2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Allan Hirt

 Today's post is from Allan Hirt who will be presenting "A Deep Dive into AlwaysOn:Failover Clustering and Availability Groups". You can read more about his session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1076 .

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
There has been a lot of buzz around all the changes in high availability that come as part of Denali. This session is for those who want to jumpstart their knowledge, and focuses on both failover clustering and the new availability groups feature from a DBA/IT/infrastructure, not a developer, perspective.

 

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?

  1. Learn the essentials of the new AlwaysOn availability groups feature in SQL Server Denali
  2. Understand how to plan and implement an underlying Windows failover cluster for not only a standard SQL Server failover cluster, but ones that are multi-site as well as for AlwaysOn availability groups
  3. See live demos to how how DBAs will actually need to implement and administer these features. This will not be just a day’s worth of theory from slide presentations that is not usable in the real world.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Since there is no plan to teach the basics of failover clustering, attendees should have at least a working knowledge of clusters because clusters not only play a role in the traditional failover clustering aspects of Denali, but in availability groups as well.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Besides being a Microsoft Cluster MVP who can talk to both Windows and SQL Server, I have been working with one of Microsoft’s Denali TAP customers since Spring 2011 on a multi-site deployment combining both clustered instances and availability groups. I also bring close to 20 years of experience with SQL Server including consulting, training, and writing numerous whitepapers, articles, and books. I do not just do this stuff in a lab; I help customers in the real world.

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Rob Farley

Today's post is from Rob Farley who will be presenting "Fixing Queries With Advanced T-SQL Constructs".  You can read more about his
session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1204
 
Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
A lot of people are quite good at T-SQL. They can write queries to solve most of their problems, and they probably understand indexing principles - able to pick the ideal covering index for their queries, and probably know to look in the Execution Plan to look for ‘bad things’ such as Index Scans and Lookups. However, I see a lot of things that people don’t really know about writing queries and the relationship to plans. I know they don’t, because I remember learning them myself. I remember making that shift from being able to write ‘good queries’ to being able to write the queries that matched the plans I wanted to see being produced.

But you don’t have to be particularly good at T-SQL already. The kind of person I think will get the most out of this seminar is the person who is merely comfortable writing queries, and interested in being stretched to think differently.


After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
My favourite piece of feedback from any of my Advanced T-SQL classes is when someone writes "You’ve made me want to pull up every query I’ve ever written." It’s not because they suddenly have tools to assess their queries better (although they will certainly have the opportunity to learn to assess queries), but because they’ve developed an interest in thinking about their queries more. I’ll show people the profoundness of what they already know, and they’ll probably think of times they’ve used those constructs without considering the impact of them. I’ve had people remote into their machines during my talks to see if they’re taking full advantage of the things I’m showing.

As well as that, people will get renewed hope that they can tune some of their nastier queries even more. We all have queries that we have given up on, and I hope that I can persuade people that there is almost always hope, even for the worst of them. The things I’ll be showing can affect a lot of queries, so I’m sure there will be something for even the most frustrating of queries.


What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
I’m going to assume that attendees are not complete beginners with T-SQL. I figure if I show a simple GROUP BY statement, that someone’s going to understand what I’m showing. But I don’t expect that they should have a certain level of expertise before coming. The biggest prerequisite I see for this is to have an interest in getting the most out of T-SQL. If they’re coming to hear my jokes, they’ll be disappointed - my jokes aren’t really that good.


What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Well, I’ve taught Advanced T-SQL for a number of years, using my own courseware, and have delivered this seminar before with excellent feedback. I’ve done public speaking for a long time, and promise to make the day enjoyable as well as instructional. I’ve had some of the best in the industry say that I’m one of the best explainers out there, and I take pleasure in helping people really get the concepts that I’m showing. I try for a mix of the light-hearted and eye-opening, that generally works well. I don’t try for massively deep and obscure; I go for profound, and may make your head hurt as you start seeing the possibilities for the code you can write.

Oh, but if you’ve never seen an execution plan before, then consider going to Grant & Gail’s session. I’m sure that will be very good too.

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Simon Sabin

Today's post is from Simon Sabin who will be presenting "Advanced Reporting Services".  You can read more about his session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1659.

 
Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
Are any of these familiar

  • You’ve been asked to make your reports more interactive.
  • You’ve got 100 reports to develop and you want to avoid doing the same thing 100 times.
  • You’ve got a system that is used by 200 clients how can you use reporting services to deliver reports for them securely.
  • You’ve seen crescent and would like some of that goodness.
  • You know reporting services can do more but you just don’t know how.
  • You’ve been sitting at your desk and you’ve got no hair left because you’ve been trying to get reporting services to do something that looks easy.

If any of them are familiar then you need to attend the advanced reporting services precon at SQL PASS
 
After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
After attending you will know how to tackle the common problems that on the surface look easy but in practice are very difficult. Like how do you combine data from different sources, how do you display parent child data, how do you add interactivity to your report.
Not only will you learn how, but you will also learn why certain options are better than others. I’ve done the hard work figuring these things out so you don’t have to.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Before attending you should have some experience of reporting services. We will assume you know your way around management studio and BIDS. Some knowledge of VB.Net would be helpful but we will be covering that at a fairly basic level.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
I’ve got 14 years experience with SQL Server and have worked with reporting services from its first incarnation with SQL Server 2000. I’ve worked on large installations with 100s of reports as well as hosted services where we had to deliver reports for individual clients.
I regularly teach companies on how to use SQL Server and Reporting Services and my experience means I know the pitfalls to avoid and the ways to work around some of the limitations of reporting services.
I’ve been and MVP for 6 years, I’m one of the founders of SQLBits and I am a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server 2008.

 
Go here to register for the 2011 PASS Summit.

2011 Pass Summit Pre-Con Preview - Gail Shaw and Grant Fritchey

Today's post is from Gail Shaw and Grant Fritchey who will be presenting "All About Execution Plans".  You can read more about their session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1245.

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
Grant Fritchey
:  Everybody. Seriously, anyone that has to understand what decisions the optimizer has made with the queries they write. That pretty much covers, database administrators, database developers and report writers, in short, most of the SQL Server community.
Gail Shaw: Anybody who’s ever looked at an execution plan and wondered what it means. Anyone who’s ever wondered how SQL was running a particular query and if they can change that. Anyone who’s sat cursing SQL for picking the wrong index or wrong join. Anyone who’s wondered which of some query patterns were more efficient than others and how to tell that. Basically, anyone who seriously writes queries.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
Grant Fritchey
: Only two or three things? I think everyone will be able to go back to their office and immediately gain access to execution plans they were not previously able to open. Further, I think the attendees will be motivated to go back to the office and look at their execution plans. We're going to be showing how to identify many common problems that evidence themselves within execution plans and we'll be showing how to fix some of those problems. If the attendees have issues such as slow running queries, blocking, or parameter sniffing, I'm pretty sure they'll have something new to use to help with those problems immediately on their return to the office.
Gail Shaw: They’ll know how to read execution plans, what some of the signs of a bad plan is, and they’ll have several options for getting those plans from SQL. That should be enough for them to dig into problems that have been nagging for months and start solving them.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Grant Fritchey
: They should have a reasonably good understanding of what SQL Server is and what it does. They absolutely should already understand TSQL. This is not an introductory course where we'll walk everyone through fundamental things like connecting to the database. But, it's not a doctorate level course either. This is a middle of the road type of technical course that's going to assume fundamental working knowledge of SQL Server.
Gail Shaw: Of course it’s not a doctorate level course, SQL qualifications only go up to master level. ;-) Seriously though, as long as they understand how SQL works in general, don’t panic at the sight of complex queries and know that execution plans and the plan cache exists, they should be fine. I won’t promise that there won’t be the occasional deep dive into internals, sometimes digging deep is necessary and fun.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Grant Fritchey
: I wrote a book. Isn't that enough? OK. 
I've been working in development and databases for more than 20 years. During that time, I really have focused on trying to make my code better. In SQL Server, one of the best ways to improve your code is to understand what it is doing. Understanding what your code is doing requires looking at execution plans and learning how to read them. It's all this time working on real world problems that made me start posting answers on various user group forums, especially SQL Server Central. That's how I began to understand what were common problems and what were rare problems. This time and knowledge was applied to writing, and currently rewriting, a book on nothing but execution plans.
Gail Shaw: Why are you asking me? Grant wrote the book on this. Ok, enough joking. I’ve been doing SQL performance tuning for over 6 years now, databases in general for a fair bit longer (though nowhere near as long as Grant. 20 years ago I was still in high school). I’ve been solely responsible for the performance of a critical banking system (and if you think your users are bad, try stock market dealers 20 minutes before the market closes), both in tuning existing code and in helping the development team write well performing code. I’ve been helping out on the SQLServerCentral forums for over 4 years, answering many performance-related questions with just schema definitions and execution plan to work from. Execution plans are one of the things I blog frequently about.

Go here to register for the 2011 PASS Summit.

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Brian and Devin Knight

Today's post is from Brian Knight who, along with Devin Knight, will be presenting "Building a Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform".  You can read more about his session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1468.


Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session? 
Someone who has a beginner to novice experience in some of the BI suite will gain a huge amount from the real-world experience we’re going to bring to the table. If you’re a beginner, you’ll also gain quite a bit from the interactive style of the session. During the day, we’re going to build an end-to-end BI solution using SSRS, SSIS and SSAS. Attendees should bring their own laptops to build the solution with us and get the most out of the session. 
 
After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
An attendee will have the broad knowledge to build an end-to-end BI solution at his or her company.  This includes designing and loading the data warehouse, building a cube on the warehouse and building a presentation-layer.  
 
What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
The session is interactive. Because of this, for the attendee to get the most out of the session, he or she should know how to navigate around the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) environment. The attendee should also have a good understanding of T-SQL and a fundamental knowledge of the BI tools.
 
What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Devin and I have created BI solutions across the globe for more than a hundred different companies. In 2011, we trained more than 3,000 people in a fun and interactive way that will make the day fly by. You’ll hear tons of information about real-world examples that we can provide from the field.

Go here to register for the 2011 PASS Summit.

 

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Brent Ozar

Today's post is from Brent Ozar who will be presenting "Virtualization and SAN Basics for DBAs".  You can read more about his session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1122.


Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
Database administrators hate hearing, "It's a SQL problem."  It's probably not - there are some basic storage and virtualization configuration issues that keep popping up again and again in my consulting work.  This session helps you understand how to ask the right questions and prove that it's not the database's problem.

 
After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
I'll show you what questions to ask, what metrics to monitor, and how to improve 'em.  Everything is designed around giving you the right words and the right proof to go toe-to-toe with the guys who keep saying it's SQL's fault.


What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Absolutely none.  I take you from zero virtualization & storage knowledge to the point where you can start asking tough questions to your sysadmins.

 
What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
I've been working with SQL Server for over a decade, and when my SAN admin quit, I offered to take his duties on.  I wanted to know what was going on inside the black box.  I was shocked at how easy it was to understand, but also horrified by just how badly the SAN was configured.  When our virtualization guy quit, same deal - I kicked down the door and took over.  You really can get great performance from shared storage and shared hardware, but it sure isn't set up that way by default, and I learned that the hard way.

Go here to register for the 2011 PASS Summit.

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Andy Leonard and Tim Mitchell

Today's post is from Andy Leonard who, along with Tim Mitchell, will be presenting "A Day of SSIS in the Enterprise".  You can read more about his session here: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1508.

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
Yep. Those getting started in SQL Server Integration Services development will get a jump start from topics presented by Matt Masson of the SSIS Developers Team at Microsoft, Tim Mitchell, SQL Server MVP, and me. Experienced SSIS developers are sure to pick up a tip or eight. And we'll be talking about features in SSIS Denali!
 
After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
Best Practices has to top that list. Tim, Matt, and I share from years of experience building solutions using SSIS. We three are also 60% of the author team of the upcoming book: SSIS Design Patterns, and we will be demonstrating patterns from the book. Finally, we'll be talking a lot about managing SSIS in the enterprise. After deploying SSIS solutions, developers often realize maintenance and support challenges. Some design decisions facilitate SSIS care and feeding, and we'll cover those!
 
What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar? 
Ideally, the attendee should have experience with SQL Server and a thirst for more data integration knowledge.
 
What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Tim , Matt, and I have decades of database integration experience. As a developer on the SIS Team at Microsoft, Matt has visibility into myriad data integration use cases. As a consultant and trainer, Tim has delivered SSIS solutions to enterprises large and small. My experience spans consulting and managing a team of SSIS developers as we built a multi-year SSIS solution. I understand the challenges unique to developer teams that are part of an enterprise.

Go here to register for the 2011 PASS Summit.

 

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Adam Machanic

Today's post is from Adam Machanic who will be presenting "No More Guessing! An Enlightened Approach to Performance Troubleshooting" - you can find more about his session here:  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1627.

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?

  Countless times I have seen people grinding away when faced with a performance problem, not making any real progress on fixing it. The first step is often rebuilding indexes ("it must be fragmentation!"). Next they'll try various query rewrites ("is it a bad plan?"). And maybe the process will continue as they restart the SQL Server instance ("is it a memory leak?"). In many cases the problem is still not solved after all of this effort. The DBA or developer has wasted the better part of a day, is frustrated, and is convinced that SQL Server just can't handle the workload.

   My session is designed to teach attendees that it doesn't have to be this way. SQL Server gives us plenty of access to all of the information we need to diagnose the actual root cause of most performance problems. You just need to know where to look. And the best part is that once you understand the problem, the solution is usually natural and obvious. I am of the opinion that there is no reason to struggle with performance, nor to end a tuning process feeling disappointed or annoyed. I look forward to helping attendees move beyond these pain points so that they can use their valuable time to do more interesting and satisfying work.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?

  My seminar teaches a methodology that leverages a number of tools within SQL Server to easily identify the cause of performance problems. Attendees will be able to go back to the office and immediately start looking at issues from a new and refreshed point of view. This translates into much quicker turnaround time when there is an issue and, in many cases, the ability to leverage proactive diagnosis to help stop problems before they fully manifest themselves. This seminar is not theoretical in nature; the entire day is focused on real-world techniques and the session materials include a number of scripts that attendees will be able to immediately use in their own environments.
 
 
What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?

  I will assume that attendees have at least some working experience as a SQL Server DBA or database developer. Performance monitoring is a topic that spans a huge part of the surface area of the product, and a number of components will be discussed over the course of the day. I won't have time to explain basics (e.g. the different types of indexes that can be created in SQL Server), and the ideal candidate should be comfortable with core topics. The more attendees know about the various components of SQL Server and how they interact, the easier it will be to understand and take advantage of the techniques that will be taught in the seminar.

 
 
What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?

  I have several years of experience working as a performance consultant, specializing in finding and fixing the some of the most difficult problems that my customers faced. My customers have ranged from startups with the server sitting on the floor under the CTO's desk to enterprises with hundreds of production SQL Server instances. I have learned how to deal with a large number of different performance problems in the various environments, and more importantly I have learned to understand the patterns of when and why problems arise. This session will teach attendees the best of the techniques that I have learned--and successfully used--over the course of my career.

 

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Itzik Ben-Gan

Today's post is from Itzik Ben Gan who will be presenting Advanced T-SQL for SQL Server 2008 and Denali - you can find more about his session here:  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1017 .

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?

SQL Server developers and DBAs.  Essentially anyone who needs to write or review T-SQL code and cares about its efficiency and performance.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?

The will be able to improve their existing T-SQL solutions in SQL Server 2008 as well as learn what's new in SQL Server Denali.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?

At least one year of experience writing T-SQL code.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?

T-SQL is my native tongue; I live and breathe it all the time.  I have over a decade of experience training people with advanced T-SQL topics, and training is my passion.

2010 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp

Today's post is from Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp, who will be presenting Database Best Practices for the Involuntary DBA - you can find more about their session here: http://sqlpass.eventpoint.com/topic/details/DBA282P.

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
This is a really interesting question! Although the title of the session says 'Involuntary DBA', that really means anyone who needs to know how to keep SQL Server running well - through configuration, maintenance, operations. We've had senior DBAs love this workshop for giving them a refresher on everything they should be considering too.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?
Everything's going to be applicable straight away, but some of the most important things will be understanding how to configure database files (log and data), how to cope with index fragmentation, and why configuration changes make SQL Server behave one way or another.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Students should have some familiarity with SQL Server concepts (like what a backup or a transaction or an index is) and have used Management Studio.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Kimberly and I have more than 30 years combined experience working with SQL Server - from writing the actual SQL Server code itself to writing and delivering the top Microsoft Certified Master - SQL Server qualification training - plus training all levels from beginner to expert. We spend our entire year teaching, writing about, and consulting on SQL Server - it's our life! You can read some student comments from our workshops at Student comments from our class last week.

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