Potential Pre-Cons for SQLSaturday #49

In previous years we’ve just invited a speaker or two to submit a presentation for an all day paid event (pre-con) for SQLSaturday Orlando. This year we announced it (though we didn’t promote it much after that) and we got a really nice variety. Our next step is to send out a survey to our members and attendees from last year to ask them to vote on which one (or two maybe) that we’ll host this year. Not only does voting engage the members, but it’s a reality check too – how many are willing to pay the $99 attendance fee?

We definitely need some tools to manage this with on SQLSaturday.com. The size and layout of the abstracts were all over the map. We need them reasonably standardized, and we can probably put some coaching points there too on things that users (and event leaders) hope to see.

Survey will go out this week, we’ll announce July 1st, or soon after. Which one would you attend if you had the chance?


Database Application Lifecycle Management (DALM) by Buck Woody

Mature development shops have formal process they follow for writing software. Where does the data professional fit in? What processes, tools and procedures do you have available for the design phase, code control and general lifecycle management? Join Buck Woody, Microsoft’s “Real World DBA” as he presents a set of methodologies you can adapt to your environment, regardless of who does the actual code. He’ll also demonstrate several tools you can use to manage the development effort.

SQL Server for the Oracle DBA by Buck Woody

This one-day course will leverage the knowledge you have in Oracle to help you know what is the same and what is different in SQL Server. Having both platforms under your knowledge-belt is a win-win, and Buck Woody, Microsoft’s “Real World DBA” has held the reigns of more than one Oracle system – on VAX, HP and other systems large and small. He’ll show you how SQL Server works, what you need to do to operate one, and give you valuable pointers that show you where you need to go to learn more, all leveraging your Oracle experience.

Database Design Workshop by Louis Davidson

Database design is a seemingly natural process, lending itself to everyone trying to do it themselves, from an administrative assistant with a spreadsheet to a C# programmer with a copy of SQL Server Express. Unfortunately the finer points of excellent database design are not intuitively obvious and the difference between building a spreadsheet and a solid enterprise database is similar to the difference between building a doghouse and a 2 story house, or even the Empire State Building. In order to design a database correctly, there are several things you need to understand, including some basic understanding of relational theory, gathering and applying requirements, normalization, etc. Even then, while having the knowledge of fundamentals is more than many database designers have, it only the start. In this workshop, we will go to the next level and get our hands dirty designing databases too. We will structure the day with an extended session of database design fundamentals followed by designing several databases as a class, in groups, and individually. This will be followed up with another extended session on some advanced topics about database design patterns and practices and more design time.

SQL Server Diagnostics by Sergey Pustovit

This one day session will cover all facets of diagnostics, starting with ‘reactive’ scenarios such as slow queries, high cpu usage, blocking, deadlocks, and using wait states and extended events. We’ll also explore how to capture performance history (data collection) using MDW, PSSDiag, PerfStats, and building custom data collection processes and then how to analyze it using both MDW reports and SQL Nexus.

T-SQL 101: Learning The Basics by Brandie Tarvin

This class teaches power-users, novice DBAs, and anyone interested in all things SQL Server how to write basic T-SQL. The first half of the lesson starts with a basic SELECT statement and how to translate end-user requests into code, covering JOINS, WHERE clauses, HAVING and GROUP BY, and the ORDER BY clause. Included are tried and true troubleshooting techniques that will work for any office setting or any programmer. In the second half of the class, the students learn to leverage their new skills to properly use the INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE statements. This class is intended for beginners with little to no knowledge of T-SQL programming. The instructor recommends bringing a laptop, with the sample Adventure Works database installed, to get the most out of this class.

Clustering SQL Server by Chuck Heinzelman and Mike Steineke

The session focuses on the multiple forms of clustering and how they relate to SQL Server.  This is a full-day interactive session where we actually build out the different clustering options that SQL Server can use through our portable lab.  This information is normally a black box for the SQL Server DBA, but we believe that having the knowledge of what goes into building the different types of clusters will help DBAs become better in their jobs. The machines will be set up to the point where the clustering process begins, and we will walk the audience through the process of setting up each of the different clustering scenarios – pointing out the pitfalls and best practices along the way. Highlights of the day include:

· Discussion of the different clustering options available to SQL Server DBAs

o Fail-Over

o Hyper-V Live Migration

o NLBS (for Reporting Services)

· Starting with machines loaded with Windows Server 2008 R2

o Set up a Windows Active-Passive cluster

o Configure SQL Server to run on that Active-Passive cluster

o Demonstrate what happens to a client application when a fail-over is initiated

· Starting with machines loaded with Windows Server 2008 R2 and a Pre-Loaded Virtual Machine for SQL Server

o Set up a Hyper-V Live Migration Cluster

o Demonstrate what happens to a client application when a fail-over is initiated

· Starting with machines loaded with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Reporting Services installed but not configured

o Set up a two node NLBS cluster

o Configure Reporting Services to work in the NLBS environment

o Demonstrate reports being served from the NLBS cluster while nodes are taken offline and brought back online

The presentation will be structured so that while background tasks are happening an active discussion of what is going on behind the scenes will be taking place.

Storage and Virtualization – Denny Cherry

This session will be a two part session in which we will be focusing on two of the biggest topics in the DBA field; how to properly design your SAN storage solution and how to properly design your virtualization solution. The storage portion of this session will focus on SAN storage, but most of the material will apply to direct attached storage as well.

In the first half of the session we’ll be focusing on the storage array. Storage can be one of the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to database performance. It’s also one of the hardest places to troubleshoot performance issues because storage engineers and database administrators often do not speak the same language. In this session, we’ll be looking at storage from both the database and storage perspectives. We’ll be digging into LUNs, HBAs, the fabric, as well as the storage configuration. After going over the components we’ll dig into some advanced storage configurations. This includes RAID groups, multi-pathing software, and proper redundant storage network design. We will also be digging into some advanced storage array backup techniques including taking storage level clones and snapshots. After going over these advanced techniques we will dig into how
these can best be used to backup the SQL Server environment to provide maximum redundancy with no recurring tape costs. In addition to theory, we’ll be looking at an actual SAN so that we can translate what we see in the Storage Array with what we see on the actual server.

In the second half of the day we’ll be looking into the pros and cons of moving SQL Servers into a virtual server environment. Specifically we’ll be looking into when it’s a good idea and when it’s probably not a good idea. Like everything in the database world there are no hard set answers as to if virtualization is a good idea or not, but there are some times when virtualizing a SQL Server is a good idea, and can save you some money. There are some other times when you will be shooting yourself in the foot and virtualization isn’t a good idea. We’ll be focusing on when how to make this decision, and how to gather the metrics that you need in order to come to this decision. We’ll look into how tie the virtual platforms to the storage array so that you can maximize the storage performance for your SQL Servers and the virtual environment.