Thursday, April 29, 2010

SQLSaturday New York: Smiling all day

SQLSaturday is catching on all over the place. It is amazing how many people are thirsting for SQL Server knowledge. One of the best experiences I have when going to a session, is the validation that what I am doing at work is on the right track.

First, I would like to thank the sponsors for funding the event. Without them the event is not possible.

Confio (Ignite) even invited the speakers and volunteer to a Friday evening welcoming. It was just what was needed the night before the event. Thank you Matt Larson and David Waugh.

Other sponsors included Quest, Idera, Expressor, Redgate, Pearl, XLeratorDB, PASS, Pragmatic Works, TwentySix, SetFocus, Agile Technologies, Microsoft, CozyRoc and Apress.

Biggest thank you goes out to the NJ SQL Server User Group and volunteers, who did a top notch job. Thanks Alex for helping the speakers and SQLDiva for leading the group.

Breakfast was plentiful, coffee, orange juice, milk, donuts, bagels, etc.

The first session I attended with Andy Leonard SSIS Design Patterns. Andy did a great job with 2-3 patterns involving variables and events in  SSIS.

Next was Matt Larson(Confio), showing how to use sysprocesses and DMV/DMFs to get performance information from SQL Server. A gentleman from the audience encourage all in attendance to install the trial version on Ignite and we would be amazed with the results from this tool. I am trying to schedule a day or 2 for a trial run.

Lunch was in the speakers room chatting with other speakers and volunteers. Next to me was Thomas LaRock, Andy Leonard, Grant Fitchey, Slava Kokaev, Adam Jorgensen and others. Lunch was box style and worked great.

Grant was up next with a great presentation on More Unnecessary Tuning. Basically, some do's and do not's up front when designing data access.

Andy Leonard continued in the afternoon with Incremental Loads in SSIS, but I had to leave before the end to prepare for my session. The Hash compare for changes interested me.

To close the day, I presented 3rd Key Normal Form: That's Crazy Talk!!! The room was a conference room with a table in the middle and chairs all arounnd with somewhere betwee 20-30 attendees(1 or 2 had to sit on the floor). The session was directed at good and bad DB designs, but I probably only got through the first 10-12 slides before the discussion went to Visio diagrams and SSMS scripting.

The participation from the attendees was great, I just had to keep the focus on the topic - kinda of like leading a meeting at work. It turned out better than I imagined and had 5-6 attendees stay a little while afterwards to thank me and offer some great advice and comments.

One open question was about Attributes on an Entity that vary based on a product type. I have never used XML as a data type, but this seemed to be a good case. Another peson suggested looking into EAVs design. I displayed a design in Visio that got a couple of people saying, 'That is not normal form.' OUCH!!!

It seems like a good session topic for 4th and 5th key normal form, and some industry standards or examples.

Plenty of prizes were given away by the sponsors and the conference.

My next Blog post will be a series on the DB Standards document from my current employer. I could not place this with my session because it belongs to Amedisys.

God Bless,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Maintenance Weekend...

This Saturday is the third Saturday of the month, which means I will be working. We have a shutdown were the networking, DBA and security teams can update the systems while it is offline to end users.

These functions used to have to be done on unscheduled evenings when ever possible, but now it has been on Saturday for over a year. The time has gone from 6-10 hours to 2-3 if no problems occur. Also, because of failover systems, the work has been lighter.

LSU plays Alabama in baseball and I will be able to go to Sat and Sun. They beat Tulane on Wednesday night 10-4. Always enjoyable to see use take down the greenies.

God Bless,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Passed 70-431, now MCITP DB 2005

I assumed by reading the title of 70-447, that all I needed to upgrade MCDBA to MCITP was to take this test. Wrong!!!

You need to pass 70-431 and become a MCT first, then take 70-447. Well, I did it in reverse and now can say I am a MCITP. Next, 2008 certification.

The test was 35 multiple choice questions, which did not seemed to hard. What I did not realize, was an interactive 12 questions was coming down the pipe.

You actually would be given a scenario, then have to use a stripped down verison of SSMS (Management Studio) to solve the problem. I have to say, I was not prepared for this, but still finished and Passed with 880. Not bad.

Certifications might not be what they were years ago, but the experience in my opinion is good. There is alot of studying required, plus it questioned some of the pratices we DBAs do at our site.

Some questions about CLRs, security, Serice Broker were areas we do not use and I had to learn from reading. Others like database mirror, replication, log shipping, network protocols were areas we use and were easy.

God Bless,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

SQLSaturday Baton Rouge

Great lunch with the planning group. Looks like we will have 9 total tracks, 5 SQL Server and 4 development.

The submitted sessions have us about 75% full with addtional sessions and alternates available.

I spoke last year, but was not involved with the planning. Alot of good people helping.

This week at work required some DBA reviews of developers code. I am also reading an 2008 Analysis Service book which has been great. Microsoft gave us a copy and I am on chapter 12, with 4-5 to go.

It seems the tool is great, but the design has to follow some best pratices in order to work well as designed. The are many properties to change in a dimension or cube to get the output just right. Another case of if you do not start using it, you will forget where to adjust output.

God Bless,