Category Archives: Uncategorized

Outstanding PASS Volunteer Award

I am a Outstanding PASS Volunteer!

I am a Outstanding PASS Volunteer!

It is an honor to receive the Outstanding PASS Volunteer Award for February 2015.  It means a lot to be nominated for this award from my peers. My single goal last year was to bring SQL Saturday back to Austin. On January 31st 2015 we had a great day that allowed 280 people the chance to connect, share and learn.  It would have never happened without these key individuals who spent a lot of time helping make the SQL Saturday happen. Thank you Steve Ormrod, Richard Heim, Mike Burek, Jim Murphy and AJ Mendo.

You’re a DBA… Now What?

One of my goals for the year is to do great things with great people.  I will be making my first step at achieving this goal today.  Speaking of firsts, I will also be doing my first vendor focused webinar at the same time. Thank you Embarcadero!

Congratulations, You're A DBA.. Now What?

Today, February 11th 2015 at 1pm CST I will be doing a webinar with my friend Mike Walsh titled “Congratulations, You’re a DBA… Now What?”  If you are a Jr. DBA or even a DBA with just a few years of experience I would highly recommend attending this session.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Extended Event Security Permissions

Recently, I gave my first presentation of the year at Austin .NET User Group on Writing Faster Queries and I got a great question about Extended Events. The question was, “What security permissions are required for creating and modifying Extended Event Sessions?”  I thought it would make a great blog post as I am sure others might be wondering the same thing.

In SQL Server 2008 to create an Extended Event Session you are going to need CONTROL SERVER  and  ALTER ANY EVENT SESSION permission on the instance that you need Extended Events created on. With SQL Server 2012 and 2014 If you want to create and modify Extended Events you are only going to need ALTER ANY EVENT SESSION.

If you like this post check out these other related blog posts:

Austin .NET SQL User Group Presentation

Thank you to everyone who made it out to the first Austin .NET User Group

Austin .NET User Group

Austin .NET User Group

Presentation in 2015. This also was my first of many presentation I plan on delivering in 2015. As promised I have uploaded the slide deck, code example and the Power Point for my session titled, “Making Your SQL Server Queries Run Faster.”

Upcoming Presentations

It’s an honor to always be able to give back to the SQL Server Community. I would never be where I am today with out others helping me along the way.  I look forward connecting and sharing with everyone at the following events.

4 things I wish I learned sooner as a DBA

This topic continues from an earlier blog written by Mike Walsh. I was tagged by a my good friend Tim Mitchell. Here is my take on 4 things I wished I learned earlier in my DBA Career. I hope they are helpful to you.

You Are not Alone

You are not alone in your database career. Even if you are the only SQL Server Professional in your company the SQL Server community is always there to help. I was in these shoes once and I stuck to myself and didn’t even know there was a community out there to help me grow and become a better DBA.  As SQL Server Professionals we have several free events like  local user groups, SQL Saturday’s and virtual chapters that give us the opportunity to connect, share and learn.

There are seven days in a week and someday isn’t one of them.

One of my mentors and friends Thomas LaRock gave a presentation a few years ago titled SQL Someday.  I still watch Tom’s presentation  occasionally to remind me of this very simple quote

There are seven days in a week and someday isn’t one of them.

The concept is very simple. There are somedays that will never happen. There are somedays that will happen. There are also somedays that have happened and you didn’t even know they happened. For someone who is goal oriented like myself it can be easy to only focus on that next goal. I wish I could go back in time and truly enjoy some of my great achievements instead of just pushing forward for the next goal. At the same time there are several things that are out of our control. I wish I spent less time focusing on things that are out of my control.

Work Life Balance

When your career is also your hobby you can easily forget to have a good work life balance.  I used to have two calendar reminders weekly to tell me to stop working. One was at 5pm and it said “Stop Working.” I had another at 6pm that said “REALLY, STOP WORKING NOW!”  Occasionally, I still run into problems with my work life balance but it is better than it use to be.

Soft Skills > Technical Skills

Through my career I have learned that soft skills are important. If you cannot work with people to solve business problems with technology you are not going to go far in your career.


May Adventures!

This month is going to be an exciting month for me. I enjoy training and sharing my knowledge with others and this month I am going to have several opportunities to accomplish that goal.

This weekend, May 10th I will be giving two sessions at SQL Saturday in Houston. I will kick off the morning at 8:30 with my Proactive Monitoring with PBM and CMS presentation and close the day with Table Partitioning: the Secret Weapon for Your Big Data Problems. With Joey D’Antoni, Ryan Adams, Tamera Clark, and Kara in the house I also feel like it might be a PASS Regional Mentor reunion too.

I am making my first visit to Kansas City to present at the Kansas City Developer Conference. I will be giving the following two sessions SQL Server Performance Tuning with Free Tools on the 16th and Table Partitioning: Secret Weapon for Big Data Problems on the 17th.

Finally, I am heading back to my favorite city Wheeling, WV to speak at the Greater Wheeling Chapter of AITP on the 21st. I will be giving a First Look at Availability Groups. This trip will also include an presentation at the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group on 20th about 12 Steps to Workload Tuning.  The month of training will conclude with the first All-Day training by LinchPin People in a series focused on the basics of High Availability and Disaster Recovery.

Its going to be a great month. I hope I get to catch up with you at one of the events.

High Availability And Disaster Recovery Virtual Chapter Needs You!

Today I have some good news to share. David Klee  (blog twitter) and I are announcing a new SQL PASS Virtual Chapter dedicated to High Availability and Disaster Recovery topics. I am excited to work with David to build a virtual chapter from scratch.

When Does HADR Virtual Chapter Meet?

The schedule for this virtual chapter meetings is the second Tuesday of each month at 12pm Central time. Our first meeting will be held next Tuesday, February 11, at noon Central with Ryan Adams (blog | twitter) speaking on SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups Live Deployment. To RSVP for this free event, register here at GoToWebinar!

Please follow the Twitter tag @SQLPASS_HADR for announcements of upcoming sessions, and check out the home page for the virtual chapter at for details on the future sessions. Make sure to visit MyPASS dashboard and add the HADR virtual chapter to your MyChapters page so you get the announcements as they happen!

Are you interested in joining us building the HADR Virtual Chapter?

I have a feeling that David and I are not the only ones in the SQL Community interested in building a virtual chapter from scratch. We are currently looking for people to help host meetings, manage the web site, drive marketing, and finding speakers,  If you are interested in joining us contact me.

Throwback Thursday #4: Plan Cache

Welcome to the first Throwback Thursday blog post of  2014.  Throwback Thursday is a blog series where I dig deep into my evernote collection and find some great content on a single subject and share it with you.  In the fourth installment of the Throwback Thursday series we are going to cover the plan cache.

One of the features that is helpful for performance tuning in SQL Server is the plan cache. Many DBA’s understand that when you execute a stored procedure by default the execution plan gets cached so it can be reused. This allows CPU cycles to be saved as you don’t have to recompile stored procedures every time they are executed. What some DBA’s don’t know is that you can leverage the plan cache to get performance metrics. During this Throwback Thursday we are going to focus on some great community articles, white papers and blogs that can greatly improve your performance tuning process though using the plan cache.

Plan Caching in SQL Server 2008  – This is a great white paper by Microsoft that gives you a great introduction into what the plan cache is and how can make your performance tuning life easier.

How to Drop One Plan from Cache – A lot of DBA’s think that DBCC FREEPROCCACHE is used only to drop all the execution plans from your instance. Grant Fritchey does a great job showing how you can utilize this DBCC command to remove only a single plan.

Finding Top Offenders from Plan Cache – This is how I go about finding top offenders for frequently used execution plans. It’s not the only tool in my tool-belt for performance tuning but it can be a good starting point.

Finding Key Lookups in Plan Cache – At the end of the day, a execution plan is cached as XML. Kendal Van Dyke does a great job showing us how we can probe this XML structure to find key lookup operators inside of the plans that are in the plan cache.

SQL Server Plan Cache: Junk Drawer Your Queries – A great article by Tom LaRock that shows you how plans are stored, how to find plans with specific operators, and how to aggregate similar queries to get helpful usage statistics.

Plan cache, adhoc workloads and clearing the single-use plan cache bloat Kimberly Tripp did a great job explaining how you can monitor and prevent adhoc workloads  from bloating your plan cache.

Can You Dig It? Plan Cache Series – I saved my personal favorite for last. Jason Strate did a great job providing an series of several  scripts that can be used for reviewing the plan cache.

Throwback Thursday #3: SQL Server & Disks

I hope everyone is having a good time gearing up for the holidays.   Throwback Thursday is a bi-weekly blog series where I dig deep into my evernote collection and find some great content on a single subject and share it with you.  In the third installment of the Throwback Thursday series we are going to cover some helpful SQL Server disk articles.

IOPS Calculator – This is a great tool to figure out how many IOPS you should get from your storage configuration. It’s also a helpful tool for estimating how many disks are needed to support your workload if you are purchasing new storage.

The Fundamental of Storage Systems – We couldn’t talk about storage and SQL Server without mentioning my friend Wes Brown. He has a plethora of information on this subject including this is a great blog series that hits all the basics.

Storage Top 10 Best Practices – A great quick list of best practices for storage with SQL Server provide by Microsoft. Over time, I have seen all of these best practices be neglected. I neglected a few myself when I was starting out and I paid for it.

Benchmark SQL Server Disk Latency – The following is how I benchmark disk latency with SQL Server. Remember this is just for SQL Server so you also want to take a look at perfmon too to verify if SQL Server is the cause to your I/O problems.

Measuring Disk Latency with Windows Performance Monitor –  Perfmon (Windows Performance Monitor) is the gold standard for measuring disk performance inside of windows. Have you ever wondered what exactly is included in the stack when you look at Avg Disk reads/sec? Jeff Huges does a great job of answering this question and some others you might not be thinking about.

Analyzing I/O Characteristics and Sizing Storage Systems for SQL Server Database Applications – This white paper by Microsoft is a great guide for sizing your I/O characteristics.  Its a great reference guide to use to understand how to not only benchmark I/O but also understand how to understand how SQL does I/O and also how to size your storage structure correctly.

How It Works: Bob Dorr’s SQL Server I/O Presentation – Want to know how I/O works in SQL Server? This is article on CSS SQL Engineers blog by Bob Dorr is your best starting point. It also has tons of links for great additional reading on how SQL Server works with disks. For example, Bob’s write up on SQL 2000 I/O basics is still relevant today.