Tag Archives: #sqlfamily

HADR Virtual Chapter Involvement

 

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I am always looking for ways to get involved within the PASS community. One such way that has become available is the opportunity to get to work with two stellar individuals, one of whom was part of why I became involved within the SQL Community.

John Sterrett (b|t) and I have been speaking some time in various forms or ways that I could help, and this past PASS Summit I was able to sit down with both John and David Klee (b|t). From that meeting I am pleased to announce that I will begin helping with the HADR Virtual Chapter specifically around marketing.

What is the HADR Virtual Chapter?

The High Availability & Disaster Recovery Virtual Chapter focuses on one of the most important aspects of a business – data availability. The goal of the HA&DR Virtual Chapter is to provide a PASS community for Microsoft SQL Server professionals to learn more about how to protect their data and minimize the risk to a business. Join us in our monthly webinar series to learn more about the numerous tools and techniques for SQL Server business continuity.

Speaking Opportunities

If you are interested in speaking at the HADR Virtual Chapter than we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to the various forms provided for John or David as noted above, or feel free to reach out to me. We are always looking for past, present, and future speakers.

Wrap Up

Please check out the HADR home page here and let me know if there are any questions; I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

I look forward to teaming up with these two outstanding individuals, and will work extremely hard at continuing their efforts to keep moving this community forward one day at a time.

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T-SQL Tuesday #72 Invitation – Data Modeling Gone Wrong

SqlTuesdayT-SQL Tuesday is here again. I’ve had good intentions the past few times this event has come around and even have drafts still waiting to be queued up which I will eventually turn into regular blog posts, but I decided to just make time this month and jump back into the monthly party.

This month Mickey Stuewe (b|t) is hosting and has asked for some data modeling practices that should be avoided, and how to fix them if they occur.

What is Data Modeling?

Data Modeling itself is referred to as the first step of database design as you move from conceptual, to logical, to actual physical schema.

While that definition sounds simplistic, we can expound upon it to arrive to the conclusion that data modeling is a very important aspect from database design on all levels.

What to Avoid?

As a data professional and in senior management I’ve seen pit falls wide-spread in various business units when it comes to design architecture. The listing you are about to read are some of the methods and items I’ve discovered on my journey and conducting gap analysis type of events that carry a chain reaction. They consist of doomed failure from the get go.

  1. Audience – the audience and/or participants should be defined up front. I differ with many and that’s okay. To me the ability to identify business stakeholders, subject matter experts, technical groups, BA’s is an integral piece to the puzzle. Too many times I have seen the engine pull out of the gates with a design to only find out that the design and documentation to not even meet the criteria and standards of the shop.
  2. Detailed Project – how many times have you received documentation only to find out there was not enough meat to get the project off the ground? As a data professional we do think out of the box; however it is imperative to be clear and concise up front. When my team is given projects to complete that involve Database Design and creation, I implore business units to provide as much detail up front that is agreed upon. This helps streamline and makes for better efficiency.
  3. Understandability – With details comes the ability to articulate understandably. All to often items get lost in translation which causes additional work on the back-end of the database. This could mean unfortunate schema changes, large amounts of affected data, and so on.
  4. Business Continuity – ask yourself a question in design phase. Is what you are building that will be presented to the business efficient? Will business be able to decipher what is being presented back to them; if not why?
  5. Downstream Analytics – How does the business want to see this data in the form of analytics or reporting?  Most modern systems are going to either be queried by, or push data to, ETL processes that populate warehouses or other semantic structures.  Avoid complex table relationships that can only be interpreted by the code that stores the data.  Make sure you define all your data domains so that the BI professionals are not scratching their heads trying to interpret what a status of ‘8’ means. (In speaking with a colleague, Tom Taylor, at my shop – he brought up this valid point).

Items To Look For

Some key and general practices to look at and decide on are:

  1. Primary Keys – yes they are your friend – add them.
  2. Look at all audit data and what needs to be audited
  3. Clustered/Non Clustered indexes – have you read through your execution plan?
  4. Has the scope of the data model been met?
  5. Are tables normalized properly?
  6. One Data Modeling Tool – it’s easier if the team is looking at one utility together; if you have many varieties spread across many team members it could leave views skewed.

Conclusion

Data modeling, in and of itself, is a key component for any business. What often falls by the wayside is the poor leg work done up front. You have to lay a proper foundation in order to be successful with any design; taking into consideration all personnel in order to make the best strategic decisions to move forward.

Hopefully the next time you go down this path you have some questions to ask yourself along with some solutions to those problems.

What is T-SQL Tuesday.

Adam Machanic’s (b|t) started the T-SQL Tuesday blog party in December of 2009. Each month an invitation is sent out on the first Tuesday of the month, inviting bloggers to participate in a common topic. On the second Tuesday of the month all the bloggers post their contribution to the event for everyone to read. The host sums up all the participant’s entries at the end of the week. If you are interested in hosting and are an active blogger than reach out to Adam and let him know of your interest.

PASS Summit Recap and Experience

IMG_20151027_142416The day finally came and I was fortunate, no I was blessed to be a part of the PASS Summit held out in Seattle, WA. This year would be my fourth year attending in five years. I did miss when it was held in Charlotte, go figure it was closer there to me. In any sense this year did not disappoint.

It’s almost hard to put into words the experience you get when attending, by that I mean the learning, sessions, people, community, and much more. I am always pleased to see all the first timer ribbons on badges as I remember when it was my first time attending the conference and the overwhelming factor you may feel. I try to make a point to seek out a few first timers and introduce myself, oddly enough I had a few actually say hey, your Chris this time around – very weird to me.

I doubt I can do it justice with a blog post, but nevertheless I will do my best to let you have a look into what kind of an experience can be had by attending such an event.

FreeCon

IMG_20151102_135407I started my journey a bit earlier due to being invited to Brent Ozar Unlimited (blog | twitter) FreeCon put on by Brent Ozar (twitter), Kendra Little (twitter), and The Doug Lane (twitter). A full day of learning on a wide range of topics got the week off started on the right foot. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Brent in the past; this year I had the pleasure of getting to know Kendra and Doug a little. All three are some phenomenal and stellar individuals who truly care about the community.

One thing that stuck out to me was the authenticity shown by both Brent, Kendra, and Doug along with the 50 or so of us who were asking questions. It was very nice to hear real world issues from other colleagues and walking through thought processes. Very captivating.

Some of my cohorts in crime from the community from Mike Fal (blog | twitter), Mala Mahadevan (blog | twitter), Gareth Swanepoel (blog | twitter), Mike Hillwig (blog | twitter), and Vicky Harp (blog | twitter). The event was truly an awesome experience and one that I am not taking for granted. I walked away from it with a ton of notes and things to implement in my own career!

Live Blogging

IMG_20151029_075507Interesting enough I found myself at the Live Blogging table for some events this year. I was able to cover the two Key Note addresses on consecutive days right after breakfast, and let me tell you this was one of the highlights to my week. I’ve attended the Key Notes in previous years; however picking up key pieces was essential along with having a good plug-in to the blog for doing live blogging. I did some homework prior to and talked to a few individuals who had done live blogging before at the event just so I could prepare a little. Being able to capture events such as Dr. Dewitt and Rimma Nehme (twitter) talking about their last Key Note at PASS Summit was something that sent chills through me.

It was truly and honor and privilege to be a part of the event with so many people I have looked up to in my brief time in the community – Tim Mitchell (blog | twitter), Allen White (blog | twitter), Jes Borland (blog | twitter), Erin Stellato (blog | twitter), and many more.

The People

IMG_20151028_080141This is definitely one that I could spend a whole topic on from community zone, to side bar meetings, to talks with vendors, and the list could go on. I will say that I spent a majority of time having face to face meaningful conversations with peers, vendors, and colleagues. I cannot list them all here nor would I attempt to; many of you took the time to come up to me – even individuals who I did not know or met before and I appreciate that. I wish I could have spoken to more individuals, but if you ever see me around feel free to reach out.

Community Zone and Community Wall

IMG_20151027_122501This was some time well spent where you could meet friends, peers, other data professionals from all walks of life. I was first enamored by this last year in 2014; it’s a cool place to hang out or just detox from what you have learned. Many insightful conversations happen here; not just from work load or issue perspective, but ideas on what others are experiencing and doing as well. If you have not taken advantage of the opportunity to speak to some of the community members I strongly urge you to if you make it back. Community is a big aspect of the PASS Summit and you will not be sorry for taking advantage of such

The Sponsors

IMG_20151028_180828One of the big reasons we can do what we do are the sponsors, volunteers, and tireless countless numbers of workers who put in hours, money, and sweat into pulling an event off for 5k-6k individuals. A huge thank you goes out to them for their hard work and effort.

I did like the fact, not sure how many others feel this way, that PASS Summit recognized the sponsors where people could see as they walked back and forth to the community zone, breakfast and lunch area, and vendor area. It allowed me to take a quick snapshot of the pic to the left.

If you haven’t had time yet, some of you may even be customers. Shoot them a thank you note; they do appreciate it.

For me specifically a big thanks to Red-Gate, SQL Sentry, PureStorage, and Linchpin People.

Argenis Without Borders

IMG_20151029_125707This year alone this initiative brought in over 22k dollars. Argenis Fernandez (blog | twitter) and Kirsten Benzel (twitter) started this a few years back; now some of you maybe have wondered why people were all dressed up for in the middle of the community zone; well certain targets needed to be hit for certain, shall we say, fun to take place. Not to many places you can see people dressing up and Mike Fal playing a trombone. Heck they even through in some individuals getting tattoos since record numbers were broken.

In all seriousness this is for a great cause put on by some great people. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be a part of it take a look here; every little bit helps.

Highlights

There were a ton of highlights for me. Conversations that were had along with meeting some new people along the way such as Warwick Rudd (blog | twitter), Ben McNamara (twitter), Karla Landrum (twitter), Alex Yates (blog | twitter) to name a few made my day and getting time to spend with a lot of my friends made for a good week.

I am pleased to say that I will begin helping with the HADR Virtual Chapter in the very near future. More to come on that in future posts, but am thankful that John Sterrett (blog | twitter) and David Klee (blog |twitter) are taking a chance and investing some time in me.

Sessions were strong this year. I got to see a few from my good friend John Morehouse (blog | twitter), Mike Fal’s awesome session on PowerShell, to the outstanding session Erin Stellato gave on XE. If you missed any make sure to visit the PASS Summit website and purchase the sessions; you won’t be disappointed and it is an investment for your company.

Closing

Being part of the PASS Community is something that has changed my career. I’m living proof that what we do on a daily basis works and is working. If each one reaches one then our mission is complete ~ I’m thankful yet humbled to be on this journey.

It’s always a pleasure to see everyone at PASS Summit and look forward to many more conversations, collaborations, speaking engagements, and demos. Let’s keep moving this community forward one day at a time and keep investing time in others. What you do today influences someone else tomorrow – Let’s Roll!

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T-SQL Tuesday #60 Roundup – Step Right Up

TSQL2sdayWe had a great turnout for this months T-SQL Tuesday Block Party. Coming into this month and knowing that I was hosting, I felt a strong sense of picking a topic that would help others. A topic where sound professionals such as the ones below shared some of their thoughts on the how and the why to learning.

One thing is evident to me in reading these posts. You can be the most senior professional in our industry down to someone who is just attending their first T-SQL Tuesday, but one thing holds true ~ the people.

All right, with that said check out what the party attendees had to say, a special thanks out to each of them, and I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Adam Machanic (B|T) who with this party marked the 60th (5 years). Appreciate the vision you had 5 years ago Adam.

Party attendees:

Aaron Bertrand (B|T) – provides a great synopsis of why experience has helped in learning and tapping into Q and A sites. I liked this approach; was pretty awesome to see him write this and also pretty awesome he took the time to share this for others to read while flying from one conference to another. Much appreciated sir.

Rob Farley (B|T) – provides a twist on how he learns from others by cultivating and developing relationships. One key piece from his post is “listening” what others have to say. I got a lot out of this post.

Kenneth Fisher (B|T) – provides a security gem you will want to read along with some practical examples of tracking down user perms and AD groups.

Russ Thomas (B|T) – provides a nice trick to add to anyone’s arsenal. A simple task that many may not know or have forgotten.

Rob Sewell (B|T) – provides a nice take on the “Problem Step Record”; along with providing some reasons why it may be beneficial to start using it. Another good read.

Tom Roush (B|T) – provides a great blog post on what #sqlhelp can do for you along with what the community is all about. Captured every essence of community.

Jason Brimhall (B|T) – provides some discussion around what he picked up from PASS Summit14 and the use of the debugger; brilliant actually.

Malathi Mahadevan (B|T) – provides insight about learning promotion of work, networking, community involvement. This was a nice take from someone who has been in the trenches of attending PASS Summit for 13 years.

Nancy Daniels (B|T) – first, I think it is awesome that this is Nancy’s first #T-SQL2sday. Second, Nancy has provided steps on how she fixed a patch gone awry on one of her clustered environments. Nice way to step through the issue

Warwick Rudd (B|T) – provides some sound advice and real word examples on how multiple solutions can achieve an outcome. I actually like the comment made regarding PowerShell

Boris Hristov (B|T) – provides a thought provoking post. This one struck home with me as I have done exactly what he mentioned. Achieving the ability to arrive at a solution and deliver it in its most simplistic form so others can understand…..stellar and well said.

Mickey Steuwe (B|T) – provides a real world example of recovering from a transaction log filling up a disk; you won’t believe where the solution came from!

Cathrine Wilhelmsen (B|T) – provides a couple of good examples from some established data professionals around security and notifications. One of the sessions mentioned was one of Argenis Fernandez (B|T) and securing your SQL server. I’ve sat in on that one; stellar post to glean some information from.

Keep rocking guys!!

Im At Summit Now What?

Pass Summit 2011 - Photo Provided by Pat Wright

Pass Summit 2011 – Photo Provided by Pat Wright

We are a week out from PASS Summit 2014 and there will be many there attending for the first time. You are in the same boat I was in back in 2011. To be quite honest, I’ve never seen or attended anything quite like it before.

No, it’s not some mythical place that you hear about. It is a real conference with real people who are in the daily trenches just like you are. The key that I learned back in 2011 is to step out of your comfort zone, meet some new people, network, speak with the vendors, and get your learn on.

Will you be overwhelmed, perhaps, but keep in mind that you are not the only one. This event is by far, in my humble opinion, one of the best learning opportunities in our industry and field. There will be plenty of sessions to go through and attend along with some other activities once the sessions end ~ get involved.

 

Here are some things to note that may help you along your way:

  1. Pass Summit Schedule Builder
  2. PASS Evening Events
  3. SQL Karaoke @ Busch Gardens – Thursday night ( (check out some of the past ones here)
  4. Twitter feeds to watch for (#TSQL2sday, #sqlpass, #sqlrun, #sqllongrun)
  5. Twitter handles to watch (@sqlpass)
  6. Download the EventBrite app; if you are scheduled for things such as the sql run your event will remind you through this app
  7. Download the GuideBook app; this app will remind you of the schedules you build out
  8. Vendor booths – yes go meet them. Some of the tools you utilize everyday will be there; stop by the RedGate booth and see some of my friends
  9. Community Zone – take advantage of some of the best in our industry
  10. Eating – this might look weird putting that on here but take advantage of eating at a table with others you don’t know. Introduce yourself I promise it won’t hurt.
  11. Miss a session – yep you will because there are so many to attend. PASS has you covered and you can purchase the full tracks

I have some commitments while I am there this year, but make sure you stop me and say hi and introduce yourself. Without a doubt I look at my career and there is one thing that stands out that helped change my career outlook – attending PASS Summit.

Safe travels to everyone attending and hope to see you there.