PASS’s newest Virtual Chapter aims to answer two primary questions for those new to the DBA world or considering a career as a SQL Server administrator: How do I become a successful DBA? And what do I need to learn first?
The idea for the DBA Fundamentals VC came from questions VC co-leader Mark Swofford received from DBAs he’s managed and college students he’s talked to. “Students are confused about the path to become a DBA, and new DBAs many times have basic conceptual ideology, but have yet to see it firsthand,” he notes. “Neither of these groups needs a deep dive into transactional replication, but they do need to understand what an index is.”
Mark, who led the PASS Virtualization VC for a few years, contacted PASS HQ with a proposal for a VC that addresses the needs of people in their first year or so of employment as database administrators, as well as those who aspire to be DBAs. Then he recruited DBAs Michael Brumley and Steve Cantrell to help lead the group.
“To be a successful DBA, it takes a solid foundation of general concepts, career development, training, fearlessness, confidence, and mentorship from more experienced professionals,” Mark adds. “This Virtual Chapter will host regular novice-level presentations on a wide variety of topics: the basics, skills for sure, concepts, career development, and the importance of getting involved in the community early on.”
The DBA Fundamentals VC kicks off its lineup of free webcasts July 10 with David Smithey’s “DBA 101”, and has already launched a forum for DBA basics questions and answers. The team is also busy scheduling future speakers – including Scott Shaw, Adam Belebczuk, and Jes Schultz Borland – and coordinating some special events, such as an upcoming day-long online DBA Boot Camp.
The VC is looking for professionals who’d like to give 100-level presentations on a wide variety of DBA topics – if you’re interested in speaking, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. And to make sure you get the latest meeting details, join the VC and follow @DBAFundVC on Twitter.
Inspired by its namesake technologies, PASS’s new Master Data/Data Quality Virtual Chapter seeks to provide a central, trustworthy source of information that can help data stewards ensure reliable, consistent data.
The VC, getting ready for its third online meeting next week, focuses on Master Data Services (MDS), new in SQL Server 2008 R2, and Data Quality Services (DQS), introduced in SQL Server 2012.
“MDS and DQS are still new products in the data platform stack,” notes Patrick Gallucci, who co-chairs the VC with Tom Marek. “In talking to people in the SQL Server community, I get a lot of questions around master data - what is it, how to use it, what scenarios to use it in... So our initial sessions will really show people what MDS/DQS means to them – the value of master data.”
The VC’s first two meetings are available for online replay. And the group will welcome Gene Web of The Profisee Group on Monday, June 18, for Master Data Maestro for Microsoft Master Data Services.
“In addition to having guest speakers at our free monthly online sessions, we are also trying out open, community-driven chalk-talks,” Patrick adds. “We received feedback that people really like the format, and we want to encourage that type of collaborative problem-solving.”
If you want to submit a chalk-talk topic, just send a brief email to email@example.com with the topic title, user story, problem statement, and why the problem is hard to solve. The VC also invites community members to take a quick survey of MDS/DQS topics they’re most interested in.
The VC website features links to top MDS/DQS resources, and as the group grows, watch for a newsletter. If you are interested in volunteering your time and talents to help manage and grow the VC, Patrick and Tom would love to hear from you - simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest on Master Data/Data Quality VC meetings and resources, make sure you register for the VC today.
It’s your turn! Voting opens today for three community seats on the 2012 PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will manage the Board of Directors general election. Thanks and good luck to all 12 candidates who applied for this important role.
All applicants have been vetted by NomCom Chair Rushabh Mehta, and in compliance with Election Review Committee recommendations, the slate is being put forward for community vote to decide who will join Rushabh and Board member Thomas LaRock on this year’s five-member NomCom.
The 2012 NomCom candidates are:
- Angela Henry
- Dave Schutz
- Jason Strate
- John Morehouse
- Louis Davidson
- Mark Broadbent
- Mark Ginnebaugh
- Neil Hambly
- Nic Cain
- Rick Heiges
- Ryan Adams
- Stefanie Higgins
Secure, individualized ballots are being emailed today to all PASS members in good standing as of June 1, 2012, and all ballots must be submitted by noon PT on June 22. The ballot allows you to choose up to three candidates you feel will best serve PASS as part of the NomCom.
NomCom members will review applications for the 2012 PASS Board election, check references, and interview and rank the applicants who wish to run for the PASS Board. Volunteer experience and a good understanding of PASS as an organization are critical to success on the NomCom. Check out the Nomination Committee page to learn more about the candidates and the NomCom’s role in the PASS elections process. If you have any questions or concerns about the NomCom election, please contact PASSHQ.
Thanks in advance for taking time to participate in the NomCom election and the running of your organization – and good luck again to all NomCom candidates. Happy voting!
How do you connect a SQL Server community across the world’s fifth largest country? If you are the leaders of the PASS Brazil Virtual Chapter, you create an online spring of free information and interactivity that flows like the mighty Amazon.
The Brazil Virtual Chapter started from a quick talk at TechEd 2010 among the people who now serve as the VC’s Board of Directors. “We were all involved in local PASS Chapters, and we all faced the same situation,” explains VC leader Felipe Ferreira. “Brazil is so huge that we constantly have people from all over the country asking for content and events, but when we organize a local meeting, we usually get only 20 or 30 people in the room. So we wanted to bring people together through an online portal, where we could organize and store all session videos, webcasts, and event calendars. But more than that, we wanted to create a central repository of content in Portuguese, where we could aggregate all the articles that people write on their personal blogs.”
The group approached their PASS Regional Mentor, Alexandro Prado, who was excited about the idea and organized a meeting with all the PASS Chapters in the country. After some discussions and brainstorming about the model and more ideas for the project, the team created the BR Virtual Chapter. Almost all the local PASS Chapter leaders in the country sit on the VC’s Board of Directors, and in 2 years, it has more than 350 active members, 50 videos/webcasts on its portal, and of this writing, just posted its 1000th technical article.
The VC has over 40 authors writing content for its portal, with the latest posts also featured on the Brazilian SQL Server MSDN site. Authors simply write on their personal blogs and use a specific tag on articles they want pulled onto the VC site.
In addition, the VC hosts live webcasts the third Thursday of every month, covering SQL Server administration, development, and BI topics. All are recorded and uploaded immediately to the site. In May, featured speaker Thiago Iacopini, a Microsoft PFE, talked about SQL Server security. The next presentations are June 21 with Laerte Junior speaking on Troubleshooting SQL Server with PowerShell and July 19 with Microsoft PFE and Microsoft Certified Master Fabricio Catae. An average of 50 people attend the webcasts live, with typically 150 more watching the recorded versions, although the BI sessions are in even higher demand. One of the BI basics session recordings from Felipe is the most visited video so far with 795 views.
The VC’s leaders and volunteers are also active in their local user groups and in organizing other in-person events, such as SQLSaturday #100 - São Paulo 2011, the first SQLSaturday in Latin America.
“The SQL Server community here in Brazil is incredible,” Felipe notes. “People are very united and passionate about what they do, and they are always hungry for more information, which serves as a great motivator for us. We have a lot of people who are trying to start or improve their careers in the database world, and sometimes they feel a little lost and don’t know where to start, what to read, or what to learn. Thanks to the BR VC, they can find a lot of information, articles, and Microsoft certification exam preparation advice and keep in touch with their peers all over the country. We have people who joined the group as newcomers to SQL Server and today sit right beside the original members at the same level of knowledge – and both are now helping the new generation.”
In addition to Felipe and Regional Mentor Alexandro, other members of the BR VC Board are:
- Andressa Martins
- Diego Nogare
- Nilton Pinheiro
- Marcondes Alexandre
- Thiago Zavaschi
- Roberto Fonseca
- Pedro Galvão Jr
- Vladimir Magalhães
- Luciano Caixeta Moreira
The VC is always looking for more volunteers, speakers, and ideas. If you are interested in writing for or helping with the VC portal or speaking to the group, see the contact information on the BR VC site.
Are you a dedicated PASS volunteer with a passion for improving our community? Then you’re eligible to apply for three community positions on this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will oversee the 2012 PASS Board of Directors election.
The call for NomCom applications – open today through June 6 – kicks off the 2012 PASS elections process. The NomCom will manage the PASS Board of Directors general election, ensuring that each applicant for this year’s three open Board seats is qualified and suited to lead PASS as it continues to grow and reach out to all members of the SQL Server community. But first, the PASS community will elect the three community members who will join NomCom Chair/Immediate Past President Rushabh Mehta and another Board member on the 5-person committee.
To be eligible for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS – such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter or Virtual Chapter Leader, Program Committee member, or frequent community speaker – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that the NomCom is an essential part of the PASS Board elections process and requires a substantial commitment of time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, you are agreeing to the time commitments of the entire general election process, including the applicant interview process currently slated for late August.
If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in serving on the NomCom, please review the details and complete elections timeline on the PASS Elections page and download the application today. NomCom applications close June 6, and voting will run June 13-22, with all PASS members as of June 1, 2012, eligible to vote. The top three vote-getters will be elected to the NomCom and begin managing this year’s general election process.
Talk of “Big Data” and “NoSQL” is all around us, and given the open-source, non-relational bent of these areas, they may seem largely irrelevant to many SQL Server professionals. But for PASS’s new Big Data Virtual Chapter, the technologies are a big deal in analyzing a whole new world of data.
“Anyone working with Business Intelligence or SQL Server in general should be more than interested in Big Data solutions,” notes the Virtual Chapter’s co-leader Paco González. “It opens a new field for analysis related to a whole segment of information that hasn’t been consumed before.”
Microsoft is making significant investments to create the next-generation Big Data platform. And according to the Virtual Chapter’s next speaker, Andrew Brust, whether you’re coming from the relational side of SQL Server or you’re a seasoned pro with the product’s BI components, these new worlds can be surprisingly accessible. Plus, as you add these technologies to your arsenal, your background in more conventional, enterprise-friendly relational and BI tools will make you more valuable than Big Data specialists without that experience.
At the Virtual Chapter’s next free meeting on June 5, Andrew – a Microsoft BI expert, MVP, and ZDNet Big Data blogger – will give an overview of the Big Data space, key technologies, and how you can get hands-on with them. He’ll also explore the career opportunities and strategies available if you decide to take the Big Data plunge while remaining grounded in your SQL Server environment.
“The goal of the Big Data Virtual Chapter is to provide a community for SQL Server professionals to learn about the use of SQL Server software with Hadoop and related technologies,” adds Virtual Chapter co-leader Carl Rabeler. “We invite all PASS members and their colleagues to join us - share your experiences, problems, and solutions and learn new skills.”
In April, 70+ attendees joined Denny Lee of the Microsoft SQL Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT) for the Virtual Chapter’s first meeting – a Microsoft Hadoop primer and real-world look at customers using Hadoop to gain insights from Big Data. If you missed the session, you can watch the archived recording.
With Microsoft’s Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure nearing release, the Virtual Chapter expects to meet the first Tuesday of every month and ramp up its online resources and forum. If you’d like to speak at or volunteer with the Big Data Virtual Chapter, please contact Paco, and make sure to follow @PASSBigDataVC on twitter for the latest technology and meeting updates.
(Reposted from Tim Mitchell's blog - you can read the original post here.)
It’s hard to believe that after all the hard work, planning, and prep, SQLRally Dallas is just a week away! This time next week the conference will be in full swing for Day 1 of the regular sessions. The pre-conference seminars actually start on Tuesday, so it’s going to be a full week of learning, Texas-style!
For my part, I’m going to be delivering a presentation on Thursday. I’ll be talking about SQL Server Data Quality Services, one of the new features of SQL Server 2012 that I’m really excited about. This one is designed for kids of all ages – whether you’ve never touched DQS or have been playing around with it for a bit, you’ll get something from this intro session.
“I’ll be there!”
If you’re already registered, great! Be sure to stop by my session and say hello – I’d be happy to meet both people who read my blog.
Remember that there are lots of networking opportunities to go along with the sessions and pre-cons. If you love the night life and/or like to boogie, we’ll be having meetups at the Uptown Bar and Grill on Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Thursday, they’ll have karaoke for those of you who have a good voice or a high threshold for embarrassment. On Friday morning (if you don’t sleep in from the late night singing), meet up with me, Andy Warren, Sri Sridharan, and others at the convention center for coffee and chat. There’s even talk of an unofficial meetup near the convention center on Friday night to watch the broadcast of the Rangers pounding the Angels.
If you are registered for the 2-day conference but haven’t committed to a pre-con, I would encourage you to give them another look. Each one of the 7 pre-conference seminars is a full-day deep dive into a single subject, delivered by presenters who are experts in their fields. Whether you want to learn about DBA topics, SSAS, or professional development, there’s a good chance you’ll find a good fit. Remember, these run on Tuesday and Wednesday, so you could even take in 2 of the pre-cons. The full-day pre-cons are priced at $219 each, which is an excellent bargain given the quality of the education you’ll get.
“I’m still not sure…”
I hear you. Perhaps work is busy and there’s nobody to take the slack if you are gone for two or three days. Maybe the boss says he won’t pay for it. It could be that you’re afraid that the material will be over your head, or that perhaps you won’t know anybody. Getting away from the office and out of the comfort zone is taxing, no doubt.
But I’d like to submit to you that your career is worth it. At SQLRally, you’re going to be surrounded by 500-600 people who are a lot like you – problem solvers who want to learn. Every demographic and skill level will be represented, from those just starting out to experts with decades of experience. You’ll get the opportunity to talk shop and compare challenges with hundreds of other database professionals, which is an experience you can’t get from a book or online course. You’ll get to meet and chat with authors, MVPs, MCMs, IT business owners, and other folks who have a lot to teach (and I promise you that they’re just regular people, and most of them truly enjoy getting to know fellow professionals).
In addition to the educational benefits, the networking opportunities are probably the most significant element of Rally. If you’ve ever looked for a job, tried to hire someone, or needed a partner to help solve a problem, you quickly realize the need for networking especially in a wired world. There’s simply no replacement for knowing people in this business. I shared with you in my last Rally blog post about how I came into the job that I have now purely because of the networking contacts I’d made at PASS events. Build your network – one day, you’ll be glad you did.
So if you’re not already registered, I’d encourage you to do what you need to do to be a part of this event. Beg the boss (give him/her this), skip the double-foam-extra-wheat-skinny-caramel-mochas this month, pull an extra shift or two, whatever it takes – it’s an investment, but you won’t be disappointed.
– Tim Mitchell
For the past 18 months, the PASS Data Architecture Virtual Chapter has been helping IT pros build a firm foundation in database design via free webcasts with the best and brightest in the SQL Server community.
The DArch VC has something for everyone, whether you’re a DBA, a database or data integration developer, a data warehousing professional, a data presentation developer, or a client-side application developer persisting data for later retrieval.
“Data architecture provides the blueprints that we all share,” notes VC Chair Thomas LeBlanc. “We want to make data architecture accessible to all data practitioners, and drive the point home that data architecture is a set of practices and a body of knowledge that overlaps almost all database professionals to some degree.”
The DArch VC meets the third Thursday of every month, usually at noon Central Time. And as PASS continues to reach out to SQL Server enthusiasts around the world, the VC is looking at trying other hours so database pros in different time zones can listen in live.
The VC’s next meeting is tomorrow, April 19, at noon CT (6pm GMT) with Todd McDermid speaking on Data Warehouse Dimension Processing with Integration Services - From Simple to Complex. Mike Fal follows in May with table partitioning, and Louis Davidson and Neil Hambly will be presenting this summer.
If you’re just joining the VC, you can catch up via the online archive, which includes session recordings on data warehouse design (Jeremy Huppatz and John Racer), architecture career paths (Robert Davis), database normalization (Louis Davidson and Karen Lopez), and standards (Thomas LeBlanc), as well as presentations on database modeling (Audrey Hammonds) and design mistakes (Steve Simon).
As the DArch VC grows, it’s also looking for volunteers to manage the following tasks:
• LiveMeeting hosting - creating the LiveMeeting scheduled task, emailing the presenter link to speakers and hosts, introducing speakers before webcasts, and monitoring questions.
• Speaker recruiting - reaching out to presenters in the SQL Server community to share their expertise and making sure session recordings are posted on the online meeting archive.
• Marketing - helping update the DArch website, submitting meetings to the PASS Events page, promoting webcasts via community bloggers/tweeters, and notifying media sites such as SQLServerCentral.com, Megaphone Community, and USGS.
• Website maintenance – acting as webmaster for the VC’s DotNetNuke-based website, hosted by PASS.
“These positions are great for people wanting to become proficient in LiveMeeting hosting, as well as meeting and recruiting speakers from around the world and understanding how to get the most from PASS,” Thomas adds. “Plus, they can lead to even more opportunities to serve in the SQL Server community and grow your career.”
The DArch VC has resources and mentors to help you learn the details of each position, which should take only 4-5 hours a month, but you need to commit for at least a year. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the VC at PASS_DA_VC@HotMail.com or on Titter at @DArchVC.
Living in two database worlds? Join fellow SQL Server and Oracle enthusiasts in a unique and re-energized PASS Virtual Chapter where members can collaborate, learn, and grow their careers.
Created last year to support DBAs and developers who work with both SQL Server and Oracle database systems, the SQL Server/Oracle VC’s mission is to provide a forum to help resolve issues, encourage knowledge sharing, and build a stronger “bilingual” community.
“Our goal is to create a rich environment of free webcasts – from both the SQL Server and Oracle camps – web-based articles, and a cross product/cross pollination of concepts and ideas to help our members succeed in both spaces,” says VC leader Steve Simon.
Steve is speaking on "Data Access Layers: A road map to smarter, efficient and effective queries” to kick off the refreshed VC’s first meeting April 11 at 11am ET. And from there, the VC will be meeting via Live Meeting the second Wednesday of every month, with its webinars being recorded for replay in case you can’t attend live.
In between meetings, the VC is looking to foster discussions, provide resources and troubleshooting help, and promote idea sharing and suggestions about future meetings on its new LinkedIn group.
“Everyone is welcome, and we would love to hear what topics you’re interested in,” Steve notes. “We’re also looking for presenters and volunteers who want to help grow and support the chapter - if you’re interested, just contact me.”
An idea sparked at PASS Summit has taken shape as a new Virtual Chapter dedicated to Chinese-speaking users of SQL Server around the world. The Global Chinese Virtual Chapter hosted its first meeting on Monday with a deep-dive look at failover cluster enhancements and is actively looking for members, speakers, and volunteers.
“The chapter was born from the momentum shared by Chinese attendees of PASS Summit 2011,” noted acting VC leader Tiffena Kou. “We have observed that people who speak the same language are more open to sharing with and learning from each other.”
The VC currently plans to meet the third Monday of every month via LiveMeeting. The main presentation will begin at 6:30pm PST, but to help ensure the content is useful to members, the group will have a short Q&A session 30 minutes before every session. All content will be in Chinese.
The VC plans to record the sessions and make them available on its website for those who might not be able to attend the live meeting. The website also features discussion forums to encourage questions and information sharing about SQL Server and the VC, including what kinds of events and content the community would like to see.
“We hope that the creation of this chapter will allow those who have no access to a local chapter to participate in knowledge sharing, take on new challenges, and become leaders of their local communities,” Tiffena adds.
If you have any questions about the VC or are interested in speaking or volunteering, please contact Tiffena.