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SQLSaturday 31 Chicago: Recap

Last weekend I had the distinguished pleasure of attending Chicago’s very first SQLSaturday event. Before I begin my recap I’d like to again give a HUGE thanks the organizers of the event: Wendy Pastrick (Blog | Twitter), Aaron Lowe (Blog | Twitter) and Ted Krueger (Blog | Twitter) as well as all of the awesome volunteers that helped out.

My wife Jessica (Blog | Twitter) and I arrived into Chicago Friday afternoon. We had time to catch a bite at Grand Lux Cafe with some friends and my sister. Pretty nice place, kind of like a Cheesecake Factory but a little better. My wife’s a foodie so she was loving it! After lunch I got the pleasure of meeting Brent Ozar (Blog | Twitter), Jeremiah Peschka (Blog | Twitter) and Jeremiah’s friend John Jakubowski (Blog | Twitter) as they picked me up and we headed out to the ‘Burbs for the speaker’s dinner. We had plenty of time in car to talk about all things geek such as NoSQL, Ruby on Rails, PASS and a few other choice subjects not fit for print. Let’s just say I learned some strip clubs in Ohio have free steaks for lunch.

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Upcoming Presentation for NJ SQL User Group

Just wanted to send out a quick note that I’ll be presenting via LiveMeeting for the New Jersey SQL User Group next Tuesday, February 16th at 6:40 PM EST. I’ll be doing my Policy-Based Management talk. I will post the link to the presentation here when I get it.

NJ SQL User Group meeting page

LiveMeeting link: https://www323.livemeeting.com/cc/usergroups/join?id=B6MF59&role=attend&pw=

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What Three Events Brought You Here?

Looks like yet another chain-post going around, this time started by SQL Jedi Paul Randal on What Three Events Brought You Here? Interesting question and very similar to one of my very first posts Starting the SQL Journey? So I got tagged by not only Scott Gleason, aka @SQLScottGleason on Twitter, but also tagged by Luke Jian, aka @sensware on Twitter, and finally by Marlon Ribunal, aka @marlonribunal on Twitter. I’m guessing since 3 people tagged me I should definitely answer this one so here it goes!

Update: Ok now a 4th has tagged me, the lovely Donabel Santos aka @sqlbelle!

Update deux: Thanks for the tag Andy Leonard (@andyleonard)

As I mentioned before I’ve somewhat covered this topic in a previous post but this one is nice as it forces me to choose 3 key points.

1. YMCA Leaders Club

Eureeka! We have found it!In 8th grade I took part in an after-school flag football league put on by the YMCA. The league was ran by a guy named Chris Shraeder. Chris, in addition to working for the YMCA, also led the YMCA Leaders Club at our local branch. While playing in the league Chris asked me and a few others to come join the club. Up to this point in my life I had always been involved in some sort of leadership position such as Student Council or Safety Patrol (yeah that’s right, I wore that bright orange sash with pride!) but this was the first program truly dedicated to developing leadership skills. Leaders Club gave me the opportunity to lead various groups (teens, camp kids of various ages, even adults when I refereed adult flag football). One of the greatest things that this program allowed me to do was to really learn how to build and foster a community from the inside out and these skills ultimately helped me out a great deal to get where I am today.

2. Attending my first Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meeting

http://tampasql.comThis was huge for me as it started my path into being involved with not only the local SQL community but ultimately the SQL community around the world! My first job out of college I worked as a desktop technician for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In this position one of the responsibilities I ultimately took on was administrating a small web server that ran our desktop inventory web app. This app was back ended by an Access database. Yeah, you can already see where this one is going. So because I took a database course in college, and I said “yes” when my manager asked me to be the secondary for the department in SQL Server. The person who was the primary was my friend Eric Byszeski, whom at the time was the desktop staff supervisor as well as my predecessor in my position. He, like me, was also an accidental DBA and I learned what I could from him. Our environment was relatively simple in that we only had one SQL 2000 server that held several databases for small systems. Eric taught me the basics such as how to use Enterprise Manager, how to do backups and restores, and check database integrity. As I kept reading blogs and articles on how to improve your SQL environments my hunger to learn more kept growing. SQL 2005 came out and I soaked up everything I could about it. Luckily I got to stand up a new 2005 instance and got the excitement of setting up a new SQL server from scratch! Looking back I’d probably slap my old self for some of the choices made but hey, that’s progress right? Anyhow, in my adventures in learning I came across the fact that there was a user group in the area so I decided to attend. I was blown away by the fact that there were so many people just in my local community with so much knowledge and experience to share! From the local meetings and events, to the various blogs and webcasts, as well as the social networking with others from around the world I was able to grow professionally and personally. When I first started attending that group a few years back I actually did a show-and-tell type presentation wherein I basically admitted to the group that I barely had an idea of what I was doing. Now this week I’m helping our user group leader organize SQLSaturday #32 here in Tampa. It’s been a hell of a ride and there’s still so much more!

3. Meeting my Wife

GiggityI know that this might seem like a cheesy “gimme” to some but for me this moment truly changed my life. Brace yourself because I’m about to do some soul-baring, Peschka-style. Prior to meeting my wife I was like many post-college kids. Towards the end of college I picked up the habit of smoking umm…glaucoma medicine…a habit which stuck with me a few years. I was also surrounded with folks around me whom I considered friends but it wasn’t until I pulled back and realized how negative they all were and I was following the same pattern. My post-college life had me jump from “relationship” to “relationship”, going out to bars and partying almost every weekend and basically coasting through life. Then I met my amazing wife Jessica. One of the great things about her is that she is amazingly positive. At the beginning of our relationship, due to the fact that I always looked at the negatives rather than positives of a situation, we had our issues. As time went on I began to learn to stop being so negative and change my thought processes. During our courtship I did a LOT of growing up and soul-searching. I stopped doing drugs, I quit getting drunk (note: addictive personalities + alcohol = nothing good), I discovered that I have clinical depression and so I needed medication to balance that out, I separated myself from those I thought were friends and found that no longer being around people with negative behaviors really makes a world of difference. Jessica has also been my greatest supporter and best friend throughout everything (which is why I married her!). In terms of my career, one of the toughest things for me to do was leave SWFWMD as I had been there almost 5 years and I was comfortable. I knew I wanted to expand my SQL skills and I needed a place where I could do that. I found an opportunity with University Community Hospital (my current employer) and I was truly scared to make the leap but with Jessica’s love and support I finally made the jump and it has made all the difference. I would definitely not be here professionally or personally if I didn’t have her in my life and for that I’m truly grateful.

Tagging Time

Well at first I was going to tag Kevin “Caesar” Kline since he got missed during the last meme rounds. So given the fact that it’s taken me forever to get this post out, and since everyone else seems to have been tagged I am opening this up to the world. If you are reading this and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged!

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Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group Recap 10/13

I know this is a bit late but you know what they say, better late than never! This month’s meeting was quite exciting as we had a big-name speaker come in. This month we had Kevin Kline (Blog | Twitter) of Quest Software come in and speak to us about Disk I/O Tuning on SQL Server.

Typically our meetings kick off with announcements and general discussion but because we had Kevin this month (he was in town for SQLSaturday #21) we let Kevin have as much time as possible so we skipped our normal routine and got right to it! First off Kevin is a fantastic speaker and has a real easy-going presentation style which I really enjoyed. Many times during the presentation felt more like a dialogue as he engaged the audience on many topics. One of the great things about a speaker engaging the audience as such is that more nuggets of information can come out that sometimes even the presenter wasn’t aware of. For instance during one exchange between Kevin and Jonathan Kehayias (Blog | Twitter) something came up (pardon me for taking horrible notes and not remembering exactly what it was!) but it was something new to Kevin. The meat of the presentation (Slide deck can be found here) was geared much towards explaining the different RAID types and their respective benefits within a SQL Server implementation. Other great disk information such as partition alignment (which you DEFINITELY want to do as it nets you up to 30-40% performance gain!), which perfmon counters you should focus on to baseline/monitor your disk performance, SQL file configurations (i.e. multiple data files), SAN tips/tricks/gotchas, and more. One really cool tidbit that Kevin shared with us, in regards to seeing real-world performance examples, is the online MMORPG EVE Online is actually back-ended with SQL Servers all on solid state drives (SSD)! How cool is that? Here’s an article on it and how they benefitted from using this technology.

Overall it was a great meeting and a huge “thank you” to Kevin for speaking at our group this month! If you ever get the chance to catch a Kevin Kline presentation I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re going to PASS Summit this year Kevin will be presenting The Ultimate Free SQL Server Toolkit (Database Administration) as well as Team Management Crash Course (Professional Development). If the Team Management one is the same presentation as the one he gave during the 24 Hours of SQL PASS event I HIGHLY recommend you attend that one as there are some great bits of information in there!

Next month on November 17th our presenter will be Jonathan Kehayias presenting Understanding SQL Server Memory Management. Visit the user group website and register to attend.

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