Category Archives: Events

The following posts are for event I attended, am attending, am presenting at and/or events I helped put on.

Why We’re Organizing SQL Saturday in Wheeling, WV on April 28th

Some of my friends know I am a huge fan of the song “Havana” by Camila Cabello. They also know I like to remix songs and if I was to remix the song I would just change the word “Havana” to “Wheeling, WV” because half of my heart is in the Ohio Valley.


Wheeling is where I grew up as an adult and to this day it is one of the special happy places I like to visit. On April 28th Wheeling will host their the third SQL Saturday. Anyone can attend for FREE! l look forward to sharing my favorite city with the SQL Community and my SQL Family.

Free SQL Server Training in Wheeling, WV

Free SQL Server Training on April 29th in Wheeling, WV

Procure SQL will be teaming up with the Wheeling Chapter of AITP (only IT group in Ohio Valley) to bring some expert SQL Server training from MVPs, MCTs, and community experts to the Ohio Valley. I hope Data Platform professionals in nearby cities like Columbus, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Cleveland and Washington DC join is un the fun as well.

Things to Do?

Check out this quick five-minute video to find out some of the great things you can do in Wheeling, WV and why I fell in love with Wheeling!


Colemans Fish Market – It is #1 on TripAdvisor for a reason. Best-fried fish sandwiches.
Ye Old Alpha – The Bridgeport brownie is legendary good.
DeCarlos Pizza – Wheeling’s special version of Pizza. If you get it make sure to eat it quick. Locals typically will eat it on the hood of their cars.
Undos – My personal favorite Italian food restaurant.

Places to See:

Good Mansion Wine – If you like wine, the selection here is fantastic. They will also have an open wine tasting event April 27th at 6 pm. If you are looking for something fun to do the night before the event I would recommend this.
Suspension BridgeIf you like history. You have to check out one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA. You can still walk and drive across it.
Wheeling Artisan CenterGreat small tour of the history of Wheeling, WV.
Center Market
– Historic part of town with a lot of shops and places to eat. Its an easy walk from the SQL Saturday venue.
Oglebay Resort – Depending on the weather the driving range or ski lift will be open. Seriously, a great five-star resort with epic holiday events including Christmas lights, ogalbayfest, and 4th of July.
Wheeling Island Casino – If you like to play cards and win money its a great location. Used to do it a lot on lunch breaks.

My SQL Saturday Houston Story..

SQL Saturday Houston was Awesome!

SQL Saturday Houston was Awesome!

This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at SQL Saturday Houston. I enjoyed catching up with some friends while I also took the time to make some new ones as well.

The Talks

This year I gave two different sessions.  The first one in the morning was Azure Databases for DBA’s.  The second one was Why Did My Plan Change, Intro to Query Store. 

This was the first time I presented my Azure Databases for DBA’s talk at a conference. I got some great feedback and it was a lot of fun. I ended up using videos for the demos to make sure they would fit within the timeline of the presentation. Running the High Availability and Disaster Recovery Virtual Chapter I am always thinking of backup strategies this even includes my own demos  😉

At the end of the day I gave my “Why Did My Plan Change: Intro to Query Store” presentation. I was able to tell some real-world stories about lessons learned while monitoring plan changes and explain how upgrades can greatly improve performance when you find the few queries that run slower after an upgrade and fix them.


Leaving the event I though I was on my way to the after party when I realized my 1990 Volvo wouldn’t start. Some people would be  upset and frustrated but looking back a few days later, I was blessed.  Let me explain. Instead of being stranded by myself Jamey Johnston stayed to help. He made sure I would be okay.  The bonus in this for me was that I was able to chat with Jamey and get to know him better. He is an amazing guy. I wish we had a lot more people like Jamey in our SQL Server Community!


24 Hours of PASS – Get your free downloads!

I am speaking at 24 Hours of PASS

I am speaking at 24 Hours of PASS

Thank you to everyone who attended my #24HOP session on Performance Tuning for Pirates! You can now download my slide deck, t-sql queries, and view my reference links.  If you have any questions about the tools presented feel free to contact me and I will  try to help you out or point you in the right direction.


Help me.. Help you…

Yes, its that time again.  I need your help to help me help you. Its time to vote in the Community Choice section for the SQL Rally PreCons.  I know, if you looked at the abstracts you might be wondering how can I help you? Your not even on the PreCon ballet. That is correct, but here is the kicker. I will be joining my good friend Joey D’Antoni (blog | twitter) with his SQL 2012 and Disaster Recovery–Getting Your Organization Ready session.  I look forward to sharing some HA/DR war stories and demos.

What is Community Choice?

There are two slots still open for SQL Rally 2012 in Dallas and the programming committee wants the community to weigh-in on the final selection. This is a very cool idea and I am glad they are allowing the community to select some all day PreCons.

How can I vote?

If you are a database professional it’s not too late to vote. You can cast your vote here. If you are not a current member of The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) you can sign up for a free and then go back to the community choice page to vote.

Voting closes Thursday, February 9th at 5:00pm central time.

6 ways to get free SQL Server 2012 Training

I always get excited when a new version of SQL Server gets released and rumor has it that  SQL Server 2012 will be released on March, 7th 2012. Why do I get excited? Well its quite easy, I know that each new release includes new features. These new features make my job easier. How do I know that these new features make my job easier? I know because I test them out and attend training sessions to see how other people are using them.

This year Microsoft is teaming up with the Professional Association of SQL Server Professionals (PASS) to provide several opportunities to give free SQL Server 2012 training.   Here are six ways you can learn about SQL Server 2012 and it won’t cost you a cent.

Online Labs

I love to get my hands dirty and throw things against the wall and see what sticks. Microsoft provides several virtual labs that allow you to do this without worrying about your servers.  If you want to checkout upgrading to SQL 2012, AlwaysOn Availability Groups or Installing SQL 2012 on Windows Core they have labs up and waiting for you.

Special Ops Tour

If you like to physically experience a launch event and rub shoulders with others who are using SQL Server you have to take part in the Special Ops Tour.  The Special Ops Tour is a 12 city event where Microsoft experts and local DBA’s will show you the must use features coming in this new release.  You can still sign up now. Hopefully, there is an event near you.

SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch

Microsoft is also providing an all day virtual launch on March 7th that will include several topics on Mission Critical Confidence, Cloud on your Terms and Breakthrough Insights.  You can review the agenda and there still is room to sign up.

24 Hours of PASS

Once again, PASS is gearing up to deliver another 24 hours of PASS on March 21, 2012.  For those who don’t know 24 hours of PASS is  an in-depth look at the hottest SQL Server topics over 24 back-to-back free technical webcasts. You can gain access to the best SQL Server training and several of these session will be focused on SQL Server 2012. For more information visit the 24 hours of PASS website. If you want to speak get your abstract submitted now. The deadline is today!

SQL Saturday

SQL Saturday is an all day multi-track training event for SQL Server professionals and those wanting to learn about SQL Server. These events are spread all across the USA and the globe.

User Group Meetings

User Groups are monthly or bi-monthly meetings held to allow PASS members to connect, share and learn on a local level. There are several User Group’s spread out across the country.  Do you wonder if there is a user group in your area? You can find all the user groups here.

Speaking at the Columbus SQL Server User Group

This week on Thursday, January 12th, 2011 a 6pm I will be speaking virtually at the Columbus, OH SQL Server User Group.  I will be giving an introduction to Policy Based Management.

If you are a chapter leader and would be interested in having me speak at your user group contact me.


This talk will give you an introduction into monitoring SQL Server using Policy Based Management and Central Management System which is provided out of the box with SQL Server 2008. I will then show you how you can combine these features with the Enterprise Policy Management Framework on codeplex to provide monitoring for your whole SQL Server farm. This topic assumes you know nothing about PBM and CMS and will include lots of examples with only a few PowerPoint slides.

Wheeling, WV to Houston, TX – A SQL Saturday #57 Recap..

Everyone, If you attended SQL Saturday #57 in Houston, TX thank the host and the sponsors. With out their dedication and hard work this event wouldn’t have happened.  Finally, if you haven’t done so submit a speaker evaluation for the sessions you attended.

Now that the basics are covered lets move on to the recap.

Why Houston?

Last week I took a trip out to H-Town to speak at my eighth venue in the last twelve months.  Family was a huge motivator for attending SQL Saturday #57.  Being a graduate of James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas I was able

John Sterrett SQL Server 2008 for Developers Presentation

If you build it they will come!

to double dip and visit my parents and my oldest brother.  I flew in on Thursday to surprise my father for his birthday. I got an extra bonus when I arrived.  I found out that this was also going to be the same day my nephew was born.


On Saturday, we meet up at the church for the first SQL Saturday in Houston. Yes, that sentence is correct.  The Houston Area SQL User Group was able to get the Bammel Church of Christ to host the event. I have to be honest when I found out that a church was going to be used I was skeptical.  Normally, these events are at a community college, university or Microsoft Office.  I wondered if a church be a good venue for a SQL Saturday? I was right, it wasn’t a good venue. It was a fantastic venue.  Kudos to Nancy Hidy Wilson (Blog | Twitter) and the Houston User Group for selecting this venue.

Connecting (Volunteer & Speakers Dinner)

Normally, when I am selected to speak at a SQL Saturday I always attend the volunteer and speaker dinner and the after party. Its a great opportunity to network.  We met up at the Outback Steakhouse in Tomball.  I felt like I was back at summer camp as I hanged out with some friends and also made some new friends. (Thomas LeBlanc, Wes Brown, Ryan Adams, Jen and Sean McCowen, Sri Sridharan, Tim Mitchell and more…)

My favorite quote comes from Sri, “John you cannot say its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Your Steelers are always in the Super Bowl.”

Learning (Presentations I attended)

  • Dean Richards – Best Practices for SQL Server on VMWare
    With the economy changing we all need to find ways to do things cheaper. One of the easiest ways to do this is to virtualize your servers. The concept seams great but SQL Server can be tricky to manage.  How do you configure the guest memory? How does the host share its CPU power with guests? I learned this and a lot more during Deans session.
  • Ryan Adams – Manage Your Shop with CMS and Policy Based Management
    Those of you who know me know I am very excited about Central Management Server and Policy Based Management. I currently use it to evaluate my daily checklist against 100+ instances of SQL Server with 3,000+ databases.  I am extremely interested in seeing how other DBA’s use it.  Ryan is into mirroring and loves the mirroring facets provided with PBM.  I am glad he showed this to me.
  • Thomas LeBlanc – Transition from DBA to BI
    Any time I can sit in the front row on a sofa and watch Thomas speak its a win-win. This talk was special because  I got my learn on and felt like I was at comedy hour.  I enjoyed his path from DBA to BI.  I really liked how he was able to use his DBA skills to make a good first impression.  He also showed us a great spreadsheet out there on the interwebs to build a data dictionary for your facts and dimensions.

Sharing (My Presentations)

  • SQL Server 2008 for Developers (About 30 attendees)
    Every once in a while I submit this topic to see if people are still interested in seeing demos going over the new features provided for developers with SQL Server 2008.  During the presentation I polled the attendees to see who hasn’t migrated to SQL Server 2008.  There still is a crowd that wants to know how to implement DateTimeOffset, T-SQL enhancements,  Merge, Table Value Parameters, Change Data Capture.  I spoke right before lunch and had a few people stay extra to go over a bonus demo.  I also talked with a few of the attendees later in the day and I got some great feedback.If you attend my session please submit feedback.  You can find the slide deck and sample code on my blog.
  • Evaluate your Daily Checklist using CMS and Policy Based Management (5 Attendees)
    My PBM and CMS talk was included in the last session.  This was my first presentation using VMWare Workstation.  I did this for two reasons. One, Brent Ozar made me do it. Finally, I wanted to throw up an instance of SQL 2000 for this demo and I couldn’t do it with Windows 7.  Even though the crowed was small one attendees told me he is going to start using PBM and CMS due to my presentation. This is the greatest complement I could receive. 

    If you attend my session please submit feedback.  You can find the slide deck and sample code on my blog.

Bloggers SQL Saturday #57 Posts

New SQL User Group in Wheeling, West Virginia’s first meeting is January 20th

If you caught my last blog post and reached the bottom of the page then you noticed that we are starting the first SQL Server User Group in West Virginia.   Last year we hosted our first SQL Saturday and drew interest for a user group.  I have teamed up with a few local friends and we are excited to see where our user group goes.

If you would like to attend our first meeting click here to signup so we will have pizza for everyone.

The Mission

The mission of the Wheeling SQL Server User Group is to provide an opportunity that will allow database developers, database administrators and all other IT professionals who work with databases to connect, share and learn for free. While everyone’s shop might be unique the majority of the DBA’s have similar projects and problems. We will allow all attendees the opportunity to share their experiences while they can also build their soft skills.

Our First Meeting

Our first meeting will be held on January 20th, 2011.  Everyone who attends will be an instant winner as there will be free pizza and free membership to the coolest organization for SQL Server Professionals. We are excited to have Jose Chinchilla (blog | @SQLJoe) speak. The following is our agenda:

  • 6:00pm to 6:15pm – Network and eat free Pizza
  • 6:15pm to 6:30pm – Establish a few goals for the group and eat more free pizza
  • 6:30pm to 7:30pm – The Main Event (Learning SSIS under 1 hour)


Need to know what is the corresponding SSIS transformation or task to a specific T-SQL statement? How do you accomplish Unions, Joins, and Merges in SSIS? How do you do CASE statements in SSIS? How do you group and aggregate data in SSIS? In this session I will cover the some of the most important SSIS control flow and data flow tasks to jumpstart DBAs and Developers into SSIS with SQL Server 2008-R2. At the end of this interactive demo, you will be able to identify what control flow tasks and data flow transformations can be used in place of T-SQL statements and scripts. I will also cover how to accomplish in SSIS:
• Inner and Outer joins
• CASE statement • Sorting, Grouping and Aggregate functions (SUM, COUNT, MAX, AVG)
• MERGE and Unions
• Loops (WHILE) and more

Jose Chinchilla is a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator and Business Intelligence Developer working as a BI consultant for a Tampa based full service consulting firm. Jose has12+ years of experience in IT and has focused his career in OLTP and OLAP database design, development and administration and specializes in ETL/ELT, Data Warehousing and Multidimensional Analysis using SQL Server 2008 BI tools. He is also the current president of the Tampa Bay area Business Intelligence User Group and Official PASS Chapter. He is an avid twitterer under the @SQLJoe handle and blogs at

First SQLSaturday in Wheeling, West Virginia was a Success!

After SQL Saturday #36 on May 1st 2010 my wife and I headed to Spain.  Somehow this post got lost in the shuffle when I got back. I thought it is important to share my thoughts of the event so here it is.

The first SQLSaturday in West Virginia can be summed up in two sentences.  The SQL Server Community is bleeping awesome.  The Ohio Valley is bleeping awesome. I know unfortunately I will leave some people out but I would like to thank the following individuals for their advice and support Andy Warren, John Parkinson, Thomas LaRock, Jeremiah Peschka, Justin Siebert, Joelle Ennis, and The Greater Wheeling Chapter of AITP.

Its now a little past a month six months after the first SQLSaturday in West Virginia and I am glad to share my thoughts on the event.  First, I would like to say we held it down for the DBA’s in the small cities who have dreams of hosing a SQLSaturday.  Don’t quote me on this but I believe we are the only SQLSaturday host city with a population under 50,000.

When we first started this mission in November 2009 our goal was to have 50 to 100 people register.  We actually had registration at 100 and had 70 people attend.  We had three tracks that delivered 16 13 sessions presented by 11 9 speakers.

Things that worked

  • Using WVNCC as venue – The West Virginia Northern Community College campus in Downtown Wheeling allowed us to use their facility.  We had the ballroom which held 100 people, two class rooms held 50+ and two smaller class rooms that held 30 attendees. This was a great fit and we are very grateful that they hosted the meeting for us.
  • Volunteers – We had a super all-star team of volunteers on hand for the SQL Saturday. Did I mention that the volunteers were awesome? There were, and they all did a great job.
  • Selected Speakers – All of the speakers did a great job.  The evaluations showed that everyone appreciated the presentations. We need a better way to deliver results to speakers. We will work on that for next year.
  • Lunch – The box lunches from Panera Bread were a hit.  The food arrived as scheduled.  One of our volunteers was also arranged to have the Catholic Charities pick up the leftover food.  Once again, did I mention that our volunteers rock?

Things that need improved

  • Get more people involved – While we had plenty of support for the big day only two people did the majority of the pre-day work. Hopefully, we can get more people involved earlier next year.
  • Build Higher Goals –  Our venue can support more people. We tried our best to keep it simple because we didn’t know what we were doing as this was the first major information technology event in Wheeling, WV for years. Now we know what we are doing so we should try to go buck wild next year.
  • Evaluations – I will take the blame here and say that we failed.  We didn’t have a good system for generating feedback.
  • More Speakers – We cut it close with filling up our three tracks. Next year I we will need to be more active with pulling speakers.  If you are interested in speaking next year contact me and I will get you on our contact list.

Thanks to the speakers

We would like to give a shout out to all the speakers for making SQLSaturday in Wheeling happen.  You were all awesome.  Check out their blogs and tweets.

Thanks to the sponsors

Whats Next?

  • 2nd Annual SQL Saturday in West Virginia – This is correct, we are excited to give it another run and are targeting June 2011. We will shoot out an update to let everyone know when we have an official date.
  • Wheeling SQL Server User Group – Hey John there is no SQL Server User Group in West Virginia what are you smoking?  First, I don’t smoke and second there will be. Our first meeting will be on January 20th. Check out my blog during the first week of January for more information.

Related Posts:

Monitor your SQL Server farm with Policy-Based Management and Central Management Server

This past weekend I had a blast at SQL Saturday #61 in Reston, VA.  I gave a brand new topic on “Monitoring your SQL Server farm with Policy-Based Management and Central Management Server.” I showed everyone how I run my daily checklist. In fact, its usually done in the amount of time it takes me get a cup of coffee.

Slides and code

My slide deck, Intro to PBM and CMS is available for you to download.  The zip file also includes two scripts I run against our Central Management Server while I get coffee.


You can also find several links that I used to learn Policy-Based Management and Central Management Server here