Tag Archives: PASS

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.

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.

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.

2011 was a crazy year!

Now that we are finishing up the last few days of the year its time to take a few minutes and reflect on my accomplishments for the year. To be honest, looking back at the blog posts I have no idea how I completed so many mile stones.  Last year I privately established some long term goals and I knocked several items off my three year and five year plan in the first year.

Major Accomplishments in 2011

PASS Member Summit 2011 Ribbons

Vendor said, "Wow... it looks like you had a very big year. Would you like to attend our vendor party?"

My first child was born in February.  Typically having a child would slow you down but somehow I still completed several milestones. I have to give huge props to my wife for all her help and support.

This year I gave presentations at the first SQL Rally; the SQL PASS Member Summit; SQL Saturday in Houston, TX (presented multiple sessions); the Pittsburgh SQL User Group and several session at the West Virginia SQL Server User Group.

One of my good friends and I co-founded the first SQL Server User Group in West Virginia. I also helped relaunch the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group and was truly honored to  speak at the relaunch event. I also organized the 2nd  Annual SQL Saturday in Wheeling, WV. Its was truly an honor to bring my peers and friends to my hometown for some free SQL Training (photos). Towards the end of the year I also became a PASS Regional Mentor for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Personally, I also had the following accomplishments.  I was included in a local

Reading with my baby

It's never to early to get started on your professional development.

magazine article on “Digital Generation.” Finally, I changed jobs and became a SQL Server Consultant.  I am truly blessed to say that many of these milestones couldn’t happen without my #sqlfamily and  my tech giants mentors .

My 11 Favorite Blog Posts in 2011

The following are my favorite blog posts and tips written by me in 2011.

I look forward to sharing some goals next week as we break in the new year!

Speaking at WV SQL User Group on August 25th

I look forward to giving my Evaluate your Daily Checklist against your SQL Enterprise with PBM and CMS presentation at the WV SQL Server User Group in Wheeling, WV on August 25th at the Orrick Building.
You can still sign up and registration is free.  In fact, everyone is a winner because there will be free pizza and every user group attendees knows there is no better prize than free pizza!


You will walk away from this session with an understanding of how to use the Policy Based Management and Central Management Server to complete a daily checklist against your whole SQL Server farm. We will cover the basics to evaluate, monitor and apply best practice policies, which are included out of the box with SQL Server 2008. We will also make custom policies to cover additional best practices to evaluate daily checklist items. Finally, we will combine Policy-Based Management and Central Management Server with the Enterprise Policy Management Framework on codeplex to automate the monitoring process and create manager friendly reports to monitor your checklist items against the whole SQL Server farm.

Session goals include:
  • You will be able to install, configure and run scripts against the Central Management Server
  • You will be able to use Central Management Server and/or Policy-Based Management to complete a daily checklist
  • You will be able to evaluate and build custom policies.

John Sterrett is a database administrator at Remote DBA Experts and a member of the Integrations team. John has been active within the SQL Server community, including hosting the first and second annual SQL Saturday in West Virginia. John also presented a lightning talk and chalk-talk at the SQL Server 2010 Member Summit, presented sessions at three SQL Saturday’s, and presented to the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group. John is a syndicated blogger at SQLServerPedia and contributes tips at MSSQLTIPS. You can find his blog at www.johnsterrett.com

Speaking at SQLRally today!

A few months ago I blogged that you don’t have to be an expert to speak. This fact is very true as I am speaking at #SQLRally  today about “Evaluating a daily checklist against 100+ instances of SQL Server while you get a cup of coffee.” Two years ago I would have never imagined that it would be possible for me to share my knowledge at SQLPASS events.

NOTE: If you are attending my session and have a camera please take photos and share them with me. I forgot my camera in Wheeling, West Virginia.

If you are at SQLRally or not at SQLRally you can access my slide deck here.  You can also find my references here. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

I want your vote for #SQLRally

Hello Everyone, I am John Sterrett coming to you from Wheeling, WV and I need your vote for SQL Rally! I need your vote because I eager to share what I have learned about Policy Based Management and Central Management Server in the past four months.  This presentation will give people the knowledge they need to start evaluating a daily checklist.

Let me take a step back for a second and explain. I am currently responsable for over 100+ Instances of SQL with more than 3,000 databases.  We rarely didn’t evaluated a daily checklists against all of our production databases until I learned about Central Management Server and Policy Based Management.  Now, I can evaluate my daily checklist in the amount of time it takes to get up out of my seat and brew a cup of coffee.  I am eager to show you multiple ways to start evaluating your checklists.

What is SQLRally?

 SQLRally is PASS’ new regional event that fills the gap between our free PASS SQLSaturday 1-day training events and PASS Summit, the world’s largest conference for the SQL Server community. One of my favorite parts about SQLRally is that the community votes for the presentations.

Hopefully, I will be selected to speak at the first annual SQLRally. Regardless, I look forward to presenting this abstract at user groups, virtual chapters and  future SQL Saturday’s. In fact, I am giving this presentation at SQLSaturday in Houston this Saturday. If you would want me to deliver this abstract or one of my other presentations contact me.

How do I vote?

 Click here to vote. You will see my session under the fifth group (PBM).  You get two votes for this catagory so I will also recommend Jorge Segarra  (Blog | @SQLChicken) because I wouldn’t be using PBM without his contrubutions to the community.

What am I voting for again…..

Evaluate your daily checklist against 100+ instances of SQL Server while you get a cup of coffee


You will walk away from this session with an understanding of how to use the Policy Based Management and Central Management Server to complete a daily checklist against your whole SQL Server farm. We will cover the basics to evaluate, monitor and apply best practice policies, which are included out of the box with SQL Server 2008. We will also make custom policies to cover additional best practices to evaluate daily checklist items. Finally, we will combine Policy-Based Management and Central Management Server with the Enterprise Policy Management Framework on codeplex to automate the monitoring process and create manager friendly reports to monitor your checklist items against the whole SQL Server farm.


  • You will be able to install and configure Central Management System
  • You will be able to use CMS and/or PBM to complete a daily checklist
  • You will be able to evaluate and build custom policies.

Session Prerequisites:

Session prerequisites assume you are familiar with SQL Server Management Studio, have an instance of SQL Server 2008, and that you have administrative access with SQL Server. You don’t have to be familiar with Policy-Based Management or Central Management Server, you will learn the basics during this session.

Related Posts:

SQL PASS Summit 2010 on a Budget

The following is some information I would like to share with the community about how I plan to travel to Seattle for the SQL Server Pass Summit.  Please take my information with a grain of salt because this is the first time I am attending.  Everything below comes from research and tweets. If you are a regular please leave comments so others can see your travel tips.

Summit 2010

Can we fast forward to November?

The SQL PASS Summit 2010 is the best opportunity for SQL Server DBA’s to connect, share and learn. Your first obstacle towards getting into the Summit is to well pay for general admission to the summit. You basically have two options here, either you pay the general admission fee (this is what I am doing this year) or you can get someone to sponsor you. A great option here would be your employer. Your employer also isn’t your only option for sponsorship. Speaking of getting someone else to sponsor you MSSQLTIPS and Idera is currently looking to send someone to PASS.  Give it a shot it could be you!

If you are paying for yourself you will want to pay ASAP because PASS has a sliding scale.  Just like many other conferences there is a price before sessions are announced and different prices as you get closer to the event.  You want to avoid paying at the door because the price is usually a lot more.

The following are some links that will help you save some money on attending the 2010 Summit.

How do I get there?

How you get to the PASS Summit will depend on your location and its distance to Seattle.  I  live in Wheeling, WV which is an easy hour drive to Pittsburgh so I will be flying.  If you are also flying you might want to checkout bing.com and setup email alerts to track the change in flight prices.  At this time I see that there are round-trip flights under $300 from Pittsburgh.

In order to travel through the Seattle Metro area check out the public transportation system.  It looks like they have bus, and a monorail.  The Seattle Center Monorail can take you from the airport to downtown for $5.00 round-trip.

Where Should I stay?

The PASS website recommends the following two hotels.

Looking at bing.com and  traveladvisor.com I found a few hotels within a miles of the convention center under $100 per night.  If you are trying to stretch your money I would recommend checking them out.

Do you have any friends that are attending PASS? If so, you might want to recommend sharing a room. This is a great way for you to split the costs of a hotel room.

Where should I eat?

If you are attending the Summit there is good news. Breakfast and Lunch is included daily. This means you will only have to worry about dinner.   There will also be some evening events where you might be able to snag a bite to eat.  On Monday night you can attend the PASS Summit 2010 Welcome Reception.  On Tuesday night you can also attend the Exhibitor Reception.

Another thought towards saving some $$ on dinner is to talk it up with the vendors.  They are there to get to know you and see if their products can solve your problems.  If your team has a budget for SQL tools (I really hope your team does) I bet you could convince a vendor to take you out to dinner.  Even if you don’t have a budget for SQL Tools I bet you could convince some vendors to take you out to dinner.  Remember most people in sales try to build relationships before they sell you on a product or idea.

Can you buy me a drink?

I never really was a big fan of beer and alcohol until I started my career in Information Technology (we will leave the company name out of this story). There were several internal functions to attend for networking and they all had beer.  I quickly noticed that all the bigwigs always had a beer in their hands. Being fresh out of college I followed suite and soon fell in love with beer (a trip with the wife to tour Samuel Adams in Boston also helped).

Anyways back to saving money. If you like to grab a drink (I defiantly fall into this category) it looks like its cheaper to go away from the convention center.

According to @SQLDBA its cheaper to go to the Tap House across the street from the convention center. If you also like to sample local beer the Rock Bottom Brewery is another  recommended place within walking distance from downtown.

What are your travel plans?

PASS Summit vets what am I missing? How else can people save some $$ on their quest to their first Summit conference? Let us know we are all looking forward to your recommendations.

24 Hours of FREE SQL Server Training

On May 19th there will be 24 live back-to-back presentations including ones highlighting new features provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 and more.  I attended parts of the 24 hours of PASS last year and was blown away by the content.  If you work with SQL Server I highly recommend you attend.   You can register online now at http://www.sqlpass.org/24hours/2010/

The following speakers are lined up for this great event.  Adam Machanic, Andy Leonard, Brad McGehee, Brent Ozar, Brian Knight, Chuck Heinzelman, Dean Richards, Don Kiely, Don Vilen, Donald Farmer, Glenn Berry, Greg Low, Jacob Sebastian, Jessica Moss, Kevin Cox, Kevin Kline, Louis Davidson, Maciej Pilecki, Peter Myers, Peter Ward, Rushabh Mehta, Sean McCown, Simon Sabin, Thomas Grosher

Watching Paint Dry
Watching Paint Dry

“But John I have to do xyz watch the paint dry on May 19th and the 20th.”

That’s fine, it looks like these sessions will be recored and made available through PASS within two months.  If you access the event this way you can watch 24hrs of PASS and the paint at the same time 🙂

A good friend of mine Thomas LaRock(blog | twitter) is organizing this bad boy.  For more information check out his post or the 24 hrs of PASS site.  I know it will be a big hit!

DBA Survivor, Becoming a Rock Star DBA

In today’s world many companies want and need their employees to do more with less resources.  You might find yourself in a position where you start to manage databases while doing many other tasks.  Thomas LaRock’s book may  save you countless hours.  If you are starting and your goal is to be a Rock Star DBA this book might be one of the best investment you can make to have a successful career as a Database Administrator.

During the first week of January I moved from .NET Developer and part-time accidental DBA to full time DBA and PeopleSoft Engineer.  While this book just came off the shelves I still found it very interesting six months after I landed the job as a Database Administrator.  I agree with Brent Ozar, this book is tailor made for someone moving into a DBA role.  I also still think that it has useful information for someone like myself, someone who wants to understand what a Database Administrator does, or someone who has thoughts of becoming a DBA.

Favorite Quote

Tom does a great job giving you great information but he also throws in entertaining stories and great quotes.  While many readers will like the “shards of broken glass comment” quote my favorite is what you (the DBA) have in common with the President.  I would paste the quote below but that would ruined the fun.  I will tell you this, it’s hilarious but also at the same time very true.


Checklists are very important to help automate processes and to make your life easier.  Heck sometimes they are as important as life and death.  For example, when a pilot is about to fly a single engine jet plane they have a checklist to complete before they go in the air.  Tom’s checklist for your first 100 days on the job is essential to make sure you have safe travels and are out of harms way once you get in the air with your DBA career.

No One Knows Everything

If you have not learned this lesson yet I highly recommend you do it now before its too late.  Tom explains why it’s just not possible to know everything.  He also provides some examples on how you can find the answers to what you don’t know.

Connect, Share, Learn

Within my five year career in IT I have had the pleasure to work at a major consulting firm, a dot com, and a global law firm.  What is the constant with these three environments?   There are a lot of the people in IT who prefer to stay in their cubical and communicate the least amount as possible. Tom explains not only why you want to break this trend but also includes some benefits.

Where is the Buffet?

Surprisingly this was the most important chapter for me. The goal of this book is to make sure you have a long successful career as a DBA.  This is not possible if your life is cut short due to health issues.  When your profession demands that you sit in front of a computer screen it’s easy to make some bad decisions that can put your health in jeopardy.  This was a wake up call for me. I am pushing 300 lbs and am glad to get back on the right track so I can have a long successful career as a DBA.

So there you have it.  If you are new into the DBA game or know of someone who is seriously considering becoming a DBA get this book.  You can find it at amazon.