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.