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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
*/
CREATE PROCEDURE sp_getorder
(
@order_id INT
)

AS

SET NOCOUNT ON

SELECT
*
FROM
dbo.orders
WHERE
order_id = @order_id;

RETURN;

GO
/*
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
BEGIN
DROP PROCEDURE
dbo.sp_getorder ;
END

GO

CREATE PROCEDURE
sp_getorder
(
@order_id INT
)

AS

SET NOCOUNT ON

SELECT
order_no,
customer_id,
salesperson_id,
purchase_order_no
FROM
dbo.orders
WHERE
order_id = @order_id;

RETURN;

GO

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.

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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 »

Thanks Space Coast SQL User Group

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 11, 2009

I want to thank the Space Coast User Group for having me over to speak on the Default Trace last night.  I had a great time meeting everyone and hopefully I presented some information that they all can take back to the office and use.

Space Coast is a relatively new user group but they have good core and are an enthusiastic group.  They asked good questions and 7 out of 9 (I think there were 9 I didn’t take attendance) attendees (not counting me) went to the after meeting get together at Holiday Inn.

The meeting started with some announcements and then I got to jump in and start my presentation.  I started by doing some marketing for SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando and the great seminar series scheduled the week before.  I then asked, “Before tonight, how many people knew that there is a trace running in SQL Server 2005/2008?”  Once again the majority were not even aware it existed.  We discussed what the Default Trace is, what it traces, where it is used, how to query it, and how to archive the data.  I went a little longer than an hour so I’ll have to trim it a little for SQLSaturday.  I’d probably grade myself a B-/B as I stumbled around as I changed applications to show code and do demos and had a couple of brain cramps.  I need to practice this one a few more times.  My slide deck and demo scripts are available here on SkyDrive and I have sent them to Bonnie Allard to post on the Space Coast SQL User Group web site so watch there as well.

We had some great discussions after the event about Powershell, hurricanes, software vendors, and the differences in diets around the world.

Posted in Speaking, SQL Server, User Group | Leave a Comment »

Speaking at Space Coast User Group

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 9, 2009

I have the privilege of presenting, Dive into the Default Trace, at the Space Coast User Group, tomorrow evening (Sept. 10). 

We’ll be discussing what the default trace is, what it collects, where’ it is used, how to find it, and how to query it.  I have what I think are some interesting demos and hopefully information that will help developers and DBA’s better manage and audit their SQL Servers.

I’m really looking forward to meeting Bonnie Allard and the rest of the group.

Posted in PASS, Speaking, SQL Server, User Group | Leave a Comment »

No Training Budget Still No Excuse

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 12, 2009

When I first started by career in IT and SQL Server about 10 years ago I lived in a small town in northern New Hampshire.  I used my location as an excuse not to attend user groups and other events, unless the boss was willing to foot the bill.  Now I realize my mistake, I’m in charge of my professional development, and now, location is no excuse.  Here’s a list of just some of the FREE training available online:

  • JumpstartTV – short (3-5 minute), specific how-to videos for SQL Server and .NET.
  • Channel 9 – MSDN’s video training library. This has videos on just about everything microsoft. Over 200 on SQL Server 2008 alone.
  • PASS – the Official Professional Association of SQL Server web site. PASS offers Virtual Chapters (user groups that meet online monthly).  Be sure to check out the upcoming 24 hours of PASS
  • Quest Software – Quest offers free webcasts on several technologies including SQL Server and some on Quest products but many general ones. Check out Quest Connect
  • SQLServerPedia – has video podcasts as well as blogs, wiki, and articles.
  • SQLServerCentral – forums, articles, scripts, blogs, and videos. What more can you ask for?

I’m sure there are other resources as well.

Now on to the FREE events. 

  • The biggest one for SQL Server, well, at least in my opinion, is the SQLSaturday franchise.  There have been about 20 over the last 2 years from Florida to Oregon.  I should make a disclaimer that I have spoken at 2, attended another, and the franchise is owned by my friend, Andy Warren and his partners.  Actually the first SQLSaturday event was when I met Andy, actually the day before at the Day with Celko event done in conjunction with the SQLSaturday.  It’s a full day of free SQL Server training with some national speakers along with the best local speakers.
  • Code Camps – these one day events for .NET are what SQLSaturday is based on, so if you need .NET training here’s a way to get it.
  • PASS – offers a SQLSaturday like event support with it’s Community Connections
  • User Groups – just BING or GOOGLE for [your technology and location] User Group.  I’m sure you’ll find something in your area.  PASS has a list of official chapters for SQL Server.  I know of Sharepoint, Java, .NET, and Agile user groups.  I’m sure there are others.

As you can see there are plenty of training options that will only cost you time and maybe travel expenses and that’s really an investment in you. 

Posted in Community, JumpstartTV, PASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, SqlServerCentral, Training, User Group | 4 Comments »

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 »

Tampa SSUG Recap

Posted by sqlwiseguy on May 20, 2009

I had the opportunity and privilege to present Introduction to SQL Server Profiler to the Tampa SSUG last night.  I was impressed by the turnout as it was a full house with about 40 in attendance.  I arrived early, and had a chance to meet a few people, and attempt to work on my networking skills.  I learned I need more practice as I’m still having trouble remembering names of people that I met for the first time.  Some of the people I met were Jonathan Kehayias, @jmkehayias on twitter; Carlos; Andres (I hope I spelled it right); @SQLChicken, Jorge Segarra; Ron Dameron and Nathan (Fraggle on SSC), who I had met at SQLSaturday 8 – Orlando last fall; and, of course, Pam Shaw (@pamshaw) who does a great job leading the group.

After Pam went through the announcements Jorge led a discussion on the pros and cons of social networking (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc…).  Some good stories were told about how problems had been solved through the active SQL Server community on Twitter, and a couple of attendees shared how that they had used LinkedIn to either find a job or a candidate for a job.  I think some attendees may have been convinced that there are business/professional reasons to use social networking tools.

After that discussion I was up with my presentation on Profiler.  This was the first time I’ve done the presentation on my new laptop with SQL Server 2008 installed so I had a couple of minor technical glitches like not having reporting services running as I expected and adjusting to how Vista handles presentation mode.  I still need some work on that.  I always start by asking who has used or uses Profiler and I am always surprised that every hand doesn’t go up.  The other question I ask is how many people know that SQL Server 2005/2008 has a server-side trace running (the Default Trace) on install.  Again, the majority of attendees do not know this.  Overall I covered everything I planned in time and had some good questions around the difference between SP:Completed/RPC:Completed and SP:StmtCompleted/RPC:StmtCompleted and good discussion about why you even have the option of having Profiler write to a file or table while running the GUI, since it is recommended against and you can save to a file or table when the trace is done.  Jonathan Kehayias gave me a couple of tips on things I missed or should have said, like when tracing lock events DON’T trace Lock:Acquired as that will fill up a trace fast.  Remember locks are good, deadlocks are bad.  It felt like everyone was pretty happy with the information presented and several people let me know they enjoyed the session, so I guess it well. 

Even though it went well, I know I can do better, but the more I present the better I’ll get.  I’ve got SQLSaturday 14 – Pensacola coming up on June 6th where I’ll be doing my Profiler presentation and Space Coast User Group in September where I’ll be doing a presentation on mining the Default Trace.  I hope to see you at one of the upcoming events!

Posted in Community, PASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, User Group | 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

Goals:

  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.

Goals:

  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 »