SQLSat403 – Recap


The doors close, lights turn off, and cars begin to pull out of the parking lot. Another SQL Saturday event has come and gone, but this time it was different. The reason for this was from the hard work, effort, countless hours, and collaboration that took place.

This past year I wanted to embark on a journey that I hadn’t done before which was volunteering for a SQL Saturday event. Malathi Mahadevan (B|T) afforded me this opportunity to get involved along with John Morehouse (B|T) . Little did I know what I was about to embark on.

Listen, most attend these events by showing up and listening to a talented speaker pool. After the event attendees stick around for a raffle, and share some laughs with friends. I know because I’ve attended several of these events; I’ve also spoken at a lot of events other than SQL Saturday’s and given presentations. In those times you get to talk with other speakers, attend some nice dinners, and kick back with some deep conversations. What is missing?

SQLSaturday403 in Louisville, Ky changed my mindset drastically. If you have never been apart of something in this nature then I would recommend it; I don’t care if you are a speaker or an attendee at a user group. The hard work and effort that goes into pulling an event such as this off is phenomenal. I walked away with a new appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes along with learning a few things:

  1. People are hungry to learn
  2. It takes a strong team behind the scenes to pull something like this off
  3. Dedication and determination are prevalent
  4. Organization is key

We had a very talented speaker pool come in to town this year who provided attendees with a number of good sessions. The vendors on hand were second to none and put on a great show for everyone to see. What really got my attention was seeing all the hard work we, as a group, put into it. As we crossed that finish line and the day of the event came we saw a record crowd which maxed out our venue with people beating the door down on a waiting list to get in. That means two things to me:

  1. Shows just how eager people were wanting to learn
  2. We were doing something right

Twitter wall

Enter stage left > the twitter wall.

Something new that I have not seen before was, what became, the infamous twitter wall. The idea stemmed from a colleague/friend of mine John Morehouse.

The wall was located in our eating/silver sponsor area and was a big hit throughout the day. It also provided a glimpse into some of the fun we were having:

Photo provided by John Morehouse

Photo provided by John Morehouse

One of the cool things that I liked about this idea was seeing all the attendees thoughts as they were sitting through the sessions. The #SQLSat403 was generating quite a buzz, this was proof that what was happening in Louisville was a great thing. The vendors located in this area were pretty stoked about the twitter wall as they were getting some love as well!


All of the above shows signs of success, or so I thought, until I got blindsided again by feedback I received from the attendees, vendors, and speakers. Some of the comments that will remain anonymous are:

“I apologize; I’ve been doing this wrong for so long with my code and I am rejuvenated to fix it and make it more efficient

“This event is free; how is that possible?”

“I am missing out on #SQLSat403; that seems like it is the place to be today”

“I definitely will be coming back to this next year”

Those are some pretty encouraging comments. As with anything, our group realizes that we had hiccups. Some may not have even been noticeable, but the organizers noticed them. Guess what, we are making a list and looking for ways to continue to improve on this event. There is a buzz going on here in the city of Louisville around this event; know that we have a dedicated team in place that will continue to work hard in order to make this one of the best events around.

What can you do?

If you attend one of these events in the future, anywhere in the world, I implore you to walk up and thank the volunteer. I know the group I am associated with are an amazing bunch, and that will go for the rest of the organizers worldwide. It’s been an honor and privilege to serve; looking forward to many more.

How about you? Will you volunteer? Will you speak? You can check out a full schedule on the SQL Sat website here.

Thank You

To my fellow organizer – it truly was an amazing ride and I thank you for the opportunity.

To the attendees – it was a blast to see you all along with seeing a lot of light bulbs go off and discussions we had. Hope you guys had as much fun as I did.

To the speakers – spent a lot of quality time with a lot of you and I look forward to coming to your venues to speak in the future. Thanks for investing time in our community so others may learn.

To the vendors – we couldn’t have done it without you; look forward to cultivating that relationship with you as we move forward.

It’s game time folks; let’s get it done. If you reach one then it is a success.

Addicted To Busy

payattentionOur world is made up of technology and being plugged in 24/7. As you walk down the street you may notice on either side of the sidewalk people walking and looking at their phone. Texting, emailing, social media, and the like is all the buzz. I fall victim to this very thing quite often; so much so that I will admit running into people and then having to apologize for not watching where I was going.

It reminds me of the movie I saw with my kids, Wall-E, where all of a sudden their screens go down on their motorized vehicles that takes them back and forth, and they see the swimming pool for the first time. They had no idea it was there, oblivious to the things going on around them.

In reality, we find ourselves in this same mindset whether it is with work, family, or friends we are plugged in 24/7. Have you ever been talking to someone, a colleague for example, and while talking you or them are answering emails – I have. Have your kids been running up to you in your house to ask a question, and you are half listening because you are answering a text you got from a family member or friend – I have.


I heard this statement last week and it got me thinking about this topic, “Wherever you are, be there”. Simple enough statement; being the analyzer that I tend to be I had to study that and think on it over and over again. As I type this my mind even wondered to the daily activities I need to get done at work, the 2 articles I am behind on in writing, and the countless blog posts I want to get out the door.

Am I addicted to busy?



John Sansom (B|T) gives a good example of character traits of what an Outstanding DBA looks like. It is a great interpretation of my mindset with one I’d like to add as a bold point – listening. This past week I realized that it is okay to put the phone down, to spin the chair around from your busy day and have a conversation with others. When you are approached at work with an issue listen to that issue. It is then when you can apply some of these character traits to the conversation and be a difference to someone.

Wherever you are, be there

phoneCall it the “aha” moment or something else, but I’ve come to realize that having meaningful conversations with colleagues, family, and others is just as important in cultivating relationships on all levels. There of course will be times when we all will stumble – heck I do it daily; in the end don’t be so addicted to busy that you miss opportunities.

Now don’t take this blog post and twist it in a way to say we shouldn’t be responding to SLA’s, or if you are on call not answering alerts in a timely manner. That’s not my point and hopefully that comes across. It’s okay to step back from time to time, re-evaluate, and make adjustments.


Addicted To Busy

It’s hard not to be this way; I encourage you to cultivate those relationships and pick up on some of those missed opportunities that might have passed you by before. A fine balancing act it will always seem to be; being involved on a call the other day for work the person on the other end told me that they were so glad I took 15 minutes out of my day to call them to discuss the issue without sending an email.

Be that difference maker; be that game changer.

Without Borders – Getting Involved

One of the things I enjoy about the SQL community is the many people that you come into contact with. Whether it is speaking, interacting, listening, or collaborating one can meet many data professionals from all walks of life. With that you get to know, invest, and follow individuals. Two people that I’ve come to know this past year via the SQL community is Argenis Fernandez (b|t) and Kirsten Benzel (b|t).

An initiative that they started last year at PASS Summit was Argenis Without Borders. When I first heard about this I was enamored and intrigued; both individuals are stellar data professionals and pillars in our SQL community so I decided to check this out and see what it was all about.

This year they are back at it with a new initiative and new goals. I encourage you to check out what this new initiative is all about, and if you decide to get involved – fantastic. If not pass the information along so we can continue to spread the word.

“People making a difference one day at a time”

SQL Saturday Field Notes


As you walk toward the entrance the door opens and there stands a volunteer smiling welcoming you in. You make your way into the building where you are ushered toward the sign in table; there is where you are greeted by more volunteers who help you get checked in and situated. After you get checked in you begin to look around and see some renowned vendors set up where they have additional swag and want to talk to you about some products. As you walk through the venue you notice speakers that you either follow their blogs or you’ve seen them speak at different locations. You sit in some awesome sessions which are free, and get a nice lunch. A great cost-effective way to learn.

All the above is pretty normal, this year though it is a bit different for myself and it has changed my view drastically. This year I decided to get involved more locally; I’ve always traveled elsewhere to attend, speak, and network but this year it hit me that the community in my own backyard is something I’ve never been involved with. This is where it all has changed for me; I have a new-found respect for the organizers and volunteers that go into pulling the above off. Sitting in speaker rooms prepping, seeing old friends, or listening to sessions that are interested in has always been beneficial, but I’ve never taken the time to thank each one of the volunteers individually.

I’m thankful this year that Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) has allowed me to be a part of something great that is going on here in Louisville. There is definitely a rising of top-tier talent here and we are on the verge of blowing the socks off this town. I’m also thankful I get to work alongside John Morehouse (b|t) who has taught me a great deal; not just from an event standpoint but a SQL standpoint in general. This dude is a complete work horse and I’d go to battle with him any day of the week.

My mind drifted back to PASS Summit and remembering the people standing near the escalators or the door ways; have I ever stopped and thanked them for helping with the event?

I realize now what it takes to put something like a SQL Saturday on and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. I’m humbled by the fact that so many volunteers give selflessly to make these things happen; I want to be around a long time in this venue and arena and help make SQL Saturday 403 one of the best venues around.

If you are in the area in August make sure you register and come see me, John, Mala, and others. Stop and introduce yourself, we would love to talk to you and get to know you more. Together we can do some great things and we can keep giving back to the community that has helped shape most of us.

I challenge you if you have not ever been involved in helping put one of these events on then please do so. It is a ton of work, time, and coordination, but the people you meet along the way is well worth it.

It takes one to be a game changer and difference maker; will you be that one?

For details on our SQL Saturday event here in Louisville you can go here.

To visit the upcoming SQL Saturday events you can go here.

To visit the SQL Saturday event home page you can go here.





thNP3V0VT4It’s one small word, but that one word can pack an awful powerful punch. I got a severe dose of it Friday night. No, I won’t go into the great detail that provoked this word to come to light. What I will do is recognize that it has taught me some valuable lessons especially in my every day work life.

We live in a fast paced society. Work will never cease that’s a given; when is the last time you truly stopped, looked around, and appreciated where you are at in this point in time?

I used to struggle a lot with not blogging enough, not giving back to the community enough, not submitting to speak enough, arguments with other data professionals on what is the right way to do things versus the wrong way to do things, and the list could go on and on.

I look at SQL Family and what does it truly mean to me? I take great pride in my work, the people I am involved with daily, the many issues that come up that provide new solutions waiting to be found, but SQL Family is much more than that. It is shown daily by the likes of you and me. You see it in the generosity when one of our own passes away, you see it in others who rally around a good cause, you see it when a seasoned community member takes a newbie under his/her wing to guide them, and yes you see it shown when you receive heart breaking news that we all endure through the journey we call life.

There are intervals in life when you stop and asses priorities; nothing wrong with that. You start to look at if the he said she said argument was even worth it, you blast a newbie because he made a dumb mistake due to the fact that they just didn’t know, or you get on some ego trip because you believe you are entitled to something.

There will be things you can control and there will be things you can’t control; as a data professional and proud DBA I will continue to do the best I can day in and day out. I come from the school that you work hard regardless of the situation. You won’t find perfection, you won’t find a guy who knows it all; what you will find is a guy who has a passion for the SQL Community and a passion for learning and honing is craft.

To the new community member the days will not always be perfect; heck the days you will sometimes wonder what the heck you got yourself into; enjoy the ride. Don’t beat yourself up for things you think you could have done better; learn from them and move on. Realize that SQL Family IS the people, the interaction – it is what makes it thrive.

For the ones who have been around for a long time, with as much respect as I can muster, I just implore you to realize that when life does happen outside of our SQL walls; don’t let that time go by wasted. You need to cherish every minute of it; we (me included) rush around getting to the next event, next speaking engagement, next post and if we aren’t careful we will let those outside moments pass us by.

Some will take this post as me saying not to worry about the security breach that was caused by a pointless mistake, and some will read too much into it and be wondering if I’m speaking at anyone in particular. I get how it all works, these are just intended thoughts of mine that if I can take to heart myself, then it might help me in the future to become a better data professional and DBA.

Work hard, cherish the moments, and realize that taking one day at a time is okay.

Backups – They Are Needed, Who Knew?

CollaborateImageBackups are essential for a successful business model. That statement may or may spark some topics for debate, but at the end of the day if the data professional does not have a form of backup in place for his/her business needs you may, no you will, feel the pain. It may not happen today, tomorrow, next week, but you can with 100% certainty guarantee that at some point in ones career you will need a backup of your database.


Let me start off this way and ask a very simple question, “Do I have to take a backup?” The answer to that is yes, yes you do. If you are a data professional than you should care about your data enough to take a backup of it in some form or fashion.

Types of Backups

Full Backup – this type of backup contains all the data for a specific database.

Differential Backup – think about this backup as what it’s name states; contains only the data since it’s last differential base backup; you can find these backups to be smaller in nature versus the full backup methodology

Transaction Log Backup (T-Log Backup) –  this type of backup is a record of all transactions that have been performed against the database since the transaction log was backed up. Most often times these types of backups are taken on a more frequent basis.

**Note** the differential and transaction log backups are both dependent upon the full backup initially being executed.

Disaster Recovery

Depending on how extensive your business model is some companies will rely on backups for their disaster recovery planning. Whether you log ship, utilize always on, restore databases periodically etc. backups can and will always be an essential part of disaster recovery.

Tuning Backups

Most people don’t realize that they can tune their backups. One of the ways you can do this is by turning on some trace flags and increasing some throughput. Below are two statements you can utilize.

DBCC TRACEON (3605, -1) and DBCC TRACEON (3213, -1)

What those two statements do is tell you (in your error log) what the settings are set to


The buffer count and maxtransfersize are the two settings you want to check. Make note of what the settings are initially; then when backing up your database, whether by a stored procedure or method of choice, you can include the following code.


**NOTE – never take code from the web and execute it in production. Utilize this in a testing environment to see how it performs.

This little trick was picked up by watching the mighty Sean McCown at PASS Summit 2014 in one of his sessions.

Testing Backups

Wait, what? You mean I need to test my backups. Let me pose this question another way. If you take a solid backup and you store it for a certain period of time; then how do you know if you can restore it or not? Taking backups are only half the process; I used to think early on in my career that I was golden to have a backup versus the people who don’t take backups at all. Sure that is somewhat true but the flip side to that is I was missing the bigger picture; periodically test your backups. In a perfect world an automated process would restore backups to an isolated environment then fire off an alert if you find one that could not be restored. Most shops don’t or can’t go to that extent so at the minimum periodically test your backups for validity. Not only will it prove that your backups are working but will keep your skill set honed in the restoration process.

Wrap Up

Backups – they are important. As with anything in your data professional career; take this concept to be very important. If you aren’t backing up your data than I suggest you start. If you are backing up your data; then are you sure you can restore it? Are your backups taking forever; perhaps you can tune them? I tell you what…keep reading below and you can check out what some of my colleagues have to say around backups. Enjoy

On a SQL Collaboration Quest

Four SQL professionals gathered from the four corners of the world to share their SQL knowledge with each other and with their readers: Mickey Stuewe from California, USA, Chris Yates from Kentucky, USA, Julie Koesmarno from Canberra, Australia, and Jeffrey Verheul from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. They invite you to join them on their quest as they ask each other questions and seek out the answers in this collaborative blog series. Along the way, they will also include other SQL professionals to join in the collaboration.

Impact Series – Part 2

ImpactIt’s that time again to add another impact player to the roster; this time for the month of February.

This month the nod goes to none other than Jason Strate (Blog|Twitter). A few years back I sat in on one of Jason’s sessions at PASS Summit. From attending that session I found my way to his blog series called Index Black OPS which helped me tremendously, and I’ve carried some of the methodology since then.

Jason works for Pragmatic Works which is in and of itself a good company; what I’ve seen over the years that resonates with me is an extreme work ethic sprinkled in with some SQL Karaoke madness. A real down to earth guy who has a genuine love for helping people.

On this note I strongly suggest you check out his blog; he has some stellar information over there around several topics:

Don’t just limit reviewing the topics; make sure you check out the resources and publications to.

Like Jason, many SQL family members contribute on a daily basis in sharing their knowledge and helping the community grow. It’s time we (myself included) start paying homage and respect to those that give selflessly day in and day out sacrificing a lot to make our community one of the best there is.

Thanks Jason for being an impact player in our community.

Stay tuned to next month to catch Part 3 in the series of Impact Players.


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