Category Archives: Training

A Handful of SQL PASS #Summit15 Tips

The annual SQL PASS international conference will be here in less than a week.  OMG!!!  It’s been a year already?   First of all, if you haven’t registered yet, then why not? It is THE event for the SQL Community or #SQLFamily as we like to refer to it.  Still not sure about attending, then check out this page.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.

For those of you who have registered have you looked at the schedule yet?  Do you know all of the great speakers that you want to see?  Are you coming to see me compete in the Speaker Idol contest?  I will be up in the first round on Wednesday from 03:15 PM – 04:30 PM in TCC 101.  If I survive (and win) round one, then I will be competing in the final on Friday from 03:30 PM – 04:45 PM in the same room.  Come see eleven other great speakers compete for a chance to receive a guaranteed speaking slot in next years Summit, but mainly come to cheer me on with three hundred of my closest friends.

Now with the shameless plug out-of-the-way, on to the main purpose of this post.  Here are my tips for enjoying #Summit15:

  1. Meet people!  Shake hands, but more importantly give them a big #SQLHug.  We (well most of us) love #SQLHugs. Find me, give me a #SQLHug.  I will be glad and happy to meet you!  Standing in line for a coffee at the conference?  Say hello to someone, introduce yourself.  Set aside your introverted ways for this week!!
  2. Follow people on twitter before hand and let them know you’d like to meet them in person.  Ask them where they are going to be during the week and setup a rendezvous point with them.  Discuss some ideas and share a frosty beverage.
  3. Speaking of social media…if you setup your avatar to be a cute little ninja character, then do not be disappointed when no one knows who you are in real life.  If I see that cute ninja, I am sure to say hi but I don’t think I will see him there.  Use your real photo so I can find you!
  4. Go to as many networking events as you can possibly fit into the week.  If you are turning in at 9 o’clock, then you are missing the best part of the conference.  I have made so many lasting friendships over the years mainly because I went to the networking events and to the impromptu ones at Bush Gardens and the Tap House (not sure what those are, then bingle it with #SQLFamily and/or #SQLKaraoke).
  5. When NEW friends ask you to miss a session to go plant some gum on the Bubble Gum wall, go!  Enjoy yourself, this conference is fun!  Purchase the sessions and watch the ones you missed when you get back!
  6. Charge your phone, better yet carry a charging battery in your pocket and keep it charged throughout the day.  You do not want to miss that great photo-op with your favorite speaker because of a dead battery.
  7. Ask questions.  Don’t understand something, ask questions.  Go home with answers to your problems!
  8. Go sight seeing, explore the city!  Go a day early and stay a day later and check out the Pike Place Market, find the first Starbucks in that same area, visit the EMP Museum, view the skyline from the top of the Space Needle, and many, many more.
  9. Hang out in the community zone as its always an epi-center of fun!
  10. Wear a kilt!  Thursday is kilt day to support the Women in Technology luncheon (which you should go to as well)!

See you there!!!!

Pre-Con: Performance Tuning Training in Spartanburg, SC for #SQLSat431

On Friday, September 25th, 2015, Mike Lawell (b|t) and I will be giving our “Getting the New DBA Up to Speed with Performance Tuning” pre-con training for the inaugural SQL Saturday Spartanburg.  We are extremely excited to be presenting this training again this year after the tremendous feedback we received earlier in Nashville.  We have a passion for the SQL community and helping DBAs and developers to do their job better.  We want to help you too!  If you’ve never taken a pre-con before a SQL Saturday, it is a great way to get some high quality training at a low price and in your local area.  Register here today!

In this session, we will take an in-depth look at performance tuning for the beginning DBA as well as the “Accidental DBA” in order to help prepare you for beginning to intermediate skills in tuning your real world queries. We will show you how to get started when you get the production support call stating that the database is slow. We will cover the basics of reading query execution plans as well as using dynamic management views in order to diagnose poor performance. We will also cover performance analysis tools and performance troubleshooting as well as some great demos to get you up and running tuning queries.

Prerequisites: Basic understanding of T-SQL and the SQL Server relational engine


  • An overview of server configuration best practices will be discussed along with key tools that can be used to identify performance problems.
  • Several DMVs will be covered that can be used for performance data collection and diagnosis of performance issues. Third party free tools that use these DMVs will be demonstrated for the data collection.
  • Common performance issues will be discussed along with the methods that can be used to identify the issues and resolve.
  • The final section will look at the graphical Execution Plan basics and how to identify potential performance issues.

We are planning on a day filled with fun and adventure!  Let us help you become a better DBA!  Not a DBA?  No problem!  This is also an excellent training for developers who are writing queries in T-SQL!

Register here!

If you cannot make it to the pre-con, then make sure you check out our regular sessions on Saturday.  Register here!  Enjoy!

Branching Out in Louisville

This weekend I will be branching out and presenting a business intelligence (BI) session at SQL Saturday Louisville.  By profession, I was a programmer turned DBA turned SQL Server consultant.  As a consultant, I have done a lot of BI learning and a lot more SQL Server development than previously as a database administrator.  In essence, I have broadened my skill set taking advantage of my previous skill set.  Therefore, it is only natural that I present a learning session on BI, or in this case Introduction to SQL Server Integration Services.  LogoThis session is great for the beginner to SSIS.  I have presented this at a user group in Atlanta earlier this year, but this will be my first BI session at a SQL Saturday.  Come on out to Louisville and learn about some SSIS with me!  Register here.

First Pre-Con is in the Books! What a Blast!

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, my good friend Mike Lawell (b|t) and I embarked upon our first pre-conference training for SQL Saturday Nashville. The event was a smashing success with a fabulous turnout.  In addition, the crowd was engaged and responsive, as a teacher it does not get any better than that.  363For those that attended our session, here are the files that we promised you.  We’ve included all of the links and the code contains a wealth of information as well as see the rest of the slides that we were unable to get to. Please use them and feel free to ask us any questions that you may have.  In addition, we are more than happy to help you at the beginning of your DBA journey.  Welcome to the #SQLFamily!

For those of you who did not attend, the session was entitled “Getting the New DBA Up to Speed with Performance Tuning.”  The session was aimed at new and ‘accidental’ DBAs as they embark upon a journey learning the art of performance tuning.  If you are a SQL Saturday organizer, we would love to offer this session at your event.  Please feel free to contact us if you would like us to provide this session for you.  Enjoy!



Presenting in Orlando for SQL Saturday #318!!! Extra #SQLHugs for ALL!

I am humbled and genuinely excited to be returning to Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, September 27th, 2014.  This was the first ever SQL Saturday that I attended as well as a year later it was where I gave my first full session, so it has a special place in my heart.  Being from Florida, it will be nice to go back and see so many of my friends that I have not seen since moving to Atlanta.  Needless to say that there will be extra long #SQLHugs with the #SQLFamily so be prepared.

I have taken my previously new, “So you have a performance issue.  What now?” and transformed it into a two-part session with Mike Lawell (t)  covering the full gamut of performance tuning for the beginning DBA or accidental DBA.  This is a great series that will dive into how to get started in performance tuning.  In other words, how do you find the query that is bad from all of the other queries running in your system and where do you go from there?  I hope to see you there!

Have you registered to attend yet?  If not please do so immediately and get a free #SQLHug from me!


SQL Saturday Orlando Logo

T-SQL Tuesday #57 – SQL Family and Tripping the Light Fantastique

T-SQL Tuesday #57

Jeffrey Verheul (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party.  (Hey Jeff, what’s up?)  If you are not familiar with T-SQL Tuesday, well it was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) five years ago and invites a different blogger to host a topic and various bloggers choose to participate when the subject so moves them. This month’s topic is regarding SQL Family and Community.  I have blogged numerous times about SQL Family and if you never experienced the awesomeness that is SQL Family in person, find me and I will give you a #SQLHug and show you just how awesome of a phenomenon this truly is.

Personally, I have been gainfully employed in the IT field for almost twenty years and have been hacking (yes that is the correct term not the one bastardized by the media and laymen) since the Christmas of 1982 when I got a Timex Sinclair 1000.  During this lifetime, I have never experienced the phenomenon that is SQL Family, ever.  Let the weight of that statement sink in for a moment.  In other words, having met all sorts of IT professionals over the years at many conferences, user groups and meetings, no one community has struck me dumbfounded and with wonderment like that of the SQL Community.  It is unparalleled in my opinion.

(Ed please get to the point and stop skipping the light fandango)

In The Beginning

Several years ago, I was severely burnt out.  I had started back to college to possibly change careers. (yeah it was that bad)  I hated what I did for a living.  I cannot stress how much I hated what I was doing for a living.  At that point, my good friend and fellow DBA Brent Kraus (t) invited me to a user group meeting with the Tampa SQL User Group.  “Free pizza,” he said and we could meet a couple of guys and get a better job.  I said how do you know and he said “hey Jorge Segarra (b|t) sat in that same chair and got out of dodge and now he is a SQL rock star now making it rain with groupies to boot.”  The story may not have gone exactly that way, but hey it’s called dramatic license for a reason.  If the day Buddy Holly died was the day that the music died, then this was the day that the music was reborn like a phoenix rising out of the ashes that was my career. (This story is getting good…even I want to pay attention now and trust me I was bored with it up until this section)

The meeting was horrible, there was a speaker on a speaker phone.  I do not remember who it was or what he spoke about but it was pretty bad mainly because of bad phone connection and a language barrier.  I met a few people and I remember thinking “this blows!”  Then Pam Shaw (b|t) gave me a free book for a being a first time attendee.  Remember, I had a bad attitude about my career so this reflection had nothing to do with Pam or her user group.  I remember on the drive home thinking hey free pizza and a free book (and don’t forget the SQL tchotchkes), maybe I will go back next month.

SQL Saturday

Enter Brent again…as he said hey they do this crazy, free training thing and you get to meet a lot of SQL people and we are sure to find a better job there.  So we ride over one Saturday morning to Orlando.  I liken this to the moment I heard my first Beatles record.  I was hooked, an addiction was formed.  I met so many people and I could name drop all day but there is one key figure that I met that day….Karla Landrum (b|t).  She was welcoming and passionate about the community.  Karla is definitely the mother of this SQL family.  Actually she is more of a foster-mother, she takes in the strays feeds them some good food, acclimates them to the environment and then challenges them to succeed.  Like any good Mom, she doesn’t take no for an answer.  Within a year from that moment she had talked (coerced, dragged me kicking and screaming, or tricked?  You pick!) me into speaking for the first time.  I had a supreme fear of public speaking.  How did she talk me into this?  I wanted to run like Forrest, but I didn’t even drove through a flash flood that day to not let her down.

During that year, I became active in the user group, became a SQL community promoter on twitter, and attended a few SQL Saturdays.  Suddenly I didn’t hate my career as much, oh do not get me wrong the job I had sucked but I was not ready to jump ship on my career just yet.  What happened to Brent?  Oh yeah, he got a better SQL DBA job.  Mission accomplished.


That first time was horrible, I scripted the whole thing and barely looked up from my trembling body.  They gave me an award for the funniest presentation.  These people are nuts, I do not think they saw the same presentation that I did.  Afterward, several people told me how awesome it was and that they were happy to see me presenting.  Wait?!?! What?!?!?  It was horrible.  These people are my brothers and sisters in the SQL Family.  They were loving and encouraging when I needed it.  I am sure that they knew it was horrible but they had been there too.  I am not going to call them out but I do try to pay it forward with every new speaker that I meet or see or even here about.  I want to be that same awesome brother that tells you about dating and girls and how to…wait I digress, sorry.

It was at this point that I wanted to speak again, and again.  All the world’s a stage and I wanted to get better, to be as good as they were, to teach and give back.  I was learning SQL Server like never before because I was teaching it to others.  I was now in love with my career again.  Not the obligatory kiss your grandmother love, but the super smart, nerdy librarian looking girl who likes you because you aced Calculus passion making out in the reference section next to the map rack.  Yeah you know what I am talking about.


All everyone talked about once you get inside the SQL Family is the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle.  Like any good addict, I had to try this drug.  Have you ever had that moment when you said to yourself “wow these nerds are my people, they get me!”  That first year was my moment.  Like any good Amway presentation, I wanted what they were selling.  I met so many people…authors, bloggers, crazy people (yeah I bet two or three names came to your mind when I said that and yes that is who I was talking about), DBAs, developers, and rock stars of the SQL community.  They all had one thing in common:  SQL Family.  At no point did I ever feel not welcome or like an outsider even with my First Timer badge on.  If there was a funny story that they all knew someone was more than willing to bring me up to speed on how that one guy did that one thing that one time and it was epic.  Yeah you know who you are and what you did that one time.  Dude!

At that first Summit, I met several DBAs from Atlanta.  I kept running into them everywhere I went around Seattle.  They invited me to sit with them at the Chapter Lunch.  I was home.  These people were my people.  One problem though…I lived in Tampa. (This is a foreshadowing moment, keep that in mind here)


In 2013, I decided that in order to take my career to the next level, I needed to move to Atlanta where the DBA jobs were flowing like wine and after 42 years in Florida a change of scenery would be good.  Most people think leaving Florida was a Paradise Lost, but being a tourist is the greatest part of Florida at this point in my life as I grew up on the sunshine, beaches, and Disney.  Been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.  However, I felt at home with the Atlanta group and they had become really, really good friends over the last couple of years.  You see I was 42 years old with hundreds of friends or as I like to call them wonderful acquaintances.  You know the kind, the ones that will go to a birthday party for a mutual friend and be happy to see you and hand you a beer from the cooler.  But if you need someone to help you move, all of these friends that you have seem to be busy.  My life was full of these friends.  I had a couple of really good friends, do not get me wrong especially if you are one of them are you thinking to yourself what the hell dude!

However, with the SQL Family, those friendships always seem to be so much stronger.  This was the impetus for me moving to Atlanta.  Those friends there seemed to be the kind of friends that would help you move (and they did come 2014).  Did you remember the foreshadowing moment?  Good, you were paying attention.  After moving to Atlanta, I began traveling across the country spreading my wings speaking in Nashville, Las Vegas, Louisville and I will hit Birmingham, Orlando (where it all began) and possibly Charleston before the year is done.  All of that is on my own dime.  Why?  SQL Family.  I love visiting different family members and spending time with them and sharing my love of SQL Server and SQLKaraoke with them.  I look forward to breaking bread and sharing a pint with them sharing stories and dancing like a mad man.  The social aspect of SQL Family is unparalleled as well.

I am now a Data Services Consultant, working for a dear friend from the SQL Family.  She brought me on board here where there are about a hundred brilliant consultants including several other SQL Family members.  I love my career, and I love my SQL Family and now I love my job.  Thanks, Julie (b|t).

So after reading this and if you have met me in person, have you figured out which family member I am?  I am that crazy uncle that everyone has who sings everywhere and is so much fun to be around (at least in my opinion lol).

Mi familia está loca! (For Jorge)


P.S. Did you get the title reference and all the tie-ins?  Tripping the light fantastic means to dance about with the music and being in the SQL Family makes me want to sing and dance every day.  Milton (tie-in) and Shakespeare (tie-in) spoke of such phenomenon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles (tie-in) had an album entitled Tripping the Live Fantastic.  Tarantino (our greatest living director) used the line as I did in “Inglorious Basterds” for the final tie-in.  Those were chosen because of my love of those things and my ability to wax poetic about my passions.  Long Live the SQL Family!  Oh, I almost forgot the “skipping the light fandango” tie-in (glad I proofread this before submitting it) but that’s a line from “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procul Harum.  So now you have my passion for poetry, movies, music and SQL Server, all that in one blog post for the low, low price of $19.95…but wait, there’s more….stay tuned next time.

Presenting in Birmingham for SQL Saturday #328!!!

I am humbled and genuinely excited to be selected to speak for the first time in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014.  Since moving to Atlanta, I am trying to spread my speaking engagements out across the country to meet knew people and spread the gospel of SQL Server through the love of  #SQLLearning, #SQLHugs, #SQLKaraoke, and #SQLFamily.

I have taken my previously new, “So you have a performance issue.  What now?” and transformed it into a two-part session with Mike Lawell (t)  covering the full gamut of performance tuning for the beginning DBA or accidental DBA.  This is a great series that will dive into how to get started in performance tuning.  In other words, how do you find the query that is bad from all of the other queries running in your system and where do you go from there?  I hope to see you there!

Have you registered to attend yet?  If not please do so immediately and get a free #SQLHug from me!


SQL Saturday Birmingham

SQL Saturday Birmingham

Presenting in Louisville for SQL Saturday #286!!!

Wow, I cannot believe that I have not blogged since the beginning of the year.  I will follow-up next week with an article about what I have been doing the first half of the year.  However, today I wanted to let everyone know that I am humbled to be selected to speak in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, June 21st, 2014.  Since moving to Atlanta, I am trying to spread my speaking engagements out across the country to meet knew people and spread the gospel of SQL Server through the love of  #SQLLearning, #SQLHugs, #SQLKaraoke, and #SQLFamily.

I will be presenting my newest presentation, “So you have a performance issue.  What now?”  This is a great beginning session that goes into how you get started in performance tuning.  In other words, how do you find the query that is bad from all of the other queries running in your system?  I hope to see you there!

Have you registered to attend yet?  If not please do so immediately and get a free #SQLHug from me!


Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Presenting for SQL Saturday Nashville

Recently, I was humbled to be selected to speak at SQL Saturday Nashville over the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend.  I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 10:30AM.  This will be my first presentation in Nashville, and I am excited to expand my geographic range.   In addition, I was excited to see some of the big names coming into town.   Don’t believe me?  Check out the schedule for yourself.

Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Friday, January 17th by Denny Cherry, who is presenting “SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization” and David Klee is presenting “Virtualization for  SQL Server DBAs.”  Please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.

If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now!  See you there!sqlsat272

PASS Women in Technology Luncheon #PASSWIT

For the second consecutive year, I had the privilege of sitting at the blogger’s table during the Professional Association for SQL Server’s Women in Technology luncheon at the annual Summit conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.  This luncheon was over a week ago and today is the first chance that I have had to sit down and really put my thoughts together.  Therefore, I apologize for the delay.

The theme for this year’s luncheon was “BEYOND STEREOTYPES: Equality, Gender, Neutrality, and Valuing Diversity.”  The distinguished panel consisted of Rob Farley, Erin Stellato, Cindy Gross, Kevin Kline and Gail Shaw.  The luncheon was moderated by my dear friend Mickey Stuewe.  The bloggers present included Jes Borland, Mark Stacey, Karen Lopez, Grant Fritchey, Jen McCown, Jen Stirrup and Laerte Junior.  As you can see it was very humbling to be chosen amongst that lineup.

It has become a tradition at the #PASSWIT luncheon for men and women to wear #SQLKilts to support the Women in Technology.  Next year, I should be able to wear a kilt, however this year I wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month.  This luncheon was very moving for me this year and I found myself caught up in the conversations instead of taking notes.  However, I did manage to grab some very good quotes outlined below:

Gail Shaw was asked if she had to make an effort to fit in within the technology community to which she replied: “No I don’t because I can’t literally be bothered.”

Cindy Gross later said “Every single person is prejudiced about something…”

Kevin Kline said that stereotypes are the index pages because our brains cannot know intimate details for more than maybe 150 people, for the rest we rely on stereotypes.

Rob Farley said for us to “Stand up and be the person who champions what is right.”

Erin Stellato when asked by a question from the floor about how to make it in the industry with all of the stereotypes working against you said “How am I not going to make it?  Push through the stress and win!”

2013-10-17 12.35.26

Rob Farley

2013-10-17 12.42.56

Cindy Gross

2013-10-17 12.49.50

Mickey Stuewe

2013-10-17 13.02.40

Rob Farley and Erin Stellato


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