Cleveland DBA

SQL Server administration in Cleveland, OH

The problem with SQL Saturday…

The problem with user conferences is that they usually leave me with a slight case of ADD the following Monday.  So much stuff, I have to try it all NOW!!!  SQL Saturday #75 this past weekend in Columbus was no exception.  There were some really good presentations and for a couple time slots it was tough choosing which one to attend.  Here’s a very brief recap of the sessions I went to.

Baseline Basics – Erin Stellato (blog|twitter):  This was a really informative presentation, a lot of information.  I’ve done baselining in the past using Perfmon and, more recently, Powershell.  But the best part of this presentation was the second half where Erin discussed analytical methods.  I’m looking forward to checking out PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs).  In fact, I’m running a Perfmon baseline right now just so I can check it out.  There’s also ClearTrace  for analyzing Profiler traces.

SANs and SQL Server – Kevin Boles (twitter):  I really need to get more involved in the hardware configuration of our database servers.  Ours is an environment where the “SAN guys” only want to know how much disk you need and where you want it attached.  The DBAs don’t have much more input beyond that.  That needs to change.

Build your own SQL Server Cloud – Sarah Barela (blog|twitter):  Externally hosted clouds didn’t allow Sarah the kind of control she wanted over the environment, so she decided to build her own.  In this session she provided a somewhat high-level overview of what the requirements were for her cloud and how she accomplished them using Hyper-V, mirroring, resource governor etc.

SQL Server Partitioning – Kevin Boles:  A good overview of partitioning, some best practices, and some shortcomings.  To date we have not used partitioning here, but this is good information for our datawarehouse team.

The 4-hour DBA – Sarah Barela:  This one was about automating the tasks you perform regularly and also partly about letting go of some of the control over your environment.  I know, that last part can make a DBA squirm.  I was hoping Sarah would provide more concrete examples and/or scripts, so I was a little disappointed, but it did get me thinking about the tasks I personally hate doing and how I can automate some of them.

WIT Lunch – Sarah Barela, Jen Myers (blog|twitter), Erin Stellato and Jes Borland (blog|twitter):  This was a very interesting discussion on how to encourage more young people (not just girls/women) to consider a career in technology.  Good stuff.

But I think the best part of this SQL Saturday was meeting and speaking with such wonderful people.  There was a discussion after the event about how supportive the SQL Server user community is and how unique they are (or seem to be) in that respect.  Where else do you have people giving up their personal time, be it evenings at user group meetings, or whole Saturdays (whole weekends for some out-of-towners) to help their colleagues improve their skills?  It’s fantastic!


June 13, 2011 Posted by | Professional Development | , | Leave a comment

Women In Technology

You’re probably aware that March is Women’s History Month, and even the SQL Server community is celebrating.  Here are a few of the events for this month:

SQL University – Women in Technology Week

If you haven’t already checked out SQL University, you really should.  For one thing, it’s free.  For another, it’s community driven.  Bloggers are spending their time to provide you with a quality SQL Server education.  And did I mention it’s free?  This week the focus is on Women in Technology (WIT).

24 Hours of PASS

Another free (!) resource, 24-hours of PASS is a 24-hour blitz of webcasts on SQL Server topics from database administration to business intelligence to development.  This time around all of the sessions are being presented by women.

SQL Saturdays

Depending on where you are, there may be a SQL Saturday going on in your area this month.  SQL Saturdays are generally free (there may be a small fee for lunch), and are great ways to learn and get involved in the SQL Server community.  And most of them have a WIT panel/discussion.


Take some time this month to check out some of the fine women (including yours truly) blogging about SQL Server and all things geek.  I’ve listed a few on my new blogroll to get you started.

Now get out there and celebrate that geeky woman that makes your life and work easier.  Maybe bring her some bourbon.  I hear she likes that.

March 10, 2011 Posted by | General, Professional Development | , , , | 1 Comment

The obligatory first post

This past weekend I attended SQL Saturday here in sunny Cleveland.  And while there were probably more fun ways to spend a Saturday, I have to say I’m very glad I went.  There were some great sessions by Steve Jones, Thomas LaRock, Grant Fritchey, and Jeremiah Peschka and I learned a ton of information.

However, I would say that 2 things stand out as the most important lessons I came away with.

1) sp_whoisactive.  I don’t know where I’ve been.  Under a rock, apparently.  This stored procedure by Adam Mechanic is AWESOME.  Period.  I downloaded it this morning and within seconds was able to provide my users with the exact SQL from a couple of reports that were killing our system.  Out of the box, this procedure lists details about all active sessions, including the time since the last batch, the spid, full SQL text, login, CPU utilization, tempdb usage, disk and usage, and a lot more.  I haven’t even explored all the options yet.  This is my new sp_who, my new activity monitor, my new [insert name of pretty third party tool here].  If you haven’t checked it out yet, do it now!

2) This one is a bit embarrassing.  I haven’t updated my resume since… ok I’m not going to say exactly when.  Suffice it to say it’s been years.  Years.  There, I said it.  My head hangs in shame.  Why so long?  I don’t really have a good explanation.  I’ve been at the same employer for over 10 years.  I’m not looking to leave at this point.  I realize that just because I have no intention of leaving, that doesn’t mean my employer might not have other ideas.  And the longer I leave it, the more difficult the task becomes.  Key points get forgotten.  So the second important (and probably the *most* important) thing I took away from SQL Saturday is that I have to make more of an effort in building and maintaining a “brand” for myself, which includes keeping my resume up to date.
Which leads me to this blog.  This is more for me than anyone else.  A place to document things I know, things I learn, questions I face, and maybe even help someone else.  And this is my first post, done.  Glad we got that out of the way.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Professional Development | , , | Leave a comment