Blog

Apr 11
4-26-16: Brent Ozar talks about Career Planning for DBAs

​Just passing this along.  If you're starting a career as a DBA (or want to get yours back on track) this free webinar might be worth your time:

https://www.brentozar.com/first-aid/events/#Register 

You’ve got a job working with databases, and you like it, but you’re not sure what to do next. How do you become a senior DBA, a consultant, or just be more technical? Brent Ozar grew his career from sysadmin to developer to DBA to self-employed consultant, and he’ll share tips on how to grow your career as quickly as possible.

You’ll learn how to:

    • Decide what to specialize in
    • Assess your current skills
    • Build a learning plan
    • Market yourself as a full time employee or a consultant​


Feb 17
3-10-16: Tuning Indexes with SQLDMO and System Views

Topic for the March 2016 Meeting:

 

Tuning Indexes using SQLDMO and System Views

Like Frankenstein's Monster (or our teenagers) things get released into the wild and behave differently than planned - database usage patterns are no different. Join Tim as he reviews what to look for when tweaking your index strategy using the SQL Server Dynamic Management Objects and system views as well. Tim will spend a fair amount of time initially reviewing these constructs so a very basic idea of what DMOs and system views is all you need to get you right into the conversation.  We will cover:

  • Analyzing Fragmentation
  • Identifying Index/Heap Use/Non-Use
  • Discovering Page Splits
  • Returning Information on What Indexes Exist on a Specific Table
  • Presenting Your Largest Indexes by Size and Rows

Audience: DBA / IT Pro, Level 200-300

GlennBerry.jpgAbout Tim Ford, SQLCruise.com
Tim Ford is an Author and Community Leader whose technical passions lie in creative solutions for managing and presenting data.  He spent 16 years in the healthcare sector as a Developer, Database Administrator, Team Leader and (hands-on) Manager where he created the entire SQL Server environment of eventually hundreds of instances and thousands of databases from the ground-up.  He recently traded all that in for a position at SurveyMonkey that adds the intricacies of administering an environment requiring single-digit-millisecond response times and also brings him into working in a developer-centric environment.  Tim also leads SQL Agent Man Consultancy and SQL Cruise Events where he takes 25-30 students and Technical Leaders in the SQL Community and places them on cruise ships for technical and professional development training without the distractions of the office and internet twice a year on SQL Cruises (www.sqlcruise.com).  2017 will bring SQL Cruise back to Alaska for the first time since 2013 (and to the Caribbean of course.)

Tim and Louis Davidson wrote the book on DMOs and loves to discuss them with anyone willing to listen. He's thrilled to be able to speak to the Alaska SQL Server Users Group this March.

Watch Now on YouTube!

 

 
Feb 16
4-14-16: Hardware 201 - Sizing Database Hardware with Glenn Berry

Topic for the April 2016 Meeting:

 

Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware for OLTP Performance

The foundation of database performance is the underlying server hardware and storage subsystem. Even the best designed and optimized database application can be crippled by an inadequate hardware and storage infrastructure. Recent advances in new processors and chipsets, along with improvements in magnetic and SSD storage have dramatically changed the evaluation and selection process compared to the past. Many database professionals struggle to keep up with new technology and often simply let someone else make their hardware selection and sizing decisions. Unfortunately, the DBA usually gets the blame for any performance issues that crop up later. Don't let this happen to you! This session covers current and upcoming hardware from Intel and gives you the tools and resources to make better hardware selection decisions to support SQL Server OLTP workloads.

Audience: DBA / IT Pro, Level 100-200

Note: this is a 90-minute session, including Q&A, so be sure to make arrangements for a long lunch!

GlennBerry.jpgAbout Glenn Berry:
Principal Consultant, SQLSkills.com
Glenn is a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He has worked as a SQL Server professional for many years in a variety of roles, including stints with NewsGator and Avalara. His expertise includes DMVs, high availability, hardware selection and configuration, and performance tuning. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at University College – University of Denver, where has been teaching since 2000. Glenn is heavily involved in the SQL Server community, and is a frequent speaker at user groups, SQL Saturdays, SQLintersection, and the PASS Community Summit. He is the author of the book SQL Server Hardware, and he wrote chapters for SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2 books.

Download Glenn's slides

Watch now on YouTube!

 
Feb 11
Attend a SQL Server 2016 webcast - Win a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

​Passing this on!  Microsoft is presenting a webcast to cover some cool new stuff in SQL Server 2016.  Even if you don't win a free computer, you still get to hear about SQL 2016, which doesn't suck.

In this webcast you will learn how:

  • SQL Server 2016's blazing fast performance is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft's data platform history with real-time operational analytics
  • Advanced Analytics provides deeper insights for better sales forecasting, fraud detection, and other data-driven business decisions
  • Enhanced AlwaysOn Availability makes lost data recovery a breeze
  • Always Encrypted technology protects your most valuable asset – your data – at rest or in motion.

SQL Server 2005 Support ends in just a few months, which means it's probably a good time to educate yourself on SQL Server 2016's exciting capabilities and get ready to migrate in order to protect your data.

Register: https://clicktoattend.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/EventDetails.aspx?CR_CC=200759962&EventId=215879

 

Dec 04
5-12-16: Advanced Restore Techniques with Jes Borland

Topic for the May 2016 Meeting:

 

Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Techniques

Data loss can strike any server at any time. Are you prepared for the inevitable? A good DBA takes regular backups and practices regular restores; a great DBA has advanced restore techniques planned and tested. In this session, I will demonstrate three advanced restore methods that can make you a great DBA - point-in-time restores, page restores, and piecemeal restores, and will discuss the appropriate situations when each should be considered. Attend this session to better protect your business and your job.

Click here to register (Free!)

About Jes Borland:
JesBorland.jpgJes Borland is a Senior SQL Server Engineer with Concurrency and a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. She holds an AAS – Programmer/Analyst degree, is a Microsoft Certified Professional in SQL Server 2012, and has worked with SQL Server as a developer, report writer, DBA, and consultant. Her favorite topics are administration, automation, and performance. Her credits including founding three user groups, blogging at LessThanDot.com, and frequently presenting at user groups, SQL Saturdays, and other community events. She is also an avid runner and chef.

Download Jes' slides and demos

​Watch Now on YouTube!​​

 

Dec 02
9-8-16: Performance Troubleshooting Using Wait Stats with Paul Randal

Note: this session had originally been scheduled for April 14th, 2016, but has been moved to September 8th.  Sorry for the inconvenience. 

 

​Topic for the September 2016 Meeting:

Performance Troubleshooting Using Wait Statistics

One of the first things you should check when investigating performance issues are wait statistics - as these can often point you in the direction for further analysis. Unfortunately many people misinterpret what SQL Server is telling them and jump to conclusions about how to solve the problem - what is often called 'knee-jerk performance tuning'. In this session, you will learn what waits are, how to analyze them, and potential solutions to common problem patterns.

Click here to register (free)!

Note: this is a 90-minute session, including Q&A, so be sure to make arrangements for a long lunch!

About Paul S. Randal (CEO / Owner of SQLskills.com)

PaulRandal.jpgPaul is a Microsoft SQL Server MVP and a Microsoft Regional Director. He spent 9 years working on the SQL Server team, writing DBCC CHECKDB, and ultimately responsible for the entire Storage Engine. In 2007 Paul left Microsoft to co-own and run SQLskills.com, and is a world-renowned author, consultant, and top-rated speaker on SQL Server performance tuning, administration, internals, and HA/DR. When he's not tweeting, blogging, or helping someone recover from a disaster, he's likely to be underwater somewhere in the world with his wife, Kimberly L. Tripp. 

Email: Paul@SQLskills.com 
Website: http://www.SQLskills.com 

Full Bio: http://www.sqlskills.com/about/paul-s-randal/
Blog: http://www.SQLskills.com/blogs/Paul 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaulRandal 
SQL Server MVP since 2008

 

Where: 

3000 C Street, Suite 210, Anchorage, AK  99503    

When: 

  • September 8th, 2016, at 12pm Alaska Time
  • Recurrence: The 2nd Thursday of every month, (Add to Calendar)

Paul will be presenting remotely via WebEx; this session will also be recorded and posted to the AlaskaSQL YouTube Channel.

Click here to register (free)!

Dec 02
2-11-16: Stored Procedure Optimization with Kimberly Tripp

Topic for the February 2016 Meeting:

 

Stored Procedure Optimization Techniques

Kimberly Tripp will discuss stored procedure caching and the potential for performance problems due to a problem known as parameter sniffing. There are some common solutions and while they can drastically improve performance, they can also cause other problems. Sometimes a hybrid solution is needs, from this session, you'll know the best way to write procedures so that stable requests are cached and unstable requests are not (giving you the most optimal performance without wasting resources).

This event has ended.  See below for slides, code download, and on demand recording.

 

About Kimberly Tripp (President and Founder of SQLskills.com):
KimberlyTripp.jpgKimberly has been a Microsoft SQL Server MVP and a Microsoft Regional Director for over 10 years; she's an author, consultant, and top-rated speaker having spoken at PASS, TechEd, SQLintersection, and numerous other events around the world. She has over 20 years of experience designing and tuning SQL Server solutions with a focus on optimizing procedural code, indexing strategies, statistics, and partitioning. When she's not tuning SQL servers, she's diving and photographing all sorts of underwater critters such as frogfish with her husband, Paul S. Randal.

Email: Kimberly@SQLskills.com 
Website: http://www.SQLskills.com 

Full Bio: http://www.sqlskills.com/about/kimberly-l-tripp/
Blog: http://www.SQLskills.com/blogs/Kimberly 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KimberlyLTripp 
SQL Server MVP since 2002

 Click here to download Kimberly's slides and code samples: SQLskills_Tripp_AKUG_StoredProcOpt.zip

Watch now on YouTube!

 

 
Dec 02
12-10-15: SQL Lunch

​Join us at the NBS office for an informal get-together to have lunch, talk about SQL Server, and watch videos from the SQL PASS Summit!  Food will be available from the Bethel Cafe.  This is an in-person event only. 

Where: 

3000 C Street, Suite 210, Anchorage, AK  99503    

When: 

  • December 10th, 2015 at noon Alaska time.
  • Recurrence: The 2nd Thursday of every month, (Add to Calendar)

 

 

Oct 29
11-12-15: What's New in SQL 2016

Topic for the November 2015 Meeting:

What's New in SQL 2016 and the Cloud 

SQL Server 2016 is still in its "Community Technology Preview" phase, but there's a lot of really amazing stuff coming our way in this latest version.  Since we only have an hour, I will cover some of the more important changes coming our way, and I'll have the latest ISO to give you so you can try it out for yourself.

Speaker: Greg Burns, GCI Network Business Systems

Greg Burns has been working as a SQL Server DBA (and sometime developer) since 1997.  He has worked with SQL Server in some way nearly every day since then, from server builds and migrations to database design and reporting.  He is the chapter leader for the Alaska SQL User Group (and also the Alaska SharePoint User Group).  He currently works as a senior consultant for GCI / Network Business Systems in Anchorage, AK.      

 

Download the PowerPoint slides

Watch Now on YouTube

 
Oct 13
SQL 2005 End of Service and SQL Standard Virtualization

In case you were not aware, SQL Server 2005 is reaching its end of life today. [Correction: SQL 2005 end of life is in April 2016.]

 Dave Gollab, a friend of mine who works in the Government sector at Microsoft, sent out this email about what you should do if you're still running SQL 2005, and gave me permission to share it with you here. (If Dave's name sounds familiar, it's because he presented a cool demo to AlaskaSQL back in April 2015: PowerBI and Azure Machine Learning.)

 

 

Hello, hopefully this is a relevant and important topic for you. Skip to the end if you know the story and want the the "How To" :)

In my year's spent working with commercial customers and the past few years with government customers, I have noticed common themes when it comes to a CIO's tactical priorities around SQL Server.  I am not talking about the super cool strategic initiatives, but more a CIO's table stakes when it comes to SQL Server. 

One theme is to control sprawl, another theme is to ensure a safety net exists if something were to break, in other words, ensure the product is supportable, and a final theme is to ensure SQL has been deployed with proper accounting. 

These themes aren't especially exciting. They sure aren't about designing a proactive decision driven business using machine learning. Or, ensuring a single authoritative record can be established for mission critical master data. However, these tactical themes are especially relevant right now in the context of two things:

  1. SQL Server 2005 End of Support (security and sprawl)
  2. SQL Server Standard Edition Virtualization (sprawl and accounting)

The first is time sensitive and the second is anecdotally what we have been seeing and working through with many of our customers. Here is more information:

  • SQL Server 2005 End of Support (security and sprawl):
    • If a customer has SQL 2005 they will be facing End of Support (EOS) in under a year (I think April 2016). We are proactively get the word out, urging customers to upgrade to a supported version of SQL.
  • SQL Server Standard Edition Virtualization (sprawl and accounting):
    • For customers that have a large number of SQL Server Standard Edition and have moved from physically hosting to virtualizing, particularly for SQL Standard instances not covered by SA, we have found a number of customers freely floating those VM's in their VMWare or HyperV farm.  It's understandable. The DBA works with system admin, they P2V the SQL workload and then the system admin drops the SQL VM into their VMWare farm. And, most system admins float all VM's across the farm. From a licensing perspective this is not supported. This applies to SQL Enterprise as well, but most commonly if you find SQL not covered by SA, it is Standard Edition.
    • Customers licensing lots of sprawling SQL Standard (Native or VM's) may want to consider a Private Cloud SQL Licensing strategy which could be financially advantageous. Yes, this comes with the cost of SQL Enterprise plus SA, but that cost could be absorbed (CAPEX and OPEX), or close anyway, if the SQL Standard population is large enough.  The cost can also be absorbed when you leverage Enterprise features that may have been satisfied via expensive third party solutions, i.e. encryption at rest, which is included in SQL Enterprise.

 

How-To:

With tactical initiatives, everyone likes to see the steps needed to address them. At a high level here are the steps to take:

  • Run the MAPS tool (here).

SQL 2005:

  • Take the MAPS inventory report (Excel workbook) and sort by SQL version.
    • One at a time, choose the least mission critical <=SQL 05 instances first and start upgrading them (assumes SA). This will develop your upgrade skills, making more complex upgrades easier.
  • First run upgrade advisor (here) on the SQL instance to clear any issues.
    • Use SQL Upgrade Guide (here) to help with the "How To"

SQL Standard Edition:

  • Sort the MAPS Excel sheet by SQL Standard Edition and investigate to see if those SQL Standard Instances are VM's that float. I can help provide pointers for what to look for; not a precise science.
    • If they are floating (likely the case), are they covered by SA?
    • If they are not covered by SA, then they would either need L and SA, or a Private Cloud licensing strategy.
    • Note: the above applies to SQL Enterprise as well
  • If the SQL Standard (or Enterprise) instances from the MAPS inventory are native instances or if they run in a haphazard VM environment (co-located with non-SQL VM's), consider consolidating through a common virtualization framework with physical hosts dedicated to SQL VM's. Refer to this private cloud/consolidation white paper (here) – Note: that this white paper was written a couple of years ago and it assumes System Center/Windows Server hosts; you can easily enough focus exclusively on the SQL Server aspects.

 

Thanks, Dave

 

GovMSE OneDrive

GovMSE youtube videos (or search "GovMSE SQL" from youtube

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