speaking at Tampa Bay SQL User Group

Posted by sqlwiseguy on April 28, 2009

I will be speaking at the Tampa SQL User Group on Tuesday, May 19th.  I’ll be speaking on SQL Server Profiler which I have presented at OPASS and SQLSaturday #8 – Orlando. 

I look forward to meeting everyone who is part of the group and re-connecting with those I have met at other events like SQLSaturday.  Please don’t be offended if we met and I can’t remember your name, it is a MY failing, not yours.

Posted in OPASS, Professional Development, Profiler, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, User Group, Volunteering | 1 Comment »

PASS Sessions Submitted, Should I Be Committed?

Posted by sqlwiseguy on April 11, 2009

Well, even though the deadline was extended 2 weeks, I got 2 sessions submitted for the PASS Summit submitted by the original deadline.  Now the question is, should I be committed for even attempting to speak at a national (international) event?

Here are the sessions:

Profiler: An Underused Tool

Profiler has been around for awhile, but is often left in the DBA’s toolbox. Profiler is a flexible tool that can be used for Auditing, Monitoring, and Performance Tuning


  1. Understand when, why, and how to use Profiler
  2. Understand the differences between Profiler and server-side tracing.
  3. Understand performance and security considerations for using Profiler.

Dive into the Default Trace

Beginning with SQL Server 2005 there is a server-side trace installed and started by default in every SQL Server installation. Not many DBA’s take advantage of the wealth of information collected through this trace. This trace includes 34 events in 2005 and 35 events in 2008 that audit non-DDL activity on your SQL Server.


  1. Learn what events are included in the Default Trace.
  2. Learn how to query the Default Trace
  3. Learn how to process the Default Trace files to keep the information beyond the default amount of data (5 20MB files).

Now that I’ve submitted, how about you?

Posted in Community, OPASS, PASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, User Group, Volunteering | 1 Comment »

Update on my 2009 Goals

Posted by sqlwiseguy on April 2, 2009

Since we are 1/4 through the year I thought I should give an update on my goals.  Overall I think I am doing okay, but I need to work toward them with more purpose.

  1. Learn SQL Server 2008, particularly policy-based management, resource governor, and service broker.
      Not a whole lot of progress here.  I do have it installed on my laptop, but I have not done much with it, nor have I bought any books.  I really need to get started.
  2. Write 1 Article per quarter for SQLServerCentral.
      Well, I did get an article submitted in the first quarter which will be posted early in the second quarter so I am on target, especially since I have the information for at least 2 more articles already, so I “just” need to write them.
  3. Record and submit 1 video per quarter for JumpstartTV
      Again I did get one done in the first quarter so I am on target.  I also have some ideas for others so it is all about getting them scripted and recorded.
  4. One Blog post per week
      Another one I am meeting with 19 posts in the first quarter.  I have to admit to this being a struggle for me.  I really want the posts to have good content and not just be announcements and recaps of meetings I have been to.  There is nothing wrong with those posts, but I’d like to be sharing something others can learn from more often.  I think that as I write more, it will get easier and better, not just to write, but also to find topics.
  5. Become more involved in leadership in my local user group (OPASS).
      I’m trying to do make the time to do this, but I need to be more purposeful about it.  I am trying to help out by pursuing speakers from within my network.  Of course, a bigger network would make it easier.  Time is limited and whatever I do try to do I want to do well.  Also I have become more involved in PASS as my friend Andy Warren (the OPASS president) is on the board of directors, so I’m trying to help out there as well.
  6. Speak at 2 community events.
      I have a submitted a session to SQLSaturday – Pensacola and will be submitting at least one session for the PASS Summit, so I am making some effort.  I do need to contact some of the other User Groups within driving distance (Tampa, Jacksonville) so I can get more experience.  Odds are I will put together another presentation for OPASS this year and at the next SQLSaturday – Orlando.
  7. Attend the PASS Summit
      I am working on this one.  I have spoken to my boss about possibly getting some funds for it, but, regardless, I plan on going.  As I already mentioned I will also be submitting at least one session.  This is probably the easiest one to do as all it takes is a little money and some vacation time.

Posted in Community, Goals, JumpstartTV, OPASS, PASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, SqlServerCentral, User Group, Volunteering | Leave a Comment »