PASS DBA VC – June 13, 2012

This week I am speaking for the PASS DBA VC on Wednesday June 13 at 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 PM Central, 12:00 PM Mountain, and 11:00 AM Pacific). You can also use this link to check times in your area. World Clock

Don’t Panic – Keep Calm And Organize Your DR Plan
Disaster Recovery 101

Chances are sooner or later you will experience a disaster of some sort. Having the knowledge and skills needed to recovery after a disaster is one of the most important skills a DBA needs to have. Practicing those skills will make you more confident and help you handle yourself during the recovery process instilling calm in others.

I will discuss what it means to have a recovery plan, what a Service Level Agreements and what you need to know about them go through several scenarios demonstrating how to recover from each one.

Registration Link:

Meeting Link:

Registration is not required to attend the meeting. However, it is if want to participate in the raffle for a $50 Amazon gift certificate.



A Few Laps Around The SQLRally Track

I was fortunate to attend SQLRally, Dallas last week and what a week it was. Aside from having to actually work from my room on Wednesday (I had taken two personal days to attend) everything else was great. Even the much welcomed rain we have been getting this year (Texas is in a severe drought) made an appearance but did not cause any major issues. At least none I am aware of.

One of the nice things about Dallas was all the events were within walking distance of the venue. When making lodging arrangements I wanted to stay close to the venue and was able to map out all the locations on Google then find a hotel relatively central to everything. I stayed at the Crown Plaza and shared a room with Keith Tate ( blog | twitter ). Keith. He and I met at the Summit last year during the Networking Social at Lowell’s. We hooked up via twitter when both of us wanted to share a room. It worked out well, from my stand point anyway, you’ll have to ask Keith his opinion.

Like other SQLCommunity events I volunteered to help my brothers and sisters on the great team from NTSSUG. They hosted this awesomesauce event this year. Volunteering can be very rewarding and comes be in many different forms. I helped by being a room monitor for the sessions. You basically hand out speaker evaluation forms, collect them at the end, (don’t let anyone out unless they fill out an eval),  and assist the speaker (if needed) to stay on track for the scheduled time slot.

The Sessions

Gather SQL Performance Data with Powershell – Allen White

I liked this session for several reasons. I am currently using Powershell to collect SQL performance information and wanted to see if I could add to what I currently collect and/or how I do collect the data. Another reason was meet Allen (blog | twitter) for the first time. I arrived a little early introduced myself and mentioned I might have to leave early due to my “room monitor” responsibilities. He understood and informed me I was lucky since he did not have anything to throw at me when I left. As it happens Tim Ford (blog | twitter) wondered in and provided Allen with some ammo.

Allen has a great presentation style comes across as allen white presentingknowledgeable and approachable. I enjoyed this session a lot. So, Allen, as I mentioned disregard my eval form, (I filled out the eval form opposite because I did not read the words and was thinking low was bad high was good like in most cases. NOT this time), great session anyway, but you need to work on your aim. 🙂

Using SQL Server 2012’s Always On – Denny Cherry

I as assigned as room monitor for this session and I was planning on attending away, so two thumbs up already. Denny (blog | twitter) actually had a webinar the day before on the same subject. I was listening in while I was working in my hotel room and I missed some of the things he mentioned. Attending in person was much better and filled in the blanks. I have attended several of his sessions online and always seem to come away with something. His session for first time attendees of the Summit is very helpful. I highly recommend it. Thanks, Denny.

I missed the afternoon sessions due to work related issues but was able to get things sorted out as to not ruin my evening of networking and socializing.

Friday’s sessions started off with a bag.

Enter The Dragon SQL 2012 on Server Core – Mark Broadbent

I was very interested in this session because I have been talking up the use of Server Core with several people at work for the past several months.

It was also good to see Mark (blog | twitter) present for the first time. He was my big brother at the Summit last year and we also talk on twitter from time to time. I did very much like his session, learned some things, picked up some points of interest. He explains things well even though he talks a bit funny J Cheers Mark!

Understanding Backups – Sean McCown

If you have never seen Sean (blog | twitter) present you are missing out. Learning from someone of his caliber is always a plus for me. He presents well and is always entertaining. I did have a question after attending that I need to clarify and am patently waiting the posting of his slide deck and code to hopefully answer it. If not, I know how to track him down. J

Troubleshooting Performance on SQL Server 2012 with Extended Events – Rohit Nayak

This is another of the sessions I was really looking forward too and I happened to be assigned as room monitor too. I recently started working with Extended Events and have actually submitted a session to a few SQL Saturdays on the subject so you can imagine how much I really wanted to see this information. I really enjoyed this session; it reinforced some of what I know and expanded my knowledge of Extended Events. The enhancements to Extended Events in 2012 when compared to 2008 are very impressive. I look forward to using 2012 in the future. Rohit (blog | twitter) works for Microsoft as a Support Escalation Engineer so you can just image this issues he has had to work.

Work strikes again, missing another session, at least this one was fixed quicker.

Unraveling Tangled Code – A Spellbinding Tale of Victory Over Chaos – Jennifer McCown

Jen (blog | twitter) is part of the dynamic duo that make up the MidnightDBA team and has a presentation style all her own. The session (as if you could not tell from the title) was related to inheriting code and making bad code work more better. She showed some really good examples of bad code and some really, really cool ways to fix them. I don’t do a lot of code fixing since I am a DBA. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what the developers are for and get paid to do. I get paid to do other things they don’t do. I did however, pick up some things I can and will now look for when the you-know-what hits the fan the next time. Nice job Jen

The Networking

Networking or socializing is one of the things I look forward to most of all at SQL events. Needless to say the “Meet the Professionals” after hours event was a smash. I got to meet some new people like Melissa Demak (blog | twitter), we talked about SQL Saturday 158 in NYC, Rushabh Mehta (blog | twitter), Past President of PASS and talked about some things here and there, hopefully he remembers but I won’t hold it against him if he doesn’t. I met two girls (sorry don’t remember their names) from San Antonio who attended our SQL Saturday in Austin last year (official announcement coming soon). I also rubbed elbows with a bunch of others SQLpeeps I met just a few weeks ago when in Houston. I even met a Russian (he lives in Florida), Dmitri Korotkeitch (blog | twitter). Funny thing about him though, you have to do shots of vodka to get him to lose his accent, either that or I developed one. I am not really sure. Either way it was a great time.

Of course SQLKaraoke was a success, especially when the Idera crew showed up with the really cool sunglasses. I do know the staff were not too happy when all 100 + people showed up demanding SQLrefreshment all at once. Hopefully by the end of the night they were happy. We wond up leaving  before the singing started because one of the people in our little group was complaining about how heavy his backpack was with all the lanyards in it. Maybe he should get one with wheels. Bloody wanker. (did I give anything away there?) 0_o

I also enjoyed the Starbucks Networking Event. This was organized by Andy Warren (blog | twitter) and Craig Purnell (blog | twitter)l. There was one at the Summit last year but I have a free breakfast buffet at my hotel last year. Free anything is great but free eggs and bacon is impossible to turn down. This worked because morning + coffee + SQLtalk just really go well together. I arrived a little late but was able to talk and even met a few new SQLpeeps.

Last Lap

All in all SQLRally will go down in my memory book as a great time connecting, sharing, and learning. I look forward to the next SQLevent I will be attending in person in August, hopefully.


Road Trip – Heading to SQL Saturday 107 – Houston


In just a few short weeks on the weekend of April 20-21 I will be heading down the road to see my good friends in the Houston Area SQL Server Users Group or HASSUG. They are holding this event some of you may have heard about SQL Saturday 107. Since Houston is just down the road a piece I will be hitting the road on Friday and driving down. Unfortunately I won’t be in town in time to check put Kalen Delaney’s preconference SQL Server Query Plans: Tuning and Management, I am sure it will be a blast. Hopefully, if you were planning on attending you already registered because it is sold out. The good news though, there is training all day Saturday.


YES Prep Public Schools – North Central Campus, 13703 Aldine-Westfield, Houston, Texas. Like all SQL Saturdays admittance is free. Lunch is optional and a nominal fee of $10 but it is Texas BBQ. I should also mention the suggested hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn Houston/Bush Intercontinental Airport, 15400 John F. Kennedy Blvd. Houston, TX 77032, 281-449-4148. Mention “Pass” for a special rate of $79/night. If anyone is interested I am looking to share a room.


Free training! As many of you know SQL Saturday events are full of training and well worth the effort to attend especially if you live within driving distance. So grab some friends or co-workers, get some snacks and hit the road. There is something for everyone. I mean it. It does not matter if you are just starting out working with SQL Server and it’s components or you are a seasoned veteran there are tracks available. 4 in all including AD, BI, DBA and Professional Development. Things kick off at 7:30 AM with registration and run all day until 5:00 PM. Registration link


There are some real heavy hitters in this line up folks. There are household names within the SQL Community as well as some up and coming names on the speaking circuit. So I don’t miss any or wrongly categorize someone I am taking the safe route by providing a link to the sessions. I don’t know about you, but I am going to have a hard time picking the sessions to attend, there are so many good ones. Session lineup


If you are within driving distance I highly recommend attending the event even if it is only for one or two sessions (mine is at 2:45) you can’t go wrong. You can learn some valuable information from professionals within the SQL Community. There
is the networking opportunity that can be priceless as well. So do yourself and maybe your career some good and come on out to SQL Saturday 107 – Houston. See you there!


*image borrowed from

I’ll be presenting at PASS DBA VC next month


I have been slowly trying to increase my speaking within the SQL community beyond our local user group CACTUSS. Recently, I submitted some sessions to 24HOP and SQLRally. I did not make the speakers list at either event but that is O.K. It’s impossible to make the list if you don’t submit and the sessions and speakers for both events are absolutely awesome. You should make a serious effort to attend one or both these events.


Some would think not making the list to those events would discourage from submitting to other events. Not me. It actually made me focus more on the abstracts and the content. I looked at a few sessions I had started but never fully completed, finished them and more recently I submitted sessions to both SQL Saturday 107 – Houston and SQL Saturday 134 – Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.


I will be a making the drive to Houston regardless if my session it accepted since it is just down the road. I would love to go in person to Johannesburg, but if my session is accepted I will have to present via live meeting and a perfect segue into the next paragraph.

Presenting at PASS DBA VC

On Wednesday March 28th, @ 12 Noon (Easter) I will be presenting at the PASS DBA Virtual Chapter.

Work Smarter Not Harder – Standardize Your Environment with Best Practices

Are all your servers standardized across your environment? Do you manually click the next button when installing SQL Server? Do you manually create and configuring your routine maintenance? Are your SQL Agent Jobs owned by other DBAs in your group? Do you know when jobs fail? Or discover them accidentally? Do you have a standardized way to deploy updates?


Remember, if you are interested in speaking and have the desire there are many different venues to share your passion. Seek them out and do not be discouraged if you don’t make the list the first time.

So set your calendar for 3/28/2012 at 12 noon eastern and stop by. You can look me up at SQLRally or SQLSaturday 107 or maybe at an event near you soon.


It’s My First Time

Right now, I am a little bit in shock. I am actually going to the summit this year and it is my first time. All sorts of things are running through my head. What to do? Where to go? Who to meet? Should I get a kilt? Will I need to wear pants? Wow, many, many decisions and all this needs to be planed (or semi planned) over the next few weeks. In addition to helping plan and host a SQL Saturday (ahem, #97, go register) and another large event for 300+ people at my church on the same day as SQL Saturday no less.

Luckily there is a lot of great information out there for first timers. Like on the PASS web site, first timer’s orientation. Denny Cherry ( twitter | blog ) has a good video on some basics for first timers as well as some “extra things to do”. Check it out here.

What To Do

I am so glad I attended almost every 24HOP session. They were a great way to help me figure out which pre-cons to attend and get a more in-depth learn-on. Thanks PASS for thinking of me. 🙂

So, how did I pick the pre-con session(s)? I put all the sessions on a dart board (by day) and threw darts! Even if I did if I did do it that way I couldn’t go wrong with all the awesomesauce sessions to choose from. Actually, I choose the ones that will further my understanding of the technologies I work with every day in support of the many projects I work on. (At least that’s what I am putting down “officially”) Unofficially I want learn more and to effectively and confidently do some smack downs when they are warranted. 🙂

Where To Go

I will do a little planning on this but not all that much. I plan on following twitter to see where all the cool people will be hanging. That is unless I get actual invites to parties (wink wink, nudge nudge)

I am also going to try and hit up the first timer’s ball, or party. I will also be looking up the PASS volunteer gathering to meet some of the people I have worked with over the last few years. Overall I am going to be as fluid as possible and go with the flow.

Who To Meet

I interact with so many cool people on twitter, going to the summit will give me the opportunity to meet, talk and maybe hangout (if I am lucky) with some of them for the first time, and others again. Who am I looking forward to meeting? No one person in particular. I am not playing favorites here, no matter who it is, even if we’ve never chatted before I want to meet you. So don’t be surprised if I come up and ask you who you are and what you do.

Final Thoughts

I am really psyched about going to PASS this year. Have I figured out Where to go, What to do, Who to meet, Am I wearing pants, or a Kilt? Not completely, although a kilt is most likely not in the cards. But that is OK too. The important thing is I am going to the summit. I am going to get my SQL learn on and everything else will either fall into place or it won’t. If you are going, look me up, I’ll be around and having fun.






Why You Should Attend SQL Saturday 97

Free Training

Part of the mission statement of SQL Saturday (read the full statement here) is to provide a day of free training to SQL Server Professionals and those new to SQL Server an event that combines training and networking as well as find and grow new speakers (see Calling All Local Speakers) that means you!

Take a look at all the sessions submitted. The tracks are not finalized yet but so far we have sessions submitted for DBAs, Developers, BI professionals, dotNet, and an Advanced. As you can see there is something for everyone.

Cool People To Meet

For me networking is one of the best parts of any SQL Saturday event. You can catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I especially like meeting the people I have chatted with on twitter and not met in person. That’s part of what makes the SQL community so strong and always growing. You can have conversations (all be it short ones) on twitter and when you actually meet them it’s almost as if you have known them for years.

The Weather Is Fine Wish You Were

I am sure you have seen something in the news about how hot it has been and the serious drought conditions down here in Texas recently. Yes it’s true; we have many days during the summer over 100 degrees and have not had measurable rain in several months.  However, our fall weather is usually very, very nice.

The normal high temperatures for October are in the low 80s and the normal low temperatures are in the upper 50s. Our average monthly rainfall is below 4 inches. That is not too shabby when compared to other areas of the country or world for the month of October. This year will be no different it is going to be a beautiful weekend to be in Austin.

Things To Do

After getting your learn on during the day, and after you have hung out at the Networking Social post event party you can stroll along 6th street. Checkout the clubs the people and maybe, just maybe run into the world famous Leslie (

Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World! Every weekend for sure and just about every week night you can find live music to your liking in Austin. Whatever you decide to do Austin has the nightlife to support it.


Vendors are a big part of any of the SQL Saturday events and ours is no different. They support the events financially and with people. Please make it a point to visit the vendors, talk with them, and check what they have to offer, get a free pen or a splat ball, and if they are giving something away, throw your name in hat for a drawing at the end of the day. Who knows you may win something and get more than just free knowledge. I was at an event in the spring where one of the attendees won several things in a row. That could be you this time.

Final Thoughts

When you look at the wide range of session topics submitted. The speakers on the list, then networking possibilities, not to mention it is FREE, there is bound to be something for every level of experience.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am really excited to be a part of CACTUSS and that we can give a little back to the community by SQL Saturday 97. If you are attending, find me and say hi. I’ll be the one grinning from ear to ear.


Presenting more at CACTUSS

Last month I presented at CACTUSS for the second time in my SQL career. Now in and of its self that does not seem important. But to me it is. You see, my presentation was based on one I had attended at SQL Saturday in Dallas on April 2nd and it made a big impression on me. So much so, it rekindled a spark inside me.

The presentation I attended was Andy Warren’s ( twitter | blog  ) Building a Professional Development Plan.

At the SQL Saturday I was hanging with my good friend Wes Brown ( twitter | blog ). He has been instrumental in helping me get started with presenting. So, at the networking event I asked if anyone was presenting at our user group meeting on the 19th. His response was, “No.”. I then told him I would present. At the time, I did not know what I would be presenting on, but had been leaning towards on Central Management Server. I have been slowly getting one going in my environment so it would be a natural fit to present.

The following week I received an email from Wes confirming I would still be presenting and wanted to know the subject to post and send out via email. After several emails I decided the presentation would be on Professional Development Plans.

As I mentioned I had found something inside me again. Since attending the presentation I had written down and created a PDP. All the pieces were not in the plan yet, but that was O.K. because the main point here is, I had a plan.

Anyway, to get back on the point, after a few minor technical issues, (starting the projector) and a few hiccups here and there the presentation was running smoothly. My son actually attended due to scheduling conflicts, and he helped with some comic relief at times.

Throughout the presentation there was interaction, questions asked and at one point, I had everyone do a small exercise. In the presentation I talked about the importance of writing, presenting and even volunteering for either user group functions, or SQL Saturdays or PASS program committees.

Over all things went very well and after the presentation, while doing some networking, several people came up to me, thanked me and mentioned it made them realize they needed a PDP themselves. I was also talk with a former college and recommended him to one of several people in attendance currently hiring. So networking is very important.

So, assessing my presentation, I would say I did well. Are there areas I can improve, absolutely? But I am gaining confidence, feeling better in front of crowds and I actually enjoy speaking. So I will be presenting more at CACTUSS. I already started on another two presentations and with any luck a SQL Saturday is in my future soon too.