Category Archives: speaking

New year, New speaking dates

Lining up a few SQL Server Usergroups speaking sessions for the year already:

All sessions will be:

Indexing Nightmare – Cut Through the Clutter

Inherited a database with 30 indexes on every table? Has the vendor for your 3rd party app recommended more indexes over the years than you can remember? Got indexes that were added to fix a data load problem 4 years ago, but not sure if they’re still being used? Indexes are key to SQL Server performance, but like everything too much of a good thing is a bad thing. In this sessions we’ll look at how you can analyse your current indexes with the aim of consolidating them into useful ones, even removing some completely and how to improve the ones you’ve got left

Except for Southampton, where it’ll be:

Get on the Bus

As time goes by, more systems are crossing hosting boundaries (On Premises, Azure, multi-cloud provider, ISVs). We need a simple reliable mechanism to transfer data between these systems easily, quickly and reliably. Microsoft have taken their Message Bus technology and moved it to the cloud as Service Bus. This session will introduce you to this service and give examples of how internal databases can safely process data from cloud hosted applications without having to be exposed to the InterTubes. Examples are predominantly .Net C#, but aren’t complex!

Dates

Nottingham SQL Server Usergroup – 12th January 2017
(Also presenting will be Steph Middleton, talking about Building a Robust SSIS Solution)
(More details and registration here

Midlands/Birmingham SQL Server Usergroup – 19th January 2017
More Details and Registration here

SQL Surrey Server Usergroup (Guilford) – 20th February 2017
Link and details to be confirmed

Southampton SQL Server Usergroup – 1st March 2017
More details and registration here

Hope to see some of you there. And if there’s any other usergroups out there that are looking for speakers then let me know, have presentations on SQL, Powershell and general IT process to offer.

So you want to present at a SQL Server Event

So you’re thinking about stepping up to speak at a SQL Server (or any other technical event), or are having your arm gently twisted by an organiser to do so. How bad is it going to be?

tl;dr version:
– Just do it, it’s easy, and it’s great!

Long Version:
Not very. Let’s break down the most comment arguments:

1) – I’m not using the later version
Doesn’t matter. Most people out there won’t be. As of writing this, there are very few people running SQL Server 2016, but there are a lot of people still on SQL Server 2012 (and older!). So don’t think you have to be talking about the latest greatest feature

2) – I’m not using the coolest technology
Yes, each SQL Server release has a must-use technology which people preach about. But that’s not always what people want to hear about. Replication is as old as dust, but it’s still something people want to learn about or know how to fix, a good replication talk aways gets listeners. I talk a lot about backups, and not the new features either, and those talks go down well. What about indexing and performance, well those are perennial favourites, and everyone does them differently so maybe you’ve got something to add there

3) – I’m not doing anything exciting
Neither are most people out there! The lie in the marketing papers is that everyone should be doing a billion transactions a second and have a multi terabyte Web Scale database!
Truth is, 90% of your audience aren’t doing that either. Most of us have the same issues, too many databases and not enough time to look after them all. Those are topics that will grab people

4) – I’m not going in depth enough.
I admit it, I love a good Bob Ward (w|t) or Bradley Balls (w|t) 500 level session on deep SQL Server internals, but then that’s me!
For most people a good level 200 session on a topic is a great introduction to that topic, pushing into 300 for someone who wants to move on to the next level. So don’t worry if you’re not breaking out the debugger or tracing into dll calls

4) – I’m not an MVP or other high end consultancy title
Neither are most of us doing the speaking. Don’t let that hold you back. You think they got those titles before they started speaking? It’s putting yourself out there that get’s you noticed.

5) – I don’t have enough content
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to fill up 50 minutes with content. And that’s without questions, once they come into the picture you’ll find yourself accelerating to get everything in. Demos always take longer than you plan as well, seriously, never underestimate how long demo can take in front of an audience!

6) – I’ve not done it before
We all start somewhere (Birmingham SQL User group for me many years ago), local user groups are good as you’ll have friendly faces around. If you want to dip a toe in the water then keep an eye out for events offering a shorter quicker intro, for example lightning talks of 10-12 minutes for you to have a go with, or there’s webinars, so you can present from the security of home.

7) – Don’t be afraid of questions, or you answers (An addition suggested by Rob Sewell (w|t))
Yes, people will ask questions. But don’t be scared of them. I’ve yet to see someone throw in a question explicitly to be nasty to a presenter. Most of the questions will be because someone’s not quite followed what you’re saying so repeat yourself and see how that goes. If you get a question you really can’t answer, you can’t answer in a reasonable amount of time, or is going to lose the rest of your audience you can always arrange to take it afterwards or give them your contact details and discuss it offline.

So there’s nothing insurmountable there. All group leaders and organisers want to see new speakers, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ll happily let you know of any topic requests we’ve had from our members, or give you feedback on your topic. They’re also happy to go through your presentation with you before the big day to make sure it’s going.

Post up below if there’s anything else you’re worrying about. And if there isn’t, go and start writing that presentation

Upcoming Presentations

Well, it’s been a while since I last did some presenting, mainly due to having purchased a new home and having gotten stuck in with renovating it.

After a successful session up at SQL Server User Group North East last week talking about using PowerShell to migrate SQL Server instances, I’ve another 3 sessions lined up around the country. 2 as part of the SQLRelay set of events, and 1 one at the Leicester SQL User Group

All 3 sessions will be my presentation “Transaction Log Basics”, this abstract should give you a good idea of what to expect:

Every SQL DBA has at least 5 transaction logs that they need to take care of. But what exactly is going on inside that file? Why can it be a performance issue? Is it really that important? And why does it keep filling my disks when I’m not looking?

This session will answer all of those questions. We’ll be looking at how SQL Server relies on it’s transaction, best practices that will keep it performing properly and explaining why it’s so vital to your databases and your job to keep is safe!

It’s a perfect introduction to SQL Server transaction logs and also a good way to make sure you won’t fall into problems later on.

The dates are:

SQL Relay Southhampton – 14th October
Leicester SQL Server User Group – 15th October
SQL Relay Birmingham – 29th October (unfortunately this event is fully subscribed, but there is a waiting list you can sign up for)

Looking forward to seeing plenty of people at these events. If you’re reading this and planning on attending, then let me know, or come and say hello on the day.

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SQL Saturday Exeter 2014 Redux

sqlsat269_webAnother great event from the SQL SouthWest team this year. Great atmosphere at the pre event Surf Part on the Friday night, catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Those who had a go on the mechanical surfboard seemed to enjoy themselves, unfortunately my knee injury meant I couldn’t have a go.

As I’ve mentioned before I was given the opportunity to try something a little bit different. So I was presenting a double session on “PowerShell for the curious DBA”, which I’d targetted as a short introduction to PowerShell for SQL Server DBAs who’d never really met it before.  I’ve uploaded the deck and scripts here if you’d like a copy.

Feedback on the session and the format from the attendees was good, and I’m looking forward to seeing the ‘official’ feedback from the orgs as well. I though the format of the session was great, allowed a topic to be covered in more depth, but wasn’t such a long session that you were ‘comitted’ to missing lots of other sessions.

Talking of other sessions I went along to the following:

Hugo Kornelis (b | t) – Good session on using Windowing functions to work around some more complex tasks in T-SQL, definitely something you want in your toolbox.

Kevan Riley(t) – Exploring some of the darker parts of SQL Server explain plans. Turns out it’s well worth checking the underlying XML as well as the nice graphical views.

Kevin Chant (t) – Certainly looks like anyone wanting to generate proper management reports will want to be checking out SharePoint and PowerView

Allan Mitchell (t) – Finally a proper explanation of how Hadoop hangs together, much more information than lots of reading around on t’tinternet.

Whittling down to that selection from the available sessions (here) was quite a task as well, lots of quality content was on offer so it could be a hard task picking which session to go to.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the post event Curry as I had a 4 hours drive back to Nottingham, but the photos make it look like a lot of fun, so already planning a 2nd night’s stay if there’s a 2015 event.

Presentation and Demo scripts from PowerShell Backup and Restore sessions at SQLRelay 2013

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Here are the Presentation and the demo scripts I was using during my SQL Server Backups and Restores with PowerShell sessions at the Birmingham and Norwich SQLRelay events.

SQLRelay-2013R2-psbackups

Please make use of them. And if you have any queries (or find any problems) please get in touch via email or twitter.

Speaking at Birmingham and Norwich SQL Relay 2013R2 events

relay-2013R2-logo

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be speaking at 2 of the SQL Relay 2013R2 events happening in November.

If you’ve not been to a SQL Relay event before, these are FREE all day SQL Server training events featuring some of the top SQL Server experts from around the world (and me!). This edition is visiting 10 different locations around the UK over 2 weeks, so there’s bound to be one near you.

I’ll be speaking at Birmingham on 14th November and Norwich on 27th November, presenting on PowerShell for SQL Server backups and restores.

In Birmingham you’ll also get Denny Cherry speaking on Hekaton, the new in memory SQL Server objects coming in SQL Server 2014

And in Norwich, Klaus Aschenbrenner will be presenting. While he’s not announced his topic yet, Klaus is always a great presenter so it’ll be a good ‘un.

Some of the events are filling up fast, so register quickly to make sure of a place: Register for SQL Relay

Hope to see some of you there. Please come up and say Hi if you do.

Scripts and Demos from Cardiff SQL Server User Group presentation, 1st October 2013

All the files from my presentation on using PowerShell for SQL Server Backups and Restores at Cardiff SQL Server User Group on 1st October 2013.

cardiff-usergroup-powershell-backups-and-restores-01012013

Any problems, just drop me a line

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SQL Saturday Cambridge only 4 weeks away!

SQL Saturday Cambridge, I'm Speaking

4 weeks till SQL Saturday 228 in Cambridge. As you can probably tell from the picture above, there might be a slight nod to one of Cambridge University’s comedy exports being used in the event promotion!

There’s a great lineup of speakers from all over the planet – http://www.sqlsaturday.com/228/schedule.aspx, if you count it up that’s nearly 30 hours of top notch FREE SQL Server (Data Platform, Developer and Business Intelligence), SharePoint and PowerShell training up for grabs.

If you’re Nottingham based then getting down couldn’t be easier . There’s still singles from Nottingham to Cambridge available that mean you can do the round trip for £26. Which for this amount of training is a bargain, so go here and register before it’s completely full

I’ll be presenting on Automating SQL Server Backups and Restores using PowerShell at 11:00 in Room 3. Hopefully see some of you there, feel free to say hello.

Downloads for “Automating SQL Server Backups and Restores with PowerShell” presentation from Southampton SQL Sever User Group 07/08/2013

Hi, if you’ve just landed here you might be interested in the series of posts >31 days of SQL Server Backup and Restore with PowerShell where I’ll be providing more information about the concepts and scripts in this presentation

Scripts and Demos for PowerShell SQL Server Backup and Restore presentation given at Southampton SQL Server User Group 7th August 2013

Includes the presentation as a pdf, all the PowerShell scripts used during the presentation, the SQL scripts to build the demo databases, plus the backups of a couple of the databases to speed things up.

Readme.txt gives a quick overview of each script and the order to run through them in.

Any problems or Questions, please get in touch.

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Speaking at Cambridge SQL Saturday

SQL Saturday Cambridge logo

I was very happy on Friday morning to open my email and find an invitation from SQL Saturday Cambridge organiser Mark Broadbent (blog|twitter) offering me a speaker slot at the event. Accepting the offer didn’t really require much thinking about, not the sort of offer you turn down.

So I know where I’ll be on the 28th September 2013; Queens College, Cambridge. I’ll be talking about using PowerShell to Automate your SQL Server backups and Restores, offering you some ideas about to offload some of the more monotonous bits of a DBAs job and how to ensure you can sleep soundly knowing your backups are good, and you’ll be able to prove it.

Looking at the ‘leaked’ news on the Friday’s PreCons on the event’s Facebook page, I may well head down for one of those as well. Looking like another SQL Saturday event to me