Saturday, November 10, 2018

PASS Summit - Day 5

Wakey Wakey

My very last morning waking up in Seattle and I finally sleep until my alarm goes off.  It was a bitter sweet morning.  On one hand I cannot wait to get home and see my better half and return to a normal schedule.  I also get to go to work and start planning how to integrate all the things I learned into our environment.  On the other hand, this week has been amazing and I don't want it to end.  Alas, I packed my bags and said goodbye to the Hilton Seattle Hotel.  I met my friends and walked to Lola's for our final breakfast in Seattle.  I'm super sad to say goodbye to Lola's donuts!

Final Sessions

The final day of the conference had some exciting topics.  My biggest regret is not making time to watch speaker idol.  I would like to put my hat in the ring next year so it would have been great to familiarize myself with the process.  Luckily I will have the session recordings to review!  Here are the sessions I did manage to catch today:

"DevOps and Decoys - How to Build a Successful Microsoft DevOps Solution Including your Data" was a bit disappointing.  This session was very focused on automating a small portion of what DevOps entails.  Speaker ended the session 30 minutes early.

"KPIs from the Field" was geared more towards what an analyst would want to see, however, many of the concepts could apply to KPI's a DBA would want to capture.  It was not just which KPIs, but also made you think deeper about what story you want to tell when looking at a dashboard.

"Inside SQL Server Containers" was one of the best sessions all week.  Once again Bob Ward nails his presentation.  I walked out of his session feeling I had a much more solid understanding of what Docker, containers, and Kubernetes can do.

"Exploring SQL Server Join Types - INNER, OUTER, and Much More" was a good session to end on.  It was back to basics and a good refresher for someone who doesn't deal all types of joins all too often.

That's a Wrap

I had one last dinner with my #SQLFamily at Pike Brewery.  We wandered back to the hotel lounge to kill some time before catching an Uber to the airport.  Now I embark on my journey home and all I can think is.... who is going to make me breakfast tomorrow????

I can't thank my employer enough for sending me to the Summit this year.  It is always an amazing opportunity and I'm excited to work for a company that sees the value in these community driven events!

Friday, November 9, 2018

PASS Summit - Day 4

Rise and Shine

When my alarm went off today I had just finished getting dressed after my post-workout shower.  That’s right....  once again that east coast internal clock had me up around 4:30am.  I headed to the convention center to work on my blog while enjoying a PASS pastry.  The blog had to wait because I promptly made friends with a gentleman from South Africa and another gentleman from the UK.  The conversation flowed and time flew(as it tends to do here at the Summit)!


The second keynote of the conference is rarely as exciting as the opening keynote, but I still love it.  While the first keynote of the conference focuses on the exciting technology that is yet to come, the second keynote focuses on the community.  There is recognition for those who are passionate about PASS and thank you's to the volunteers and community.  I think the best memory I will have from this entire conference will be watching Wendy Pastrick deliver the PASS finance report to the audience by singing her presentation to the tune "I Will Survive".  yeah... Wendy wins Summit this year :)

I was able to spend some time in the morning networking in the Exhibition Hall and visiting with the Microsoft Data Clinic before attending the Woman in Technology luncheon ( Always a great event!). 

My first session of the day was Bob Ward's "What's New in SQL Server on Linux and Containers".  Bob is sooooo smart and he is a fabulous presenter.  This presentation showed me how out-dated my personal tool-set had become.  I quickly installed VSCode on my laptop and now I'm challenged with acclimating, but I will get there!  Now that I have the proper tools I can start my journey with containers.

Next I attended "Azure Cosmos DB - Accelerate a Real-Time Big Data Solution" presented by Alexandre Bergere and Jonathan Petit.  Unfortunately I had a very difficult time understanding their french accents.  The content looked like it could have been promising for me, but I'm afraid I took away very little.  At the end I asked Alexandre what Cosmos DB offered that MongoDB did not and his answer was somewhat disappointing.  He said nothing at this time, but to watch for what more Cosmos DB has to offer in the next 6-12 months.  I can't really drive development towards Cosmos DB with vague statements like that.

My final session for the day was "Use Docker to Deploy SQL Server Applications" by Frank Geisler and Tillman Eitelberg.  This sessions was full of fabulous information and it's another one I will be re-watching when the session recordings come out.  I managed to get docker installed while I was in the session.  Now I need to dive in and start creating containers.  I'm pretty excited to expand my knowledge here!

Strangers are Just Friends I Haven't Met Yet!

I followed the sessions with a nice dinner at the Yard House with fellow Rochesterians and a couple of other folks I had never met before, but quickly became fast friends!  From the Yard house we returned to the conference center for the Pass Summit Games night.  Several DBA's were playing "Datavailopoly" which looked super fun!  The crew I was with decided to play "Munchkin".... turns out I love this game and it has nothing to do with me winning.  ha! 

Our table was having a blast, but the event time ran out and everyone had to leave.  We decided to keep the night going and grabbed an Uber to Bush Gardens for some late night karaoke which is an absolute must if you ever attend Summit.  The drinks, music, and laughs are non-stop!  We even got to see Wendy sing the real lyrics to "I Will Survive".

Day 4 was fantastic and as anxious as I am to get home, I'm also sad that tomorrow brings the end to the #SQLFamily fun.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

PASS Summit - Day 3

Good Morning Sleepy Head

It finally happened....  I slept in until after 5am!  Of course I still only got about 4.5 hours sleep.  Unfortunately having slept in means I had no time to hit the gym.  Instead I did a couple work things, finished my blog for Day 2 and then headed to breakfast.  I wasn't ready in time to hit the vendor supplied hot breakfast so I went to the Hilton Seattle hotel lobby and asked where the hotel breakfast was served.  They said "well, that depends.... what room are you in?".  I gave my room number and after a couple of clicks I was informed "you were given access to the executive lounge!  Take the elevator to the top floor and you will find a hot breakfast waiting for you."  My friend, Chris Sommer, said "You just hit the breakfast lottery!" and he wasn't wrong.  I enjoyed a very nice hot breakfast that was one of the better "free hot breakfasts" that I've had in a hotel and the view of Seattle from the top of the building was awesome.

Time to Conference

I headed to the conference by picking up my pre-order of Summit swag.  I am the proud owner of a couple of shirts, 3 pairs of socks, and a coffee mug.  I'm totally PASS-geeking out!   I'm a PASS fan girl and now the whole world will know.  Pardon me while I go tweet that...  ha!

The keynote was packed full of great new offerings in SQL Server 2019.  One of my most favorite parts of the keynote was when they presented SQL Server 2019 Enhanced PolyBase.  I am working on an innovation project at work with Mongo Mike and we are already in a deep dive of this technology.  It was a great feeling to be ahead of the game.  I love that my employer encourages and supports our desire to innovate.

My very first normal conference session was "5 DevOps Essentials for Better DBA and Developer Collaboration".  DevOps is something we're aiming for at work and I wanted to learn as much as possible.  There was a last minute change in the speaker so there were a few hiccups there.  Also, the presentation turned out to be a 'sponsored' talk, so there was demos of Solarwinds DPA.  The tool was great, but I try to avoid the sales pitch whenever possible.

The audience had a lot of passion on the topic so the speaker lost some time while trying to reel the audience back in.  I did enjoy the session despite the sales pitch portion.

My second session was a disappointment.  I attended "The Case for Change: Identifying and remedying Bad Code".  I was very excited headed into this session as I thought I was going to learn tips and tricks on rewriting queries.  Instead it was a session on learning how to install and configure Adam Mechanic's sp_who_is_active.  The tool is useful, but there was no mention of this in the abstract.  I'm already familiar with this tool and didn't need yet another session dedicated to the topic.  I actually walked out because it was not good use of my time.

My final session of the day was a half day session "Getting Started with Practical Performance Monitoring".  This session is by far my favorite so far.  Andrew Kelly did a great job showing the audience a multitude of  ways to troubleshoot performance issues using DMVs, perfmon, extended events and more.  There was so much information here I will need to watch the session recording once it's available so I can take better notes and start diving in.  I am very excited by the knowledge I gained here!

After Hours

The evening started with the Exhibitor Reception.  I was able to walk around and talk to the Summit's many sponsors and collect some stickers while enjoying some complementary beverages and snacks. 

After the Reception I headed over to the SentryOne VIP Party at  Loulay Kitchen and Bar.  This open bar event was a perfect way to wrap up the half way point of the conference.  Loulay is located within a Hotel (next to mine) so there was no real travel involved to get there and back.  I was able to chat with a few different folks while enjoying a mule or two and then retire early (10:30pm). 

My continuous lack of sleep caught up with me today so I look forward to getting extra sleep and rejuvenating myself for the final two days!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

PASS Summit - Day 2

Starting My Day

Despite staying up late last night (10:30pm) my internal east coast clock had me up at 3:30am today.  I finished my blog for day 1, posted a few things on social media then hit the Seattle Hilton Fitness Center around 4:50am.  Would you believe 2 other people were in the gym with me?

After my workout I worked for a while and then got ready to attend day 2 of the PASS Summit.  I could have had a nice hot breakfast at my hotel, but I wanted to join my friends for breakfast at the conference center.  That was a decision I soon regretted!  PASS is saving a ton of money by not providing attendees with a hot breakfast this year.  I knew this when I chose to eat there over my hotel, however, I didn't know how dire the selection would be!  I was thinking there might be fruits and/or yogurt in addition to pastries.  Nope!  The Summit breakfast consisted of crescents, zucchini bread, and bagels.  Carbs with a side of carbs.   Looking back I should have eaten at my hotel first, and then simply joined my friends at their table for a night chat.  Live and learn!


Today I attended 'Developer Dive into Azure Cosmos DB' presented by Leonard Lobel.  Let me start by saying... I am not a developer.  I decided to attend this pre-con because a development group at work started using Cosmos DB and as a DBA I wanted to know more about it so I can be prepared to speak intelligently on the topic if other teams start to consider Cosmos DB a potential solution.  I also want to be prepared for that moment I'm asked to support it.

We started the session talking about throughput, performance, and partitioning which were pretty similar to other technologies I have experience with.  We also dove into how to create a Cosmos DB and documents in Azure as well as the local emulator.  I found myself getting distracted with spinning up my own Cosmos DB.  The emulator would not work on my laptop.  I gave up troubleshooting and threw one together in Azure.  I was able to get a Cosmos DB created and I imported a bunch of data from CSV using the Data Migration Tool.  I was super excited to be hands on as I retain better that way.

Leonard was very much rushing through his material.  There were times he spoke very fast and other times he just skipped multiple slides at a time.  There were a few questions throughout the day, but nothing that threw us off track.  I think Leonard should have planned his content better for the 7 hours he was allotted.  

Boogie Nights

The lineup was Women in Technology happy hour at the Tap House Grill, PASS Summit v.20 Celebration, and finally Denny Cherry's SQL Karaoke at Amber.  I pumped caffeine into my veins all day, but never thought I would make it to all these events, however, I did!

The Women in Technology happy hour was awesome (of course!).  Rie Irish had presented the female attendees with a handmade gift that I will cherish!   Thank you Rie!

While at the happy hour I had the fortune of meeting ladies that traveled quite a distance to be here this week.  Susanne from the Netherlands is a Database Developer and is attending PASS Summit for the 5th time.  Rosanna from the UK works for Redgate and is here for her first time!  I also got to meet Randi who is an analyst right here in Seattle.

The Tap House was packed and there were well over 100 people
there for the WIT happy hour.  It was truly an awesome time!

Next I moved onto the PASS Summit V.20 celebration which was fantastic!  Great music, delicious food, lots of friends, and Star Wars!  The photo ops were a great idea and the attendees had a lot of fun.  It was a great way to celebrate 20 years of the Summit.

Finally I wrapped up my night at Denny Cherry's SQL Karaoke.  I have to admit...  I had a WAY better time than I expected.  First, I was dead tired as I had been awake since 3:30am and the event didn't even start until 9:30pm.  Also, I had been to this event at past Summits and the people signing up to sing Karaoke were amazing so it was more like an open mic concert and not really what you think when you hear the work 'karaoke'.  This year did not follow suit!  There was a wide range of talent last night and it was fantastic!  Some folks were amazing, while others were amazingly bad (and that's great!).  It's everything I would expect from a karaoke night and it's what makes it fun.  I appreciate that people put themselves out there like that for the entertainment of us all.  I had a great time and it was the perfect ending to another awesome day at the Summit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

PASS Summit - Day 1

Starting My Day

My first day at PASS Summit has been fantastic.  Thanks to my biological clock being on east coast time, I promptly arose around 4:30am and started my day with a great LIIFT4 workout in the Hilton Seattle Fitness Center.  I thought for sure I would meet some east coast allies this morning, but alas I had the gym to myself.

After my workout I met up with a fellow Rochesterian, Chris Sommer, and headed to Lola's for breakfast.  It's a destination that is an absolute must when coming to Seattle and I'm always excited to go with someone who is experiencing Lola's for the first time.  After sharing Lola's world famous fresh donuts and enjoying a solid hot breakfast, Chris said it was "the best breakfast I've ever had".  Mission accomplished!


Learning @Summit

Today I attended Denny Cherry's full day pre-con session on SQL Server Security.  Denny did a great job organizing and presenting the session content.  We initially covered security outside of the database (vLANS, Firewalls, ACLs, etc..) which filled in several knowledge gaps I had (which is why I'm here!).  Then we dove into database level security such as encryption, contained databases, AG group security, and more.  I was very pleased with the quality of this pre-con and I'm grateful my company was generous enough to send me here.

There seemed to be a reoccurring theme that is somewhat disheartening....  securing your data the right way goes beyond what a DBA can do alone and getting the resources you need to secure your data the right way is near impossible.  Also, the biggest threat of a breach in security is our users and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Sounds like a losing battle to me.....  How dreary!!!

Again, this was a fantastic session.  Denny is a fantastic presenter and I learned a lot.

The Night Life

PASS is community focused and is great at planning events for people to enjoy in the evening.  Today was the Networking dinner at Yard House.  I was able to reconnect with a couple of people that I had met at SQL Saturdays as well as previous Summits.  I also had the chance to talk to a first timer, Monica, who wasn't familiar with our #SQLFamily.  It's always exciting to introduce someone new to the community!  Chris and I changed venues and continued an evening of socializing with more SQL friends until the east coast clocks starting weighing on my eyelids.

Overall my first day at PASS Summit was awesome and I can't wait to do it all again on day 2!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Just Barely Good Enough

What is JBGE?

'Just Barely Good Enough', or JBGE, is the idea that there is a sweet spot for task completion in terms of effort and value.  If a task is completed without enough effort, then the value of that effort will be diminished by time spent resolving issues and/or rework needed.  If a task is completed with more effort than what was actually required the value of the added effort suffers diminished returns.

In my 20+ years working in the IT industry (it pains me that I can say that) I have observed there are 2 types of workers that stand out and they are represented in the chart above as 'A' and 'B'.

The A's

The A's tend to be either junior level/less experienced workers or experienced workers that lack passion for quality.   A's can be perceived and highly regarded by management as someone that get's things done.  In reality an A can be a ticking time-bomb.  They routinely throw work over the wall that doesn't qualify as "good enough", but it's not always obvious at the time.  Months later major incidents occur because the lack of effort when the task was delivered.  Some A's learn from these experiences and over time may shift towards a 'B'.  A's that never learn and continue this behavior eventually find themselves near or on the chopping block.

The B's

B's are often your senior level/more experienced workers or a less experienced worker that is just extremely thorough and cautious by nature.  B's are often the individuals with a deep understanding of the environment beyond their specific specialization.  Peers and management alike seek to have a B help drive direction based on their knowledge and experience.  B's are also the reason your 5 month project is still in the design phase at month 4.  B's pride themselves on bullet proof designs and will take the time to plan for handling every possible failure regardless of what the real impact to the company would be.  B's are often accused of over analyzing.

The Others

As I do believe most people gravitate to being either an 'A' or a 'B', there are some workers who are sometimes an 'A' and sometimes a 'B'.  Someone might gravitate to 'B' tenancies when working on a project they have a passion for while behaving like an 'A' when they are not excited about their task at hand.  Maybe you even have the diamond in the rough that is great at finding the JBGE point in their work.

Achieving JGBE with A's and B's

A potential path to achieving JBGE is refining how the workers and their work are managed.  Tasks are often assigned to workers without definitions for success criteria in place.  Without success criteria defined a worker is left to decide that for themselves.  An 'A' will wash a car with cold water and no soap while a 'B' will wax the car and maybe even repair a scratch in the paint and oh!... there's a dent they could pound out. 

The definition of 'good enough' will change from task to task.  Sometimes 'good enough' will require minimal effort while another task may have no room for error.  With proper guidance, both 'A's and 'B's can both be extremely valuable to the success of a project. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

7 Days of Oracle: Day #7 - Generating AWR Reports

Last, but not least, I will show how to generate an AWR (Automatic Workload Repository) report within SQL*Plus.  The ADDM report attempts to guide a user to a solution where the AWR provides loads of data and leaves interpretation up to you.  Much like ADDM, Oracle supplies a script named 'awrrpt.sql' that will generate an AWR report when executed.

Steps to generate an AWR via SQL*Plus

1)      Find the location of the script on your server (found in */product/*/rdbms/admin)

2)      Execute the script in SQL*Plus


SQL> @/opt/oracle/base/product/


3)      Provide the format you would like to use for the generated report (html/text/active-html)

Specify the Report Type


AWR reports can be generated in the following formats.  Please enter the

name of the format at the prompt.  Default value is 'html'.


'html'          HTML format (default)

'text'          Text format

'active-html'   Includes Performance Hub active report

Enter value for report_type: text


4)      Enter the number of days you would like to report on.  If you just want less than a day, just select 1 and then you will be able to refine your selection further in the process

Specify the number of days of snapshots to choose from


Entering the number of days (n) will result in the most recent

(n) days of snapshots being listed.  Pressing <return> without

specifying a number lists all completed snapshots.


Enter value for num_days: 1


5)      Specify the snap_Id associated with the time you would like to start analyzing.

Listing the last day's Completed Snapshots

Instance     DB Name                Snap Id   Snap Started            Snap Level

------------ ------------                ----------   ------------------         ----------


DEMO     DEMODB                  71818      20 Oct 2018 00:00    1

                                                   71819      20 Oct 2018 00:30    1

                                                   71820      20 Oct 2018 01:00    1   



71860      20 Oct 2018 21:00    1

                                                   71861       20 Oct 2018 21:30    1



Specify the Begin and End Snapshot Ids


Enter value for begin_snap: 71859

Begin Snapshot Id specified: 71859


6)      Specify the snap_Id for the time you would like to end your analysis.


Enter value for end_snap: 71861

End   Snapshot Id specified: 71861


7)      Specify a file name, or hit enter to accept the default.

Specify the Report Name


The default report file name is awrrpt_1_71859_71861.txt.  To use this name,

press <return> to continue, otherwise enter an alternative.


Enter value for report_name:


The results from an AWR report are far too immense to display the full output.  This report proves to be extremely valuable when trying to identify a performance issue, however,  the data provided takes time, understanding, and passion to master.   This blog was just meant to show you how to generate the report, so I will not be going into detail on how to read the report.  That could be a week-long training itself!  If you would like more information on AWR reports, you should check out Oracle documentation to learn more as well as check out some other blogs that are written by Oracle experts.

That concludes my 7 days of Oracle blogs.  I know these were very basic concepts for some, but these were meant to help those who stumble into Oracle much like I had when I was a younger DBA.  Thank you for taking the time to read the words I have thrown at you this last week!  I look forward to writing more and perhaps I’ll even write about my true love…. SQL Server J

PASS Summit - Day 5

Wakey Wakey My very last morning waking up in Seattle and I finally sleep until my alarm goes off.  It was a bitter sweet morning.  On one...