Pre-Con Previews

Q&A with Adam Saxton

Customer Stories from the Front Lines

Q: If your pre-con had a theme song, what would it be and why?
“We Didn't Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. In support, we are always helping customers to put out their fires. They range from small to very, very large fires. And while the support group didn't start it, we are always there to help.

Q: What excites you most about supporting SQL Server customers?
I love the reactions from customers when we fix a problem. It makes me feel that I'm really helping people and companies. It's also exciting when you get a call from a big name company that you see every day and are able to help them with their problems. It's the ability to touch a lot of different customers while at the same time really digging into the product in ways that most people just don't get exposure to.

Q: Where does your workshop take attendees beyond what you might cover in a 60- or 75-minute session?
This pre-con is kind of unique. There is a common theme in that we are telling customer stories, but each story is different. You could almost break each of these stories out into their own talk. The difference here is that we get to take you on a journey to see techniques that could be different or common between the stories and give you a glimpse of what supporting a product like SQL Server is really like.
Q: What's the most surprising statement attendees might hear you say during the pre-con?
There is at least one story where we will actually share the affected company in relation to the resolution of the issue. That may hit close to home with some of the attendees and help to reinforce some common best practices.

Q: What’s the biggest myth in SQL Server troubleshooting that you’d like to debunk?
That Support has the magic bullet to fix your issue. Sometimes, issues aren't straightforward and can take time.

Q: What still trips you up in your adventures with investigating and solving customer issues?
In my role, I deal with connectivity and Kerberos a lot. And I still find new things that come up. I think that may be true with everything we see. There are always new scenarios that come up and challenge us – even for areas where we think we have seen it all.

Q: If attendees could start putting into practice just one thing after your pre-con, what would you want that to be?
Honestly, running System Center Advisor on systems is probably one of the single best things you could do for your database server – mainly because of all of the rules it checks and the fact that we are still adding rules to the system. I've heard it labeled “CSS in a box,” and there have been plenty of times where had the customer been running that, they would have avoided a call to Support.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2012 pre-con speakers.

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