Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In The Spotlight!

I received an unexpected but certainly not unwelcome email last night letting me know that I've been selected to present a spotlight session at the 2010 PASS Summit! I'll be talking transactional replication, and while I could spend all day on the subject I'll be sure to make the most out of the 90 minutes I get. No word on scheduling specifics, but I can only hope that I'm on day 1 or 2 this year. Last year I was put in the final session for day 3 and I'm pretty sure everyone was burned out by then (I know I was).

Speaking of the Summit, if you plan on going and haven't registered yet don't wait! Register before June 30 to get the discounted rate of $1,395 - that's a 30% discount ($600) off the full price.

Here's the details on my spotlight session:

Transactional Replication: Beyond The Basics

Description: Transactional replication can support synchronizing from as few as a hundred to as many as hundreds of millions or more of changes a day across multiple servers. However, replication is more than clicking your way through wizards; Monitoring and tuning are required to achieve optimal performance and the number of processes involved increase the likelihood that problems can (and usually will) occur. This session is for DBA already familiar with the basics of transactional replication and looking to go beyond the setup wizards to gain a deeper understanding of the technology.  We'll cover monitoring techniques, calibrating performance, and troubleshooting common replication problems plus share some tricks and tips gleaned from years of experience working with high volume, multiple datacenter topologies.

Goals:

  • Learn advanced replication monitoring techniques including: Replication monitor, replication alerts, and tracer tokens.
  • Learn how to tune replication performance using agent profile parameters.
  • Learn how to troubleshoot and fix common replication errors.

 

Monday, June 21, 2010

PASS 2011 Spring Event In Orlando

In March of this year the PASS Board of Directors began kicking around the idea of holding some kind of event on the east coast after announcing that the Summit will be in Seattle for 2010 and 2011. The minutes from the June 2010 PASS Board of Directors meeting (free PASS login required to view) have been released and it's now official - there will be an event in the spring of 2011 here in Orlando! Bonus: It won't cost any more than $400 per person.

I like to think that I've played a hand in helping make this happen by working with Andy Warren (Blog | Twitter) and Jack Corbett (Blog | Twitter) on a proposal to host the event in Orlando. While PASS and the BOD will make the decisions about the specific details of the event, I want to share a few thoughts on what I think it should look like. (Disclaimer: I don't represent PASS in any capacity here - these are MY opinions only!)

What It Is
I see this as a grassroots event for the SQL community, by the SQL community. Very similar to a SQL Saturday, except that instead of one free day we're talking 2-3 days at a nominal cost. The idea is to put on something bigger than a SQL Saturday but smaller than the Summit. You don't get an expo hall, swag bags, and gigantic vendor sponsored "thank you" reception at night (a la GameWorks at the 2009 Summit). But you will get a 2-3 days of great technical sessions and opportunities to network with peers, authors, and speakers. This serves two purposes:

  1. Provide a quality event with the PASS brand and speaker talent for people who want to go to the Summit but whatever reason can't.
  2. Drive attendance to the Summit by showing people who have never been a taste of what the big show is like, i.e. "if you like this, the summit's going to really knock your socks off!"

Speakers
SQL Saturday welcomes just about anyone who is willing to speak, but if I'm asking people to pay then I expect some kind of abstract submission\selection process. For attendees, this ensures that they're getting quality speakers for their money. For speakers, this bridges a gap between running with the big dogs at the Summit and speaking at free local events like user groups, SQL Saturdays, and code camps. This gives speakers a chance to try out something bigger on a regional level, get a feel for the abstract selection process, and speak in front of an audience that expects more quality material because they paid to be there. It's a win-win if you ask me.

Location
Why Orlando? Besides that Andy, Jack, and I all live here Orlando has an international airport serviced by many carriers, plenty of hotel rooms, and tons of entertainment options. The weather in the spring is fantastic, too. Hurricane season doesn't arrive for a few months, the daily rain showers haven't started just yet, and while the rest of the country is still thawing out from winter it's been in the 80's for at least a month.

Does this mean the event's in Orlando every year? My answer is no. We used Orlando in our proposal because we're familiar with the location. If I had my way it would rotate between cities every year. One of my ideas was to let cities bid for hosting rights every year, almost like the Olympics. This keeps the event from landing in the same place year after year which is one of the complaints I've heard about the Summit in Seattle. Charlotte, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas - all have had some really well attended SQL Saturdays and it would be interesting to see what they'd do with a chance to put on a big event (maybe even making the case as future host cities for the Summit?).

What's In A Name? That Which We Call A Conference…
I'm no marketing genius, but I do recognize the value in having a good name. I kicked around a few ideas while working on the proposal with Andy and Jack but didn't come up with anything magical. Do we put "spring" in the name? (Doesn't work if the event is in the summer). Will the it work well as a Twitter hashtag? How long should (or shouldn't) the name be? Do we have to include "PASS" or "SQL" as part of the name? Does it work for both east and west coast? How about international? There's at least 50 more questions after that which is why nothing clicked for me.

I'm interested to see what the marketing team at PASS HQ comes up with. I'm also curious what the SQL community thinks. If it were up to you, what would you call the event? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know. I bet someone has a good idea - don't prove me wrong!

When Will We Find Out More?
I don't know when we'll find out more, but I do know that PASS HQ is working on it. Working on the proposal helped me realize all of the things that go into putting on a big event. It's not easy, especially considering that PASS has the Summit coming in November. So for now I'm keeping the end of April 2011 clear on my calendar and letting the folks at PASS HQ do their thing. I'm sure they won't disappoint!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Presenting At OPASS June 15

On Tuesday, June 15, I'm presenting Paging DR Availability, You're Wanted in the Recovery Room at the Orlando SQL Server User's Group. We're meeting from 6 - 8:30 PM at the SQL Share offices, 225 S Westmonte Dr. Suite 2010 in Altamonte Springs. The presentation portion of the meeting will be broadcast via Live Meeting (attend here) starting sometime around 7 PM. Presentation details follow below. Hope to see you there!

Paging DR Availability, You're Wanted in the Recovery Room

There are a lot of options when it comes to disaster recovery and high availability with regards to SQL Server. Some, such as log shipping, replication, clustering, and mirroring ship with SQL Server. Others, such as disk level replication and virtualization rely on third party products. Most business owners (and many DBA’s) lump disaster recovery (DR) and high availability (HA) together and while they do share some pieces, they call for different strategies. There are lots of options. Do you pick one or more than one of these options, and based on what? When does it make sense to move from SQL mirroring to SAN mirroring? Does it ever make sense to do log shipping and replication on the same database?  Even if you haven’t yet mastered all of these options, it’s incredibly important that you understand the decision tree that helps you pick the right one(s) for your business,  and that you can explain the choices clearly to the stakeholders. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but it is complicated – and in this hour presentation we’ll give you a high level understanding of the options, the costs, complexities, and reasons for using each of them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

PASS Summit 2010 Abstract Submissions

I submitted three abstracts for the 2010 PASS Summit this year - two "normal" (75 minute) and one spotlight (90 minute) session. Spotlight sessions are by invitation only, and although I'm not entirely sure how\why I got an invite I ran with it!

The complete list of abstract submissions is available and as usual the selection committee has a lot to choose from - no easy task to be sure. Jeremiah Peschka (Blog | Twitter), 2010 program committee director, posted a great summary if you're interested in the 50,000 foot view on what's been submitted.

If this year goes like last then I expect the announcement about which abstracts have been selected sometime around the end of summer.

Introduction To Transactional Replication

Description: This introduction to transactional replication is for DBAs with little or no experience with the technology. We’ll look at when and why you may want to use replication, learn about the fundamentals of how it works, walk through setting up a simple replication topology between two servers, and cover the basics of monitoring replication performance.

Goals:

  • Understand core concepts of transactional replication including: replication topologies, publishers, distributors, agents, & agent profiles.
  • Learn how to configure a server to publish data using replication.
  • Learn how to set up a basic transactional replication publication and subscription between two SQL Server instances.

 

Transactional Replication: Beyond The Basics (Spotlight Session)

Description: Transactional replication can support synchronizing from as few as a hundred to as many as hundreds of millions or more of changes a day across multiple servers. However, replication is more than clicking your way through wizards; Monitoring and tuning are required to achieve optimal performance and the number of processes involved increase the likelihood that problems can (and usually will) occur. This session is for DBA already familiar with the basics of transactional replication and looking to go beyond the setup wizards to gain a deeper understanding of the technology.  We'll cover monitoring techniques, calibrating performance, and troubleshooting common replication problems plus share some tricks and tips gleaned from years of experience working with high volume, multiple datacenter topologies.

Goals:

  • Learn advanced replication monitoring techniques including: Replication monitor, replication alerts, and tracer tokens.
  • Learn how to tune replication performance using agent profile parameters.
  • Learn how to troubleshoot and fix common replication errors.

 

Getting Started In Blogging And Technical Speaking

Description: Are you thinking of starting a blog? Or are you interested in presenting at events like SQL Saturday and the PASS Summit but not sure how to get in the game? Don’t let uncertainty keep you from contributing – the SQL Server community needs you! This interactive session will explore reasons for blogging and speaking and offer advice on topic selection, improving writing and speaking skills, seeking out places to write and speak, and things to (and not to) do to once you get started.

Goals:

  • Grow the writer\speaker pool by encouraging would be bloggers & presenters to take the leap from being bystanders to participants in the SQL Server technical community.