Category Archives: Professional Development

Join us for FryeDay!

Once again it is PASS Summit week in Seattle. This is the biggest event in the world for SQL Server and Microsoft Data Professionals to gather to connect,

Frye First Time Speaker

Frye First Time Speaker

share and learn.

I will never forget being anxious and scared the first time I gave a presentation at PASS in front of hundreds of people.  Therefore, one of my favorite traditions during PASS Summit is to find a first-time speaker at PASS and try to make them at ease by having their friends and peers wear something special during their first presentation.

This year, I couldn’t think of a better person than Jeremy Frye. I have known Jeremy for years. I have been blessed to work with him at RDX. While everyone in the community knows him as the speaker who wears a Pittsburgh Pirates hat at SQL Saturday’s he is an inspiration to me. He is proof that good guys can be successful in this community. He is one of the most humble, kind and helpful people I know.  I have been

Dress like Frye Day!

Dress like Frye Day!

blessed to see him share his knowledge for years and am excited for everyone to do so this week as well. Therefore, to help Jeremy for his first session we will be giving out Pittsburgh Pirates hats to support Jeremy. If you can make Jeremy’s session on “Speed Up Your SSAS Data Refresh with Dynamic Partition Processing” at 11:00 am in room 604 on Friday (I like to call it FryeDay) come on by the RDX booth and ask for a Pirates hat. When you see Jeremy around this week tell him you got this and you cannot wait for his session!


Learn SQL Server Performance Tuning Basics in a Single Day

Have you always wanted to dig into performance tuning but wasn’t sure where to start? If so, check out this Introduction to SQL Server Performance Tuning training opportunity for you in Pittsburgh on September 13th. It will be given as a PreCon for SQL Saturday #250 in Pittsburgh. Konstantin Melamud and I will be sharing our lessons learned, methodology and scripts so you can start finding the root causes to your performance issues when you go back to work on Monday. Through this all day training session you will learn how to implement and use a performance baseline to be proactive and keep yourself one step ahead of the game. We will cover bad developer practices that are constantly being repeated and show you how to fix them. We will also show you how to improve the performance of your troublesome queries when you cannot change the code. Finally, we will also cover best practices that can be applied to help performance on the database and instance settings level.

If you can make it down to Pittsburgh for the weekend of September 13th I would recommend attending the SQL Saturday and the Introduction to Performance Tuning PreCon.

I am Speaking at 2013 PASS Member Summit!

Speaking at PASS Summit 2013

Speaking at PASS Summit 2013

Every single year I look forward to the PASS Member Summit. In a nutshell it is the SuperBowl for SQL Server Professionals. It is so vital to my career I have paid my own way.  It is the best place to connect, share and learn about SQL Server.  It is an honor to be selected as a speaker. In my opinion, every year the process gets harder as more DBA’s become public speakers because you don’t have to be an expert to share your knowledge. I will never forget the first time I got to speak at PASS Summit or my second time. This blog post is bringing up some great memories. This year, I will be talking about Table Partitioning with Big Data.

Here is my session abstract:

Big Data starting to slow you down? Data growth putting your maintenance tasks in danger of not meeting your SLAs? Wish you could archive old data with minimal impact to your tables during the archive process or that you could eliminate most of the data in your tables when you query them? If so, it’s time you consider implementing table partitioning to help with general performance and reduce your window for completing maintenance tasks.

Come learn how table partitioning works and when it should be implemented. You’ll see how to initially configure partition functions and partition schemes to have a rock-solid partitioned table. And you’ll learn how to implement an automated sliding window to maintain your partitioned tables and ensure optimal performance.

Still want to speak at PASS Summit?

Did you get denied to speak at PASS Summit? I have good news, you don’t have to wait until next year. Keep an eye out for the call for speakers for lightning talks. These are short presentations on a single topic. This is a great way to get your first PASS Summit speaking opportunity. My very first PASS presentation was a Lighting Talk and it gave me the motivation to keep moving forward with my public speaking.

T-SQLTuesday #42: The New Adventure!

It’s time for T-SQL Tuesday the forty-second, Wendy Pastrick asked that we talk

T-SQL Tuesday!

T-SQL Tuesday!

about our experiences with change in our work lives. I’d like to share some exciting news about myself and the new adventure I am taking.  Earlier this month I started a new journey with Dell as an Database Administrator Sr. Advisor. I also am happy to share why I decided to go down this path. Some of the reasons include new technology, career planning, exciting challenges with a great team.

New Technology!

I love being around new technology. Personally, I like to find new innovative technologies that can be used to improve business processes while save money and time. During the interview process I learned that the SQL team at Dell fits the bill. In fact, I heard about so many great projects including some under NDA all I can say is I feel like a kid in the candy store!

Career Planning!

Not every employeer makes it a priority to have you map your aspirations and goals. Very few companies help you do a fit gap assessment and tries to find business opportunities to fill them.  Dell goes out of its ways to help you with your career planning. This might be the greatest perk of the job.

Exciting Challenges with  a Great Team!

Not many people get excited about the opportunity to work with chained transactional replication where a subscriber is a publisher in another publication but I do.  That’s right, I love to be challenged and I am excited to work with some talented people. I am going to get to do both in my new role. I will be working with multiple DBA’s who have been working with SQL Server for over ten years. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and soaking up everything I can from them.

Is #SQLPASS helping their speakers?

I love the SQL Community because it usually is a great environment to connect, share and learn. With that said, I am noticing that we can do a much better job with helping the people who share, learn how to share better.  For every single, Grant Fritchey, Thomas LaRock, Andy Leonard, Brent Ozar, Mike Walsh, Allen White (I could keep going..) there are several DBA’s who speak in the community who don’t get the feedback they need to get to the next level. The SQL PASS community does a great job of providing opportunities for people to speak but we fail as a group at giving speakers the proper feedback that is needed to help them succeed.

Being a speaker and regional mentor I have attended many user group meetings and SQL Saturday’s in the past few years. I have seen a lot of great changes in the community.  Recently, I motivated some friends into giving their first presentation at the local SQL Saturday. I was able to attend their sessions so I could directly give feedback. It makes me wonder how many speakers only get the feedback provided on the evaluation forms? How is it possible to use the limited information on these forms to make a presentation better? That is if you’re lucky enough to be presenting at an user group who uses speaker evaluation forms. I admit I was guilty of this while running the WVPASS User Group.  From firsthand knowledge I know running a user group can require a lot of time and dedication so I completely see how this important feedback is missed when there are several other important pieces to the user group leader puzzle.

My call to action (this is where the rant ends). What is the answer? I wish I knew, but I defiantly can provide some suggestions. It would be nice to have a consistent evaluation process during a SQL Saturday and other PASS events including virtual chapters and user group meetings. I would like to see questions that are open ended that provide constructive feedback to help speakers improve as they grow instead of hoping attendees provide feedback on the back of a form.  I think it would be nice to give attendees  an simple online tool that allows them to provide feedback during the session.  Once again, these are just suggestions. Maybe there all wrong as they are just ideas on how the process can be improved through my experience as a chapter leader, speaker, SQL Saturday organizer and regional mentor.

In closing, I look forward to hopefully finding the answer with some friends in my #sqlfamily.  Every year at the PASS  Member Summit there is a meeting where the community can meet and ask questions to the Board of Directors. This year, I plan to attend and ask, “As a volunteer, how can I be involved in improving our current system in place to provide speakers with better feedback to help them improve their public speaking skills and get them to the next level?”

Dallas, TX to Pittsburgh, PA A #sqlsat171 Story!


First SQL Saturday in Pittsburgh

First SQL Saturday in Pittsburgh

It was an honor to speak at the first SQL Saturday in Pittsburgh. The company I

We even got some professional development done while I was in the office.

We even got some professional development done while I was in the office.

currently work for is based out of Pittsburgh so I flew in a week early and traded my work from home lifestyle this week for working in the office.  It was fun to do some training and mentoring in person this week.  One of my coworkers went all out and hosted a great BBQ dinner while my boss picked me up at 1:30am on a Monday morning and let me crash with him all week.  I am very lucky to work with some great people.

For this event I had two goals. One, help Gina anyway possible with finding speakers and sponsors. Second, I wanted to encourage and help some great local DBA’s in Pittsburgh give their first #sqlpass presentation. So, months before this event I gave myself a personal challenge to target three great DBA’s in Pittsburgh and I tried to get them to deliver their first presentation locally at the SQL Saturday.  I was very happy to help and see two of the three potential speakers give great presentations.  They even filled all the seats and had standing room only.  One of them has even caught the speaking bug and submitted abstracts to SQL Saturday in DC.

Speakers Dinner…

The SQL Saturday committee did a great job on picking a venue for the speakers dinner. We meetup at the Rivers Casino across the river from downtown. We had a great view Mt. Washington and the Point. I wish I could have stayed longer but I had a work item that needed to be completed.

Day of the Event..

I started the morning by giving my Performance for Pirates (code, tools and

Kon did a great job, with the room being packed!

Kon did a great job for his first presentation with the room being packed!

videos provided with link) presentation.  Next, I got the opportunity to catch Eric Keeps dive into ORM that make DBA’s happy.  I was surprised when Eric showed one that allowed developers and DBA’s to build the SQL statements.  Finally, I caught Konstantin Melamud who presented an “Introduction to Execution Plans” session.  He did a fantastic job, most of the people in the room wouldn’t know it was his first #sqlpass presentation.

One of the most important parts of attending SQL Saturday’s is to catchup and extend your network.  I love catching up with my #SQLFamily and extending it too.  I had a great time catching up with Karla Landrum,  Joey Dantoni, Rick Heiges, Craig Purnell, Eric Kepes and more (too many to list all!).  After some networking I had to cut out early to catch my flight. I was able to hitch a ride to the airport with Joey and get a sneak peek into traveling like a rockstar as he got me through priority checkin and the US Airways club. Thanks Joey!

The After Event Buzz…

Finally, its now close to a week after the event and I am still hearing good news about the event. We were able to round up about ten co-workers to join in and attend the event.  They are still talking about the event and cannot wait for the next one.  Many of them mentioned that they are going to start attending the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group meetings, a few are considering going to the SQL Saturday in DC in December.  If this isn’t #SQLWinning I don’t know what is!

First SQL Server UG Meeting in Harrisburg, PA

If you work with SQL Server and live in the Harrisburg area I have some great news for you. The newest SQLPASS User Group has been born in your neck of the woods. The Central PA SQL Server User Group (CPSSUG) will be having their first official meeting tomorrow on July 10 @ 5:30 – 7:30 pm at HACC’s Mid Town Campus 2 Facility in Room 105.

My fellow #sqlfamily and #sqlpeeps lets help CPSSUG get this party started. If you can help with sponsorship or are within driving distance from Harrisburg and would like to speak at an upcoming meeting please contact Dustin Jones (

July Agenda:

Meet and Greet

Greg Seidel from Microsoft will be doing a presentation on some of the new features in SQL 2012.

Brian Charles from Rite Aid will be covering a real world performance tuning exercise on mismatched data types.

When Will CPSSUG Meet?

Meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of every month at 7:30 pm. Make sure you go to the CPSSUG website and jump on the mailing list so you can be notified of their future events.

Where will CPSSUG Meet?

The meeting location is HACC Midtown Campus #2 , room 105.   You can park on the street or in the parking lot across the street from the Mid T building.

Free Training: Performance Tuning with Free Tools!

This week I have two presentations on my schedule. I get to give my Performance Tuning for Pirates presentation twice this week.

Pittsburgh SQL User Group Recap

On Tuesday, I presented my Performance Tuning for Pirates presentation at the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group. Actually, I had a little tweak that went well. One of my friends who does a lot of tuning has alway been interested in doing a presentation so I had him jump on stage and do the presentation with me. I think it was a great success and I think we will be seeing some really cool presentations from him in the future.

Performance Virtual Chapter

Today at 2PM (EST), I am also giving my Performance Tuning for Pirates presentation at the SQLPASS Virtual Performance Chapter. This will be done via LiveMeeting and is free for all PASS Members. If your not a member, I have good news for you. PASS Membership is free so signup and join in on the fun. Also, if you are not able to make it today make sure you come back to the virtual chapter as this session should be recorded for replay.

If you are looking for the resources, tools used in the Performance Tuning for Pirates presentation you can find them here.

Getting Inspired with SQL Someday

Recently, I caught my during a kickoff with a new client saying, “Hello I am John, and I love SQL. If SQL Server asked for more heart I will not say no!” That’s right folks I am a very lucky guy. Everyday I get to wake up stroll on down to the basement and do what I love to do. I get to work with databases and work on some really cool projects that improve my skills as a Senior DBA database architect. Every once in a while, even I need to be inspired and reminded that its okay to not get everything done today. Therefore, I make sure I watch the SQL Someday presentation by Thomas LaRock (blog | twitter) at last years SQL Inspire event created by SQL People for SQL People at least once a quarter. I always try to remember the following quote, “There are seven days in a week and someday is not one of them!”

“There are seven days in a week and someday is not one of them.  Someday may never happen, there are somedays that already happened and you never knew it and somedays that might still become true.”

Lessons Learned

I am a driven person. I am a goal setter and I like to accomplish my goals and move on to the next ones. Sometimes I am so locked in on my next goal I am not spending time appreciating the goals that were accomplished. I also need to remind myself that even though I love SQL and the SQL Community there are other things that I love. Someday may never happen, someday might have happend and I didn’t know it and someday may actually happen. I can easily think of an occasion where someday happend and I missed it. The biggest benefit of working from home is that I can go on a walk with babybeluga and my wife if I can step away from the computer at 6pm. Each night I continue being plugged in at 6pm is an opportunity missed to spend some special time with my family. Therefore, I need to make a better effort to stop and align myself towards whats important. This doesn’t mean I cannot accomplish everything it just means that Someday might not be today. Someday might never happen and I am perfectly fine with this as long as I prioritize everything correctly and make sure I get to the items in life that really matter the most to me.

SQL Inspire On Demand

If you missed the first SQL Inspire event in 2011 I have some good news. All the sessions were recorded and are available to view for free online. The following are videos on demand that you can watch to get Inspired and find that extra bit of motivation needed to help you get to the next level.

  • Telecommuting and the Virtual Office: Making the Case to Convince your Boss by Robert Pearl
  • Finding Balance by Steve Jones
  • SQL Someday by Tom LaRock
  • Navigating the New Job Market by Michael Coles
  • Big Data, BI, Big Deal! by Andrew Brust
  • DBA to CEO by Michael Corey
  • Professional Services 2.0 by Brian Moran

I hope this post leads you to some great material to help keep you inspired. I also hope someone can learn from my lesson and make sure your work life is balanced towards your long term goals. Have you noticed any somedays that were missed? If so, please feel free to share them with us.

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.